About Alan Kerr


My home is in Somerset and I feel privileged to live in such a wonderful part of the country. I set up Quercus Publications many years ago in order originally to self-publish the children's poetry anthologies I compiled for primary schools. Some biographical information taken from Forever Learning is set out below.


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A bit of autobiography


(taken from Ps 10-12 of Forever Learning)



    At secondary school I was interested in most of the subjects I studied. I remember the masters who taught me and I can picture them all now … I am grateful to my teachers and they would be pleased to know I have managed to retain some of the knowledge they taught me. Unfortunately I am very conscious that equally I have managed to forget great swathes of it.

    I switched from being a pupil to being a teacher when I was eighteen and had some time to fill before going on to university. As an unqualified, temporary teacher in the West Midlands I helped out in two primary schools.  Four years later, having acquired a degree in history and a postgraduate certificate in education, I took up my first post as a qualified practitioner. For many years I taught in a number of primary schools working with great pupils and great colleagues. Twenty years were spent at one school in Somerset and I still regularly meet up with members of staff from those days. I feel privileged to have had such an enjoyable, fulfilling and fascinating job. Looking back I can honestly say that not all my teaching was wonderful, and some of it was abysmal, but I am hopeful that, on the whole, my pupils did plenty of learning. 

    My involvement with education has extended beyond the primary classroom. For modest remuneration I have given tuition to primary and secondary-aged pupils on a one-to-one basis which I regard as the most effective teaching I have done.4 I have trained teaching assistants at my local college which enabled me to experience the delivery of vocational education. It also enabled me to observe a variety of classroom situations in primary, secondary and two special schools. On a voluntary basis I have taught immigrant children and was once a tutor with the College of the Sea. For many years I was a school governor which gave me an insight into the administrative and financial aspects of running a school.

    I have been interested in educational ideas since I trained for my postgraduate teaching certificate. My interest led me to take an advanced course in education at a nearby university and, moreover, it has led me to keep a close eye on educational developments. Not content with reading about these I have participated in government consultations and sent off comments to various people at various times.

    As well as making comments directly to decision-makers and others I have written some letters and articles in newspapers, a book about the Plowden movement and a web journal which ran to 120 editions. I know my thoughts about education have not been read by huge numbers of people but I hope those who did read them found them stimulating.

    I have compiled and published a set of poetry anthologies for use in primary schools, a version of The Pied Piper of Hamelin and a poetry pack to accompany the National Literacy Strategy. More recently I have written a book about a local feature of the landscape, a hill called Brent Knoll that rises up from the nearby levels. I like to think my assorted publications have made a small contribution to education in their different ways. …