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 Politicians point the finger at outdated attitudes, mess about with the curriculum, prescribe new teaching methods and seek to involve parents in […]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 […]

Playing with truants

To boost our seasonal spirits, the UK government is entering the New Year with a new phase of its war on truancy. Not content with locking up parents whose children persistently play hooky from school, it has now teamed up with travel agents to issue £100 fines to parents who take their children out of […]

Harry Potter and the Meaning of Life

Once upon a time, it was record shops that staged high-profile midnight openings to sell the latest hot release to queues of impatient fans; it was senior politicians who found themselves grilled on national TV by the BBC’s flagship interviewer Jeremy Paxman; and it was intellectuals and literary novelists who shaped great debates about moral […]

Reader, I disparaged him

What are women like? One minute they are voting for the predictable romantic hero Mr Darcy as their dream date, in a publicity poll for the women-only award, the Orange Prize for Fiction. The next, they are producing books about practical marriage management, arguing that the secret of a professional woman’s successful marriage is to […]

An anti-independence culture

Okay, I love my mum’s Sunday dinners. But that never seemed like a reason not to learn to cook my own. The nice thing about adulthood is that you no longer have to wait for your parents to dole out treats. Or maybe I’m just weird. Two headline-grabbing surveys reported on 21 March 2002 painted […]

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