Guide to Subversive Parenting

‘Guide to Subversive Parenting’ was a column I wrote for spiked between 2007 and 2011, around the publication of Standing Up to Supernanny. The new parenting catfight: Tiger Moms vs Fun Slobs. 26 May 2011 The nature/nurture debate is as unhelpful as ever in solving the problem of raising children. Bringing up baby is not an exact science. 28 […]

How the vetting frenzy alienates adults from kids

The Liberal-Conservative government’s announcement that the controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will be ‘very significantly’ curtailed is very welcome. Under its new incarnation, rather than seeking to subject anybody who works or volunteers with children to a police check, the vetting scheme will reportedly focus on ‘those in sensitive posts or who have intensive […]

Sure Start: a fancy new way to police the family

With Britain’s new coalition government ushering in public-sector cuts that will mean ‘years of pain ahead’, Sure Start, the former New Labour government’s flagship policy for children aged 0-5, has come under the microscope. Hitting back against claims by Labourite mischief-makers that the Conservatives intend to close down Children’s Centres across the country, Tory MPs […]

Turning parents into ‘partners of the state’

‘It is quite wrong to conclude that families are in decline. This is not my experience and authoritative, independent evidence, some of which is presented in this Paper, shows what I believe most people know for themselves: that all families have their ups and downs, but most people do the best they can to sustain […]

Anthony Horowitz: ‘We’re afraid of our kids, and we’re afraid for them’

‘A child should be able to make up his or her own mind about an adult they are meeting without that adult having to wave a government-stamped piece of paper. The idea that the government can come in to the most fundamental of relationships – between an adult and a child – and somehow manipulate […]

Turning teachers into objects of suspicion

One of the most pernicious prejudices of our time is that adults, given half a chance, will abuse the children in their care. This is the prejudice that lies behind the UK government’s out-of-control, increasingly unpopular mass vetting scheme, in which adults who want to spend time with, or take responsibility for, children other than […]

Why pedagogy is in peril

Frank Furedi, author of Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, talks to Jennie Bristow about the politicisation of education and the crisis of adult authority. Everyone has a view on the crisis of education. Politicians point the finger at outdated attitudes, mess about with the curriculum, prescribe new teaching methods and seek to involve parents in […]

At last, a serious debate on ‘social evils’

In a therapeutic culture that categorises problems as ‘issues’ and frames policy in terms of individuals’ behaviour and psychological health, it is startling to see high-profile thinkers come together to discuss what are baldly termed ‘Contemporary Social Evils’. It is also refreshing to see a charitable foundation celebrate 100 years of its existence, not by […]

A Sure Start for the therapeutic state

  The UK government really cares about children. So much so that it has spent more than £3billion over four years to make parents in deprived areas give their children ‘warmer parenting’, relying less on smacking and criticism and more on talking and affection (1). Whatever else you say about the politics of behaviour, it […]

Examination, examination, examination

‘The time for reform has come’, said Mike Tomlinson, leader of the government-commissioned working party on the future of England’s schools examinations system, as he produced his interim report on 14-19 education. What, again? Over the past few years England’s exams have undergone more reform than the pupils sitting them have had hot dinners. Each […]

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