Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Outdated Rubbish?

My blog about Public Schools on the TES web site has attracted a couple of comments. ‘Sinstarcool’ wrote,

“This is outdated rubbish! Most public schools are full of the children of hard working middle class parents who make huge sacrifices so that their children do not have to enter the state education lottery.”

I’m not so sure about the “hard working middle class parents”, remember that public schools only educate 7% of children. There was an interesting article by Roy Hattersley in ‘The Guardian’ on Tuesday about Charterhouse, the fees are £26,000 a year, as he pointed out you would need a taxable income starting at £40,000. Only the financial elite can afford money like that.

Some “hard working middle class parents” do send their children to the less pricey minor public schools, partly because they want to avoid the “education lottery” and partly to avoid the mass of the unwashed. I’ve no doubts that public schools like Eton, Harrow and Charterhouse give their pupils an excellent education. As for some of the minor public schools… the truth is, they just aren’t that good.

An interesting post was from ‘Fartist’,

“This is a tricky subject for me, but it’s worth talking about. How can I put this, I went to a public school. Yet I agree with Mr Read on a fair few points that he has mentioned. There is still a divide in this country and it is an economic one. The opportunities for public school children are far greater then those children who went to state schools.

“I remember as a kid not understanding my surroundings because some of the kids attitudes were peculiar. Yes my parents were lucky and had both gone to good schools. They were what you might call upwardly mobile (middle class) parents. My dad worked incredibly hard and suffered from stress for years to put me and my brother in public schools-he did this himself, my mother worked hard at home and concentrated on home values. These patterns are old fashioned now and not really achievable in today’s society. What I found hard to deal with at public school was the value that was given to 'Things’ or 'possessions', it made me feel so angry. Peoples holidays, their cars, their new clothes, what salary daddy made in his high flying career! There was no reality. There was only one boy in the whole school who got there through a scholarship, I really liked him, he had a positive outlook on life.

“Well I was a hermit at school, I would go and find somewhere where I could be alone (sad!), but I just found everyone so annoying. I found it hard to learn at school and felt guilty because my dad was paying. I did not go on to high flying job after school, although I have achieved in my own way-I became a teacher! I also learnt more out of school then I ever did at school. I now teach in an FE state run school. I guess there is some irony there-or maybe not! Who knows? But I think there is always two sides to every story.”

Many years ago someone from my school won a place at Balliol College, Oxford. The discrimination and snobbery against students from minor public schools was unbelievable, coming from the state sector he was viewed as some kind of insect that had crawled out from under a stone, he only lasted a year.


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