My public school days & the building of upper class solidarity

This piece first appeared in Perspectives To understand the British public school system, or certainly, the part of it in which I spent my teenage years, it is crucial to get your head around three things. The first is that no pupil I can think of left my school fat. Sometimes, a tubby, or even [...]

Michael Gove: Letting the Whole School Down

What’s the difference between Michael Gove and a plastic surgeon? A plastic surgeon tucks features, but Gove… For a while, Michael Gove was one of the coalition government’s biggest jokes. Between the vanity projects, the prat-falls, and his Pob-like features, it’s easy to see why he’s the target of satire, but those who laugh at [...]

Fighting for the Public University

Luke Martell Jérémie Bédard-Wien from the Quebec students’ union CLASSE has been on tour in England, telling his story about the movement at home against fees and for public education. The Quebec mobilisation has been large, radical and sustained. It’s combined students from the bottom up and reached out to unions. It was confronted by [...]

Advice for Freshers: Think critically

James McAsh, Edinburgh University Students’ Association President, offers some advice to new students in a speech at the beginning of Freshers’ Week. When trying to work out what I should say today, I thought back to what advice I would have wanted four years ago when I was new to the university. And here it [...]

For a new Scottish Enlightenment we must end Mummy, Daddy culture

By Gary Paterson Top Universities Need to Open Up to Access. St. Andrews University have recently hit out at data released by NUS Scotland which showed the university had the worst rate of access in Scotland to students from socially deprived backgrounds; in 2011 a mere 13 students, or 2.7% of the student population, of [...]

Gove is wrong, we should scrap exams at 16 altogether

The Conservative proposals to do away with GCSEs and re-introduce, in some form, a two tier O-Level / CSE-like system has understandably created controversy and distress among many critics and supporters of the coalition alike. Once again teachers and teenagers find themselves subject to the idea that teaching standards are lower and exams easier than [...]

How our universities were “liberated” & why New Labour’s structural reforms have failed

Having been expelled from all university committees as VPE for a protest against the university’s controversial ban on protests, I have started a series of posts on the university based on its private papers to deliver in pamphlets to the university community. This is the third of these posts, the second & first can be [...]

The bill is gone but the fight is on

We need to step up our game on the White Paper; the government is no longer going to do the work of defeating it for us. They were about to put its proposed regressive changes to higher education into the cold light of day where it stood a fair chance of withering and dying. We [...]

On Integrated Education – Happy 30th, Lagan College

This 4th September marked the 30th birthday of Lagan College, Northern Ireland’s first integrated school – that is, the first school where Catholic and Protestant children were educated together. It’s been an incredible journey – the oft-overlooked and remarkable story of a ground-breaking school started not by the state, but by brave parents who risked [...]

Free Hetherington occupation ends: final statement

The Glasgow University Free Hetherington occupation was lifted as of midday today – 31st August 2011. Yesterday was its 212th, and final, day of enforcement. It was the longest running student occupation in UK history (we believe), and achieved almost all of its demands. The end of the occupation marks the end of the remarkable [...]

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