Guardian editor Lucy Clark discusses the broken education system

Marrickville Library and History is hosting author and journalist Lucy Clark to discuss her latest book, Beautiful Failures, on Wednesday 21 September.

When Lucy Clark’s daughter graduated from school as a ‘failure’, she started asking questions about the way society measures success. Why is there so much stress on kids today? Where does it come from? Most importantly, as we seem to be in the grip of an epidemic of anxiety, how can we reduce that pressure?

Lucy Clark believes kids are judged on a narrow vision of what constitutes success. “All kids are under pressure, and most people know it is out of order and that something needs to be done, but what?” Clark said.

“And when the lens through which they are judged becomes narrow, they are made to feel wrong. Some feel like failures from a very young age, and for all the publicity failure gets, too much of it can really take a bounce out of a child.

“By the time adolescence comes, many are disengaging from school, and the research and stats bear this out. Adolescence is difficult enough without adult-like pressures being drilled down on to these kids, and we all know about the awful stats on mental health issues. \

“That aside, when education becomes about ticking boxes, gaming the system, getting the best mark, they’re not really going to learn how to love learning are they? And really, this is what we want for our children’s education – they learn to love learning, and want to do it for the rest of their lives,” Clark said.

At Marrickville Library, Clark will discuss the accepted wisdom about schooling, expectations of parents, the purpose of education and indeed the purpose of childhood.

A must for students, parents, teachers and the community at large.

About the author
Lucy Clark is a journalist and editor with 31 years’ experience in newspapers and magazines in Sydney, London and New York. She was most recently the editor of the news and opinion website The Hoopla, and has worked as a literary editor, features writer, and opinion columnist. She is now a Senior Editor at The Guardian Australia.

Wednesday 21 September


Marrickville Library

Free. Bookings required via 9335 2173 or

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Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022