Here in the UK it’s the first day of the new school year today. I can vividly remember the pleasure of the school summer holidays – six weeks off! – lasting from the end of July to the beginning of September, including my birthday and usually a holiday by the seaside. Summer was such a treat in that respect! Then the days would start to shorten and the nights would turn cooler and even if it felt as though it was still summer we knew that autumn and a return to school was on the way. The shops would all go on about “back to school” uniforms and stationery, and my grandfather in particular would tease me about going back to school knowing how much I wanted the holidays never to end. It wasn’t that I disliked school. I enjoyed it most of the time but there was something special about those summer holidays of childhood. Of course I never really thought about how fortunate I was to have an education until I started to study history and realised that girls in particular hadn’t always had those opportunities.