What Should We Tell Our Daughters? Autumn events….

Below, details of some of the events I have been – or will be – taking part in over the autumn, as part of publication of ‘What Should We Tell Our Daughters?’ ( Unless otherwise stated, this will usually be the title of the session…)
Please come along – and join the discussion…
Friday 23rd August
6.30pm Greenbelt Festival
Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire
Monday 9th September
‘Finding a public voice’ Key Note Speech at Induction Day: Camden School for Girls,

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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.

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Is sixteen too young to vote?

Since my younger daughter, who is just 16, started A-level politics this autumn, every evening meal has been dominated by a spirited discussion on subjects as various as responsible capitalism (do I really believe in such a foolish, contradictory thing?) to the merits, or otherwise, of an unwritten constitution.

Unsurprising, then, that yesterday morning, over breakfast, we were intently discussing the issue of lowering the voting age, following the decision to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

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How to for-give……

Below a recent review of a remarkable book by a remarkable woman, that appeared in the Guardian:
If You Sit Very Still by Marian Partington

Some years ago, while making a Radio 4 series on forgiveness in private and public life, I interviewed an apple-cheeked woman of impeccable middle-class stock. Everyone who trooped through the studio had a gripping story of betrayal or violence to recount, yet, all these years later, it is Marian Partington’s authenticity and intensity that I most vividly recall.

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The question of private schools

Last month I attended a fascinating discussion about the Finnish school system by Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons, an account of how Finland created one of the most successful school systems in the world. In this brief extract from Pasi’s talk, he explains how, in order to create a high quality universal system, the Finns had, first, to abolish private and selective education, which created an unacceptable gap in achievement. This then prompted me to ask a question………

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A few thoughts on the conflict between happiness and achievement….

Over the past couple of weeks i Have been reading and listening to some of the new Happiness Gurus. Last weekend The Guardian gave away Happier, a slim, aggressively yellow book by Tal Ben-Shahar ; this morning, I watched a TEDX speech on line given by an American psychologist, Shawn Anchor, who really should be – is, already – a stand up comedian, on the same subject.
What strikes me, increasingly,

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She blames the media. And I think she’s right

As a new drama series called Pan Am – a mile high version of Mad Men by the sounds of it – prepares to hit our screens, a brilliant piece by Tanya Gold today on the appalling way in which discussion of womens lives, and feminism, is framed by the press and most broadcasters in this country. The situation is pretty similar in terms of other issues with any radical tinge whatsoever, including trades unionism,

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Richmond blues

Somehow, I think my appearance at the Richmond Literary Festival on November 25th is going to be my trickiest talk yet! A couple of weeks ago I did a long interview with Richmond magazine’s Samantha Laurie which is published this month here. The interview itself, and various follow up e-mail discussions, waas a veritable clash of competing ideas. From these, I learned a great deal more about the educational landscape of this area of London and the powerful interests behind its fragmented school solutions.

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