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Private schools block social mobility

(16 Posts)
Mamie Wed 30-Oct-13 06:37:34

But not for the reasons that you might think....
An interesting article by David Kynaston in the Telegraph today...

thatbags Wed 30-Oct-13 07:40:49

A very interesting article. The last two paragraphs make rather depressing reading. I don't know what the answer is but shutting down discussion, as the author accuses BBC R4 of doing, cannot be good.

Penstemmon Wed 30-Oct-13 09:50:14

Interesting. One way forward could be, that instead of pouring money into free schools, the government fund academically able children to attend local selective & other private schools and make it a part of the schools' charitable status that at least 30% of pupil places are state funded .

Many parents pay not for the academic input from a private education but the elitism of mixing only with others from a similar socio-economic background. That keeps the 'old boy' network alive in the workplace and beyond.

Penstemmon Wed 30-Oct-13 09:51:16

I should have added 'and less academically able children to other private schools'

Eloethan Wed 30-Oct-13 10:44:38

A very interesting article. It is very unlikely that those at the top of the ladder will release their grip on it to allow those further down to overtake them, and private schools help to maintain the status quo. I don't see why private schools should benefit from charitable status.

I watched A Very English Education on BBC 2 the other day, which looked at what had happened to a group of boys who were at Radley College - a boys' public school - about whom there had been a programme made in the 1970's.

Some of the parents interviewed in the earlier programme pointed to not only the fantastic education and facilities these boys enjoyed but also the importance of attending such a prestigious school in order to remain part of a sort of "club" and to mix with the "right people". One woman even said that it was unthinkable that her children should he educated alongside "for instance, my secretary's children" who attended the local state school.

The one person who had gone on to be a wealthy banker said, when questioned, that private education did not give an unfair advantage to the better off. He said the failure was that of the state sector, which was just as capable of attaining the same high standard as private schools. I thought this laughable, given that the school consisted of a beautiful building and adjoining buildings set in acres of countryside, with fantastic facilities.

Not all the boys were academically gifted but, despite this, all seemed to have obtained if not very highly paid jobs at least creative jobs that they had chosen for themselves.

Penstemmon Wed 30-Oct-13 10:48:46

Elitism often creates people who believe they are more worthy/valuable than others and that confidence in itself can be an advantage!

ginny Wed 30-Oct-13 11:57:01

Penstemmon Some parents pay and go without themselves because the state system just was not working for their child.

Penstemmon Wed 30-Oct-13 12:02:54

Many people with very able kids or kids having a hard time at a current school could never afford fees no matter what they went without. You have to have at least £10k spare per annum for one child for a fairly cheap independent school. Whatever the reason for choosing private ed it is buying a privilege. No judgement in that just a fact because of the way our society works.

Nelliemoser Wed 30-Oct-13 12:08:43

Spot on Penstemmon Going without what Ginny food and fuel and paying the mortgage to send children to a private school. We never did have £10k to save when the children were young.

ginny Wed 30-Oct-13 13:19:21

I totally agree there are people that could never afford to pay school fees. However I do get very annoyed that many people do assume that families are rich because they do. My DGS attends a private school and it does mean that that the purse strings are very tight in every area. I have no wish to go into our private ways of managing this . His first 2 years in state school were terrible even though the school he was at had an excellent 'OFSTED' report. He is certainly flourishing now and is a confident and happy boy but by no means does he (or the rest of the family )think he is any better than anyone else.

Elegran Wed 30-Oct-13 13:35:29

Our first child started school at a private school, one of the group of Merchant Company Schools that her father had been to. We could just manage it and worked out that we could also send her sister the next year.

After she had been there less than a term, a letter was sent to parents, to say that the fees would go up the following year, to very near double. As well as a younger sister, she had a brother, who was a few years younger. There was no way we could have paid for three children to have that kind of education, so the two girls went to the local state school from the following autumn, joined by their brother later.

None of them have suffered, educationally or socially. Their friends come from many backgrounds, they can mix with people of all types, and they all have rewarding jobs, though with the usual setbacks here and there.

Penstemmon Wed 30-Oct-13 13:52:47

Ginny you will note I said 'often' not always.

The majority of children in the UK are educated in good state schools and if families are happy with the school they attend then the children tend to do well. I suppose that is the irritation, that the majority are in state schools but the minority who control the systems are more likely to be from the smaller group of privately educated. Hence the feeling that privately educated are advantaged!

There will be goodies and baddies and in betweenies from both sectors but I do not think those, in positions of power, who have never experienced state schools really understand how they work and the issues they face! So decisions they make mess the systems up! But despite this persistent interference from politicos the majority of state schools battle on to do the very best for their brightest and their most needy.

Eloethan Wed 30-Oct-13 15:25:15

The fees at Harrow, Harrogate Ladies' College, Westminster, Rodean, Stowe, etc., are around £10,000 a term, not counting extra costs for various kits, music lessons, etc. Even our local private secondary level day school in East London is around £4,500-5,000 a term.

I believe the average salary is around £26,000 p.a. (and averages are notoriously misleading) and I feel that, however much scrimping and scraping was done, the majority of families would not be able to afford private education for even one child.

Penstemmon Wed 30-Oct-13 16:00:42

Indeed! Our local boys public school is about £30k a year plus 'extras'!

My DGD1 is a bright and able girl and even if she got a scholarship, which she might be academically able to do, to the local private girls school (not a well known one!) it would still cost about £10k a year which DD and SiL could not to commit to for her. They certainly could not afford for her little sister to go too! Hopefully, as she is a sparky kid, she will do brilliantly at the local state school!

Deedaa Wed 30-Oct-13 20:48:58

When my children were at school we had a neighbour whose son had a scholaship to the local private school because he had dyslexia and they were running a dyslexia progtramme. They were a nice normal family, but after a couple of terms he was becoming very aware of how much all his possessions had cost and how cheap our children's toys were in comparison. His mother wasn't at all like this so I am sure he picked up the attitude at school.
One of my daughter's friends is putting a lot of pressure on his 7 year old to get into a "good" school where he will meet the right people. In spite of being put in a very structured nursery when he was 4 his writing is still almost illegible and his vocabulary isn't great. I can't help feeling it will take more than the right people to overcome his problems.

grannyactivist Wed 30-Oct-13 21:18:38

When I was at Uni one of my sons went to a private pre-prep school from the ages of 3-5, simply because it was actually a cheaper option than the local nursery. He is a very intelligent boy anyway, but I have to say that the grounding he got there has stood him in good stead throughout his academic life. The other parents had very ordinary jobs too: plumbers, shopkeepers, secretaries etc. but for those with more than one child at the school very real sacrifices were being made.