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Many of my stories are based on my experiences in school, either as a pupil or a teacher. Interestingly, it occurs to me that very few of them have happy endings! I was a desperately unhappy child, and a slightly less unhappy teacher. But they do say 'write about what you know'. Over the years I listened to many, many children 'telling their news'. For some, school is their only safe place, somewhere they believe they will be listened to. But sadly, in the rush to tick boxes and meet targets, what a child says and what a teacher hears are often two very different things. I began The Secret with an image of a child with a big secret, and a teacher whom she idolizes, but who will ultimately let her down. Many children carry secrets with them concerning their home lives, although I hope none of my charges was ever in the situation poor Enid encounters. That came entirely from my imagination!