How politics lost touch with everyday life

How politics lost touch with everyday life

Early on in his elegiac study of how our literary and aesthetic past might animate our political future, Marc Stears singles out DH Lawrence’s “wonderful essay” Insouciance, written in 1928, which he believes embodies “the vision that animates this book”. In the essay, Lawrence describes a meeting with two elderly ladies who try to draw… Continue reading…

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

Putting the special back into special needs.

I can still vividly remember Michael Gove’s first speech to the House of Commons as Secretary of State for Education in 2010. A blast of oratory in which he charged the outgoing New Labour government of failing poor children with talent. During Labour’s 13 years in office, Gove thundered, on average only 45 children on… Continue reading…

Latest news & events

In conversation with Ed Miliband

Inspired and informed by his hugely popular podcast, Reasons to be Cheerful, Ed Miliband’s new book, Go Big: How To Fix Our World, shows us that whilst the challenges we face as a society are daunting, solutions to them already exist. This empowering, uplifting set of practical and transformative solutions – from a citizens’ assembly… Continue reading…