Under the protection programme, sometimes called School Councils or School Shuras, villagers agree to provide a small quota of night watchmen to take turns on guard. "Parent power is exactly what it is," an education official said. "We bring parents, teachers and some key people in the community together to agree to protect the schools."
In Logar province last month, a primary school was saved by a gang of furious fathers who chased would-be arsonists into the night. The head of the local PTA, Basir, said armed men approached a co-ed primary school for more than 600 students after midnight. "They had guns and petrol to burn the school. But the guards saw them and started shouting," he said. "Everyone came out of their houses and when the terrorists realised, they ran away."
What are you doing for the PTA, Mick and Ruth? Well, I'm organising the jumble sale, and Mick is leading the school council to cut the Taliban area leader's head off and stick it on a spike.
Elsewhere, in High Wycombe, only yards from RAF Strike Command's nuclear bunker, dinner parties and interior decoration snobbery are deployed to win hearts and minds.
"It might seem a bit aspirational to be thinking a few dinner parties can change the world, but it's got to start somewhere," says Richard Hoyle, 50, another guest of the Hickmans. "Anything that's breaking down barriers has got to make a bit of a difference."Aspirational; now there's New Labour for you.