I taught English language and literature at secondary level (ages eleven to eighteen) for a number of years, before coming to work for the Inspiration Trust, where I am currently Assistant Principal at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy.
I’ve worked in all sorts of places, ranging from state comprehensive to boarding school. But I still remember fondly the one in which I first worked, a very ordinary non-selective comprehensive school (although it was grant-maintained) with a strict headmaster and a well-organised discipline system.
I’m very good at passing tests and writing essays: I got top grades in almost all of my school exams (art was the exception). Then I gained a first class degree from Manchester University, and a master’s with distinction and a PhD from the University of Leeds.
Why include all of these academic credentials? Well, I wouldn’t want you to think that I am criticising modern education just because I have sour grapes. I’ve done very well out of it, and lots of people patted me on the back over the years for being such a high achiever. And yet, however many certificates I’ve accumulated, the formal education I received was fragmentary and unsatisfactory in many ways. In my professional life, I am aiming to provide pupils with something more coherent and satisfying, both intellectually and morally.
In some ways, I could be said to be continuing, in my humble way, the work of my grandmother Betty Radice, who realised that people were struggling to understand many things they read because of their ignorance of classical literature and history. So she wrote Who’s Who in the Ancient World to help out these poorly educated moderns.