"As the telephone interrupts us for the umpteenth time, Gerry German says he had planned to keep busy in old age, but not like this. Luckily, after years of ill health, he has a fair spring in his step for a man of 82. No time to slow down, he says, laughing as the phone goes again. A cluttered boxroom in east London - but for him, the eye of the storm.
"One wonders how such an amiable, softly spoken figure, a white man with a ready smile and a soft Welsh lilt, can excite such strong emotions, but the electricity is generated by the work. Schools - reeling, they say, from disruptive pupils - take the nuclear option and jettison their "trouble- makers" with permanant exclusions. In step German and the Communities Empowerment Network to champion those discarded pupils against the system and, in quite a few cases, get them back in. He's king of the appeals. It doesn't make him popular."