Hope Springs Eternal

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In Hope Springs Eternal, retired headteacher, Alex Wood reflects on the major changes which he witnessed and in which he participated in over four decades at the front-line in Scottish education.   

In Hope Springs Eternal, retired headteacher, Alex Wood reflects on the major changes which he witnessed and in which he participated in over four decades at the front-line in Scottish education.  Alex Wood worked in two comprehensives, each of which serves one of Scotland’s poorest and most disadvantaged communities, as well as in the special educational sector and in a city centre comprehensive.  The book ponders the major reforms, from the introduction of comprehensive education, through the abolition of corporal punishment and the introduction of certification for all, to Curriculum for Excellence.  It analyses the connections between a school and its community, it considers the impact of industrial disputes on our schools and the changing nature of the teaching profession and it asks key questions about educational leadership, both in schools and in the wider institutions which impact directly on schools.  It explores the concepts of inclusion and social justice in education and argues that education and teaching are never morally neutral.  Finally, it poses some hard questions to the systems managers in today’s educational world and suggests that the new educational managerialism operates at the expense of high quality schools and effective learning for all students.

About the Author

Alex Wood was born in 1950, and spent his early years in Brechin, Girvan and Paisley in Scotland

He is a retired headteacher who, since retirement works as an Associate at the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration at Edinburgh University’s Moray House School of Education and as Secretary for the Scottish Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society.  

He is a graduate in English and Education of the New University of Ulster and later completed Master’s degrees in Scottish Studies and in Education at Stirling University.

He trained as a teacher at Moray House.  He taught English at Craigroyston High School in Edinburgh, worked in community education for two years, and then returned to Craigroyston as a Learning Support teacher, latterly as Principal Teacher.  He was Head of Centre at Millburn, the West Lothian Youth Strategy Centre in Bathgate before returning to work in Edinburgh as headteacher at Kaimes Special School.  After serving as Special Schools and Social Inclusion Manager for Edinburgh Education Department he was appointed, in 2000 as headteacher at Wester Hailes Education Centre.  He was seconded to act as head-teacher at Tynecastle High School but returned to Wester Hailes to complete his full-time professional career in 2011.

Throughout his life he has had an active interest in politics and was twice a parliamentary candidate and for seven years a local councillor on Edinburgh District Council.

He is married with two grown-up daughters and has lived in Linlithgow for over 20 years.

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