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IoS paerback review: School Wars, By Melissa Benn


Melissa Benn argues that our present education system is in danger of total fragmentation, with the rise of Academies, free schools and faith schools.

Her book is a plea, both reasoned and impassioned, for a new, genuinely comprehensive, non-selective schooling system for the 21st-century, learned from educational models in such countries as Finland and Canada. She traces the history of education in Britain, paying tribute to pioneers such as A S Neill and Alex Bloom, and their radical, egalitarian ideas and ideals. According to the theorist Richard Pring, education should be shaped around three questions: "What makes us human? How did we become so? and How might we become more so?" This is the kind of progressive, optimistic spirit Benn would like to see embodied in our school system. Sounds good to me.