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.  

BBC
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7 things we learned from the Comic Relief Love, Actually sequel

Even gay subtext is enough to get you killed.

After weeks of hype, the Love, Actually Comic Relief short sequel, Red Nose Day, Actually, finally aired tonight. It might not compare to Stephen’s version of events, but was exactly what you’d expect, really – the most memorable elements of each plotline recreated and recycled, with lots of jokes about the charity added in. So what did Red Nose Day, Actually actually teach us?

Andrew Lincoln’s character was always a creep

It was weird to show up outside Keira Knightley’s house in 2003, and it’s even weirder now, when you haven’t seen each other in almost a decade. Please stop.

It’s also really weird to bring your supermodel wife purely to show her off like a trophy. She doesn’t even know these people. She must be really confused. Let her go home, “Mark”.

Kate Moss is forever a great sport

Judging by the staggering number of appearances she makes at these things, Kate Moss has never said no to a charity appearance, even when she’s asked to do the most ridiculous and frankly insulting things, like pretend she would ever voluntarily have sex with “Mark”.

Self-service machines are a gift and a curse

In reality, Rowan Atkinson’s gift-wrapping enthusiast would have lasted about one hour in Sainsbury’s before being replaced by a machine.

Colin Firth’s character is an utter embarrassment, pull yourself together man

You’re a writer, Colin. You make a living out of paying attention to language and words. You’ve been married to your Portuguese-speaking wife for almost fourteen years. You learned enough to make a terrible proposal all those years ago. Are you seriously telling me you haven’t learned enough to sustain a single conversation with your family? Do you hate them? Kind of seems that way, Colin.

Even gay subtext is enough to get you killed

As Eleanor Margolis reminds us, a deleted storyline from the original Love, Actually was one in which “the resplendent Frances de la Tour plays the terminally ill partner of a “stern headmistress” with a marshmallow interior (Anne Reid).” Of course, even in deleted scenes, gay love stories can only end in death, especially in 2003. The same applies to 2017’s Red Nose Day actually. Many fans speculated that Bill Nighy’s character was in romantic love with his manager, Joe – so, reliably, Joe has met a tragic end by the time the sequel rolls around.  

Hugh Grant is a fantasy Prime Minister for 2017

Telling a predatory POTUS to fuck off despite the pressure to preserve good relations with the USA? Inspirational. No wonder he’s held on to office this long, despite only demonstrating skills of “swearing”, “possibly harassing junior staff members” and “somewhat rousing narration”.

If you get together in Christmas 2003, you will stay together forever. It’s just science.

Even if you’ve spent nearly fourteen years clinging onto public office. Even if you were a literal child when you met. Even if you hate your wife so much you refuse to learn her first language.

Now listen to the SRSLY Love, Actually special:

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.