This website reflects my evolving thinking about schooling and education.

The blog is updated as much as possible, and is intended to provide a running commentary on the UK independent school scene. The short essays, updated less frequently, comments on various aspects of school life.

An argument running through the whole website is that, despite their variety, UK independent schools should be seen collectively as representing a rare educational achievement. The achievement can be sketched as follows: so far as I am aware, no other group of schools in history has strived so earnestly to educate simultaneously the head, the heart and the body. What is meant by the head, heart and body is defined elsewhere; it can be stated here that, on the whole, these schools have defined ‘the head’ (academics – the part of most importance to the majority of parents) more broadly than the mere securing of good examination results. In this, the schools can often justifiably claim that they offer a ‘liberal’ (as opposed to a ‘utilitarian’) education.

This achievement has been the work of hundreds of years, but was given its most essential definition in the nineteenth century. Since then, and particularly in the last decade and a half, the UK independent schools have undergone huge reform. That reform has been necessary, healthy and – in the main – extremely beneficial to the schools’ pupils. However, this harmony of head, heart and body is a precious and fragile endowment; this blog argues passionately for its preservation!


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