Reading for Battle

Battle Readings is a regularly updated compilation of articles, essays, and opinion pieces relevant to the themes of the Battle of Ideas.

Choose a theme from the listing on the left to narrow your search, or view all readings.


Dreaming spires for all? Only if we face up to some hard truths
There’s a fundamental problem at the heart of our education system: private schools educate around 7% of students yet account for 44.6% of students at Oxford.
Jacob Reynolds, Independent, 5 November 2011

The Simpsons versus Shakespeare
Children don’t need to go to school in order to enjoy cartoons, but that it takes years of study to understand great literature and become an educated person.
Michele Ledda, Independent, 23 October 2011

Dangerous Books for Boys? The Literacy Debate
‘What is to be done about literacy?’ is the shrill cry heard amongst business circles and policy makers. Literacy levels of our schoolchildren are generally a source of worry amongst various educational groups and parents. I’ve finally reached the point where the answer has become blindingly clear. It is DO NOTHING.
Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, Independent, 10 October 2011

Young people's fiction: Feisty girls, feckless boys
In young people’s fiction, why are girls so self-righteous and boys so oafish, asks author and Costa judge Eleanor Updale
Eleanor Updale, Daily Telegraph, 6 October 2011

Should England’s schools become ‘engines of social mobility’?
Whilst sociologists and statisticians have continued to argue over the facts of social mobility, a political consensus has emerged as to the solutions.
Toby Marshall, Independent, 5 October 2011

Civic Engagement and the Copernican Moment
"This talk is meant to aid in such a reexamination. It will speak to both the achievements of the academic engagement movement and new challenges."
David Scobey, Imagining America, 21 September 2011

State classrooms are stifling social mobility in Britain
If the new academies aren’t permitted to select pupils then they will fail the most able.
Christopher Ray, Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2011

The horse before the cart
Some experiments have failed. Others are now entering the mainstream
Economist, 17 September 2011

A Short History of England
From the invaders of the dark ages to today’s coalition, Simon Jenkins weaves a strong narrative using our most important dates. There have been long histories of England but there is no standard short work covering all significant events, themes and individuals.

Simon Jenkins, Profile Books, September 2011

A philistine defence of the university
They’re more than happy to fight a fantasy left-wing crusade against the ‘ConDem’ government, yet defenders of higher education lack a sense of what they're actually defending.
Tim Black, spiked, September 2011

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Remaking citizens for the ‘Big Society’

"The Battle of Ideas is a weekend like no other. I found the 2011 festival immensely stimulating. It gave me a great deal to think about, and a whole new list of books to read - from Virgil to Vygotsky. On to greater battles in 2012!"
Ken Macleod, award-winning science fiction writer; author, The Restoration Game and Intrusion

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