Emperor of Education has no Clothes, The


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112 in stock


By John Cosgrove

ISBN: 978-1-84747-075-1
Published: 2007
Pages: 254
Key Themes: fiction, education, mania, humour, mental illness

Dr Cosgroves book is one that you will want to share with others. This is an enjoyable, funny, satirical novel with a serious social commentary. Many of the characters and situations are instantly recognisable from my forty years of educational experience but it carries a message wider than the context of education. Beneath the antics of the seemingly mad Dr Erfert is the questions it raises about the awareness of mental health issues within schools and other areas of society. – PF Lupton BA, Dip.RE., Retired teacher.


This book is meant to be a satirical novel based on the authors forty years of experience in teacher training and inspection. Its fundamental principle is that much of what goes on in education is so bizarre as to be like the old story of the emperors new clothes. There is an elaborate game played by two sets of players. Some genuinely believe in the absurdities and some see through them but it is not in their interest to break rank. So long as everyone plays by the rules of this silly game the emperor has clothes.

But when one young Yorkshireman of sturdy common sense tries to make people believe that much of what goes on is nonsense he comes up against both sets of protagonists. The novel is partly a story of how he is defeated by the system and ultimately has to accept and embrace it. Many of the things John Cosgrove recounts in this novel have actually happened but they are wrapped around the bizarre antics of a mad principal. The serious question on which the reader must decide for him or herself is whether Dr Erfert is mad or whether the madness lies in the society that tolerates and promotes him and other so called educational experts. This is an interesting and thought provoking novel which raises questions for the whole of society.

About the Author

Dr John Cosgrove, BA, MA, MEd, PhD, DASE, PGCE, CELTA has forty years experience of the education system working in a variety of fields from schools to universities. He has been involved with teacher training for over thirty years and has held senior positions in the university sector including that of Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Reading University. He has been the chief external examiner at Reading University for teacher-training courses. He has been on the Rochdale Education Committee and its successors for over 20 years and has held the chairmanship or vice chairmanship of four governing bodies as well as of many university level committees. He is particularly well known for his contribution to Catholic education mainly in the Salford Diocese and was once invited to be an occasional historical consultant to a congregation in Rome. He has taken part in 80 OFSTED inspections specialising in History, Religious Education and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural aspects.
He has written academic theses and has had a few articles accepted by newspapers Times Educational Supplement or journals The Month but this is his first novel. He has a childrens novel based on the Civil War, almost ready and has ideas for more work on Dr Erferts career as the emperor of education. He also has a plan for a nonfiction academic book on the principles of history teaching for student teachers and for teachers having an OFSTED inspection. He has now retired from full time work.


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