Where Will I Do My Pineapples?

The little book of building a whole new school

By: Gill Kelly


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Size: 174mm x 124mm
Pages : 160
ISBN : 9781845906962
Format: Hardback
Published: August 2011

Where Will I Do My Pineapples? is not about a new building, it is about building a whole new school and the struggle, against all odds, to keep people and learning at the centre of the whole project.

It’s about how to manage change and deal with the pressures of the day job at the same time. Perhaps more significantly, it’s about people and the potential to change thousands of lives.

Written from the perspective of a senior leader, with many amusing and bizarre stories, this book describes how to keep sound educational principles at the heart of a project to build a new school.

Picture for author Gill Kelly

Gill Kelly

During Gill Kelly's career in the educational sector she has worked in an inner city school in Swindon and two large 11-18 schools in North Somerset before becoming the principal at The City Academy, Bristol. Her previous role, as deputy head teacher of Nailsea School in North Somerset, gave her the opportunity to provide the ICT solution for the school rebuild under the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) project.


  1. Having been involved in BSF at a Local Authority level for the past five years, this was the book people had been asking for all along. “Can you put us in touch with someone who has done this already?” Being in wave one, the answer was, for most of the time, “Er -¦ no.”

    So, I very much looked forward to reading this book.It is an interesting, reassuring and useful read and it's clear from the way it is written that to enter the process without taking your sense of humour along for the ride is an unwise move. In fact, a sense of humour and an acceptance of the ridiculous is essential!

    So much did the accurate description of the BSF process resonate, that at times I could feel my blood pressure rising in a way that only those who have experienced the endless rounds of meetings, BSF lingo and frustrations with bureaucracy can appreciate.

    For those of us who have experienced BSF, it was reassuring that we were not alone, and it was a prompt for reflection. For those still to go through the process, it will be a very useful guide to how it feels from an SLT point of view, with valuable reminders that the people involved are the key to the success of the project. (N.B. Although the BSF process has been halted in its tracks by many authorities - the chances are that you will at some point experience a new build and, in any case, the contents of this book ring true for any change process.)

    The book is a good balance of education and management theory, supported and illustrated by anecdotes, examples and soul-searching.
    The Do's and Don'ts section at the end of each chapter is a particularly useful quick reference for any leaders of any change project, and are unashamedly focused on making sure that everyone is involved and cared for. Although one tends to learn most from one's own mistakes, to ignore the experiences and lessons learned in this book, could seem reckless.
  2. This is a book about wisdom and integrity: having the isdom to make judgements about what other people say, and the integrity to stick to sound educational principles. It asks what learning is all about, and comes up with some practical answers that are of interest even if you do not have the blessing (or curse) of a new school building to plan. It looks at how best to organise people and spaces within a learning community and is honest about pitfalls and partial successes. It gives great advice about how to deal with resistance from staff which will be of use to anyone in the business of trying to herd cats (or school management as it is otherwise known). It is also about creating a vision and then clinging to it no matter what happens.

    I would recommend this book to anyone in school management,not just those involved in building a new school site. The nuggets of wisdom in the appendix are almost worth buying the book for on their own.
  3. This account of how one school used the opportunity of a rebuilding programme to rethink its educational philosophy will be of interest beyond a professional readership.

    Emphasising the fundamental importance of putting learning and the learner at the heart of planning it gives a clear, practical and frank account of a sometimes fraught process.

    Drawing on pedagogical and psychological research it contains lessons about the nature of leadership and the role of technology as well as the state of education.

    Each chapter concludes with a useful list of Dos and Don'ts` for anyone finding themselves in the same position as the author.
  4. A new building is a lot more than bricks, paint and glass. In the case of Nailsea school, their BSF project presented the opportunity to challenge traditional methods of schooling and build a learning community based on a clear vision of what was best for the learners passing through the new doors.
    This book shows us the importance of vision, bravery and the human touch in making lasting sustainable change to the way a school is run. Gill Kelly's unswerving commitment to providing the best possible learning environment shaped every decision made in the project, from the ICT provision to the design of the curriculum. Project managing a multi million pound build whilst teaching and managing a school provides its own unique challenges,but this book tackles the issues of inexperience, overload and self-doubt candidly and with tips gleaned from the journey.

    At its heart, this is a book about people: how to help them deal with the scary prospect of a new way of working in an unfamiliar space; how to support and encourage them whilst challenging expectations of what learning should look and feel like; how to keep your own sanity when the job is all-consuming and never-ending and everything is a priority; how to build and maintain successful teams, both at leadership level and in the learning environment. Once again, the concepts of belief in the vision, bravery and communication are paramount. It shows what is possible when professional educators do not allow themselves to be swayed by the vagaries of government, outside agencies or suppliers and believe in themselves as experts in their field.
  5. A whole new school building is a once in a career happening for most school leaders and a once in a generation opportunity for most communities. Gill Kelly has therefore done us all a great service in capturing her once in a lifetime experience in Nailsea as she led the new building project in her school. In doing so, she finds an engaging voice that makes this short book an enjoyable first read in just a couple of hours, whilst creating a reference book for anyone going through the same sort of journey.

    Nailsea School was one of the early winners from Building Schools for the Future. The current political debate writes BSF off as an expensive school building programme that was guilty of waste, complexity and delay. If it was just a school building programme that would be a fair criticism and “Where Will I Do My Pineapples” would be a pretty dull read. If it were just about architects, builders, loos, classroom design and technical specification it would have a very limited reach.

    What Gill Kelly grasped, and reflects in her book, is that BSF was an education improvement programme. It was an opportunity to use design, buildings and technology to improve teaching and learning. This book is as much about pedagogy, leadership and change management as it is about buildings.
    From that basis, this book is stimulating, exciting and enlightening. New schools in run-down communities can be cathedrals for aspiration, but only if what people do inside them is effective. Whether it is a new block, a refurbishment or a complete rebuild, “Where Will I Do My Pineapples” shows how to think of investment as an opportunity to turbocharge new ways of engaging the community, new ways of empowering learners and new ways of developing professional practice. It involves effective use of technology and space but always and only if it works for learning. The checklists and appendices add practical assistance without pretending that works in Nailsea will work everywhere.

    I loved this little book and I hope it will be picked up and used by school leaders up and down the country.
  6. In a period of significant change in the funding and management of schools within England, this book is a valuable resource for staff teams to reflect upon the experience of a school who have undergone the process of “transformation”. The author takes a critical overview of the process and the checklists at the end of each chapter are excellent guides and warning signals that transformation is not plain sailing.
  7. An excellent -˜how to' guide as well as a hymn of praise to the power of education to change lives.
  8. As the title might suggest, this is a book full of tasty chunks.

    The book charts the course of a school as it tries to modernise its offer to pupils through its belief system and the approach to learning, offered a new lease of life by the promise of a new building. Gill Kelly describes some of the key moments in a journey to transform experiences and the intense effort and energy that is needed to move mindsets. 

    It is a professional and human book which makes the reader think, -˜Why don't all schools do that?'
  9. I found the topic interesting, realistic and very much described what is really happening on the ground when you want to implement new ideas. The book is also easy to read if you skip acronyms (too many). I think for somebody who would go through the same process this is a great reference book. For somebody, like me, who is more interested in the outcome - what worked and what didn't, I found that some information is not important and you do not need to know everybody's name and title (but I do recognise that it is always very nice for somebody to name and recognise your input). 

    I would recommend this book to head teachers and officers in education departments, to read and think about what they can do to make a positive change.

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