'The Berlin Wall Manifesto' to reduce the divide between state & private schools

(125 Posts)
AmberTheCat Tue 04-Mar-14 10:46:36

This has arisen out of a series of recent articles in the New Statesman, picking up on various politicians' claims to want to break down the 'Berlin Wall' between state & private education.

What do we think?

1. Require private schools to sponsor at least one academy, and/or work in partnership with an academy provider, giving access to facilities and staff.

2. Allow private schools to convert to state school status through the Free Schools & Academies Programme.

3. Make private school charitable status conditional on freely offering 25% of places via random lottery to the most vulnerable children. No academic selection allowed.

4. Weaken the link between private schools and top universities by providing the highest GCSE scorer in each state school the opportunity to take a guaranteed interview at their choice of Cambridge, Durham or Oxford.

5. Disclosure of private schools’ accounts to give full details of bursaries, charitable activities and their impact.

6. Agree to take part in a Cross-Party Commission dedicated to finding the most practical way to fully implement these policies.

ReallyTired Sat 08-Mar-14 21:03:01

1. Require private schools to sponsor at least one academy, and/or work in partnership with an academy provider, giving access to facilities and staff.

A lot depends on size and type of school of school. Prehaps very small private schools should team up so that they are not bancrupted. Also some private schools are such poor quality they have nothing to offer the state sector in expertise. I really don't want some weird fundermental christian private school sponsoring my daughter's failing school.

2. Allow private schools to convert to state school status through the Free Schools & Academies Programme.

That is already the case.

3. Make private school charitable status conditional on freely offering 25% of places via random lottery to the most vulnerable children. No academic selection allowed.

Unworkable. This would push the fees up so high as to bankcrupt the school.

4. Weaken the link between private schools and top universities by providing the highest GCSE scorer in each state school the opportunity to take a guaranteed interview at their choice of Cambridge, Durham or Oxford.

Unworkable

5. Disclosure of private schools’ accounts to give full details of bursaries, charitable activities and their impact.

Happens already

6. Agree to take part in a Cross-Party Commission dedicated to finding the most practical way to fully implement these policies.

Assuming that there would be any cross part, yet a lone private school for some of these looney policies. Private schools already have considerable influence on goverment policy.

I get the feeling the OP is anti private schools

anitasmall Sat 08-Mar-14 19:47:17

It is not entirely a world of privilege where exams do not matter???

BananaChoccyPancake Sat 08-Mar-14 12:07:27

"*choice of any Oxbridge/Russell Group uni*"

In fact, any uni, because some non-Russell Group unis are "the best" for particular subjects.

BananaChoccyPancake Sat 08-Mar-14 11:48:19

OP, I like the manifesto. I haven't read anyone else's comments (so sorry if I'm repeating), but here are mine:

- Make points 1, 5 and 6 a condition of charity status, not just number 3.

- Widen the scope of number 4, e.g. top 5 performers to choice of any Oxbridge/Russell Group uni. (Not sure why you picked out Durham in particular, and some Russell Group unis have higher status than Oxbridge in some departments - it depends on the subject). I would also include an option of a guaranteed interview for a Higher Apprenticeship scheme of choice, e.g. this one. They're the new gold standard apprenticeships and should be given equal status with more acdemic routes.

LauraBridges Fri 07-Mar-14 17:25:56

Yes, but if Prince H were not a prince his GCSEs would make it harder even if he were well connected - no way would he have got to university (or not one that leads to good obs) or been able to qualify as a doctor or lawyer for example. It is not entirely a world of privilege where exams do not matter.

racmun Fri 07-Mar-14 13:37:57

That's the point LoValcan even if you get rid of private schools it won't stop people pulling strings to get their children work experience etc through their connections.

We're not all born equal and the royal family is IMO the embodiment of privilege

TalkinPeace Fri 07-Mar-14 12:15:26

DH was in a prep school recently where they are very worried about the effect Russian/Ukranian sanctions might have on their cashflow wink

LaVolcan Fri 07-Mar-14 12:10:14

Prince Harry's GCSE results do not seem to have held him back.

LauraBridges Fri 07-Mar-14 11:30:01

Indeed. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - look at Prince Harry's GCSE results for example.

AmberTheCat Fri 07-Mar-14 10:34:28

We may reap what we sow, but some people have much more fertile soil than others into which to sow.

LauraBridges Fri 07-Mar-14 07:04:29

nibs' comments are very wise. We tend to reap what we sow in life. Even those few who leave school with no qualifications but work very hard often make their own luck. All I want for my children (all in private schools (or were in private schools before university)) is that they make informed choices. That might be a choice to live on a beach or become a monk in Bhutan but it needs to be an informed choice. I have spent 30 years advising many many different companies and entrepreneurs. They certainly come from all backgrounds. Many fail. Hard work often pays off for them and they need to be reasonably bright to juggle all the balls.

The comments above that those who do "best" in the best jobs are from private schools but mostly male private schools is an interesting one. North London Collegiate for example where one of mine went to has some reasonably successful ex pupils, all girls but I accept that too many women from all kinds of schools drop out of work in their 30s, lean out and very often regret it which stops even privately educated girls getting on. Another issue is that there are still families where money is spent on the education of boys - Tatler had an article last year on it - the father was writing - send son to Eton but daughter can go to a posh comp as she'll only marry and breed so no point in bothering to spend money on the education of a daughter who will marry a man who will keep her for life (obviously not my view but still the view of some).

smee Fri 07-Mar-14 00:08:48

Fair points racmum, but then again Rome wasn't built in a day. There was no NHS until bold thinkers made it happen post the second world war. (yes I know the NHS co-exists with private healthcare, but am just talking of radical thought and what it can do).

Radical change takes vision and some big bold ideas. Implementing any of that's tricky, but it's at least worth thinking about.

racmun Thu 06-Mar-14 23:07:54

If you can afford private school then you're paying plenty of tax already. At my son's school if fees went up 20% a lot of people would drop out.

Where would they then be schooled? The local schools are bursting at the seams- how would they cope with having to school all the children dropping out of the private sector.

There wouldn't be any extra money just less money for each child how would that help?

Also lots of people don't pay for private schools directly but buy a house in the right area at an inflated house or they find god. The only way to make the state system fair would be to have a lottery allocation.

For those willing the demise if private schools I think your efforts would be better spent improving the state sector

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 22:57:23

Love that last comment, nibs. Etonians often don't need to apply for jobs. Look at Cameron - he boasted about working his way up from the bottom, then it was revealed his first job was with Carlton - can't remember who though someone he knew/ was connected though apparently - oh and his starting salary was £70,000. I'm not saying that's true for all of them, but it's hardly somewhere that holds you back.

Broadly speaking surely we all agree there are inequalities? It's undeniably easier for some to get on than others isn't it? So yes we absolutely have to think outside the box. It's not just about me/ you/ our individual families it's about all kids, every single one. That's what this thread is about; how can we level that inequality and bring the walls tumbling down? So why not be bold and radical? How can it ever be equalised when there's a whole elitist separate system?

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 22:39:53

and to be honest, if you need a job and are not independently wealthy, having Eton on your CV is likely to turn as many future potential employers off as it does on these days.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 22:35:24

Martorana

"all the movers and shakers come from the 7% who are privately educated - regardless of brain or talent"

this is simply not true....many of them would have been movers and shakers because of inherited wealth or well connected or well educated parents irrespective of whether they go private or state...you will of course find more children of rich successful families at private because they can afford it of course. Some of them may be downwardly mobile though compared to their parents and will find their own children can't afford private or to buy nice houses.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 22:29:33

one of the richest people I personally know of was a plumber turned property developer ...then there are those two married teachers that created a multi million pound buy to let empire...but those days of building fortunes out of property when starting out with very little (and self certified mortgages) may be gone...I think you need money in teh first place to play that game now.

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:53:41

Talking . He isn't from "Fulham" is He.....

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 21:32:37

That is true martorana but there are also other minority clubs that pack a punch...Oxbridge being one.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 21:31:53

motown3000
he's a plumber
he never built a company

you need to think outside the box a LOT more

I have a client who is in his 20's uneducated but has just had a lucky break - no business empire, no employees - he'll do OK

University is an utter irrelevance for the trades

you also assume that all university educated people are making a good living : I've never seen stats to support that
FFS there are hundreds of SAHM graduates on MN

you got Soul.

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 21:27:58

I do think there is a misunderstanding about what people are saying is "not fair".

Peopl are not saying that it's not fair that some people can afford to go private and they can't. People wr saying that it is not fair that our society is organized in such a way that all the movers and shakers come from the 7% who are privately educated - regardless of brain or talent. And, incidentally mostly boys who are privately educated. Interestingly, th schools that pack the most punch are almost without exception, boys schools.

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 21:27:49

Oh Lord, whilst we can all come up with anecdotal cases of people who have made millions without a decent education (I know someone who inherited soem dry cleaners and got bought out by Johnsons for 1.8 million) the reality is that most of us won't do that!

Most of us who are the highest earners will be either highly educated or highly business minded or most likely both.

Them's the facts.

bonvivant Thu 06-Mar-14 21:12:37

As someone who pays private school fees, I disagree. I already subsidise state schools by paying my taxes. The public sector gets enough of my money - it is just inefficient in how it uses that money.

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:04:54

Repeated Myself Sorry.....

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:03:34

Talkinpeace. Your friend if he was 16/17 Today would Probably taking A Levels and looking for a Degree course . Its just the way things are today ,even remotely bright people as 35-40% are University Bound these days not the Maximum 10% of 25- 30 years. The reality is even to be able to have the chance to use his "Brilliant" Deal Closing Ability requires A University Education

. A kid today will just not get the chance in twenty years time, your friend was able to build up a big company though his ability and no doubt though support of bank loans and overdrafts. ( Banks will not Lend to a non Educated person without Assets A dime) The same person with Guile and hard work will not be competing with 10% University or higher Educated people but 40% . It will be at least 4 Times Harder to get in to the position your friend found himself him ( without factoring that Banks will not Lend a Dime to a non Educated Person without Assets).

I have only just started posting but have been reading your posts for a while . I know you post statistics a lot and using your own Statistics the real Mean Wage in the United Kingdom is about £21- 23000 PA . If 35% of the population are University Educated another 5% have Entrepreneurial skills and they are challenging for £21-23000 PA. Jobs . What Wages are the rest looking at 12-15000 PA ? . This problem is not just going to face Working Class kids but many Middle class kids are going to be drawn in to the same situation with a Maximum earning potential of 12-15K PA.

You could just about survive on £250 A Week in A 1 bed Flat In Burnley on that ,currently the cheapest place to live in England. This is going to be the reality for many many kids leaving school.

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