The Reading List: Schools

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The Independent Culture


'Up and Down in The Dales' by Gervase Phinn (Penguin, £8.99 )

Wry, spry and dry – the former teacher and school inspector's fourth book of memoirs charts the time he spent roving over the Yorkshire Dales inspecting village schools. It has a belly laugh on every page.

For parents

'A Parents' Guide to Primary School' by Elizabeth Grahamslaw (Virgin, £9.99)

A handy guide to everything you need to know about primary schools, from curriculum information, advice on how to get the little ones enthused by homework, plus some hints on choosing the right school for you and them.


'What's the Point of School?' by Guy Claxton (Oneworld, £14.99)

Why are so many children leaving school with no qualifications? Why has the take up of traditional "hard" subjects been on the slide for so long? Professor Claxton provides a provocative analysis of the failings at the heart of our education system and some ideas about what we can do about it.


'Decline and Fall' by Evelyn Waugh (£8.99, Penguin)

Thought by many to be his finest book, Waugh's tale of the assorted drunks, loons and rascals teaching at Llanabba Castle School was lauded as "brilliantly malicious satire" by Arnold Bennett when it was published in 1928 and it remains as fresh and pointed today.

For children

'Starting School' by Janet Ahlberg (Puffin £6.99)

The first day of school is an anxious time for children, so allay their nerves with this cute picture book, which familiarises children with what they can expect when the big day comes around.


'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾' By Sue Townsend (Penguin, £7.99)

Sue Townsend's "Samuel Pepys of Ashby-de-la-Zouch" burst into the nation's consciousness in 1982 with his warts-and-all account of going to a comprehensive, falling in love and being a "misunderstood intellectual". A new edition celebrates 30 years of the spotty diarist.