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This report is taken from PN Review 90, Volume 19 Number 4, March - April 1993.

The School's Poetry Association James Sale
As the SPA approaches its tenth year of operation, it is effectively born again. The crusading spirit and energy of the first six years produced a fine crop of useful magazines and poetry resources for schools and teachers. At its peak in 1987, membership stood at nearly 2,000 schools and institutions. A large part of this success was due to the way the SPA was presented and in fact ran: it reached out, it sought participation and was ever ready to accommodate the views and ideas of its members. In large part, this was because the management team were young and committed, and the leadership of David Orme inspiring.

Two key factors eroded this situation. First, the sheer scale of the operation with 2,000 members became more than the management team could cope with whilst simultaneously having full-time teaching jobs - the sheer weight of administration, and the fact that David Orme himself became an unacknowledged legislator for the country: just about any teacher anywhere within the UK and beyond would telephone him at any time of the night or day for advice on how to deliver a lesson! If anything, this situation exposed the desperate need and the justification for the SPA in the first place, but without more resources - primarily of money to release full-time workers within the organization - the need could never be met satisfactorily. And of course, once the SPA had reached this size, decisions regarding its deployment of resources, as well as ...


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