What is the Purpose of Education?


Last weekend Mr Fothergill and I abandoned our knowledge-thirsty students in favour of attending one of this year’s most anticipated and talked about festivals. However this was a festival with a difference. No glow sticks, whistles or bikini-clad ladies crushing their poor boyfriend’s shoulders whilst listening to their favourite bands. Instead, The Festival of Education is a collection of tweed-loving educationalists who just want to talk about improving teaching (however, when Mr F rocked up twenty minutes late to my house wearing shorts, a straw cowboy hat and cradling a can of Carling at 6:40 am, I suddenly got the feel that he was hoping to see McBusted).

Furthermore, to add to the overall geekiness of this so-called festival, instead of being located in a quagmire in the middle of nowhere, we were in fact in Hogwarts – this is not hyperbolic at all. Google ‘Wellington College’ and prepare to be amazed by images of whomping willows and half the England U18 rugby team playing quidditch in CCF uniforms on Wednesday afternoons.

Throughout the festival, many teachers and academics offered exceptional ideas and enlightened perspectives on how to improve education. From futuristic 3D printers to using The Simpsons to teach simultaneous equations, wherever you looked there was someone talking about something very interesting who had done it and bought the T-shirt, offering sage and helpful advice.

One particular highlight of the weekend was our final workshop. Mr F and I sat in a cramped tent on space-hopper chairs and discussed the purpose of education with some very intelligent and pleasant people. However, what was extremely interesting was that no one could really formulate and express with clarity what our opinion was. Was it to inspire a love of learning? Was it to ensure that students are fully prepared for the challenges ahead when they leave school? Was it to make people cleverer? Was it to enjoy mocking Hobbit-like teachers?

Therefore, I ask of you dear students to offer your own thoughts on the purpose of education and explain the important reasons you come to school. In your opinion, is it just to acquire new knowledge and skills? Or is there an additional function to schooling? Your responses in the ‘comments’ section below would be very much appreciated and I look forward to hearing them.

Kind regards,

Mr Morris

File:Sem título holi festival colours 2013.jpg

(Actual scenes from the Festival of Education when teachers and academics were discussing exam reforms)


Our Recommended Reading List for Literary Lovers

From the classics and Winnie-the-Pooh to poetry, biographies and books that changed the way we view the world… we at SWA present to you our literary recommendations to enlighten, engross and entertain.



18th/19th centuries. Some poets worth getting to know:

Alexander Pope, P.B. Shelley, G.M.Hopkins, Lord Byron, John Keats, Elizabeth Browning, William Blake, Lord Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, W.Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Walt Whitman

20th century:

Wilfred Owen, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, T.S. Elliot, R.S. Thomas, Sylvia Plath, W.B. Yeats, Philip Larkin, Douglas Dunn, W.H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Tony Harrison, Louis MacNeice, Stevie Smith, Simon Armitage, Stephen Spender, Derek Walcott, Liz Lochhead, Thomas Hardy, Ezra Pound, e e cummings, Langston Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, Allen Ginsberg



Shakespeare’s time: Shakespeare! Marlowe, Jonson,Webster

19th century:Wilde, G B Shaw (spans both centuries)

20th century: Brian Friel, Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill, Sean O’Casey, Arnold Wesker, Alan Bennett, John Osborne, John Arden, Alan Ayckbourne, Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, Sam Shepherd, Tennessee Williams



Thomas Hardy – Jude The Obscure, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

W.M. Thackeray – Vanity Fair

Charles Dickens – Great Expectation, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby

Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre

Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights

George Elliot – Middlemarch, Silas Marner

Henry Fielding – Tom Jones

Elizabeth Gaskell – Mary Barton etc.

Harriet Beecher Stowe – Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Jane Austen – Emma, Pride and Prejudice

Mark Twain – Huckleberry Finn

Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

Bram Stoker – Dracula

Robert Louis Stevenson – Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Daniel Defoe – Robison Crusoe

Alexandre Dumas – The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo

Anthony Trollope – The Way We Live Now

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes etc.

Homer – The Iliad, The Odyssey

Virgil – The Aeniad



 Arnold Bennett – The Old Wives’ Tale

Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness

E.M. Forster – Where Angels Fear to Tread, Howards End

D.H. Lawrence – Sons & Lovers

James Joyce – Portrait of the Artist

Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

Virginia Woolf – Moments of Being

Edith Wharton – The Age of Innocence

Graham Greene – Power & the Glory, Brighton Rock

George Orwell – 1984, Animal Farm

John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath

Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Evelyn Waugh – Brideshead Revisited, The Sword of Honour Trilogy

William Golding – The Lord of the Flies

Jack Kerouac – On the Road

John Le Carre – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim

Ian McEwan – Atonement

Alice Walker – The Colour Purple

Paul Scott – Staying On

Joseph Heller – Catch 22

Margaret Drabble – The Millstone

Fay Weldon – Life & Loves of a She-Devil

John Fowles – The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale

Sebastian Faulks – Birdsong

Nick Hornby – High Fidelity, Fever Pitch, About A Boy, Juliet, Naked

Tony Parsons – Man and Boy

Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Shadow of the Wind

J R Tolkien – The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

A A Milne – Winnie-the-Pooh

C S Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters

Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns

John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Yann Martel – Life of Pi

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

Russell Hoban – Riddley Walker

Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections

Paul Auster – The New York Trilogy, Leviathan, The Book of Illusions

Truman Capote – In Cold Blood

Ken Kesey – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

William Burroughs – Naked Lunch


GRAPHIC NOVELS (Grown up picture books)

 Alan Moore – Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Batman: The Killing Joke, From Hell

Frank Miller – 300, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One

Harvey Pekar – The American Splendour Series

Daniel Klowes – Ghost World



Plato – The Republic, The Death of Socrates

Aristotle – Poetics, The Nichomachean Ethics,

David Hume – An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion



Ranulph Fiennes – Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

Patrick Hennessey – The Junior Officers’ Reading Club

Bradley Wiggins – My Time

Mark Oliver Everett – Things the Grandchildren Should Know

Andy Behrman – Electroboy – Memoir of a Mania

William Burroughs – Junky

Hunter S Thompson – Hell’s Angels



F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Mr Hetherington)

Pat Barker – Regeneration (Mr Price)

Alexandre Dumas – The Three Musketeers (Mr Morris)

John Kennedy-Toole – A Confederacy of Dunces (Mr Fothergill)



Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being A Wallflower

John Green – The Fault in Our Stars