Culture vulture

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Mark Halliday is moved by Don McCullin's Zambian photography

Best book ever

My youngest son, aged four, has just been diagnosed with autism, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon captures the authentic voice of an autistic teenager.

Best film ever

I've always been intrigued by the country house as a setting. The Remains of the Day (Merchant Ivory 1993), in which a butler played by Anthony Hopkins is so restrained by his duties, is the most memorable.

Best inspiration

An exhibition of Don McCullin's photographs (pictured) at the Green Belt Arts Festival in Cheltenham last year. He followed Christian Aid workers around Zambia and documented the lives of people struggling with Aids. He captures resilience and a sense of hope as well as sadness.

Looking forward to

This year's Green Belt festival in August. We go every year. It's family-oriented and there are always good performances. I've seen Courtney Pine there and I remember a series of very short orchestral pieces in 2004 played in the open air by the classical composer Malcolm Lindsay. They were accessible, like a series of short stories.

To share with pupils

My wife and I have moved back to York, where we went to college. We love the city, and especially the Minster, which I use a lot as a resource. I would love to give the pupils a contrast and take them to Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona.

Best resource

The Hypnotiser, a collection of poems by Michael Rosen published in 1988 (Scholastic) which are so poignant. He can be deep at a child's level.

These are poems about his own life and experiences and I use them a lot in teaching: I say, "OK, so that's his story, now tell me yours."

Mark Halliday, a Glaswegian poet, is headteacher of Skelton primary, York.

His collection of poems for children, Teacher on a Horse, was published by Dagger Press last December, price pound;4.99. The title poem won the TES staffroom poetry competition in 2003. Interview by Elaine Williams

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today