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Hidden Connections

Seeing Clearly “Education is the ability to perceive the hidden connections between phenomena,” wrote Vaclav Havel the President of the Czech Republic, a man once derided and imprisoned for his political beliefs, a courageous man, and one of the deepest thinkers of our time. You have to think very carefully about that statement.  It is […]

Buying Votes

Failure of leadership William Hogarth’s set of four satirical cartoons, Canvassing for Votes, published in 1758, showed prospective parliamentary candidates pouring beer down the throats of their constituents in the expectation of buying their votes.  We smile tolerantly at such stupidity, and reassure ourselves that nothing so stupid could happen nowadays, thanks to the rules […]

Why Have Children?

November 19, 2009

Who learns from whom? The Chief Rabbi hit the headlines earlier this month when he accused Europeans of caring more about shopping than spirituality, and being too selfish to accept the responsibility of becoming parents.  “Parenthood involves massive sacrifices; money, attention, time and emotional energy (and in today’s European materialistic society) there is no room […]


Going on with your own education Whether Ed Balls at the Labour Party Conference, calling for greater parental support to improve the behaviour of young people was doing this as a political strategy to attract voters or not, is largely immaterial, for the reality on the ground is often dreadful.  The behaviour of young people […]

The 9:13 to London Paddington

Inquisitive Children The 9:13 is the first train on which cheap day family returns are available from Bath.  Those of us wearing smart suits as we head for late morning meetings are, midway through the summer holidays, outnumbered by enthusiastic families off to see the sights of London.  The 9:13 is a happy train. As […]

Intergenerational Learning

Wisdom that can’t be taught There is a new word being heard around the block – internship.  Traditionally it meant newly-qualified medical graduates understudying experienced doctors, but Alan Milburn’s Report, “Unleashing Aspirations,” expands the definition to mean young people shadowing experienced professionals so learning some of the tricks of their trade.  Internships are similar to […]

Good old Common Sense

Sometimes it takes far too long for me to pick up a gem.  The gem that struck me so strongly last evening was contained in an email sent by a friend of an “Obituary” notice that it seems first appeared in The New York Times in 2007 and has subsequently been reprinted in very many […]

What Goes Around Comes Around

February 12, 2009

It is said that there is really nothing new in the world, and that which comes around once will inevitably come around again.  Most of us can testify to the truth of this.  But even I was brought up short by a letter in today’s Post from the Department of Children, Schools and Families informing […]

Overschooled and Undereducated: Getting the Balance Right

Good evening. It is both an honour and a pleasure to be invited to give this lecture. I do so with some trepidation. I know I am easily carried away with my enthusiasm! Some years ago my wife and I were on a Sunday afternoon walk with our three sons. Our youngest, Tom, who was […]

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