Chris Shute 1941-2012

 It is with deep sadness that trustees of CPE-PEN record the passing of our dear friend and colleague Chris Shute on the 9th December 2012. Over recent years Chris struggled with a range of health issues and these accelerated rapidly, particularly, over the past twleve months. Chris was  a giant of a man, a consumate writer and thinker on all matters, not just educational. His insight will be a huge loss to those prepared to stand up and be educational heretics.

Chris was born in 1941 and brought up in South London. He went to Raynes Park County Grammar School, and then to the College of St. Mark and St. John. He started teaching at the Coopers’ Company School in Bow, where he taught French. He recalled ‘I was a pretty ordinary schoolmaster at the time, keeping order with a cane (though I abandoned that barbarism fairly soon, when I discovered the lads were making a book on which one I would beat first….) and setting great store by conformity and rigour.’

After that Chris taught in a variety of schools, in London and the Midlands, discovering in the process that grammar school, teaching was not the only kind there was. After 25 years of crowd control and oral French his health gave out and he retired.

Convinced that there was more to education than what he’d seen in school, and that schooling did more harm than good, especially to the non-academic majority of pupils, Chris got involved with home education. He wrote a lot about the vision which was rapidly becoming clear to him, of an education which recognised and respected the uniqueness of the learner. Although technically retired Chris participated in the successful home education of a number of young people.

Chris was Copy Editor of the PEN Journal and trustee of CPE-PEN. He was a regular contributor to Education Now News and Review along with the PEN Journal and this blog. Chris was author of Compulsory Schooling Disease, in addition to books on Alice Miller, Edmond Holmes and Bertrand Russell. His last work was Joy Baker: trailblazer for home-based education and personalised learning. (see Educational Heretics Press for details of all these titles ).

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