Schools of Fish by Alan Sampson is the winner of the 2015 Finch Memoir Prize
‘Every Child Needs A Champion’
At the beginning of Schools of Fish, Alan Sampson is very much a man bent on success. As a very strict high school principal he was renowned for transforming weak schools into centres of academic and sporting excellence. But the long hours took their toll on his home life. As his marriage ended and his family was torn apart, he was given charge of a troubled city high school on a downward spiral; to make matters worse, in this school was one of the most troublesome students he had ever come across … his own son, Greg. As Alan strives to find a way to tame his son’s behavioural problems at school and at home, he and Greg battle each other as well as the ingrained obstacles in the education system. Only when they both find the courage to step outside the rules do they find their way through to each other … and realise that the best education in life can often be found outside the school system.
Alan Sampson, a Queensland Public School Executive Principal says, ‘I wrote my story to show how life’s lessons should shape our education system. The individual should shape the system rather than the reverse. Every child needs a champion.’
Natasha Mitchell interviews Alan Sampson on Life Matters, Radio National