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Shakespeare proved yet again his relevance to the modern world with Old Blue Joel Petrie (Class of 1988) using the Bard’s character of Caliban, from The Tempest, as the central metaphor in a book about further education.

Joel first studied The Tempest at Blue Coat and the play remains his favourite piece of literature. Drawing on his knowledge of the play, he has co-edited a book about the further education sector, called Caliban’s Dance,

After leaving Blue Coat with an impressive five A Levels at Grade A, Joel studied English at the University of Edinburgh followed by a Masters at the University of Liverpool.

Joel went on to a career in teaching and management in Further Education and became increasingly interested in scholarship, writing and publication.  

Caliban’s Dance is the third book in a trilogy exploring British further education, co-edited by Joel, to which more than a hundred people including writers, illustrators and dancers have contributed. Working outside the usual format of academic writing, the book creatively explores the challenges and opportunities for further education, a sector frequently overlooked by researchers and policymakers alike.

At School Joel thrived in the humanities subjects and fondly remembers his English teachers, including Mr Gleave and Mr Creighton. He also has great memories of working with Mr Preston on several school shows and pantomimes during the 1980s. But for Joel one teacher, in particular, stands out, Mr Caulfield; “The lessons that possibly had the greatest impact on my politics were with Mr Caulfield. It was only in retrospect that I have realised quite how scholarly his A level teaching was; he had the highest expectations of us, and was teaching at undergraduate if not postgraduate level.”

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