Elitist Britain – are private schools to blame?
I was listening to “Any Questions” yesterday on BBC Radio 4 and the issue of “elitist Britain” came up again. Irrespective of which side of the border you are or to which social class you think you belong, if you are a parent, you can’t help but to immediately think about your child/children – thinking, what they are likely to end up as later in life.
Radio 4 was quoting from a new report by the Sutton Trust (this is a UK educational charity which aims to improve social mobility and address educational disadvantage in society).
Below are two of the report’s key findings.
- Two fifths (39%) of the elite group as a whole were privately educated, more than five times as many as the population at large, while a quarter (24%) had graduated from Oxbridge.
- Less than a third (32%) of Britain’s 130 medallists attended fee-paying schools, a four percentage point reduction from London 2012, when 36% of Team GB’s medal-winners were privately educated.
You can see links to the full reports at the bottom of this page.
Many people find it rather surprising, and in fact depressing in some cases, that the so-called well-off people – those who send their children to independent schools, are not only buying privilege and success in educational attainment but also in sports – where there is supposed to be a level-playing field!
For the purpose of this discussion, I will leave sports aside and focus on educational attainment and future prospects.
Like almost every parent, I’m sure you’ll agree with me on the huge importance of your child’s education, as it has long-lasting ramifications. The findings of the Sutton Trust are very serious indeed, and, in fact, some people are astonished. The points made are, in fact, statistically correct; however, when you dig deep, you may find that the issue of private/state education is not so is not so black and white.
Here are some questions you may want to think about.
- Are all private schools better than state schools?
- Are the excellent results achieved by grammar schools and a handful of good state schools due only to the hard work of the teachers in those schools or is there a hidden truth somewhere?
- Is there a serious issue of underachievement in schools and is this prevalent in state schools only?
- Is there a pattern in terms of practices and behaviours that are common amongst the families of teenagers who achieve the top exam grade and go on to the top universities and are all these young people just very brilliant?
- Are there things you can do as a parent to get more out of your child’s education and is it all about spending more money?
If you’ll permit me, I’d like to share with you a few observations and thoughts on this critical matter.
- On the follow-up programme to “Any Question”, called “Any Answers” on Radio 4, a lady called in and stated how she became very ill after having to work 14 hours a day – just to be able to send her child to a private school as she could not get a place for her son in local good state schools
- In my teaching career, I have taught in state comprehensive, grammar and independent (private) schools. Although I have no problem whatsoever with private education, I wouldn’t send my child to most of them if you paid me to do so!
- I used to teach in a grammar school in the late 1990s, where they sent about 15 students to Oxbridge every year – more than most independent schools
Next Saturday – 6th July 2019, I am presenting a FREE masterclass live seminar at 3pm in central London. At that event, solutions will be offered to these puzzling questions and there will be plenty of success tips. Also, my colleagues and I, with an excellent track record of teaching young people, who have gone on the achieve highly, and with a combined teaching experience of over 150 years, will be answering any questions you may have with regard to your child’s education.
Are the 7% really evil?
There is just one clarification I’d like to make with regards to the title for this blogpost, which contains the phrase “evil 7%” It is meant to be thought-provoking as I am not at all against private schools. In fact, I think they are centres of excellence and they not only nurture academic, sports and artistic talents, they also allow young people who may not be academic enough to get into grammar schools to shine. In my view, there should be a lot more grammar schools in Britain and we should shy away from political correctness and give a chance to young people from parents who cannot afford private education to do well academically.
Our Guest Speaker at the event, Mike Southon, spoke briefly and recorded a one-minute video on why you should attend that event. See below for a link.
Links to the Sutton Trust report are below