Buying off young people

As adults, we have some major obligations to our children. We nourish their bodies, helping them through the chaos of toddlerhood and the hormonal hell of their teenage years, so that they grow into physically healthy adults. We nourish their minds, helping them to access the cultural heritage that our society has built up over […]

Don’t turn Britain’s schools into mental health centres

Britain’s schools are changing: not just in terms of what is taught, but also what we expect them do to help pupils. In June 2017, the Times Educational Supplement reported that the government had put £200k behind a plan to train ‘mental health first-aiders’ in every secondary school. The funding is intended to train 3,000 teachers and teaching […]

This strike reminds us what universities are for

Britain’s university leaders might feel that they had been through an ‘annus horribilis‘, said universities minister Sam Gyimah at last week’s official launch of the Office for Students. With scandalised reports of vice-chancellors’ pay, ongoing wrangles over university funding and student tuition fees, and now a large, sustained and well-organised lecturers’ strike paralysing dozens of pre-1992 universities, […]

Time for a truce in the ‘generation wars’

The old and the young need to come together. But how? Mixing Matters, a new report by the charity United for All Ages, has called for the promotion of ‘shared sites’ that can facilitate contact between older and younger people. These include nurseries sharing a space with care homes, sheltered housing developments letting flats for […]

What should schools teach?

In the UK, decades of political meddling in the curriculum have resulted in endless lists prescribing what – and how – teachers should teach. How refreshing then, that unlike many educational policy prescriptions, What Should Schools Teach? does not offer a dazzling list of innovative academic hybrids, along with an interactively inspirational flowchart of how […]

The promotion of ‘generational equity’ is a divisive pursuit

It has become fashionable in policy and media circles to talk about inequality between the generations. We are warned that today’s young people belong to a “jilted generation” (1), or a “stagnation generation” (2), who have been cornered by the economic and political problems of the moment and are unable to buy a house, start a […]

After Grenfell: more health and safety?

People talk about health and safety gone mad. The truth is it never really quite goes mad enough.’ This was the verdict of Times columnist David Aaronovitch, in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster. He reminded us of some of the terrible disasters that scarred the 1980s, including the deadly fires at King’s […]

The manipulative flattery of the youth vote is demeaning to young people and bad for politics

Jeremy Corbyn has gained much of the credit for the apparently high youth turnout for the General Election, and fair enough. But let’s not kid ourselves: there are deeper currents at work. The big thing that seems to have propelled young voters back to the ballot box was the EU Referendum of 2016. Contrary to […]

Policing pregnancy: the new attack on women’s autonomy

Next year, 2018, will mark the centenary of British women gaining the right to vote. It was a qualified right, restricted to a particular section of women, but a crucial step forwards in the fight for women’s equality, leading quickly to the extension of suffrage in 1928. And look where we are now. Two female […]

From Brexit to the pensions crisis, how did the Baby Boomers get the blame for everything?

Amidst the raw outrage that followed the EU referendum vote on 23 June 2016, one generation found itself to be a particular target. ‘Baby boomers, you have already robbed your children of their future. Don’t make it worse by voting for Brexit,’ appealed James Moore in the Independent the day before the vote. ‘“This vote […]

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