On Friday 9 October, the LV and UV year groups were privileged to welcome Irene Duckfield to speak about ‘Fathers in Jane Austen'. Each year group is studying one of Austen's novels for GCSE: ‘Mansfield Park' and ‘Pride and Prejudice' respectively. Mrs Duckfield delivered an extremely interesting and engaging talk, exploring the roles of the fathers and their failings in both books, and stressing their importance to the plots, as well as the effects of their behaviour on their daughters. She highlighted the prevailing absence of good fathers in Jane Austen's novels, and presented many thought-provoking comments on Mr Bennet and the fathers of ‘Mansfield Park', which were readily debated in the questions afterwards. The topics discussed ranged from Mr Bennet's financial mismanagement to what is expected of fathers in modern society. Both years were left very grateful to Mrs Duckfield for a fascinating analysis of each novel and, no doubt, an admirable set of notes for GCSE!