Writings

I’m back….

The book, on education, is done. The cover is – nearly – finalised. The plans, for publication, are shaping up. Don’t let anyone tell you that a writer’s life is an easy one, particularly not for a book like this, commissioned, and executed, in double quick time: three months of interviews and school visits – helped, I have to say, by an excellent researcher, Dominic Self – followed by several months of intensive reading and then what felt like a lifetime of intensive drafting and re-drafting. As my head filled with ideas and arguments – and internal challenges to what I thought I thought – I wrote more and slept less. For the last few weekends, I was working sixteen, seventeen hour days and barely out of my dressing gown. Neighbours who met me on my regular walks around the block ( 6 turns several times a day) later compared me to a caged animal!

But it is done. And I am proud.

Books are funny things. You often don’t realise what you have produced, until long after publication. I am only now beginning to see that ‘School Wars’ is an accessible and punchy ( awful word – but let it stand) critique of the Coalition’s damaging policies on schools, and an impassioned but surprisingly calm assessment of the possibilities of a different kind of school system. I have learned in writing the book that I need to see things, in my head, almost pictorially, in order to believe in them. It came too late to include in the final chapter but I understood that what I was trying to describe for the reader was my picture of an ideal school and how we could create such a school in every neighbourhood and area in the country, if we had the imagination and the political will. That was – is – exciting.

Certainly, writing the book has changed – shifted – shaken up – radicalised – modernised – my own opinions, and what I am really looking forward to now are the many discussions and debates that seem likely to follow publication, particularly those with the people who really know – state school leaders, teachers, pupils and parents. Over the next few days, I will put up details of the events planned over the autumn.

My publishers have also persuaded me that I have to Twitter; groan!

As for this website, I will finally get back to doing a weekly blog on current, cultural affairs – not just education.

For those of you who loyally visited these web pages over the past few months and found no new material, thanks for sticking with me.

One Response to I’m back….

  1. Welcome back – looking forward to reading your latest project. On the subject of education, did you remember to tell Hannah about this Saturday’s event? Also looking forward to regular blogs again. I have a fair bit of writing to catch up on myself so will keep this one short.

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