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.

comp-future1I 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.

qpcslogo 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

Natural Born Rebel

History loves nothing more than a beautiful heroine battling for a just cause. For the past 100 years, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst have been fixed in the collective mind as glamorous symbols of the protracted struggle for votes for women. In contrast, Sylvia, the second daughter of this remarkable family, remains, according to Rachel Holmes,… Continue reading…

Latest news & events

Melissa Benn in zoom-free conversation with John Bercow

Saturday 24 April 2021 | 11:15am Order! Order! Former Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, talks candidly about his no-holds barred memoir Unspeakable with Melissa Benn. This event will be filmed in London in the days before it is shown on-line – so no zoomy-ness involved, just real people in real conversation. But… Continue reading…