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The Harpole Report by J. L. Carr

The Harpole Report (1972)

by J. L. Carr

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A truly charming and wonderful book about teaching and being a teacher. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
I decided to read this book having been very impressed by "A Month in the Country", also written by J.L. Carr, and which has rocketed into my list of all time favourite novels. This is a very different type of book but nonetheless skilfully written and very enjoyable. It's an amusing, touching, wise tale about the UK state school system in the early 1970s. It's written as a report on a temporary head teacher, whose story unfolds through a series of school logs, notes, letters and memos. It's a delightful time capsule that has the unmistakable tang of authenticity as petty bureaucrats, envious colleagues, aggrieved parents, unions, outmoded attitudes, personality clashes all combine to create humour, truth and absurdity. The authenticity is not surprising as writer J.L. Carr was a Primary School teacher for almost 40 years, including 15 years spent as Head Teacher of Highfields school in Kettering. ( )
  nigeyb | Apr 14, 2013 |
I've read this twice and it has never really delivered for me. I have some loose connections with the education world and thought it was quite insightful. I think Mr Harpole was out of his depth and doesn't seem to have picked up the experience he would need. It's written by an ex teacher and I hope it's an exaggeration. Alas I think it may not be.
The book has comedic moments but really these are not up to the mark. ( )
1 vote wrichard | Dec 8, 2010 |
Professor Alison Wolf, specialist in the relationship between education and the labour market, has chosen to discuss J L Carr’s The Harpole Report , on FiveBooks (http://five-books.com) as one of the top five on her subject - Education and Society, saying that:

“…This is a very funny satirical novel, very short, that captures what is eternal about a state-funded school system and a time that seems almost innocent in the degree to which schools were left alone to do what they were doing. The Harpole Report is brilliant on back-covering at every level, on how to write effective memos to the local authority..…”.

The full interview is available here: http://thebrowser.com/books/interviews/alison-wolf ( )
  FiveBooks | Feb 24, 2010 |
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Having been commissioned to make this independent report on what happened to Mr G Harpole, I should like it immediately made clear that it was Harpole himself who asked that I -- as an older, more experienced headmaster -- should comment on this last term which ended his career.
"Behold! A CHILD, Mr Tusker!" I cried ...
[message from the school caretaker to headmaster] "That Mrs Foxberrow is messing up the furniture being the door and doorpost used for pulling out nibs."

[from Headmaster's journal:]

Visited Miss Foxberrow's classroom to give her the patent pen-nib extractor left behind for demonstration by a publisher's representative. ... she replied airily, "Since I read a piece in last week's "Times Ed.", we don't use pens; they cripple young children's conceptual flow."
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George Harpole as Acting Headmaster and Emma Foxberrow as an untrained supply teacher in a term at Tampling St Nicholas school.
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