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Head Trauma

Extent: 304 pages

Size: 216x135mm

Publication Date:

Price: £16.99

ISBN: 9781789293692

Categories: Autobiography & Memoir

About the Book

Welcome to the world of teaching: polyester suits, well-polished shoes, endless marking and a stream of embarrassing moments at the coalface of the classroom.

Follow Nick Smith as he charts his journey from trainee teacher to inspiring head. Now, thirty years on, Nick has seen – and heard – it all, and in this book, he shares extraordinary stories from his time in the education system. Follow Nick from his early trainee years, as he faces a daily battle to make it home without having his classroom set on fire (yes, really) and watch as he climbs the greasy pole to headship, navigating everything from Ofsted visits to mission statements, parents’ evenings and much more.

At turns heart-breaking and hilarious, Head Trauma is a rousing call to arms for parents, teachers and pupils alike. Above all else, this is the story of the students that kept Nick returning to the school gates every morning: the brave, the bolshie and the downright determined kids who helped shape him into the headteacher he went on to become.

‘As I began my teacher training, little did I know of what awaited me. Almost three decades and seven schools later, I am head of a state secondary school. On the wall in my office is a children’s toy, a plastic monster’s head which, if pressed, emits a pre-recorded message: ‘It beggars belief!’. I press the monster whenever I, pupils, parents, staff, or the Department for Education do something that is notable, ludicrous, odd, bewildering or unreasonable. It is pressed so often that I am forever having to replace the batteries.’

About the Author

Nick Smith worked as a junior doctor for eighteen months before being accepted onto a PGCE in Science at a teacher training college in London. He spent six months as a penguin keeper at London Zoo while waiting for the course to start. He has taught at four comprehensives, one FE college and a grammar school before he landed his headship at Torquay Girls’ Grammar School in 2007, where he remained until his retirement in 2021. During his tenure he has taken the school from Ofsted rating Good to Outstanding and to be consistently one of the top-achieving state schools nationally. The school has recently won a number of awards including the 2019 Sunday Times South West State School of the Year and the UK 2020 Parliament School of the Year.

Since retiring he has contributed to the TES. He is obsessed with Dartmoor National Park and is one of the few people to have visited all 365 of its tors and rocks.