If you can afford private education but remain in the state sector cont.

(1000 Posts)
happygardening Sun 06-Jan-13 13:22:36

Thought I repost the OP although the debate has moved on a little smile .
It's going to be hard to avoid this becoming another state v private thread, but what I'm interested in is a slightly different take on that debate. It's not "which is better?" but "if you think state school is better even though you could afford private education, then why is that?"

The question is based on the assumptions that the DC in question is/are reasonably bright (so might benefit academically from academically selective education), that the state school is non-selective (as most people don't have access to grammar schools), and that you hope for your DC to go to a good university (to make the £££££ fees worthwhile!)

I've been mulling this over ever since I heard some maths professor from Cambridge talking on the radio about the age-old private v state inequality of Oxbridge admissions. He was all for improving access for state school applicants but said that the simple fact was that for maths, even the best state schools generally teach only to the A-level syllabus, whereas the best private schools take their maths/further maths A-level candidates well beyond the syllabus and so the state school applicants are at a huge disadvantage - they simply don't have the starting level of knowledge required for the course.

This made me wonder: with this sort of unequal playing field, if you have the choice of private education, what reasons might you have not to take it?

Would be interested to hear from those who've made this choice - how it's working out, or if your DC have finished school now, how did it work out? Did they go to good universities/get good jobs, etc? On the other side of things, if you paid for private schooling but now regret it, why?

My DC go to a state school by the way.

<Dons hard hat>.

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:28:37

FGS you are being deliberately obtuse, Yellow. The percentage is what's significant 30% from one highly less than 1% for most other schools is quite telling. The fact that 5 schools make up the total number of the other 4000 odd is also quite telling. I'm sorry if you don't understand that. As for the subfusc, it wasn't me that brought it up and it's you and not me that's brought it up again now but I see it as ONE of many symbols indicating that Oxford has failed to move with the times or make itself accessible to working class kids. No, it's not as important as the fact that there are no black staff and that 50% of kids have come from private schools (when less than 10% of all kids are educated in private schools) but it's one more barrier.

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:31:16

That should say 30% from ONE highly selective, fee paying school contrasted with less than 1% from most other schools.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:33:10

fivecandles - the whole point is that the raw statistics do not tell the whole story (are not "quite telling"), despite your shallow assumption that they do.

They make great headline material, if you like tabloid newspapers...

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:38:45

'I find it really out of order to impute institutionalised class warfare, sexism and racism to Oxford and Cambridge dons'

I've not said anything about sexism and I've not said it's the fault of Oxbridge dons.

However, it is wrong to suggest that the fact that you are twice as likely to get into Cambridge if you are white rather than black and have a 1 in 3 chance as opposed to a 1 in 5 chance if you are black at Oxford and that there is not a single black person out of all the academic and lab staff at Cambridge, is insignificant.

I don't honestly know why you're being so defensive, Yellow.

Most institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge, constantly monitor their intake and equal opportunities policies.

Oxford and Cambridge themselves recognize that there is a problem based on their own admissions data.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:41:04

Shock! Horror! Tabloid latest! 100% of parents who give birth are female! Government action urgently required to ensure equality and instigate quotas to ensure 50% of parents who give birth are male!

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:44:04

I don't know why some of you are so ready to let them off the hook and blame teachers instead. It's not because of teachers that white kids have twice as much chance as getting in as black kids to Cambridge now is it?

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 15:45:58

Overall there is a gradient is education achievement with those at the bottom getting worse results (from primary onwards). Obviously no university can do anything about that (nor can schools alone - but that is another topic).

But when you look at applicants who achieve top grades - those at the bottom are less likely to be successful in getting places at interview than others. This should be addressed.

As an example (which is not generalisable in itself, but illustrates the issue) last year, my DCs comp had 4 students who got through to Oxbridge interviews for science degrees. Only one was offered a place. The parent's of the student who was offered a place are both professors at a local uni. The other three were better at the subjects in terms of exam success, but did not have the same social background. This is the most probable explanation for their lack of offers.

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:46:27

Not really sure what your pont is Bonsoir. I don't think the tabloids tend to get their knickers in too much of a twist about who does and doesn't get into Oxbridge. And, of course, self evidently stats don't tell the whole story that doesn't mean we should belittle their significance. Some of you want to ask yourelves why you're quite so willing to defend Oxford and Cambridge. Are they paying you?

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:49:00

creamteas - interesting about the professional background of the successful candidate.

Here in France there are perennial noises about the disproportionate success of teacher's children in gaining entrance to the élite prépas and grandes écoles. It was found a few years back that 50% of students at one of the most prestigious engineering grandes écoles had at least one teacher parent.

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:49:09

But creamteas, the reports I've linked to say that the disparity exists even where the grades are the same.

It's also been well documented (and universities are perfectly well aware of it) that kids from private schools are outperformed by kids from state schools where at universities even where they have achieved the same grades at A Level.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:51:01

The point is: stop getting so excited about statistics, fivecandles. Yes, you. Do the analysis (with data) behind them rather than second guessing the reasons, which universities, government and all sorts of others did several decades ago.

You are to widening access what Xenia is to feminism: a product of the 1970s!

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:51:17

'Pupils from comprehensive schools are likely to do better at university than children educated at private or grammar schools with similar A-level results, according to research carried out for the government and published today.

A five-year study tracking 8,000 A-level candidates found that a comprehensive pupil with the grades BBB is likely to perform as well in their university degree as an independent or grammar school pupil with 2 As and a B.'

www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/dec/03/state-school-pupils-university

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 15:51:26

I think it is really telling that on a regular basis in August a white, middle-class three A* student sells a story to the Times/Telegraph pointing out how their application to Oxford or Cambridge was erroneously rejected.

Kids from working-class backgrounds would never do this. They do not have the same sense of entitlement.......

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 15:52:50

* the reports I've linked to say that the disparity exists even where the grades are the same*

yes, and that is what I was saying as well.... (or at least I thought I was)

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:54:03

creamteas - they don't sell their story, you know. A journalist from The Daily Telegraph goes looking for them (easy, because they will be in their social circle) and the story is put on the front page - it's what the readers want to read and what sells the newspaper.

Mominatrix Sun 06-Jan-13 15:54:54

five - I think that one study showed this, but at least on other has demonstrated this not to be true.

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 15:56:14

Bonsoir it is not about who goes to who - I think you are missing the point......

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:57:25

I went to university after a non-standard school/curriculum/school leaving diploma and, purely anecdotally, I would say I made more "progress" within the system than other students with A-level backgrounds, especially those from the best schools. The fact is that very good schools are very savvy about strategies to optimise grades, but the law of diminishing returns operates too...

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 15:58:10

I'm not missing the point, creamteas, but it is not about children feeling entitled - it's about what sells newspapers to parents!

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:58:59

If your candidate was chosen on the basis of his social background and not his exam results then that is shocking isn't it? And also contradicts those people who say that getting into Oxbridge is just about being intelligent (at odds with what the stats tell us and with what I'm arguing).

And more reason why interviews should be (and have been) banned because they allow this sort of prejudice.

So, the stats paint one picture (that you're at an advantage if your parents are wealthy) and your example just reinforces that.

fivecandles Sun 06-Jan-13 15:59:58

I must go now anyway. I have work to do.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 16:00:53

Children with teacher (or academic) parents have "insider" information and "insider" human behaviours that make them more attractive candidates because they will know better how to get the most out of their studies. Is that shocking?

happygardening Sun 06-Jan-13 16:04:18

"happy that sounds a very dull school indeed. The best grammars won't be like that at all"
As I said considered by the parents to be one of those best grammar schools. It doesn't matter whether its state or independent ed we as parents dont really know what goes on on a day to basis. i was in an unusual position and just happened to see what really happens.
"I wonder if you're just looking for a fight for the sake of it happy."
I have to say you seem very keen to pick a fight. I do not deny that these issues re Oxbridge entry exist but will not accept that teachers play no part in their existence. If there are more out there like you saying they are intimidated by gowns and continue to perpetuate the myth that Oxford and Cambridge is full of privileged Etoninans who you imply are not there because of their academic ability it is hardly surprising that so few working class children go. In the mean time the top five keep sending their pupils.
"But you never get threads about it do you and I've not seen anything in the press or in general conversation about doctors being 'to blame' or having any sort of responsibility for discrepancies between mortality rates and health in different regions."
You obviously don't read the same papers I read or listen to the same radio programmes.

creamteas Sun 06-Jan-13 16:24:01

Bonsoir Children with teacher (or academic) parents have "insider" information and "insider" human behaviours that make them more attractive candidates

It doesn't have to be teachers, the parents could have been judges, consultants or any other top of their vocation professionals.

They are only more attractive because the (top) middle-classes have been allowed to decide what is 'best' - in other words they use power to retain privilege.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 16:27:48

creamteas - really? How do you know?

I ask because in France there have been studies to examine the correlation between teacher parents and children's academic success and the studies have most definitely established causation.

Of course, teachers are not rich... privileged... influential... but they do have insider information.

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