The Things that Matter Most

A moving and compelling novel about teachers and their students by the acclaimed author of the bestselling books Teacher and Dear Parents.

The staff of St Margaret’s Primary School are hanging by a thread. There’s serious litigation pending, the school is due for registration and a powerful parent named Janet Bellevue has a lot to say about everything. As teachers they’re trying to remain professional, as people they’re unravelling fast.

Thank goodness for kids like Lionel Merrick. Lionel is the student who steals your heart and makes the whole teaching gig worthwhile: he’s cheerful, likeable, helpful – and devoted to his little sister Lacey. But Lionel has a secret of his own. As his future slides from vulnerable to dangerous, will someone from St Margaret’s realise before it’s too late?

 While their working demands increase and secrets threaten to be exposed, each staff member struggles to recall the things that matter most.

“This is gut-wrenching and important real-world stuff inside a rattling story that feels like it was lived before it was written…As a parent, it was a deeply welcome insight into the lives of those noble, flawed, terrified, brave and brilliant individuals who have chosen to devote their evidently harrowing and wondrous working lives to the education of the things that matter most to me, my kids.”

– Trent Dalton, best-selling author of Boy Swallows Universe