Hot Best Seller

School Wars: The Battle for Britain's Education

Availability: Ready to download

School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain’s education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments.From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a for School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain’s education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments.From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a forensic look at the inequalities of our current system, the damaging impact of spending cuts, the rise of “free schools” and the growth of the private sector in education. Melissa Benn explores, too, the dangerous example of US education reform, where privatization, punitive accountability and the rise of charter schools have intensified social, economic and ethnic divisions.The policies of successive British governments have been muddled and confused, but one thing is clear: that the relentless application of market principles signals a fundamental shift from the ideal of quality education as a public good, to education as market-controlled commodity. Benn ends by outlining some key principles for restoring strong educational values within a fair, non-selective public education system.


Compare

School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain’s education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments.From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a for School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain’s education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments.From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a forensic look at the inequalities of our current system, the damaging impact of spending cuts, the rise of “free schools” and the growth of the private sector in education. Melissa Benn explores, too, the dangerous example of US education reform, where privatization, punitive accountability and the rise of charter schools have intensified social, economic and ethnic divisions.The policies of successive British governments have been muddled and confused, but one thing is clear: that the relentless application of market principles signals a fundamental shift from the ideal of quality education as a public good, to education as market-controlled commodity. Benn ends by outlining some key principles for restoring strong educational values within a fair, non-selective public education system.

30 review for School Wars: The Battle for Britain's Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Doran

    This book was written back in 2011 and updated in 2012. Although it was aimed squarely at current affairs and the business of the coalition government and the then education secretary Michael Gove, it is still extremely relevant. There is so much meddling and pursuit of political ideology that continues to impact our schools; it is extremely important that people are aware of what is going on and what is at stake as we move away from accountability to local authorities. Benn's book covers a lot o This book was written back in 2011 and updated in 2012. Although it was aimed squarely at current affairs and the business of the coalition government and the then education secretary Michael Gove, it is still extremely relevant. There is so much meddling and pursuit of political ideology that continues to impact our schools; it is extremely important that people are aware of what is going on and what is at stake as we move away from accountability to local authorities. Benn's book covers a lot of ground — the history of our education system, the types of schools that we have today and where politics is taking us in the future. She makes good arguments as to why the current setup with public schools, grammar schools and academies with selective entrance criteria make us all poorer as a society. "The international evidence is equally clear: whether it’s Finland or South Korea or the province of Alberta in Canada, genuinely non-selective education systems routinely top the world league tables. The best school systems are the most equitable, in other words students do well regardless of their socio-economic background. Conversely, schools that select students based on ability at an early age show the greatest difference in performance according to a child’s socio-economic background." She points out that even parents who send their children to private schools think that they are actually not good overall for society and are somewhat embarrassed by the choice they have made: "When I spoke to the primary-school mothers in Hammersmith and Fulham, they seemed surprised at their own anger at private education. As one mother exclaimed, ‘Close down the private schools. Take away that choice’—and then looked shocked that she had said it. I hear that argument a great deal, and most often, interestingly, from parents who use private education. They are in pole position to understand how it divides society and perpetuates inequality, even when they are personally in thrall to its advantages. Such conversations remain rather hole-in-corner, however, reflecting a peculiar silence in our culture—not about the educational merits and occasional eccentricities of private schools, but about what they do to, and mean for, our society, and the kinds of people they produce and do not produce. Could that silence be in part attributed to the fact that most of the elite in this country, including the most powerful editors, broadcasters and commentators, who largely dictate the terms in which state education is discussed, educate their own children privately? Some choose to denigrate state schools, often to justify their own personal choices; others are embarrassed and prefer to say nothing at all." All of the text that covers the academisation programme is now more relevant than ever, given the government's determination to move every state school to this model, away from Local Authority support and directly accountable to the Department for Education. If you want to understand what this means, not just for your particular school but for schools across the country, read this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Melissa Benn has managed to anger and educate me simultaneously. I've learned so much about British education prior to my arrival on the teaching scene in England in the early 21st century, starting from the fifties through the nineties. She's managed to clarify some issues for me regarding changes in education and which government was responsible for which policy. Ultimately, both the Tories and New Labour (more than old Labour) share the blame. The Tories did a lot of damage both to children a Melissa Benn has managed to anger and educate me simultaneously. I've learned so much about British education prior to my arrival on the teaching scene in England in the early 21st century, starting from the fifties through the nineties. She's managed to clarify some issues for me regarding changes in education and which government was responsible for which policy. Ultimately, both the Tories and New Labour (more than old Labour) share the blame. The Tories did a lot of damage both to children and to teachers, but it's not as Blair did much to overturn the changes responsible and brought in some equally disastrous additions. None of my anger is directed at Benn, though. In fact, I'm quite grateful that she's exposed these issues for what they are, and she's continued her well-supported criticism of English education through the start of the coalition government, as we've seen Michael Gove create more and more academies (Americans, that means charter schools) and send more and more money to them despite the fact that academies overall perform far worse than regular state schools in the government's treasured league tables. She critiques the Swedish and American systems on which academies were based, helping the British public, for example, the American charter school system as I, a former American state school high school teacher view them. (I taught in the United States in the '80s and '90s, before coming to England to work, and I saw problems with American charter schools first hand.) Benn also points out problems with so-called 'independent' schools (fees-paying schools, what the British traditionally called 'public' and what the Americans call 'private') and how these schools affect the rest of education in this country. Her points only strengthen my own doubts about why on earth schools such as Eton are considered charities. This book is a must read for anyone interested in English education, regardless of whether or not they have school-age children, work in education etc. What with the media telling us that standards are slipping, exams are being dumbed down and our system is failing, this book is a breath of fresh air and truth.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Helen Mulligan

    While the book is at times overwhelmingly one-viewed, and at times Benn's strong personal political views overwhelm the argument, there are some really interesting points in here, especially in the final chapter which talks about some big educational philosophies that lie at the heart of what education should be and what sort of school systems are most (and least) likely to achieve that. As someone very interested in the free school movement for the opportunity it provides for innovation and teac While the book is at times overwhelmingly one-viewed, and at times Benn's strong personal political views overwhelm the argument, there are some really interesting points in here, especially in the final chapter which talks about some big educational philosophies that lie at the heart of what education should be and what sort of school systems are most (and least) likely to achieve that. As someone very interested in the free school movement for the opportunity it provides for innovation and teacher professionalism, I was initially challenging myself to read this book, which so loudly opposes free schools. It gave me a lot of insight into the difference between sound ideologies and poor politics and while I finished with a negative view of the current government policies for the UK school system, it was interesting to find that my views about how education needs to move forward are very similar to Melissa Ben's and that free schools (as they are currently being managed politically) are not the means to the end I believe in. An informative and interesting book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susanna

    I think this is an important book and uses masses of data to demonstrate that the grammar school system locked in advantage and widened social inequalities, with the dream of the working class lad (or lass) rising upwardly has been too infrequent to justify selection. Looking at schools today, why do we accept such blatant inequalities in our educational system, and has education become too political, or not enough? I don't know. I think this is an important book and uses masses of data to demonstrate that the grammar school system locked in advantage and widened social inequalities, with the dream of the working class lad (or lass) rising upwardly has been too infrequent to justify selection. Looking at schools today, why do we accept such blatant inequalities in our educational system, and has education become too political, or not enough? I don't know.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Joseph

    This book is timely, providing a much-needed counterbalance to the argument that UK state schools are failing and are therefore in need of 'rescue' by private sector interests. I hope this book will be read by teachers, parents, heads and school governors. As Benn rightly acknowledges there are never any "quick fixes" when it comes to educational reform. This book is timely, providing a much-needed counterbalance to the argument that UK state schools are failing and are therefore in need of 'rescue' by private sector interests. I hope this book will be read by teachers, parents, heads and school governors. As Benn rightly acknowledges there are never any "quick fixes" when it comes to educational reform.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Read this a while ago- just picked it up and found I couldn't put it down again- predicted pretty accurately the destruction of Education when left to profiteers. Read this a while ago- just picked it up and found I couldn't put it down again- predicted pretty accurately the destruction of Education when left to profiteers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Lochhead

    Summary: schools policy in England is totally insane. That's basically what I took from this interesting, well-written but somewhat chewy book. Summary: schools policy in England is totally insane. That's basically what I took from this interesting, well-written but somewhat chewy book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I will now boycott goodreads until I hear amazon have changed their poor practices.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Helen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Eyre

  12. 4 out of 5

    Warren Evans

  13. 5 out of 5

    Helen Abraham

  14. 4 out of 5

    Piers Young

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hifza

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kieran

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jack Phillipps

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin Ainscough

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eleni

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  24. 5 out of 5

    Renee

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anurag Jain

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mrs V J Walker

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rikesh

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy Thompson

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...