Issue 1117

Aug 25, 2014
The Big Issue no 1117

The happiest days of your life?

As school success is measured increasingly only by league tables, we wondered if there shouldn’t be a bit more to it. Our simple question brings some fascinating answers. Educating Yorkshire’s Michael Steer wants to stamp out grades competition between schools; David McCullough Jr, a teacher from Obama’s old school in Honolulu, gained notoriety and became a Youtube hit with a speech to school leavers that started ‘You are not special...’ He’s worth reading. As is Keris Stainton, a home school believer. And then there’s Tony Little, headmaster of Eton. We “over-examine and undereducate” in Britain, he blasts. If only he had some high-powered ex-pupils in positions of influence who’d listen...

In addition, some key opinion formers and national treasures like John Lydon, Armando Iannucci and Jamie Oliver give us some revealing memories of their own school days.  

Also inside...

  • Our Letter To My Younger Self is with Denis MacShane. One of the few MPs to go to prison over the expenses scandal, he wishes he’d behaved differently. Though maybe not quite as you might imagine...
  • John Bird looks at Ebola, the dark shadow of IS in Iraq and the hair-trigger atmosphere in Ferguson, and wonders when lessons from the past will be learned.
  • Meanwhile, Brendan O’Neill says don’t look for The One in politics. It won’t work. It’s not Bridget Jones...
  • There is a theory that says two nations with McDonald's have never declared war with each other. Within weeks of Russia moving into the Crimea, three McDonald's closed. Then, a number were shut in Moscow this week. Steven MacKenzie takes a look at geopolitics and brinkmanship through cheeseburgers.
  • Tim Vine, king of the one-liners, has the coveted My Week spot. Darts are involved.

Our featured vendor telling their story in My Pitch is Michael Hadley, who works in Birmingham. He is a man with good patter who’s looking to the future. 

The Big Issue no 1117
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