Book: In search of my alumni by @PhilCrompton3 via @JohnCattEd

Published by John Catt Education

In Search Of My Alumni













  • A fascinating read about the impact education has (or has not) had individuals within different English towns.
  • Encourages readers of this book to reflect upon the impact being made on previous students, along with the current batch of young people within schools.
  • Identifies strengths and weaknesses within the current educational system - highlighting some areas where a greater focus should be given.
  • Offers suggestions on some of the basic skills that students should leave school with - ones that can have a beneficial impact on lives.
  • The book offers a profound insight into the impact of education of the current generation of young people.

With policy changes, curriculum changes and societal changes, it is often easy to under-estimate the impact such changes have on the most important group of people involved in the education system – students. 

In his book, Phil Crompton is challenged by two old school friends to question the impression the school system with England has left on a generation of people, embarking on a tour around the country (N-towns, such as Neston, Nuneaton, Newmarket etc.) speaking to people about their experiences, and reflecting on what can be done to move forward and truly improve.

From the conversations initiated within each town, Phil draws key points, highlighting the priorities for those within the area, and observing the impact education had (or had not) on the individuals. Take Hamsa, for instance, in Nuneaton. Although a part of the modern gaming industry, the school education provided barely covers the skills needed within the I.T. sector, with young people teaching themselves at home by playing games, watching online videos and talking through social media channels. 

It can sometimes be disheartening speaking to young people about their educational experiences. Where they once had a fevered joy of reading, the requirements of the GCSE system took the pleasure out of this leisurely suit, they claim, now seeing reading as a chore and a habit that was easy to break out of. On the other hand, there is hope, and some of the messages from this book should remind teachers and school leaders of the value of the individual young people within our schools who have so much to offer – much beyond being data-points. Their futures, their hopes, and their future worlds are central in what schools should be preparing them for, and Phil has captured a fascinating collection of reflections and recollections from young people about the impact of their education. In concluding, Phil raises a great set of questions to trigger a discussion among teaching colleagues, of which a few are presented below

  • How many marks would you give your school education?
  • Did it prepare you for working life?
  • Who was your favourite teacher? Why were they good?
  • What big event sticks in your mind from your school days?

I think compiling this book had a profound impact on Phil. We can easily get caught up with external pressures surrounding the education system (data, inspections, data,  spreadsheets, league tables, data, policy changes, data, data and data), that it is easy to forget the impact on the lives of the young individuals that are present in the classroom – they are not data points, but individual human beings with the potential to positively impact on the world even more than they already have. This book is a great addition to a resource of reflective practices that are becoming more accepted within the profession. Take this book as a starting point to reflect on the practices within your own school, classroom or department and the positive impact that you can make on the lives of young people.

*Price correct at time of publication.

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About @digicoled 446 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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