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It should be simple. When your children reach the age of 11 they go to the comprehensive down the road. The one funded by those taxes that you've been paying all these years. But what happens if the local comp is an academic black hole - there are hundreds of them - where the majority of children cannot achieve the undemanding task of getting five GCCEs with a grade of C or better? What do you do if the next alternative gets great results, but it's a faith school and you don't go to church? What then? Fake religion? Move house? Hire a tutor to try to cram your children into a Grammar? Become a professional fraudster to fund private school fees (for one couple featured in this book, that was the preferred option)? One thing is certain. You'll panic. It won't be the sort of brief panic you get when you think you're about to crash the car, but the long-term kind of stress that goes on for years. Andrew Penman knows. He started panicking about his children's secondary education around 2007 and hasn't stopped yet.
What the reviewers say:
“Andrew Penman’s book is an eye-opener about the traumas parents
can face when choosing a school for their children. It makes me glad
I’ve only got a dog to look after!”
Richard Garner, Education Editor for The Independent
"Journalist Andrew Penman has written an excellent book about the search for a great secondary school for his children (a son aged 11 and daughter aged 9). School Daze is a really good read, in turns depressing, amusing and enlightening." Sarah Ebner, The Times.
"Many parents who are or have been in similar positions to Penman will sympathise with him as he desperately searches for a school he's happy to send his daughter to, and despite being an atheist tries going to church regularly in the hope it will boost her chances of getting into a Church of England primary school. His willingness to scour different regions of the country for a decent school and undergo a commute to work can't be faulted, and these are all considerations which will perhaps open the eyes of some parents who hadn't previously realised what a massive job it can be to find a secondary school they're happy with today, in certain areas at least." The bookbag.co.uk
"Written in diary style, this is an incredibly useful personal journey through the confusing and frustrating maze that is finding a school for your 11 year old child" www.lovereading4kids
“I would thoroughly recommend it if you have a child coming up to school age or just have an interest in education because it's one of those books that lays a few home truths bare.” Nick Wallis BBC Radio Surrey
Follow the debate
Andrew's book is adding to the national debate - with articles appearing in The Guardian and The Independent
About the author
Andrew Penman is an investigative journalist on The Daily Mirror.
He has twice been named Consumer Journalist of the Year by the
Trading Standards Institute and won the 2010 Hugh Cudlipp
Award for his campaigning work. He is married with two children
and would quite like them to have a decent education. He lives in Woking, Surrey, though that could change if the local schools don’t work out.
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