free schools

A very English mess

Nice try, Nicky. Despite official efforts to bury the bad news of the  government’s major volte face on forced academisation under rolling election coverage, Morgan’s climbdown late last week has been widely publicised and celebrated by what had turned into a formidable array of opponents stretching right across the political spectrum.
In the end, Morgan dared not defy a handful of powerful Tory backbenchers or shire leaders – according to one, the government had simply ‘gone bonkers’ –

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Radio 4’s Two Rooms shows how Labour is getting it right

Last night I took part in BBC Radio 4’s soft focus pre-election programme Two Rooms, along with Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator ( which now, rather amusingly, calls itself ‘ the oldest continuously published magazine..’) The basic premise of the programme is that two groups of people – one broadly optimistic about their lives , one much less so – sit in two separate rooms debating the same issues. You could call it the Two Nations –

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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,

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Gove’s departure – and what might follow

Below, my piece in today’s Guardian Comment page on the sudden demotion of Michael Gove.
One could hear the gasps echoing around the political world yesterday morning. Gove demoted to the whips’ office? Unthinkable.
Or was it? For experienced Gove watchers, there were a few signs in the air. At last month’s Wellington College festival of education, I sat with more than 1,000 people in a marquee waiting for the secretary of state. This was the minister’s natural habitus,

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Why the Goves need a little history lesson

Below, my column in Education Guardian today.
A few weeks ago this newspaper published a piece by Sarah Vine, Daily Mail columnist and wife of the education secretary, Micheal Gove, explaining why they had decided to send their daughter to a London state school.
It was a funny and lively article, and I agreed with just about every word. I was particularly drawn to Vine’s argument about the importance of educating students with very different interests and talents alongside one another,

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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.

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