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Book of the week: How to get the most out of life in the city

Managing Urban Schools: leading from the front By Jim Donnelly Kogan Page pound;19.99

Teaching is beset, Jim Donnelly says, by people who think they know how to do the job better than those who actually do it, often in tough circumstances. How true that is.

It is certainly not a comment that applies to Jim himself, however. Thirty years of teaching - 10 of them as head of a demanding school in Liverpool - have given him real insight into the challenges that face the urban school, and a shrewd and streetwise understanding of how they are best surmounted. He is well worth listening to.

The thrust of his argument is that we've got our priorities wrong. Whatever projects like Excellence in Cities may achieve, the overall effect of diversity and choice and league tables and the rest of the paraphernalia of a market- driven schooling system is to strengthen confident suburban schools at the expense of their struggling downtown neighbours. The resources that matter - the best parental support, the best teachers, the best heads - are unfairly shared.

Read the full review in this week's TES Friday magazine

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