Go Big! – Matthew Burton

Stars: *****

I remember watching Educating Yorkshire with tears in my eyes as Musharaf stood in front of his peers and, despite his stutter, gave a moving speech in the final episode. If you don’t remember back to 2013, it was Mr Burton who researched and came up with the idea that helped Musharaf overcome his stutter. He came across as a really caring, genuine, passionate teacher who truly wanted the best for the children at his school. Now, he has written a book called ‘Go Big!’ to help children transition to secondary school and navigate their new educational lives.

My favourite thing about this book was the friendly, approachable tone it was written in. It is littered with humour (where appropriate) and is definitely accessible to children it’s aimed at. I loved the footnotes throughout which added either extra information or, more usually, a joke! Not only does this give children the information they need, but it is done in a way that they won’t find scary or threatening – they’ll actually really enjoy reading about their next step!

It includes chapters on a range of subjects: getting lost, uniform, bullying, friendships, exams, behaviour…which all give a really clear position on expectations whilst explaining why those expectations are in place for them. Uniform, for example, is explained the benefits and reasons children are expected to wear it at school rather than just telling them ‘wear it because you are told to’. This really helps children see the importance of some of the rules and feel they are being spoken with honestly and in an ‘adult’ way.

It isn’t just the stacks of information which help the children feel prepared; I also really liked the way that it included scenarios the students might find themselves in, with suggestions of how this could be solved (such as friendships and bullying – topics I know my class were particularly worried about this year). By seeing how a situation could be remedied, they are being given tools which will help them in the future.

The use of font and illustrations throughout are another way this book has been made accessible to its readers; it really demonstrates important points and facts they should take away with them. Having always had an interest in transition from Year 6 – 7, I feel I have a fairly good insight into how children might feel during this step on their journey. However, reading this as an adult (now moving into secondary teaching from primary!) it gave a deeper understanding of what life at Secondary is like for the pupils. It really focuses on their real ‘issues’ and worries rather than what adults think they might be.

Mr Burton was brilliant on the Educating Yorkshire , and all that care and passion he embodied on the show is embedded into this book. It is definitely one for your children to read either before, or during Year 7!

Like the sound of this book? Buy it here: https://amzn.to/30CC0IF

Thank you to Bookwagon for my copy!

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