Eton College. Photo: Getty
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The best of the NS in 2014: Education

Our best pieces from the past year. In this selection, we pick the best pieces about schools and universities.

Education’s Berlin Wall: the private schools conundrum

By David and George Kynaston.

Does a better social mix make these schools acceptable? The left has been silent on this issue for the past 40 years.
 

Our segregated education system perpetuates inequality and holds our nation back

By Michael Gove.

The education secretary responds to the NS debate on public schools.
 

Why do state-school pupils earn less over a lifetime? Because they aren’t taught to dream big

By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.

Private schools instil their children with a sense of entitlement and confidence that is lacking among state-school pupils, argues Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.
 

Michael Gove: my part in his downfall

By Jonn Elledge.

Seven habits of highly unpopular people. 


 

Inside the private schools educating China’s elite

By Zoe Alsop.

In recent years the number of private schools catering to Chinese nationals has grown rapidly. A Chinese-owned chain offering a Canadian curriculum dominates, with more than 30 schools across the country.  


"What I want to see is peace": When will Labour stop opposing academies?

By Harry Lambert.

Labour's unclear opposition to academies could drag high-performing chains like ARK back under local bureaucracy.  


Primary politics: parenting advice from Toby Young and Michael Rosen

By Melissa Benn.

Two publications ostensibly designed to provide reassurance and wisdom to parents of primary-age children and perhaps to tap in to the ever-growing “pushy parenting” market.  

The tests Nicky Morgan must pass if the Tories are to change on education

By Tristram Hunt.

The new Education Secretary should end the use of unqualified teachers and match Labour's pledge to teach English and maths till 18.


 

How failing schools help Ukip

By Tim Wigmore.

Schools are getting worse in Great Yarmouth, the second most likely seat for Ukip to gain their first MP next year.  


Grammar schools widen the gap between rich and poor. Why are we still surprised by this?

By Frances Ryan.

Meritocracy – embodied in the grammar school system – is concerned with achieving equality between equals and permitting inequality between un-equals.  


The free schools experiment spirals out of control

New Statesman leader.

All resources should be concentrated on ensuring that no child is denied the basic right to an education.  

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“The Hole-Up”: a poem by Matthew Sweeney

“You could taste the raw / seagull you’d killed and plucked, / the mussels you’d dug from sand, / the jellyfish that wobbled in your / hands as you slobbered it.”

Lying on your mouth and nose
on the hot sand, you recall
a trip in a boat to the island –
the fat rats that skittered about
after god-knows-what dinner,
the chubby seals staring up,
the sudden realisation that a man
on the run had wintered there
while the soldiers scoured
the entire shoreline to no avail –
you knew now you had been him
out there. You could taste the raw
seagull you’d killed and plucked,
the mussels you’d dug from sand,
the jellyfish that wobbled in your
hands as you slobbered it.
You saw again that first flame
those rubbed stones woke in
the driftwood pile, and that rat
you grilled on a spar and found
delicious. Yes, you’d been that man,
and you had to admit now you
missed that time, that life,
though you were very glad you
had no memory of how it ended.


Matthew Sweeney’s Black Moon was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Prize. His latest collection is Inquisition Lane (Bloodaxe).

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt