Are students in grammar schools better behaved or are private schools the solution?
I have had the privilege of having taught in all the three main types of school – Comprehensive, Grammar School and Independent (fee paying) schools and in my opinion grammar schools are really good. I found them inspiring to teach in as it is such pleasure to be making a small contribution to the development of these bright young people. However are they perfect? No. What really puzzles me is that even in many of the top grammar schools, the level of behaviour is really not up to scratch. I was speaking to a friend recently, who has just finally decided to mortgage the house and live on just bread and water and almost sell the family silver in order to fork out on private school for his daughter.
Biting the bullet …
My friend and his wife have visited well over a dozen secondary schools in the London area. Their daughter has taken countless entrance examinations for schools, including state grammar and the top independent schools. She has actually been offered a place in a few of the top grammar schools that she applied to. In the end, mainly due to what my friend’s family perceived as bad behaviour, they decided to bite the bullet, reject all the offers from the top state grammar schools and accepted a place at one of the independent schools. They did this at a considerable expense and having to make a huge amount of sacrifices. When I asked my friend why they rejected the top grammar schools, for which they do not have to pay a fortune, below are some of the reasons he provided me:
The boys are so dominating, arrogant and rude. What they said to their daughter on the day that she went for a taster session is not what I will want to repeat here. The culture in this particular school is that not enough actual teaching takes place. The teachers set work for which very little teaching of the material in the set work has taken place. Students are expected to go and do the work at home by reading up and asking a private tutor for help. Despite the fact that the students are bright, the task can only be completed satisfactorily by seeking the help of a private tutor at home.
Are Independent Schools a lot better?
Yes, independent schools are on the whole a lot better in terms of students’ behaviour and academic achievement. However, they are by no means perfect and some of them in my view are a waste of money. In many cases sending your child to an independent school means that the top universities will discriminate against them by asking him or her for higher examination grades than if they were to have attended a state school.
I will explore this issue more in a future blog.