Episode #6: Anthony Seldon, Head of Epsom College

Anthony Seldon

In this episode, Charlie speaks to Sir Anthony Seldon, political author and the current head of Epsom College. Anthony has led three of the most influential independent schools in the UK and was the vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, the UK’s first private university. As the official biographer of No. 10 Downing Street, Seldon has also written the authorised biographies of consecutive Prime Ministers over the last 25 years, from John Major to Boris Johnson.

The conversation with Seldon ranged widely, from defining the role of education as ‘to lead out students potential’ and establishing leaders as ‘releasers’. Seldon reflects on the damaging effect of standardisation on the education system, which leaves little room for individuality and connects the dots between positive psychology and student performance.

Seldon reflects on what makes a good (and bad) prime minister. He also affirms that schools no longer teach character, suggesting this may be why recent prime ministers led with their career prospects in mind and not their principles. Seldon also offers up the idea that the politics of today are shifting to a consumer form of politics rather than a conviction of principle-led politics.

Seldon’s deep spirituality and broad education and experience provides rich insights from this episode of the Culture de-cooded podcast. 

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00:00:00-Introduction, diverse career and upbringing.

00:05:20-Education system and its impact on students.

00:13:19-Effective Leadership and length of tenure.

00:16:54-Political Leadership

00:20:04-Leaders as releasers

00:27:17-‘Politics should be principle-led, not consumer driven’

00:36:00-Energy,ego and building bridges.

00:47:36-Seldon’s journey as a song.

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