Wednesday, 26 August 2020

If you can read this then THANK A TEACHER

This is something I will be sending to staff in the Milton Keynes Schools I attended with Worktree prior to lock down and the present situation


In 1993 I published a book NOT THE CONCRETE COWS which was a compilation of features I had written in the local press and one or two national magazines, all about the adolescent New City of Milton Keynes. Among these was something on the history of education in MK - IF YOU CAN READ THIS THEN THANK A TEACHER.

On Monday 14th September I am publishing a follow up book - MILTON DREAMS THE CITY THAT NEVER WAS. Here I take my readers on a kaleidoscope journey through present-day Milton Keynes and try to fire up a dream that we will indeed be granted a city charter to truly become The City of Milton Keynes. Within this book there is a chapter entitled EDUCATION A GIFT FOR LIFE.

A while ago we were all encouraged to clap for our NHS. I am not going to say that we should start clapping for our teachers, the entire Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on full volume could not make enough sound to applaud our schools !

Schools go back on Wednesday 2nd September. Headteachers and their staff must be dizzy beyond measure reacting to the shambolic twists and turns of our government ! First thing on Wednesday (6am to 8am) I am dedicating my radio show to our amazing schools. I have a mixture of fun and moving music - from Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall to a silly six times table song. I plan to talk about some special moments I had with Worktree in our amazing, wonderful schools.

There was the young man at OAKGROVE SCHOOL who asked me if I had ever heard of The Bee Gees as he was a great fan of their music. Have I ever heard of The Bee Gees ? I will be playing a track for him on Wednesday.

Another student at OAKGROVE asked me what my favourite song was. Without hesitation I replied Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel. Immediately he started quoting its powerful words. That was released in 1970, FIFTY years before we were talking.

In OUSEDALE SCHOOL - Olney a lovely lady was telling me how she had seen the homeless rough-sleepers in Central Milton Keynes. That coming Saturday she and some of her friends were going to The Centre MK to buy blankets which they would then give to the homeless. It brought tears to my eyes and there are tears in my eyes now as I write this.

On another occasion I said to a group of lads that I had never spoken to a homeless rough-sleeper who was not kind, polite and friendly towards me. One replied saying that unlike you and me a rough-sleeper does not need to put up a wall of pretence as he speaks, he has nothing in life so naturally the real person comes out when he speaks. How profound.

Do any of you remember THE RADCLIFFE ROLLERS ?  The amazing steel band from Radcliffe School in Wolverton ? In the 1980's they were a Milton Keynes musical sensation. How the band never achieved national and international fame I never will know.  I attended a Worktree session at RADCLIFFE SCHOOL which was run by the sixth form. What an amazing bunch of young people !  

Now here is something extra special. I sent an e-mail to Paula, the Head of Radcliffe, applauding her sixth form. That was on a Friday evening. She replied first thing on Saturday morning. Please do not tell me that teachers work 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday !

When I made my first Worktree visit to a school I thought it was my job to inspire the teenagers. I was wrong !  At every session in every school they inspired me. I can not wait for the pandemic to be over and to return to Worktree and our schools. 

On Wednesday 2nd September I want the music I play on my radio show to inspire  people to applaud our amazing, incredible, fantastic schools.

Within my new book MILTON DREAMS THE CITY THAT NEVER WAS there is a big chapter telling of the history of education in Milton Keynes, it goes way back to the thirteenth century. There is also a chapter speaking of life in Milton Keynes during the war years. This is more than Bletchley Park, the work done by the schools of the day was an inspiration to all. I will be playing music and telling my listeners about these two chapters on Tuesday 15th September, the day after publication.

Ahead of publication you can find out more at

Not The Concrete Cows - published in 1993
Milton Dreams The City That Never Was - published in 2020

I want to write a trilogy, I want to write Milton Keynes The City That Truly Is !  

I want OUR dream to come true. When it does it will be the present generation of teenagers who will make the dream come true. They will make it come true only because they are right now attending our AMAZING - INCREDIBLE - FANTASTIC - INSPIRATIONAL schools.

If you can read this then thank a teacher.


David Ashford - Writing under the pen-name of Max Robinson

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