Today’s podcast to accompany my dog walk was Desert Island Discs. The castaway this week was Sir Anthony Seldon, the former Master of Wellington College and author of several political biographies. While I was familiar with his career, and his views on education in particular, until today I did not know anything about his personal life. He spoke movingly about his marriage, his children and his wife’s diagnosis with terminal cancer.
He said a couple of things which resonated with me which I quote here, but do listen to the whole podcast.
In answer to Kirsty’s question about whether independent schools should be abolished, he said: “If the quality of education was as good as it is at the best independent and the best state schools, then that might be the ideal, though I still think there’s a role for a different sector that challenges, which doesn’t have to be subject to the same governmental regimes as the rest.”
“It’s the raising of expectations which is at the heart of good education, good schooling, good universities…”
“When the children came into their mid to late teens and discovered their friends were a lot more exciting than their mum and dad…we did discover that by taking them off on short breaks of four or five days every year to somewhere sunny with a bit of culture, it was a way of keeping them together.”
You will have noticed that this post has nothing to do with my Aga, but it is about what I’ve been listening to on Radio 4 which is the usual background noise in my kitchen, so I have no plans to rename my blog yet.