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In brief

Anti-Discriminatory Practice: a guide for workers in childcare and education (second edition)

By Rosalind Millam, Continuum pound;60 hbk, pound;15.99 pbk

This is a useful introduction to a wide range of physical, cultural and religious differences and practices, with advice on how to meet the possible questions and difficulties they can throw up. A strength is its use of challenging scenarios, in sections headed "A chance to think". These case studies go into just about every area of diversity that a school manager or childcare worker might face.

So there's one that confronts management with a male student on a childcare placement who announces his intention of wearing women's clothing. And another in which a teacher or childcare worker has to organise a music session for a group of children, one of whom is hearing impaired. In every case, the advice given is wise, and as often as not covers an angle you wouldn't have thought of.

The book's primarily aimed at people studying for vocational qualifications in early years and childcare. Many of the issues it covers are pertinent to all who work with children in or out of school, and it will usefully find a home on the head or manager's bookshelf, available to staff at all levels.

Mastering Employee Development

By Richard Pettinger, Palgrave pound;13.99

Business-based governors often think that schools don't spend enough on staff training. The picture is improving, but when you read in this book that Nissan spends pound;6,500 a year per UK employee, you can see their point.

Pettinger isn't writing specifically about education, but he does have trenchant points to make about inspection systems such as Ofsted: "In practice, the approach is often punitive, adversarial and confrontational.

The staff involved are therefore required to work towards target and attainment rather than developing professional and expert practice."

A good read, with lots of fascinating examples and general lessons to be learned about professional development.

A Quiet Woman's War

By William Etherington, Mousehold Press pound;15.95 (

The "quiet woman" is Elsie Bell, who trained as a teacher in Norwich in 1913, taught in London, and became a housewife in Koblenz after marrying a Belgian. During the war, she was one of the heroic civilians who helped Allied airmen to escape back to England. Captured and widowed, she ended the war in Mauthausen concentration camp. She died in 1969.

The manuscript that tells her own story of the war years was found among the papers of Keswick Hall college of education after it was taken over by the University of East Anglia. William Etherington, the college's last principal, who unearthed the account, has incorporated it into this broader view of one of the many seemingly ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives.

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