We’ve all heard the narrative. A school goes into special measures and a “super-head” is parachuted in. He or she gets rid of the ostensibly worst-performing teachers, or at least allocates them to where they can do the least harm to the school’s league tables. The pupils in years 5 and 6 are trained to “ace” the SATs, the curriculum is constricted accordingly. Ofsted returns, the school is recategorised, the head moves on, and only then does the wreckage surface: ignored pupils in the lower year groups, massive overspending, and exhausted and demoralised staff.
With this in mind, I approached this book with no small degree of cynicism when I read in the “blurb” on the back that said the author had turned his school around in less than two years.