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School today: Fact or Fiction?
on 29 December 2009
As an experienced teacher in a school similar to that described by James Rainsford I fully expected a diatribe concerning what is wrong with the current education system after reading the foreword and first chapter. Luckily, the tone of these sections is simply to put the reader, particularly those not involved in education, in the picture about the current position of many state schools and particulary the school the novel is set in.
From chapter 2 onwards we are introduced to a whole host of characters by Dave Falconer, our narrator and soon to retire Head of Year. Most people will recognise the (rare) inspirational teachers and the more common disillusioned and ineffectual members of the teaching profession. Lined up against the adults are a vast array of some of the most disruptive, educationally challenged and hormonal teenagers you are likely to meet. As expected mayhem frequently ensues.
For those not involved in teaching many of the situations described will probably seem far-fetched, however they are simply a small example of what regularly happens in schools on a regular basis. I sincerely hope that armed response teams halting a school trip is artistic licence, along with the fiasco described at the school prom - if these are genuine then I'm glad I don't work in that school.
The style of writing is a little laboured at times and far more humour could have been extracted from some of the situations, however I commend the writer on a very honest portrayal of life in the teaching profession today.