Former Suffolk teacher publishes book about history of education
A former Suffolk teacher has published a book about the history of education in Great Barton.
Sue Spiller, who taught in upper, middle and primary schools in Suffolk for 33 years, including 14 years as headteacher of Great Barton Primary School, has penned Bertuna’s Children: The History of Education in a Suffolk Village.
The Mayor of St Edmundsbury, Cllr Julia Wakelam launched the book on Tuesday at a well-attended party at Great Barton Primary Academy.
She said: “It has been fascinating to read Sue’s book and learn so much about one of the villages closest to Bury St Edmunds. I welcome the book as a major contribution to local history, particularly the lives of ordinary people, not just the wealthy.”
During the last 10 years, Ms Spiller has researched the history of the village school, which was founded by Sir Henry Bunbury, the same man who was given the task of telling Napoleon he was going to be exiled to St Helena.
Her book includes details of the family histories of Mr Bunbury and others associated with the school, as well as the impact of education policies and national events on the school and the recurring problems faced by teachers and other educationalists during the last two centuries.
It embraces the social history of a rural community including the effects of economic depressions and the wartime experiences of its pupils following the disastrous effects of 1914 and 1939 – the First and Second World Wars – and the consequences of these conflicts.
James Farrell, director of Arena Books, a Bury publishing company, said: “This is a most remarkable book and, as a work of scholarship on a specific rural community, is unlikely to be superseded for many years to come.
“Although the book is a history of primary education in a Suffolk, the subject is broadened to cover many aspects of educational impacts on the life of a community. It is because of this that the relevance of the book extends to national rather than merely local or regional interest.”
Bertuna’s Children is available to buy in many bookshops and online.
Ms Spiller will be signing copies of the book in Waterstone’s bookstore, in the Buttermarket, Bury, from 11am until 1pm today.