Educate Yourself: a short reading list

The following list of books is recommended to any teachers wishing to learn more about the context of recent developments in British schools. The years of publication  are from my own copies.

It is very limited indeed and I  would like more suggestions please.


Children, their World, their Education: Final Recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review (2010) – Robin Alexander (Ed.)

The Failure of Corporate School Reform (2012) – Kenneth J Saltman

Education in a Post-Welfare Society (2009)- Sally Tomlinson

The School Report: Why Britain’s Schools Are Failing (2000) – Nick Davies

A History of Western Education – Volume III: The Modern West, Europe and the New World (1981)  – James Bowen


Radical Education and the Common School: A Democratic Alternative (2011) – Michael Fielding and Peter Moss

Finnish Lessons: what can the world learn from educational change in Finland? (2011) – Pasi Sahlberg

Schooling in Western Europe – The New Order and its Adversaries (2007) VARIOUS

The Global Assault on Teaching, Teachers and their Unions  (2008) Edited by Mary Compton & Lois Weiner

Hidden Privatisation in Public Education (2007) – Stephen J. Ball & Deborah Youdell

The following books provide alternative visions of what education means. They are radical and inspiring and are usually based on the idea that current modes of education stifle creativity and encourage conformity of thought.


How Children Fail (1965) and How Children Learn (1967) – John Holt

The Secret of Childhood (1968) – Maria Montessori

The Educational Innovators – Volume II: Progressive Schools 1881 – 1967 (1968) – Stewart W.A.C.

Summerhill (1968) – A.S. Neill

Free School: The White Lion Experience (1989) – Nigel Wright

The Terrace: An Educational Experiment in a State School (1995) – Michael Duane

Doing It Their Way: Home-Based Education & Autonomous Learning (2002) – Jan Fortune-Wood

The Lives of Children: The Story of the First Street School (1999; introduction by John Holt) – George Dennison

Everywhere and All the Time: A New Deschooling Reader (2008) – Matt Hern (Ed.)

Real Education: Varieties of Freedom (1998) – David Gribble

Lifelines ( 2004) – David Gribble

Worlds Apart (2006) – David Gribble


Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1996) – Paulo Freire

What’s the Point of School? (2008) – Guy Claxton

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (2009) – John Taylor Gatto

2 comments on “Educate Yourself: a short reading list

  1. Keeks says:

    Hi there!
    Thanks for your words today at the talk at the book fair.

    I truly believe that the emotional development of the child is crucial in his/her path of learning.
    I’ll list a few people that are interesting to me, I hope you find some of these interesting to add to your alternative education section:
    Peter Gray, Alfie Kohn, Dr. Haim Ginott, Dr. John Gottman, Yaacov Hecht.
    Take care 🙂

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