The Origins of the book
Gifted At Primary, Failing By Secondary
A Parental Manual
WHY WAS THIS BOOK WRITTEN?
The author is very candid about the origin of his first book which he says was written in anger.
“It was never supposed to be a book! It was going to be a single-sided sheet of A4 with a few bullet points.
I was sitting in a Parents’ Evening at Crofton School, SE London getting vexed because I didn’t have much to do except watch the underachieving students walk past my desk with their parents. they were walking past because they were not my students. My students were fine.
Besides, I was in contact with the parents of all my students every month by phone. If their child had really irritated me, I showed up at their house to tell the parents face-to-face. The only parents (or students) that wanted to sit down with me were the ones that wanted to get some extra compliments about how well they were doing.
I wanted to give these other parents something to quickly solve their problems and get their children back on track. Not just in mathematics, but in every subject. If I could just get the parents doing the basics, it would make a massive difference to their lives and the lives of their children. So, after the parents evening, I planned to list a few points on paper to give to the Black parents at my next Parent’s Evening.
But, the more I thought about the most important points to include, the more points I thought were important, the more vexed I got, the more I wrote. the more I wrote the more vexed I got… By the end of the Easter holidays I had already typed over 20,000 words!
I honestly thought I would be a millionnaire by now. I had laid out a step-by-step guide for every Black parent to ensure their child blitzed their GCSEs. Not just in mathematics, but in every subject because I was teaching the processes and management techniques of raising a successful student – not simply revision techniques. What parent wouldn’t want that? And I didn’t just mean eliminating the underachievement for grade F students who could get a grade C, I was also talking about the grade C students who should be getting an A-star (or Grade 9 now).
Perhaps this is the human condition though. We only eat a balanced diet the first time we get seriously ill. We only start exercising properly when something hurts that shouldn’t. We start appreciating our time with family and loved ones when we’re told that we don’t have long left.
Compared to most fathers, it seems as if most mothers start thinking about where their child will go to nursery not long after a positive pregnancy test result. But, we take our hands off the reigns as parents almost as soon as they get into their second year of secondary school. When did we stop reading with our child? When did we start accepting one-word answers to the question, “How was school?” When did we start waiting for things to go wrong before we started doing what’s right by our children? That’s crisis management!
Well, if that’s the case, I suppose I’ll accept those crisis purchases in the hope that the friends of those struggling parents will plan for their child’s success instead of waiting for the inevitable consequences of failing to plan.
How long will you wait?”