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Melissa Benn - Author

About the Author

Melissa Benn is a writer, journalist and campaigner, and a member of one of Britain's best known political families. She has written one previous novel, Public Lives (1995), which reviewers praised for its 'acute intelligence' and 'incredible subtlety'. Benn writes regularly for the Guardian and other national publications, and her non-fiction includes Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood (1998.) She lives in north-west London with her husband and two daughters.

Featured books by Melissa Benn

Other books by Melissa Benn

Life Lessons The Case for a National Education Service

Life Lessons The Case for a National Education Service

Author: Melissa Benn Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/08/2018

It is time for a radical shake up of the purposes and practices of our education system. Melissa Benn is one of the most clear sighted and vocal campaigners for improving our schools. She shows here how we need to rethink education for life. As more and more of us live and work longer than ever before, a National Education Service should, like the NHS, be the framework that ensures a life-long entitlement for all, from early years provision to apprenticeships, universities and adult education. Like the NHS, it should be free at the point of delivery. The purpose of learning is not solely to pass exams but to prepare for living in the world; citizens of the future will need to develop their imaginations as well as their intellects, to be at ease with both knowledge and uncertainty. Life Lessons sets out a radical agenda for how we make education for all, and make it relevant to the demands of 21st century. This requires a deep-rooted, long-term vision of the role of learning in our society, one that is ready to take on the challenges of a new century and be part of a wider shift towards greater equality.

What Should We Tell Our Daughters? The Pleasures and Pressures of Growing Up Female

What Should We Tell Our Daughters? The Pleasures and Pressures of Growing Up Female

Author: Melissa Benn Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2014

We have reached a tricky crossroads in modern women's lives and our collective daughters are bearing the brunt of some intolerable pressures. Although feminism has made great strides forward since our mothers' and grandmothers' day, many of the key issues - equality of pay, equality in the home, representation at senior level in the private, public and political sectors - remain to be tackled. Casual sexism in the media and in everyday life is still rife and our daughters face a host of new difficulties as they are bombarded by images of unrealistically skinny airbrushed supermodels, celebrity role-models who depend on their looks and partners for status, and by competitive social media. The likes of Natasha Walter and Katie Roiphe deal with feminism from an adult point of view, but our daughters need to be prepared for stresses that are coming into play now as early as pre-school. This is a manifesto for every mother who has ever had to comfort a daughter who doesn't feel 'pretty', for every young woman who out-performs her male peers professionally and wonders why she is still not taken seriously, and for anyone interested in the world we are making for the next generation.

School Wars The Battle for Britain's Education

School Wars The Battle for Britain's Education

Author: Melissa Benn Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/10/2012

School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain's education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments. From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a forensic look at the inequalities of our current system, the damaging impact of spending cuts, the rise of free schools and the growth of the private sector in education. Melissa Benn explores, too, the dangerous example of US education reform, where privatization, punitive accountability and the rise of charter schools have intensified social, economic and ethnic divisions. The policies of successive British governments have been muddled and confused, but one thing is clear: that the relentless application of market principles signals a fundamental shift from the ideal of quality education as a public good, to education as market-controlled commodity. Benn ends by outlining some key principles for restoring strong educational values within a fair, non-selective public education system.

A Tribute to Caroline Benn Education and Democracy

A Tribute to Caroline Benn Education and Democracy

Author: Melissa Benn Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2005

Caroline Benn made an immense contribution to public life through her work on educational politics and the comprehensive movement. She was a committed democrat, socialist and internationalist and this book of essays dedicated to her life and work was the idea of Professor Clyde Chitty, her friend and colleague over many years, as a labour of love and to recognise her achievements. The fact that so many people in her field have contributed chapters is evidence of the influence she had on those who knew her and worked with her.' Tony Benn, Foreword 'This fine book will serve both as a fitting tribute to the life and work of Caroline Benn and as a means of furthering the educational causes she championed.' Richard Aldrich, Emeritus Professor of History of Education, Institute of Education, University of London