Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, OISE/University of Toronto
Did you ever miss someone like crazy, thinking that you would never see them again, only to have them show up out of the blue better than ever? That’s how I feel about Tim Brighouse and Mick Waters and their new stupendous magnum opus About Our Schools.
Based on much original material from interviews with central players including nearly all secretaries of state for education since 1975, and scores of key officials in positions at all levels of the education system in England, About Our Schools is a goldmine of inside thinking and action. It is as if the authors were standing over the shoulders of people when they made significant decisions, asking: ‘What were they thinking when they did X and Y?’ And Tim and Mick were there much of the time as they worked at all levels of the government, but most of all immersed themselves in the daily lives of the pupils and communities that they served.
I can say that I was never bored with a single page. Every chapter was interesting and insightful, and I felt the authors were speaking to me as a reader throughout. The authors’ cumulative critique of the worsening of the policies that have been presented over the years is so damning that their solutions bear careful scrutiny. It is time for a new approach to system change, and in the final section Brighouse and Waters serve up six foundational stones to get us started.
About Our Schools is a treasure trove of the past, and a treasure map for the future – compiled by two human explorers who combine more than 100 years of caring and action in tackling the most vexing problems of the day. Now I know in detail why I am glad they are back on centre stage.