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The Week Unwrapped: Schools, births and children’s appetites

Do private schools make pupils happier? Is the NHS still failing British mothers? And when do we learn to be carnivores?

The Week and Arion McNicoll, sitting in for Olly Mann, delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped wherever you get your podcasts:

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

School happiness

A private education doesn’t lead to better mental health than state schooling, nor does it bring with it greater life satisfaction, according to a new University College London study. The lead author of the study suggested that this is the result of two opposing forces cancelling each other out: private schools are generally better equipped and better resourced, but they also apply more pressure to their students, which can lead to stress. What does this tell us about the difference between state and private schools – and how should we respond?

Maternity care

Nearly half of the maternity services in England are still considered unsafe, even after a series of scandals has drawn attention to the worst cases of malpractice. At fault seems to be a combination of factors, including a culture of complacency among some hospitals, an unwillingness to identify and correct poor care and a reluctance to offer caesarean sections more broadly. Why is the UK lagging behind its neighbours in maternity care?

Natural born carnivores

Humans are not natural born animal killers, according to recently published research, and seeing certain animals as food is a behaviour we learn in adolescence. The study found that children were more likely to say livestock should be treated like people and pets, and that eating animals is not morally acceptable. Responses appear to be highly specific to the culture in which children grow up, and to tap into feelings of disgust as well as compassion and morality. Will we eventually come to think that children are right all along.

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