PJ Goulding, the senior caretaker, records the arrival of the fifth headteacher in four years to a large secondary school. As PJ says, "It is like being in the front row of the Colosseum in Rome watching the gladiators meet their fate".
Just as the new head teacher starts, the local authority dumps five boys in wheelchairs on the school. Their arrival is like throwing petrol on a bonfire.
Everyone has something to lose.
A fictional school is a perfect setting for my story, but the story draws on my contacts with real schools, real people and actual events in schools. The characters in the book are based on those I met over my time working in or around schools. All the events really happened, although not all in one school and I did not witness all of them.
If you don't teach you will wonder how any of the events could have happened and how any of the characters could be real.
Ted's Inspirations for
A View From The Boiler House Door
You know what teachers are like when they get together - the stories start and you believe them even when they are as wild as your own. Why make them up when the truth is stranger than fiction?
Schools are strange places. They are self-contained bubbles with their own laws and ways of doing things.
It takes very little to upset the finely balanced ecosystem that occurs when you stir together the ingredients of teachers, staff, pupils, parental expectations/indifference, buildings that delight/depress and an interfering government that knows little about how schools actually operate.
A new headteacher is the biggest upset that can affect any school - especially when the school fights back.