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VIEWS Fromthepenof...AndyDonaldson


Thismonth, in our popular series looking at authorsworking in the field of UK education, we speak to ANDY DONALDSON, teacher and debut novelist, about the spark that led himto create his children’s book “Rain Town”.


It only took me ten years and half my career as a teacher before I finally


decided to write a book aimed at


older children and young adults.


Teachers’ lives are so concentrated


and all-consuming, that we often find ourselves clinging to a bottle of wine or taking solace in late night


television once the preparation and marking is finally


finished. Holidays are simply not the time to sit down and write a novel as we desperately try to catch up with our own life and often, our own children. There just is not enough time in the day or energy in the body or soul to construct another world and get it down on paper.


The spark for me was reading books to my own children just before bedtime. However, I gradually became disappointed with the books that we were reading. I found myself wanting to read books that connected more with our everyday lives rather than about wizards or magic kingdoms. I wanted to write a book which resonated with our very ordinary lives, to connect with the heart, make readers laugh, cry, or at least create ‘a lump in the throat’ moment. After all, I am a secondary school History teacher by trade; entertaining teenage children and keeping them engaged is what I attempt to do for a living.


I think that it is safe to say that making children connect emotionally with our subjects, lies at the heart of great learning laugh is often y fair that you


should be having as much fun as the pupils. Clearl what children like to have in a teacher and it is onl and teaching. Using humour and making children


plan was to write something that would hopefully


connect with y then, the


the lives of my teenage children but also be full of humour. Additionally, it would be great if it did the same for the parents reading the books too.


It has taken several years, and it was much harder than I thought it would be. One book (a prequel) somehow failed to work as a coherent story and has been put in the bottom drawer at least for now. There were also the countless rejejections from publishers, who clearly did not like my material as much as I was hoping. However, I kept going and finally completed a second book entitled “Rain Town”, the story of a trio of friends who try to solve a theft from their school, and three grown men who react to losing their jobs by becoming superheroes, only with no particular powers behind their daft pseudonyms and costumes.


If you are a teacher, then it is a scientific fact that you are incredibly talented. Everyone has a novel in them. It might take some time, but we are in a profession with patience and resilience embedded in our DNA. If you can, teach. If you can, write.


“Rain Town” by May 2019 Town by Andy dy Donalds dson isis ava vailalable now. BritishEduca cational SuppliersAssociation(BESA) rs As


rowdfund to “Resourc Our Schools”


We shouldn’t’t have to cro


rt putt


Thismonth, regular Education Today columnist PATRICK HAYES, Director of BESA, calls for the government to start education.


ttingmoremoney into


mainstay of newlyweds and children taking a Have you ever had an Amazon wish list? This


now finding a new use by schools across the digital approach to writing letters to Santa is


A recent investigation by the Guardian has country too.


try to purchase educational resources. It’s not country are starting to use such techniques to found more than 1,000 schools across the


The investigation cites a school who said, “Unfortunately, due to Crowdfunder pages are being used too. just Amazon wish lists. JustGiving and


government budget cuts, last year we lost £80,000 and had to make several redundancies. Our dire financial situation has continued this year and we are having to make further cutbacks.”


funding crisis – leading not just to cutbacks i such cutbacks. These crowdfunding pages a


essential teaching resources too.


This is the reason that we at the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) are running our Resource Our Schools campaign, which is dedicated to ensuring that every school has access to the resources they need to deliver the education that our children deserve. As one of the signatories to our Resource Our Schools statement, Vikki Frier, a business manager fromWoolmer Hill School puts it, “Purchase of resources for schools now seems to be secondary to all of the statutory H&S, maintenance and increasing pension contributions leaving classrooms without the necessary supplies/equipment to facilitate the teaching and learning.” “We need to shift the focus back into the classroom and support our teachers in providing high quality teaching with the appropriate resources.”


This year is particularly important for the campaign. There is talk of education budgets being set several years ahead in the forthcoming government Spending Review. As a result, it is essential that resources are factored in alongside other aspects of a budget.


While there is nothing wrong with fundraising or corporate donations, this isn’t something that schools should rely on to ensure that children are able to be given science practicals, or can learn to play musical instruments.


As one science teacher told us recently: “New science specifications require that students have access to good practical science opportunities as a key component of their courses so good practical resources are vital for this. Unfortunately, schools often have to cope with very poorly resourced labs.”


If we want to position ourselves as a leading global powerhouse following our departure from the EU – or simply to just ensure that our children are given an induction into the thought and said, then it’s essential that sch from textbooks to tablets, in order to do this.


If you haven’t yet signed the Resource Our Schools statement, please do so at www.resourceourschools.org.uk. If enough people sign, then it could be a powerful tool in making the case to government at a crucial time that they cannot shirk away from adequately funding educational equipment.


www.education-today.co.uk 31


ools have the resources, best that has been


They are not alone. Schools around the country are having to make re symptomatic of a major n staff, but also on


A) rce


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