Upton Park school inspires children’s author

Author Dan Freedman and fan Ibrahim Saeed

Author Dan Freedman and fan Ibrahim Saeed - Credit: Tom Barnes

Fans of children’s author Dan Freedman might recognise a familiar scenario in one of his books after he revealed it was inspired by an Upton Park school.

Answering questions from Forest Gate Community School pupils, he told how his seventh novel, Skills from Brazil, was inspired by a 2011 visit to St Edward’s Catholic Primary.

Dan told how he was inspired to write the prequel to his popular Jamie Johnson series after visiting the Green Street school on the same day as the annual teachers vs pupils football match.

He said: “When I visited St Edwards, the teacher who was showing me around seemed very flustered.

“She explained that it was the year 6 pupils vs teachers match.

“One of the male teachers walked past and said ‘yeah, we smashed them 15-2 last year’.”

Dan explained that after watching the game, a seed was planted in his head.

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He said: “The children were screaming so loudly for the Year 6s and jokingly booing the teachers.

“Later my brain clicked into gear and I thought, what if Jamie was at a school with a match like that, and what if one of the teachers held a grudge?”

The 37-year-old, whose series charts a footballer’s rise from talented schoolboy to England international, didn’t rule out using another Newham school for inspiration, adding: “There were also a couple of great little characters who I could see getting into my novels.”

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