The Risinghill Research Group (RRG) was formed by a group of former pupils of Risinghill School in Islington, North London led by Lynn Brady and Isabel Sheridan. They were motivated to investigate the full facts and circumstances behind the closure of the controversial comprehensive school and the dismissal of its headteacher Michael Duane within five years of its opening in 1960, despite protests from supportive parents and pupils.
Duane’s progressive, democratic, inclusive and non-authoritarian methods attracted huge amounts of criticism and negative publicity from the political and educational establishment which others have sought to counter.
Inspired by Leila Berg’s 1968 book ‘Risinghill: death of a comprehensive’ the RRG believed there were still questions to be answered and formed an editorial group to write a sequel based on archival research, questionnaire surveys completed by former pupils and staff, and interviews with those closely involved.
The resulting two books were published in 2019, almost 15 years after the Group had been established. Book 1 is entitled ‘Risinghill: the killing of a comprehensive school’ and Book 2 ‘Risinghill: the waste clay’, the latter title referencing the fact the pupils were once described as ‘the waste clay of an experiment’.