The year is 1969 and Jack Sheffield is a young teacher in need of a job. In a room full of twenty-nine other newly qualified teachers, he’s overjoyed when he’s appointed to Heather View Primary. Jack is excited to start his first year there and to begin shaping young minds in a beautiful new location on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
But Heather View isn’t as idyllic as it first sounds. In fact, it looks more like a prison than a primary school. With less than adequate funding and a headteacher who doesn’t seem to care, it’s no easy task to give the kids the education they deserve. But Jack’s determined to do just that.
Full of warmth and good humour Back to School is like taking a nostalgic walk through the past to a simpler time…
Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of Back to School and it’s particularly apt as I’m writing this as a teacher in the middle of our back to school after the pandemic planning this morning. It’s wonderful to be writing about how important a job teaching is when you feel like the profession has taken a bit of a pounding over recent months and this fantastic read will go a long way towards reminding people how big a difference an impassioned and dedicated teacher can make.
I absolutely loved this book. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you into its community and make you feel part of Jack’s world as he battles on behalf of the community he has become a part of.
Jack was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. No doubt this is due to our writer having spent a fair bit of time himself in school, and it really shows. When the community that he finds himself belonging to needs him, it’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you would find the strength to speak up on behalf of the disenfranchised if you felt that decisions were being made that would adversely affect them The way that cost-cutting and decision making without a true sense of understanding its impact will affect his students is more than Jack can tolerate and it’s easy to see why taking a stand is so much more to Jack than a political issue – he’s trying to show that some things are more important than saving money and that if we don’t speak up for what’s important, then maybe we don’t deserve to have people like Jack sticking up for what he believes in – even if his headmaster might not agree.
Jack’s blossoming relationship with the community he finds himself in is one of the best things about this book and I found the setting and the characters who lived there one of the most compelling parts of this heartwarming book. You really feel like these are real people, and I suspect many of them ‘might’ be too… and it is easy to see why Jack starts to feel passionately that community and belonging are worth defending. Jack is determined to take this chance to show that his voice might just be able to make a difference and we definitely take his side as he tries to make a difference in any way he can for his community of Heather View.
Jack Sheffield wrote this book from the heart, and it shows. It presents a picture of a community in need of a champion and how Jack finds himself on the route to becoming that figure, whether he believes he’s capable of it at all times or not – and let’s face it, in terms of our schools, never have these places been more in need of defending! I’m so happy to be on the tour at this time when we are right amid the ‘back to school’ planning ourselves to be able to read Jack’s story and be reminded of just what a difference a dedicated teacher can make, with a good few laughs of wry recognition along the way. Here is the link to buy yourself a copy and enjoy this pitch-perfect recreation of a very unique period in jack’s life and one that we can all connect with.
Read what other people have loved about Back To School below
Praisefor Jack Sheffield
‘Wry observation and heartwarming humour in equal measure’ Alan Titchmarsh
‘Overflowing with amusing anecdotes’ Daily Express
‘Amusing adventures at the North Yorkshire village school’ Choice
‘Jack Sheffield’s in a class of his own’ York Press
Back to school is a wonderful read and you’ll be totally rooting for Jack as you read. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour – I certainly found this a good time to be reminded of the importance and impact of a great teacher.
Writer On the Shelf
Jack Sheffield grew up in the tough environment of Gipton Estate, in North East Leeds. After a job as a ‘pitch boy’, repairing roofs, he became a Corona Pop Man before going to St John’s College, York, and training to be a teacher.
In the late 70s and 80s, he was a headteacher of two schools in North Yorkshire before becoming Senior Lecturer in primary education at Bretton Hall near Wakefield. It was at this time he began to record his many amusing stories of village life.
In 2017 Jack was awarded the honorary title of Cultural Fellow of York St John University.
He lives with his wife in Buckinghamshire.
Visit his website at http://www.jacksheffield.com.