School Wars

Upcoming debates – part 1

I will be taking part in a few debates and discussions over the next few months.
First up – see below…..
MANCHESTER DEBATING UNION
This House Would Reintroduce Grammar Schools
February 5 @ 5:00 pm / 6:30 pm
This House Would Reintroduce Grammar Schools
Grammar schools, dominant in the UK until the 1960s, ran under a system of selective education. At age 11 all school students would be given a general intelligence exam. If a student passed they would gain entrance to a more academically based grammar school.

Read More

Some autumn events

IN CONVERSATION WITH OWEN JONES
September 29th, 7 pm. I will be in conversation with Owen Jones about his new book The Establishment: And how they get away with it
Location: Sutton House, 2-4 Homerton High Street, Hackney, London E9 6JQ
The event is put on by Pages bookshop in Hackney. Go to their events page to book tickets for this event.
HENLEY LITERARY FESTIVAL
Feminist writer and activist Laura Bates and I: in conversation with Monisha Rajesh,

Read More

Is Britain still too elitist?

Below, my contribution to a recent discussion in Prospect, reflecting on the publication of a recent report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.
The big question: Social mobility
Is Britain still too elitist?
A new report states that people educated at Oxbridge have created a “closed shop at the top”
Each week, Prospect asks a range of experts, as well as our readers, to come up with answers to the questions defining the political agenda.

Read More

The Ghost Road

Below, my latest piece in Guardian Comment, on education’s growing culture of overwork, and how it is affecting children and parents.
Do you know a ghost child? Are you possibly raising one? A report this week by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) pinpoints a worrying new phenomenon – the institutionalised infant, a whey-faced creature, stuck in school for 10 hours a day, the child of commuting parents possibly, wandering from playground to desk to after-school club without real purpose,

Read More

School Wars: new edition published…

If you didn’t catch it the first time, you might be interested now?
School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education
The story of the struggle for Britain’s schools, and a passionate call for education as a public good.
School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain’s education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments.

Read More

School Wars – the road trip.

Over the last eight months, I have been taking the arguments in my book School Wars around the country, talking to parents, teachers, heads in maintained schools: local authority leaders; private, grammar, academy and faith school heads and staff; and many students. I have learned an enormous amount from these discussions about the strengths and divides of our current system and the impact that Coalition policy is having on our schools.
Last week the New Statesman published my edited diary style account of some of these discussions.

Read More

School Wars: debate hosted by the National Education Trust


Upcoming event
‘Government education reforms will lead to a lack of accountability and greater inequality’, Melissa Benn will say at the forthcoming ‘School Wars’ debate.
The debate takes place in Islington on Thursday 9 February and is being organised by the National Education Trust, the leading education charity. It will be led by Melissa Benn, author of ‘School Wars’, with responses from Sally Coates, Principal of Burlington Danes Academy and Roy Blatchford, Founding Director of the National Education Trust.

Read More

Speak up at the back now Carla!

I love the look of this website and the interesting people they interview and talk about. I was interviewed by them over a series of weeks – via e-mail – which has now appeared. I wasn’t sure if it would work but it really does – in part, because with each question addressed separately, both question and answer has a freshness and energy to it that you don’t always get in traditional exchanges,

Read More