Education campaigning

I am strongly committed to state education and the movement for comprehensive reform and have written widely on this and related issues. I also speak frequently at meetings and conferences. In early 2006, Fiona Millar and I wrote a pamphlet ‘ A Comprehensive Future: quality and equality for all our children’ published by Compass.

A Comprehensive Future (Download)

In 2011, I published ‘School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education’, a history of the struggle for comprehensive reform and an analysis of how it continues to be relevant in today’s landscape.

I am currently working on an e-book, provisionally entitled’ Seven further Myths of Modern Education.’

This will be published by the Local Schools Network, a web based campaigning organisation which I co-founded with fellow campaigners Fiona Millar, Henry Stewart and Francis Gilbert.

I am a member of the steering group of Comprehensive Future. Our aim is to end selection in the UK, which we believe undermines the chances of all children to the best education possible.

I am the parent of two daughters, both of whom went to their wonderful local school Queens Park Community School. While there, I set up a project called The Write Stuff. Our aim was to bring in some of the best writers, poets, journalists and editors to speak to and run workshops for QPCS students. I had this idea after observing that students at far better resourced schools take these kinds of privileges for granted. I realised that if we wanted this kind of programme for QPCS, a hard pressed large inner city comprehensive school, we parents would have to do it ourselves. Much to our delight, we recently won a national award for our work.

Since our project was set up, it has become much more common for experienced speakers to come into state schools. Indeed an excellent organisation Speakers for Schools was explicitly set up to bring inspiring individuals into some of our most disadvantaged schools.

Latest writing


The crisis of the meritocracy: Britain’s transition to mass education since the Second World War PETER MANDLER, 2020 Oxford: Oxford University Press 361pp, hardback, £25, ISBN 9780198840145 Cambridge historian Peter Mandler has a fundamentally optimistic story to tell about the growth of universal education in Britain over the last seventy years and one can sense… Continue reading…

Latest news & events

A Cold War Tragedy

Melissa will be in conversation with Anne Sebba about her new book, ‘Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War Tragedy.’ Weds 15th September 2021, 5-6pm, in the Robert Graves Tent at the Wimbledon Book Festival. More information here.   Continue reading…