71% of 'top people' went to private school, or grammar school

(282 Posts)
joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 13:27:14


"Ten leading independent schools accounted for 12% of the leading people for which schools data was available. These are: Eton College; Winchester College; Charterhouse School; Rugby School; Westminster School; Marlborough College; Dulwich College; Harrow School; St Paul’s Boys’ School; Wellington College (see table 1 for top 100 schools). "

It's interesting that these leading schools are pretty much ALL boarding schools, the significance of which is that the fees tend to be around £30k/year (so I reckon this is as much about parental connections as anything else)

Wellington does not have a glittering academic reputation, sending handfuls to Oxford. Charterhouse, on £32k/year, has a fraction of the Oxbridge admissions of the nearby Royal Grammar School, Guildford (fees only £13k/year) - which is present in the list, at #58, but behind schools for the rich but dim such as Bradfield

The leading independent schools that aren't exclusively boarding schools (and therefore implying super-rich parents) are all in London, which is home of the elite.

The leading comps are Holland Park School, where lefties send their kids for ideological reasons and which has had £10s of millions lavished on it, and Haverstock School, which is likewise a popular choice with the left-wing elite.

Just 10% of 'top people' attended a comprehensive.

Of course these figures are calculated many years in arrears, so not the best guide for the future, but the 44% of leading people who attended private schools I guess will increase, as the 27% who went to grammars die off (i.e. most of the grammar schools listed are now comps)

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 13:39:15

Yes, I posted this (from the Times article version) on a couple of other threads today. It's interesting. The Times also interviews a man who is worth £100m (pity it's not a woman) who is one of the 20% of those at the top who didn't even go to university. However people like him do have it harder.

Sutton Trust is worried that as most of the grammars have gone social mobility will get worse not better.

Isn't it just that clever people flock to those areas though? I am from the NE but moved South for work and got my children into what I think Sutton Trust found a few years ago were the 1st and 5th best schools for good university entrance. That was a deliberate choice and would be formed by the fact we are reasonably bright (so they could get in) and interested in interesting well paid careers etc etc.

My 3 who ave graduated are good examples of this. There is a bit of a gulf from my mother's 52 first cousins most of whom we never met who mostly tended to stay where they were. So the social mobility my parents achieved were (a) both being very clever which is probably just inherent and then (b) passing for state grammar schools and (c) picking professions not trades (d) going to university (e) waiting to have children 13 years until they could afford school fees etc etc.

So working this social mobility through the result is the children then did quite well and hopefully our children now will too and a big new issue is my 3 children graduated totally debt free (as most people my age graduated debt free 30 years ago because of grants or parental support) whereas others they studied with tend to have student debt - not that I am saying student debt is unmanageable for many but it is still a difference from 30 years ago and might have social mobility implications. Perhaps we would hvae been better limiting university to the top 15% but keeping those places funded by grants or parents and recognising that many degrees aren't needed and many teachers, nurses and many other jobs just don't really need a degree at all.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:42:39


peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 13:46:10

This is an unpalatable truth. I hope people who support state education will do something to change this rather than go into denial or joke that it's boring.

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 14:01:31

The top schools are actually mostly boarding schools though.

Of the top you've got:

Eton - boarding
Winchester - boarding
Charterhouse - boarding
Rugby - boarding
Westminster - boarding + day
Marlborough - boarding
Dulwich - boarding + day
Harrow - boarding
St Pauls - boarding + day
Wellington - boarding
Stowe - boarding
Shrewsbury - boarding
Highgate - boarding (now day)
Ampleforth - boarding
Habs Boys - day
Bryanston - boarding
St Paul's Girls - day
Tonbridge- boarding
Kings Cantebury - boarding
Sherborne - boarding
Manchester Grammar - day

There isn't a particular link to the London elite, the link actually appears to be the ability (or desire, perhaps) to pay £££ for boarding fees.

This is obviously historical/retrospective and not a predictor of the future, perhaps modern successful parents (who will tend to begat successful children) are now sending their children more to London day schools and less to boarding schools in shitholes like Rugby, but who knows....

Precious few girls schools on the list btw....

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 14:05:11

So, first question; how are they defining 'leading people'?

OK, so it's people who appeared in the Times/Indie birthday announcements. Scientific! grin OK, so the data are what they are, let's move on.

Last page of the report is maybe the most relevant to the thread title, it splits various professions into their school backgrounds. The biggest % for 'Independent' are; Armed Forces, Business, Financial Services, Law and 'Public Service' (eh? is this a euphemism for 'royalty'?)

Not really any surprises there.

For example, I bet the 'notable' lawyers are the ones who have gone down the barrister/QC/judge route, which is coincidentally the one where family connections and cash are the most useful. The state school kid who's now a partner at Allen & Overy, say, through talent and hard work, isn't going to make their list.

NewFerry Tue 20-Nov-12 14:06:24

Looking at the table the figures are

44% - Independent schools
27% - Grammar schools
21% - Comprehensive/secondary modern schools
8% - direct grant schools (Wikipedia tells me that these received approx half their funding from the LEA and the other half from private pupils )

So, you could say that (27+21) 48% of successful people went to state schools as compared to 52% at independent schools.

Or, that those who argue in favour of state selection at 11 should take note that those at Grammar schools were only 7% more successful than those at comprehensive schools

I guess it depends how you read the statistics.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:08:42


chewing over a newspaper story that is based on dubious numbers (I won't even credit them with being statistics) is not going to make one iota of difference.

Me making sure that my comp educated kids get to the top of the heap will, so that is where my energy is going.

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 14:13:12

TP, there are comp-educated kids in every field of life, the report shows that. Presumably their parents made sure they got to the top of the heap (or they did it themselves, or whatever).

Private education does not guarantee success, any more than comprehensive education ascertains failure.There is just a correlation between success and educational background.

peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 14:13:43

So you don't care about the other state educated children then TalkinPeace ?

And it's usually private school parents who are accused of only being concerned with their own children's outcomes.

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 14:16:17

> So, you could say that (27+21) 48% of successful people went to state schools as compared to 52% at independent schools.

Yes that's true, but only 7% of the population is educated privately, 93% at state, so that makes you about 8 times more likely to be successful if you went to private school.

> Or, that those who argue in favour of state selection at 11 should take note that those at Grammar schools were only 7% more successful than those at comprehensive schools

They weren't 7% more successful. A much smaller % of the population went to grammar school than a comp, I don't know the numbers, but if say 10% of people went to grammars, and 80% to state, that makes the grammar school kids about 3 time more successful! Not 7%!

> I guess it depends how you read the statistics.


TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:25:10

I care about all children, I've been a school governor, a PTA treasurer, I've helped out at school, DH works some of the time in widening participation at RG unis

I just find these threads insufferably irritating, full of posts based on poor extrapolations of incomplete, outdated and biased data sets

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 14:26:57

Here's a not unrelated story:


Basically state schools don't prepare students adequately to study maths at Oxbridge. Presumably because GCSEs and A levels are so easy these days, and state schools will understandably teach to the test.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:29:34

yeah, state schools are just shit at everything
tough on the 90% of the population who can afford no better.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 14:31:38

Frankly, I don't think there is an easy way of changing it. People are always going to give jobs to their friends and relatives. Certain jobs (eg barrister) are much easier to get into if you can afford to live in London and work for peanuts for a few years. <shrug>

It is a shame for the UK as a whole though, I think. We end up with companies - and the country, to an extent - being run by the boys who went to the right school and knew the right people, rather than actually being the best for the job. The whole country loses out, really, but what can you do? Revolution? Not today, I've got the school run.

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 14:34:30

We'd all best move to Winchester, eh.

My local sixth form college boasts of 14% to ST30 unis.....

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:36:28

I don't live in Winchester. But the bus to PSC goes past my door every morning and afternoon ....

Farewelltoarms Tue 20-Nov-12 14:42:16

I think it's so simplistic to interpret these as a state v private thing. a) it's an establishment paper's birthday lists, b) Eton supplies about as much as the next six or seven put together c) more shocking than the boarding school thing is the lack of women.
If you think that sending your child to some provincial private school is going to catapult him/her to the head of the judiciary, then you're wrong. The gulf between the 'top' (by this reckoning) private schools and other private schools is wider than between private and state generally.
For what it's worth I went to a private school and I can say it hasn't helped me to network in any way. There are way more famous/successful alumni from my children's 50% FSM inner city primary than from the vast majority of schools from either sector. Influence and success are results of many different factors: talent, parents, geography, opportunity, connections, education and it's a complex algorithm.

Lilymaid Tue 20-Nov-12 14:43:45

So who are these top people and why are they top?
I noticed that DS' school doesn't get in the list, though it is always in the top ranks for academic achievement. But then, its pupils go on to be doctors/academics/scientists/engineers/other professionals rather than politicians/actors/footballers.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:45:49

apparently its the people who get their birthday listed in the Times - so mostly fuckwit politicians.
If it was done on high earners, and included a lot of the boys in braces in the city, the balance would be very, very different.

peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 14:48:55


Not all barristers have to work in London.

ISingSoprano Tue 20-Nov-12 14:51:54

feels grateful for the random decision we took to live in Winchester and thus giving our dc's the opportunity to go to PSC wink

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 14:52:09

joanbyers, I can't read the Times article in full. The gist is that an ind. student applying for Maths at Cambridge is twice as likely to be accepted as state; at Oxford they're 50% more likely?

Although I did notice that 'Science' in the Sutton Trust paper was one of the least independent-dominated professions, 34%. And they'll be your Richard Dawkins' (Oundle) and your Robert Winstons (St Paul's). I think the next generation of scientists will be even less 'indie'.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 14:54:51

Indeed, peas, but I get the impression that provincial types are rather less favoured when it comes to handing out the old silk, no? Certainly less remunerated.

loveroflife Tue 20-Nov-12 14:58:38

"Top" according to who? Are you a "top person" if you went to one of the mentioned schools? A good education doesn't make a person into a "top" person. Is that person still considered a "top" person if they have a narrow view of life, only mixing with others from fortunate backgrounds and privilege?

The merits of a "top person" would take too long to debate, but is someone compassionate, kind, aware of ALL walks of life and can relate to anyone in any situation and their circumstances.

What the report should read is 71% of people who went to private or grammar school are fortunate enough to work in careers that pay four/five time above the national average.

It's laughable to define an individual as a "top person" by their desired career and how much money they earn. Bankers anyone?

peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 15:12:26

I don't think that's true Boulevard A lot of the really top people are in London, but not all, by any means. There are lots of lower rank people in London and plenty of high earners and achievers in the provinces...

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 15:48:07

Yeah, but we're talking general trends here, so I'm just painting a rough picture. Broad strokes and all.

Just been Wikipedia'ing the process for choosing QCs, and it seems to have got more egalitarian than it used to be 15-20 years ago, so again, maybe law is another field that will be less indie-dominated in future.

Iggly Tue 20-Nov-12 15:55:54

It's an old boys network on a grand scale. Promote/employ people from schools/universities you know. It's probably not even a conscious thing.

peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 16:01:47

That's a fair point Boulevard but I get twitchy about Londoncentric attitudes on here>

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 16:35:04

One reason the girls' schools which are pretty high up are not right at the top is as soon as many women were about to achieve anything they decide they'd rather be at home and dust as they married sexist men who expect them to be home ironing shirts.

legallady Tue 20-Nov-12 16:57:51

Someone upthread (can't find it now) commented that the report was based on past data and was not a predictor of the future. Hopefully this is true. However, looking at the big old London law firm that I work in, things really haven't changed. I know for a fact that every partner in my department was privately educated - and that's all of them - and several of them at "top" public schools. I would love to think that things were changing, but looking at the trainees coming through the system, the state educated ones are very much the exception to the rule.

I take a particular interest in this as I was state educated myself and throughout my career (interrupted by children and dusting wink) I have been shocked at how few of us I have come across!

NigellasGuest Tue 20-Nov-12 17:03:59

who are these "top people"?
lawyers, bankers, etc?
Don't want my DCs to become that, particularly!

CecilyP Tue 20-Nov-12 17:11:43

And not everyone who went to a 'top school' becomes one of the 'top people'. I have a friend who went to Harrow and he hasn't really achieved much in life. I doubt if the old boys network helps much either if you dont already mix in those circles which he certainly didn't.

Actually the choice of 'top people' included in the list seems pretty random.

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 17:12:32

The article has more to do with the “old tie” network than anything else.

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:20:19

Yes, privately educated article writers produce propaganda to encourage desperate parents to sustain the alma mater of said article writer and friends, by frightening them into thinking comprehensive schools aren't getting people into top jobs because they are rubbish rather than because people recruiting to the top jobs (from same schools as article writers...) think said schools are rubbish. It's an excellent way of perpetuating a ridiculous system. I wonder how many state educated children got into the top jobs when... ooh, now, let's think... most children weren't educated beyond the age of 12... which was not actually that long ago...

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:24:15

Could it possibly be that the situation now is actually far better than it was not all that long ago?

And does the article actually investigate whether the loss of most grammar schools has resulted in a drop off of state educated people heading for the top, or just a drop off in grammar school educated people heading for the top? Or does it just witter on about people educated donkeys years ago who should have retired before they got senile, but didn't? grin

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:27:10

It's bound not to be very accurate. If a huge number of some of the brightest children in an area are educated at one school rather than one per comp over a vast area the children in the selective school will do very well by numbers.

The study also found 20% of the top people did not go to university so equally headlines could have been leave school at 16 and you can be a leader in Britain.

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:34:40

And is it not hugely unimaginative to think that people are either going off to be world leaders or are working in call centres, Xenia? Because you do seem to imply that you think too many people in state schools are being encouraged to do the latter (as though schools really are pushing this as an excellent career choice hmm), when the self same people could have been encouraged to be hospital consultants. Are there not an absolutely colossal range of possible career choices between cleaner and High Court Judge/Prime Minister???? Are private schools making the career options of their students too blinkered? Wouldn't a supposedly superior education be useful in a wider range of fields??? Couldn't it be said that private schools are spectacularly failing the country, if they really are producing people of a higher calibre but then shoe horning them into a tiny range of careers? Are they not power seeking more than is good for the country?

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 17:38:28

It could be free advertising for boarding schools as they list practically every boarding school in the country, good and bad!

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:50:54

Oooh. Let's all send our children to boarding school - clearly being away from your parents as much as possible is good for your future leadership potential.

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:53:51

I bet English public schools have produced more murderous African dictators than English comprehensives have.

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:57

Well yes I was thinking of that Eton man who I think did some takeover in Guinea and was released from prison about a year ago.

I think people from private schools do pursue a range of careers. I remember seeing a photo with careers of Prince Harry's year or Cameron's at school and there was variety from artists to journalists to more conventional careers in the City.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:05:29

Certainly being from the provincial cities (I.e not London) Ime the school tie gets you nowhere and you may not earn as much but you don't need to. I think this will change in the future as more educated parents sent their kids to comps. Don't forget the generation they are looking had had less well educated parents and therefore school was more important. Less so now. More dependent upon parents backgrounds who generally choose a comp over a backwater private although the stronghold of Sony top indies unlikely to be broken until they become full of foreign students who will pay more and then go back home to take positions of power in their home countries.

Asinine Tue 20-Nov-12 18:14:00

I detest the expression "he's worth £squillions"

No, he earns £squillions.

Top of what? If you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:14:04

Most of the professionals I deal with take great pains to get their kids into the top streams of good comps. Certainly that seems to be the trend here. They still aspire for the kids but loathe to give them it on a plate.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:15:13

Having said that they still tutor when required so still buying advantage.

MordionAgenos Tue 20-Nov-12 18:17:06

I read the full double page spread in the paper. Martin O'Neil is one of these 'top people'. As is Ray Winstone. So there you have it.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:20:36

It is quite common for family businesses to struggle when the grandson takes over. Grandfather starts from nothing, father works hard but comes from little more as wealth taken up in business but reaps the benefit as grand child born into life of privilege and then completely wrecks business because they never had to strive. It just makes me wonder whether we are now in the father generation and have worked hard to continue building wealth but then could make it too easy for our kids. Sorry poor analogy but well-known in business terms and therefore future leaders may come from somewhere else entirely.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:28:42

But of course who wrecked the economy - over privileged bankers and politicians - the grandchildren and therefore the next leaders will have to be the working class strivers although that may be over optimistic but certainly comp kids. The milibands are already playing on that card for the same anti-public school backlash to grow. It is happening outside London and public school kids are toning down their accents.

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 18:34:44

I agree Losing trust, the first generation make the money and the second generation spend it !!

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 18:37:17

I think the phase where you had to adopt estuary English to get on and had to have a regional accent to progress at the BBC is over. A lot of employers still want a decent accent.

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 18:44:09

Friend of mine (Asian) trying to deal with First Direct cannot understand the Scots. She hangs up in frustration and tries again for someone who speaks clearer English.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:49:49

Yes and the same for me when I tried to speak to a New York bank share dealing department recently - I could not understand a word so what?

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:52:36

A clear accent is always useful but not worth paying 20k a year for an accent. Margaret Thatcher had lessons to improve her speech but not to obtain a cut glass accent.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 18:52:49

Asinine, for maximum accuracy, I prefer 'gets paid' squillions, rather than 'earns' squillions grin

God, don't get Xenia started on accents or we'll be here all week!

joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 18:59:19

I noticed about the accent recently, I found a video of my DS aged 5, when he had been going to state school, and his accent is very estuary. He has been at private school for 5 1/2 years now, and the estuary has completely gone.

This wasn't a goal of ours for going private btw!

Goes down well overseas, FWIW.

Asinine Tue 20-Nov-12 19:03:28


Excellent point.

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 19:05:15

I can’t stand the slang/cockney accent that’s been adopted by the majority of today’s youth.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 19:06:07

I don't have an accent either and it cost my parents nothing but the time to correct my English which I do with my kids. Nobody can pin point where I come from.

maisiejoe123 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:06:49

My son goes to one of the boarding schools mentioned. Having come from a sec modern where there were no expectations I decided to go into a career that was well paid.

I hear on Mumsnet mums who say they cannot find roles that allow them fleixble hours or ones which give them flexibility to cover family issues. I never expected my employee to give me set hours - if you want that go and work where the hours are set (the pay wont be great) but you will be able to leave on time.

Consequently my partner and I can afford the fees for boarding school. Someone correct me but a recent survey said that 50% of people would send their children to private schools if they could. I think it says it all.

Yes, I could have tried the local school. In fact I did look round but ran a mile when the head said that during sports day the spectators were clapped as loudly as the person who came first in a race to ensure no one felt left out...

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 19:09:08

Dinky I am going to be honest here my kids are a bit snobby about accents and when joe swash comes on my daughter groans at his accent and she is 8. I cannot watch Eastenders for the same reason but I do find a northern accent very wam. I am from Birmingham but my parents hated it so I never had one.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 19:12:23

Maisiejoe that just illustrates a very poor example of only looking at one state school. Contrary to popular belief most state schools do encourage sports competitiveness via houses. Also your experience of going to a secondary modern is different from alot of people who went to a true comp and is a reason why the 11+ was an awful system.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 19:12:55

Is it really a shock that success in certain areas of life is based on who you know not what you know and being 'the right sort'?

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 19:14:25

I'd exempt Manchester Grammar from that, because it's a true academic hothouse.

maisiejoe123 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:29:50

The 11+ is still in our area. The competitive is fierce. Not all of these people can be wrong. There is a great demand for it. And the one example of state education was dreadful when I looked at my local school but it was likely to be the only school he would be offered so why on earth would I settle for it. My own state education was horrible and rife with low aspirations for everyone.l Why would I want to repeat it for my children. And the 11+ is very popular here hence the house prices!

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 19:45:11

We will agree to differ on that then because I was state educated in an area with no grammar schools and our school had very high expectations of their kids as does the school my son is at who took him to a good university in year 7 to show him the facilities as he is a science star. At parents evening in year 7 the talk was which subject he would go on to study and he and his friends are very competitive about results. If my daughter was less academic I would have to check whether the same school would be appropriate but I do have other choices and my view is I could pay for private but if the state schools suit they are definitely my first choice and from the people I know going to a state comp in any way and they are all pro comp but my dad who went to a secondary modern was less pro state.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 19:47:56

House prices here are very expensive next to the best comps and I believe there are only a couple of areas now that still do the 11+ as normal so the rest of the UK are more comp-orientated.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:53:07

only three counties are fully 11+

I reiterate
the "list" is of people whose birthdays are listed in the Times
it is therefore neither representative, unbiased or reflects current school output
as 86 year olds who bought their way into schools and posts of influence are given higher standing than 22 year olds who are working bloody hard

hence my initial response of

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 20:11:53

Nicely succinct talkinpeace.

Niceweather Tue 20-Nov-12 21:24:52

I was wondering the same thing Loveroflife. I would have thought that there were loads of "top people" working as midwives, teachers and the like from schools all over the place.

grovel Tue 20-Nov-12 21:58:09

I went to a "top" school. My DH went to a "top school". Our DS went to a "top" school. We are not "top" people in terms of influence.
The nurse I saw today was a "top" person to me. I was frightened and she had the authority, charisma and experience to calm my fears. My cleaner (3 hours a week) is a "top" person to me - hard-working, funny, worldly-wise. I don't think they went to Roedean.
It's all bollocks.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 20-Nov-12 22:01:23

71% of 'top people' confused got sent to private school as children. Yes, I expect the private schools dragged those poor unfortunate disadvataged children they were sent at 8 or 11 or 13 up from nothing. Well done the private schools hmm

Heroine Tue 20-Nov-12 22:03:55

NOOO! this is because if you go to those public schools, you are on a track that will recruit you, no matter how good you are, into top positions! Its not that private schools turn out top people at all!

The sad thing is that at some layers of society we still recruit from class rather than ability, and the only deviation from that is that we recruit from money not from ability.

Private schools DO NOT select on ability, they select on money. If an employer wants the best able, best educated people, recruiting by class and money is not the way to do it SINCE MONEY AND CLASS WILL ACCELERATE EVEN THE THICKEST INTO GOOD JOBS.

As a nation we need to get the most able into the best jobs, otherwise we will continue the global slide that comfortable class based recruitment has left us in.

StillSquiffy Tue 20-Nov-12 22:13:43

The saddest thing about all of this is that the quality of journalism in this country is so poor that the papers have led this story without any of them picking up on the fact that the 'statistics' are based on the most ridiculous bit of bullshit info you can imagine? It could only be the Sutton Trust issuing this 'research' because no self respecting university research dept would have allowed such shoddy and biased data through the review process.

Must have been state educated, those journos, I tell ya

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 08:04:55

Do you want your children to become one of these top people? Why? My DH has depending on your point of view the fortune or the misfortune to work for the super super rich and we have a couple of friends who fall into this category Multimillionaire/billionaire they may have possessions 600 foot super yachts houses in every major city in the world submarines private planes etc but they are not necessarily any happier than we are. This money doesn't make you immune from affairs divorce death illness. Then there another lot the one on only £500 000+ PA (again friends in this category) I wouldn't swop my life for theres. I don't see it as being any better than mine. Ok big houses better cars but they work every hour that God sent, on their holidays worrying all the time that things aren't being done as they should be when they're not there, checking emails junior members of their team ring them up needing them to make final decisions, most travel all over the world for work ok business class and luxury hotels but many will testify its not that exciting after the initial novelty has worn off and their partners children barely see them again sadly not immune from affairs divorce ill health and death.
I personally aspire for my DC's to be happy healthy functioning members of society with a conscience able to pay for the essentials in life put a roof over their head have time to pursue things that interest them form a happy lasting relationship I accept that you need money to do these things but I personally are not educating my children to be one of these top people.

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 08:36:23

"NOOO! this is because if you go to those public schools, you are on a track that will recruit you, no matter how good you are, into top positions! Its not that private schools turn out top people at all!'
its so much more complicated than that. A good friend very senior in a MNC wants works experience for his DS he has a friend very senior in the sector his DS is interested in. Rings him gets the work experience then he wants an holiday job ditto then DS goes of to uni and said company offers him a job but very poor wages for London friend then tops up poor wages gives DS one of his 8 central London houses to live in and so the cycle continues. No schools mentioned. Its all about who you know and the highly successful mix with the highly successful.

cory Wed 21-Nov-12 11:31:14

What Squiffy and Talkin said. Unreliable statistics.

Whether you get your birthday/obituary in the Times or not depends on whether the journalist/editor knows about you or thinks you are important. Which may well be related in some way to whether you were at school with his uncle. It is not necessarily a measure of your real importance or influence or even wealth.

LettyAshton Wed 21-Nov-12 13:05:40

Sadly, happygardening, you are right. Just discovering this with ds who has to organise some work experience. He is (mostly!) a personable, intelligent lad but no one will touch him with a bargepole. I grind my teeth when I hear of dcs who've landed impressive positions through their parents' contacts. Twas always thus, I suppose.

The London factor is also difficult to overcome, especially now. If your parents/aunt/great uncle has a London pad then you can afford to do internships or badly paid entry-level jobs as you have no accommodation worries.

Look at Euan Blair, who is now, apparently, intending to become an MP. He's had such a struggle, hasn't he?

Elibean Wed 21-Nov-12 14:08:59

My first thought was 'define 'top'', I have to admit...

My second thought, on skimming the thread (and list of schools) is that the title should have read 'top men' - hardly any girls' schools listed hmmhmm

Annelongditton Wed 21-Nov-12 14:31:37

We have looked at lots of schools for DCs, and listening to these schools boast about how many prime ministers etc their school has produced you do start to realise that Winston Churchill became prime minister because he was a Churchill, not because of what school he went to. He happened to go to Harrow, but even if he had gone to St Chavs in Oxford he would still have become prime minister.

The other thing that struck me is how many pupils at these schools (not the top super-selectives, but you don't have to go far down) are funded by the govt for various state emplyees. Discounts available at some schools for certain professions reads like a list of "suitable occupations for the younger son of an Earl" from Jane Austen's era - church, army, civil service. And by church obviously only CofE, what happened to being a multi-cultural society?

I actually find it all quite depressing, we really haven't progressed anywhere near as far as we think we have, the Sutton Trust figures don't surprise me at all, and from what I've seen I don't think they'll look any different 20 years from now.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 14:38:00

There are a huge nmber of types of people who look after their own in the UK, don't worry. Lots of Indians and Pakistanis have done tremendously well and Ugandan Asians. There are Jewish companies and banks who help other jews. I don't think WASPs have it all their own way.

What we could do more with is women like I am in net works for other women. that is coming - women mentoring and helping other women and telling them yes youc an earn £1k as a woman and have a large family and yet it's huge fun and it's whether you're posh,white black fat or thin or atheist or anything else as long as you work very hard and are very good at what you do.

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 14:40:17

They wont look any different because whilst the average man in he street is struggling the super rich are on the up and getting stronger and stronger. They have money power and influence and yes there of course their children go to these schools but that's coincidental. Read: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

joanbyers Wed 21-Nov-12 14:47:15

Anne, there are Catholic private schools, but obviously not too many children of Catholic priests....

I think it's very hard to make money unless you have money. It gives you the confidence/arrogance to tell people where to stick their low-paid jobs and hold out for the good ones. Can't afford to do that if you are struggling to make ends meet.

LettyAshton Wed 21-Nov-12 15:00:16

Hmmm, yes, I read that all those of us who say "My parents came from nowt but had a grammar school education and then so did I and now dh and I are blah de blah..." will be the ones heading down the scale in the future because the middle classes don't have the inherited wealth to fall back on nor are they making super rich type of money. Some may be lucky enough to inherit by dint of rising value of property, but note bene: nursing home costs will wipe out a lot of that (mil's home is £40K a year) and with longevity things can only get worse.

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 15:04:46

Letty you really do need to read: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. These people aren't inheriting it they're making it loop holes and changes to their advantage in the law in many countries is allowing this to happen. They are literally laughing all the way to the bank (which they own) fortunately Romney didn't get in becasue it could have been even worse.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 15:37:43

Ampleforth from memory is on the list and not sure about Stonyhurst but both Catholic private boarding schools.

LettA raises an intereseting issue - has there been a shooting ahead of not just a mildly rich category worth £2m say but the super super rich £100m lot shooting righ ahead of the others. I think that was always so. Rothschild L'Oreal etc etc. Sometimes the last generation does fine or some of them and sometimes they are non working wasters. Sometimes they lose all the family wealth as some UK aristocrats managed and sometimes not. You have laways had new wealth coming in - UK Victorian industrialists for example.

Dsoes it matter if some people have more money than others anyway if money does not make you happy? I quite like the game of trying to earn a lot and I hope 50 - 60 now children are going will give me a lot more time to play the game better and have fun at other things but it is just a game. I am equally happy with a book and having a country walk and being with people whom I love.

Annelongditton Wed 21-Nov-12 16:18:48

I am going to buy the Plutocrats books recommended, but I think it will just make me more cynical. The creation of a few billionaires may have opened the doors to a few more, but it hasn't made things fairer for anyone else.

DH is director of Fund Management company, co-incidentally 4 of his co-directors DCs hit University age this year. Every single one of them got Oxbridge places. Yes, they are all bright, but lots of bright DCs don't get in. Being super cynical I wonder if they are now trying to identify possible DCs of the super rich as they are most likely to contribute to college funds.

orangeberries Wed 21-Nov-12 18:04:20

Not sure about the rich and super-rich argument, there are plenty of these people whose children have zero motivation to achieve, let alone go to Oxbridge.

When we are talking middle classes I think we include such a huge swathe of the population and one can generalise too much. There is a massive difference between a middle class family with a household income of 40k and one middle class family with a household income of say 200k.

Just to say that injustice is not limited to the superrich but filters all the way down.

wordfactory Wed 21-Nov-12 19:47:22

orange I think much of the middle class is incredibly complacent about their DC's place in the world.

Theys eem to think that by dint of simply being middle class (a degree from Oxbridge doncha know) their children's place is secured.

But as you say, there is a huge difference between those at the bottom of the middle class and those at the top. Much of the middle class have far more common with the working class (in terms of their DC's future prospects) than they are willing to accept. But they are too deluded or proud or foolish to admit it.

wordfactory Wed 21-Nov-12 19:49:33

anne I simpl can't believe that the tutors at Oxbridge are that cynical.

But I do think that the bright DC of the rich are far more likely to be properly prepared for the whole entrance shebang.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:56:28

I can.
Why do you think the LSE was willing to make Said Gadaffi a research fellow. Not for his intellect that's for sure.
If Mummy and Daddy will build a new wing, their darling son will get in.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 20:06:36

Much of the middle class couldn't afford private school fees if they wanted to anyway. I doubt any of them consider their children's place anywhere is assured, some of them perhaps just look at their children doing fine and being taught well and don't feel they ought to be angst-ing about the fact that those children aren't at private school.

wordfactory Wed 21-Nov-12 20:17:32

Nit it's not just about school fees, it's the general arrogance and complacancy.

I notice it as a working class arriviste and many of my immigrant freinds notice it too.

It's not about angst, it's about understanding how things currently work and acting upon them.

But your reaction to describe that in pejorative terms is telling grin.

bigTillyMint Wed 21-Nov-12 20:23:23

*Elibean - My first thought was 'define 'top'', I have to admit...

My second thought, on skimming the thread (and list of schools) is that the title should have read 'top men' - hardly any girls' schools listed*

My thoughts exactly!

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 20:24:04

Gadaffi is quite rare and that's a foreign student and I think it was a PhD.

Take Prince Harry - he didn't go to university, quite rightly. I am not sure any kind of preference would have got him a place anywhere decent.

I think some parental support when graduates are trying to get jobs gives some advantage to some graduates although anyone who can only get unpaid internships for years and years if probably better off seeking a different career than the one they are after. No one really wants someone who is useless long term. However if you are one of identical very well qualified graduates (there are heaps of them) then getting your foot in the door helps but you can also get it by writing a cheeky letter to the boss who came from the same council estate or thinking laterally - a man stood with a I want a job sign near Liverpool St and got 11 offers of interviews at financial services companies the other week.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 20:42:27

But if I think my children are being taught well, word, and that it's all good, and they're turning out fine, that's surely not arrogance? (which is also, of course, a very perjorative term). What form should my 'understanding how things work and acting upon them' actually take?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 20:45:42

I really don't understand this stuff about arrogance and complacency. I don't take for granted that my girls will get into the universities they want any more than I take for granted they'll get out the other side of adolescence without an eating disorder, self harming, heart break or anything else. I hope and trust it will be so, and I believe the support from their school and parents will go a certain way, but I most certainly don't take a thing for granted, and I resent the suggestion that middle class people (if I am one, I'm not sure how MN would see that) with children in state school who are fine with that, are somehow arrogant and complacent!

themottledlizard Wed 21-Nov-12 21:24:59

'Take Prince Harry - he didn't go to university, quite rightly. I am not sure any kind of preference would have got him a place anywhere decent' HAHAHA

He managed to get into Eton where, it has been stated on another thread, one has to be spectacularly bright to gain a place....

rabbitstew Wed 21-Nov-12 22:29:11

What did Prince Harry need to go to university for?!!! Why bother?...

No complacency or arrogance here, although I secretly hope my children don't end up leading lives where they compromise all their principles for a profit, or work such long hours that they don't have time to think about whether they enjoy their lives, as I'm not sure whether a world in which you either have a life like that or live in poverty is worth living in.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 22:35:13

I do want to hear about this 'general arrogance and complacency'. Is it the same as thinking you're trying your best with your children and you think they're being taught well?

Please don't think I'm so secure in my sense of being middle class that I think life will automatically be rosy for my daughters: I certainly don't.

rabbitstew Wed 21-Nov-12 22:40:21

Maybe there really are some middle class people out there who say they think everything's fine and their children will do well because they were born middle class and then actually BELIEVE it so much that they let them go to sink schools, don't encourage them to do anything outside of school or stimulate them in any way and basically just let them flounder. I'm not sure I've actually met any of these middle class people myself, though. I thought the very definition of the middle classes was that they didn't know their place and were therefore very insecure in it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 22:43:22

I think all the middle class people I know worry a lot and try very hard. Some of them would send their children privately if they could afford it, and some wouldn't entertain the idea. I don't know any who take their children's place in the world for granted, either way.

losingtrust Wed 21-Nov-12 23:01:04

Arrogance and complacency - don't believe it. I know my kids will do well because they have me as their mother - is that enough to prove it or could it be the hours of reading, times tables, driving to drama lessons, music lessons, coaching them when standing for class rep, speaking to them in other languages, telling them about history, politics, economics, going to open their first bank, library accounts with them, taking museums and above all spending time with them but does all that not count because I don't pay school fees. Boy I am so complacent and arrogant,

dapplegrey Thu 22-Nov-12 00:43:13

Themottledlizard - maybe in normal circs Prince Harry wouldn't have got into Eton. However, his mother had recently died in tragic circumstances, with every detail true or not plastered over the world's press.
Surely considering all that, it was reasonable to let him go to the same school as his brother.
Unless of course you think he should be punished for being born into the Royal family.

joanbyers Thu 22-Nov-12 02:59:28

Prince Harry, five years later, got two A Levels, B in Art and D in Geography.

He's thick.

Highly selective schools tend not to have sibling policies.

dapplegrey Thu 22-Nov-12 08:00:08

I didn't say they did have sibling policies. I said given what those boys had been through it seems reasonable and humane to let Prince Harry join his brother.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 22-Nov-12 09:33:01

Prince Charles, though, got into Cambridge solely on his towering intellectual ability of course, so that was OK. grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 22-Nov-12 09:37:38

I expect the extend to same policy to all younger brothers whose family have recently undergone a tragic event. They're all about the being 'reasonable and humane'!

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 09:41:18

Harry did not get to university because he would not have got in or not to anywhere decent. Prince WIlliam did. That is fair. In Prince Charles' day Oxbridge was different from now and he's fairly intelligent whatever his grades actually and I think it was fine he went then but perhaps right Harry didn't today nor did of course William get pushed into Oxbridge. It was entirely up to Eton to let Harry in. It is nto easy to get into Eton however rich you are and I thnk they made Harry do a repeat of the last year at prep school.

Compared to many nations particularly all these Chinese on really really low state salaries with millions of pounds in banks we do not do too badly int he worst corruption leagues. I coudl lot leave Lagos airport last year without having to give a bribe.

NigellasGuest Thu 22-Nov-12 10:10:17

My nephew is at a well known, top public school. Coincidentally, his father also went there, and his younger brother was accepted as well. Do they all happen to be amazingly bright and just what the school is looking for or do family connections count for something?

LettyAshton Thu 22-Nov-12 10:27:24

Actually I wouldn't like to be the admissions person who had to ring up Prince Charles and say, "Er, Sir, your son's not in." So perhaps they gave Harry a place because no one had the bottle to call the palace wink

Wordfactory - bizarre attitude. Are we middle classes all supposed to say, "Ah, we're fucked" and sit with our head in our hands and weep? No one knows what the future may hold. Our dcs may be economic refugees camped on the borders of China desperate to get in for the chance of cleaning a corporation's toilets, but shall we tell them that? Tell them to give in because we can't confer the requisite advantages on them?

annlopes Thu 22-Nov-12 10:28:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Elibean Thu 22-Nov-12 11:25:20

I am either lucky or in denial, because I don't know too many hugely complacent middle class people (where kids' futures are concerned) - my girls are at a local state school, in leafy suburb, and most of the 'middle class' (still not sure what the definition is) parents there are hugely anxious about futures, and most of them couldn't afford local private schools.

I don't know many complacent people of any sort, come to think of it. Everyone seems terribly worried, regardless of background sad

Elibean Thu 22-Nov-12 11:25:50

annlopes: congratulations! But I think you are posting on the wrong thread/section?

Have a look at the Nannies section smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 22-Nov-12 11:32:18

Damnit, elibean, you have now opened the way for satisfaction with state schools to be designated as the sole province of those in 'leafy suburbs' grin. Which means you complacently assume all state schools are fine, when in fact the important thing to remember is that most are awful, and people who are happy with the ones their own children are actually (and I struggle with this, too) doing more of a disservice to less advantaged children than those who use private schools.

poozlepants Thu 22-Nov-12 12:10:16

I think the way to success is due to who you know - it was always thus. The people I know that are successful politicians and lawyers got where they are due to their connections though not due to their schooling.
I went to Edinburgh and did a subject full of very posh people. Those I knew that had gone to Stowe, Harrow, Eton etc all were leaving to go to jobs arranged by their parents in lots of different areas- banking, land management, engineering, politics. economics. They weren't the brightest but they got some of the best jobs. No milk round for them. Whether they thrived in them is another matter but it does make life easier.
The rest of the bog standard private school children and the state educated had to fight it out for what few jobs were available 20 years ago. I was talking to my cousin who went to another university with lots of posh people. He graduated a few years ago and said things haven't changed. Those from top public schools were sorted, the academically bright (him) went on to do pHD's and the rest were left fighting for a few jobs.
There are plenty of careers out there that are mainly exempt- medicine, dentistry, veterinary, academia but I bet connections work there too.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 12:20:55

The professions are better as there are strict application procedures for doctors etc although even there you need to get some work experience. Big companies recruiting graduates via the milkround are still looking for the best graduates. My daughter (Bristol U) - I don't think most of her friends even the Eton ones got jobs through a parent at all. In fact I cannot think of one which is surprising.

Also some people just very very good people skills or put themselves in the right place thinking of one girl now who got a job serving on the counter at a posh club in London so every day she was meeting loads and loads of people in hedge funds and the like who chatted to her (pretty slim clever posh educated high exam results her) and she got a proper job offer. if you stay in your bed room in Hull and just go to your local job centre it will be harder. It is one reason parents should not move children to the wilds of Cornwall where there is no work because the parents want to look at cows. If the parent instead slums it out in Watford or Croydon the graduate child can commute in for internships etc

BlissfullyIgnorant Thu 22-Nov-12 12:38:08

Sorry people, but I get really pissed off with people who insist Prince Harry is thick.
1. He is a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and is bloody good at what he does. The forces do not take thick people.
2. He's dyslexic, so anyone who offers up arsewipe about his abilities based on his exam results wants dragging round the streets. And before anyone gets on their high horse about that one, dyslexia is much more than a reading problem

Back to topic...

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 12:41:40

The forces do not take thick people

I take it you've met Harry and seen his school reports to know so much that does not come across from his public persona.

JakeBullet Thu 22-Nov-12 12:58:15

My brother has worked with Prince Harry and describes him as a really good soldier and a thoroughly nice man. No airs and graces and more than happy to muck in.

I know nothing about his educational status, only what my brother (an Army Officer) has to say from his experience.

grovel Thu 22-Nov-12 13:00:06

What I can tell you, TalkinPeace, is that no thick officer would be allowed anywhere near an Apache helicopter - let alone fly one.

BlissfullyIgnorant Thu 22-Nov-12 13:07:06

You wouldn't happen to be anything to do with Browns Bar in Coventry, would you TalkinPeace?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:10:01

The forces do not just take officers you know ....
be careful about your generalisations

and as anybody who has an excellent mechanic knows, academic prowess and high levels of competence at handling machines are not codependent

That does not surprise me at all. The accident of his birth has made him a news story that he would rather not be.

More to the point about bodging results to get people into top schools - do we actually believe that the children of oligarchs and Chinese communist party officials are really brighter than anybody else?

BlissfullyIgnorant Thu 22-Nov-12 13:14:32

...people in the public eye should not be judged by their public persona, Talkin. Jimmy Savile, anyone???

dapplegrey Thu 22-Nov-12 13:18:13

TalkinPeace - there are oligarch children at less academic schools such as Stowe. Stowe may of course have been their first choice, but they may have gone there because they were turned down by more academically selective schools.
I'm shocked if the children of Chinese communist party officials go to expensive selective schools! That's so hypocritical - like Diane Abbott with knobs on!

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:28:08

Read the news.
The family of the just retired leader have amassed a family fortune of $2.3 BILLION
Bo Xilai - whose wife has gone down for murdering a UK businessman - has a son who went to Harrow and Oxford
LOTS of them have their kids at school here.

Not sure what you mean about Jimmy Saville. He was a creep. And people in the 70's and 80's covered up for him, but he was always creepy.

forevergreek Thu 22-Nov-12 13:28:22

Kings Canterbury btw is day as well as boarding ( it's also from 3 years as the nursery through to sixth form is the same school)

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 13:35:18

How does the army decide with 18 year olds who don't go to university whether they will be officers or some kind of ordinary foot soldier or whatever it is called? Is it decided by accent?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:36:45

the Officer and NCO entry routes are entirely different
its an amusing thing to read up on for half an hour ....

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 13:45:51

So fi you leave Eton how do you know if you will apply to the Office or NCO routes? If you leave our local comp 34% A - C how do you decide if you apply to be an office or NCO? Is is purely accent?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:50:20


and the equivalents in the Navy and RAF and Marines
they are totally different career paths
and after 15 years they all come out shouting anyway grin

grovel Thu 22-Nov-12 13:53:12

The minimum army requirements (for an officer - from any school) are:

35 ALIS points (34 for SCEs) from 7 GCSE/SCE subjects, with a minimum grade C/2 in English language, maths and either a science or a foreign language; plus 180 UCAS Tariff points from at least two A level passes grades A-E or SCE Higher grades A-D.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 13:58:11

Okay so if you have reasonable A levels you can do the office route. I was just curious. It seems one of the most class ridden and sexist bits of the UK which I would love to see much reduced.

BlissfullyIgnorant Thu 22-Nov-12 14:51:32

Talkin, you pointed out Prince Harry's public persona. Jimmy Savile had a 'decent public persona' pinned to his 'philanthropic works' albeit very well engineered. Because of this, most of the general public were deceived. I still don't believe/agree with the notion he's thick - clearly he isn't.

I'm not generalising about HM Forces. I'm ex-service (non commissioned) and don't recall coming across anyone who was "thick" apart from one girl who was a civvy employee and had never served. A few a bit lacking in knowledge, but most were reasonably intelligent. Apaches aside, why would anyone allow a 'thick' person to operate any part of a huge military engine when there's so much at stake?

rabbitstew Thu 22-Nov-12 15:34:58

What does "thick" mean, anyway?

I've met an awful lot of hugely competent, resourceful people who weren't remotely academic and who therefore did not necessarily get particularly glittering exam results. As already pointed out, you don't have to be academic to be good at getting people on your side, to be practical, to have common sense, to have good business sense, to be able to make instinctively good decisions. Academic people are often far less decisive, even when decisiveness is called for, because they are too aware of the details and can find them distracting.

dapplegrey Thu 22-Nov-12 15:52:32

Blissfully - in this case there's the opportunity to attack the Royal family and Eton in one go!

joanbyers Thu 22-Nov-12 16:21:42

'Thick' in this case means not up to the standard for what is supposed to be a very academic school.

themottledlizard Thu 22-Nov-12 16:37:21

I am sure Prince Harry would be the first to accept that he was given preferential treatment to gain his place at Eton! Let's just not pretend otherwise.

However, I don't imagine he really cares, why would he?? It's all part and parcel of being privileged smile

He seems pleasant enough to me, does the job he's meant to do pretty well most of the time.

rabbitstew Thu 22-Nov-12 17:26:38

What would be the point of the Royal Family if they weren't treated differently from everyone else and constantly thrust into places of public prominence whether they liked it or not?!

LettyAshton Thu 22-Nov-12 17:36:16

I've just got round to reading the article in Guardian about Eton (which I'm sure has been linked and alluded to on that Eton thread that's rumbling on) and it says that some years ago about 40% of boys there were quite unacademic and didn't bother with the work much. Times have now changed and it's heads down. The place probably wouldn't suit the out and out hooray now.

The article also makes the very astute point that actually these boys are very privileged indeed before they get to Eton and it's really the contacts they have anyway, rather than the ones they make there (although it perpetuates it, I suppose) that are helping them on their way to great things.

Yellowtip Thu 22-Nov-12 17:59:24

A very significant proportion of the officers I met while I was an army wife were thick. Very thick. Lots of the soldiers were far sparkier. Same with the wives.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 18:20:51

LA, I'm not so sure about entrance though. Even 40 years ago you went to Harrow if you weren't very bright and Eton if you were quite clever and prep schools directed you accordingly. Once you are there they may well work you harder than they used to though.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 18:21:19

Why would you want a system where those in charge at thick and those obeying the orders of the thick are bright? I will never understand the attraction of the army to anyone.

maisiejoe123 Thu 22-Nov-12 18:43:31

I agree with Xenia a few posts back. Dont move to Cornwall and then moan that your children who stay there cannot get jobs!

FabulousFreaks Thu 22-Nov-12 18:46:25

But where did 70 per cent of the happiest, most content people go? Top does not always equal fulfilled happy life.

losingtrust Thu 22-Nov-12 19:35:58

Interestingly I have known people that went to sand hurst and he was perfectly normal for comp kids to go and did not go on accent. I also know one very posh public school educated and did not make the cut at sand hurst so ended up being asked to leave. A lot of comp kids join the OTC and them join up to study medicine to avoid tuition fees. A bit risky for me though but certainly it always used more by the less well off students when I was at uni. They joined OTC then became reservists and it funded their uni costs plus gave them connections when they left uni.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 19:39:27

Xenia if it makes you feel any better, they learn that accent at Sandhurst, Dartmouth and even more so once they get to Cranfield. Neither of my brothers left school with the officer accent and they both (different forces) have it now wink

losingtrust Thu 22-Nov-12 19:43:37

Agree about living in the country but them have always been a cut girl and good idea to live on an easy London commute line to give you more options. It is used round here quite a lot. Live in a good school area with decent schools, commute to London three days a week and work from home one or two days a week or another local office and get a London salary, no need for school fees or high house prices. All but one of our execs do this rather than live in London. I spend one or two days a week in the London office. No need or inclination to live their as train only one and a half hours and the time is going down all the time. It is also easier for flying to Paris or Scotland. Not quite so good for the states though.

happygardening Fri 23-Nov-12 09:48:30

What does "thick" mean I have a super bright friend a Kings Scholar at Eton and I watched fascinated as he put his horses bridle on upside down knew something was wrong but just couldn't work out what!! Absolutely no practical skill, another super bright friend is the most cack handed individual I know again I watched fascinated as he wired up a plug, another friend "Oxbridge" at 15 terrible people skills!

joanbyers Fri 23-Nov-12 15:56:41

Well indeed.

But in the context of schools it pretty clearly refers to the ability to pass exams (or not!) at a high level.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 18:02:11

To go full circle.
Harry Windsor is not an intellectual. He was fudged into Eton because of who he is. He got enough exam passes to get into the RAF.
Then they let him loose on helicopters and he found the right use for the way his brain works. Both he and his brother clearly have technical brains - even with the official secrets act, rumblings would be about by now if either of them were NOT good at what they do.
BUT I suspect their paperwork leaves a bit to be desired!

I used to mark ICAEW coursework - intelligence and common sense are not interdependent.

I do not know why the Sutton Trust published this piece of research - I assume they were well remunerated for it - as its inanity devalues their serious work.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 23-Nov-12 18:03:57

Interesting fact
the daughter of the new head of the Chinese Communist party is currently at Harvard under a pseudonym
so she can pretend not to be a super rich hereditary communist

Xenia Fri 23-Nov-12 19:16:25

Yes, it is always puzzling where eg North Korean leadership passes from father to son (never daughter of course because the one thing communists aren't is fair and equal to both genders despite pretending to be so); Castro - brother now in charge: Millband - son of politician I think or political family; Ghandis etc etc on and on for all political parties all over the world even in supposed democracies. Perhaps we need a rule that you cannot stand for power if you have a parent or close relative who was a ruler as even if there is no nepotism it might appear that there is.

happygardening Sat 24-Nov-12 08:21:25

"intelligence and common sense are not interdependent."
Talkin Im very aware of this when it comes to Prince Harry maybe the kind of ability/intelligence required to be a good leader and effective in the army is different to that required for A levels.

Yellowtip Sat 24-Nov-12 10:08:01

Agree with happy that strong leadership doesn't in any way have to be linked to intellect. Soldiers might well consider some boffins silly fools.

Agree with Talkin about the quality of this particular piece of ST work.

losingtrust Sat 24-Nov-12 11:55:30

Some of the best leaders I have worked for were average in terms of academic levels but really knew people and what made them tick. Etelligence seems to be far more important to me in the way you profess in the world than exam results after you have left. Those that progress know what to say and do and keep their head when things get rocky. I would imagine for the military that this inate ability is even more important.

APMF Tue 27-Nov-12 23:17:03

Slightly off topic but why do people keep going on about how the rich and the privileged have a narrow view of Life because they only move in their own circles? By the same logic shouldn't people be suggesting that the not rich are narrow minded for the same reason?

And why is it ok for parents to say that they don't want their DCs to go to an indie because of the privileged children that go there but if the indie parent were to say that they don't want their kids to go to a state school they get hammered?

Similarly, why are the same parents allowed to generalise about indie parents but we aren't allowed to generalise about them?

grovel Wed 28-Nov-12 00:05:21

Xenia, that way we would never have had Pitt the Younger and would be speaking French.

APMF Wed 28-Nov-12 01:21:06

Well, it's a pity the Americans didn't have that rule. The world would have been spared George Dubaya Bush and his neo con buddies.

rabbitstew Wed 28-Nov-12 18:16:09

I think you'll find, APMF, it's because you are in a minority. If a wealthy, powerful minority tries to keep itself separate from and makes rude, generalised comments about, an individually less powerful, less wealthy majority, what do you expect? Obviously, you could go for divide and rule and encourage the majority to divide themselves up into little minority sects who hate each other rather than ganging up on you, which is what is generally done, but otherwise, the behaviour is hardly surprising, is it, given the circumstances??? Particularly in a thread that is all about the power and wealth of those with the power and wealth and how they achieved it!...

lifeintheolddogyet Wed 28-Nov-12 19:31:55

I'm blasting the 'anecdotal' klaxon now, but...

It may have been on here I read that in our area there has been a trend recently for MC parents to withdraw their children from private school for sixth form and send them to our local (famous) academy. Mossbourne Apparently they think they'll have a better shot at Oxbridge from there.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 20:21:53

I believe inner city schools in deprived areas are also getting more kids into Oxbridge than state schools in wealthier areas too so soon all those mc parents will be sending them to those schools. I read a study about this earlier.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 28-Nov-12 20:28:13

I believe inner city schools in deprived areas are also getting more kids into Oxbridge than state schools in wealthier areas

Evidence for that?
Its certainly NOT in the DFEE destinations data for 2011 which is publicly available
2012 will not be released until February. Any Newspaper that has stories about it is lying.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 20:56:26

It was in a report that I read this evening not in a newspaper. Cannot link from this phone but they were evidencing some key schools in deprived areas and it was suggesting that deprived kids do better in deprived schools then in wealthier areas. When on computer tomorrow will link it.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 28-Nov-12 21:00:21

would be VERY interested to see it because I have the dfee data on my PC here and can sort it by FSM and Oxbridge and there is evidence of that.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 21:03:22

Local schools network 21 nov. the centre of London study suggests inner city schools doing better for deprived children than those in wealthier boroughs who are lagging behind. This is a criticism I have heard from the deputy head of inner city school who claims schools in wealthier areas are lazier than those in the inner city who get the same or better results certainly in ks2 but from a lower base. Obviously not all kids in wealthier areas will have the parents backing but they should be getting higher levels.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 28-Nov-12 21:08:27

Ah Fiona Millar. Not exactly the worlds most unbiased person.
Am not willing to register.
Would like to see who carried out the 'study' and what its protocols were.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 21:17:10

It was the centre of London study - deprived children going to school in deprived areas as opposed to deprived children in wealthier areas so not possible to compare on fsm which would be the same wherever they went to school. Would be interesting to compare some of the leading inner city schools who are actively promoting top universities to their kids as opposed to those in well off areas who may be seen as less able from day one and therefore only pushed to average levels. There may also be more minority language assistance in inner city schools which would help those without English as first language.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 21:27:08

A friend of mine who teaches in a 'nice area' was very upset after visiting a state of the art school in a very deprived area as all the money from the lea had been ploughed into the school without recognizing that not all the pupils from her school were from wealthy backgrounds but they had to make do with buying their own stationery and being in cramped falling about conditions because all the councils efforts were going into these areas. I have heard from other teachers in Birmingham schools who have much more funding in the inner city and therefore children could be failing more in the posher suburbs through lack of support and finance with more one to one coaching required. The funding may now have been extended to other areas. However certainly in Birmingham the inner city schools are progressing at a faster rate than the surrounding areas. Don't get me wrong. I agree with it as parents in mc areas can pay for tutoring but not those in mc schools but without the resources to do this.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 28-Nov-12 21:30:54

the funding per pupil of each school is on the DFE and ofsted websites - its not a secret.
I'd like to see a link to the actual study because it might be sound
Mrs Alastair Campbell has quite a few axes to grind ...

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 21:30:56

Having said that I moved house to avoid in a school that was in a more deprived area when ds went to school only to find that school now one of the best in the country. You win some you lose some! I am though typical sharp elbowed mother and should have learnt to trust the local school more.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 21:31:45

Yep. It does sound like true labour propaganda .

APMF Wed 28-Nov-12 23:11:02

@rabbit - That is a very weak excuse. You are basically saying that it's ok to generalise about well-off people and to say that you don't want your kids to go to the same schools as their kids simply because they are well-off.

If you accept that something is wrong then how can it be ok just because the people you are picking on are rich white folk?

Succubi Thu 29-Nov-12 08:40:52

Also @rabbit. I find your views offensive. I went to one of the public schools listed in the report. I went on to an excellent university and I now practice law. EXCEPT my parents are from a working class background and they did not have the means to pay for school fees. I was on a full academic scholarship. The rich people you so readily stereotype were welcoming, humble, considerate and at no stage was I made to feel inferior because of my background.

grovel Thu 29-Nov-12 09:26:59

Succubi, thank you for that. I like it that the headmaster of Eton was a full fees scholar at Eton himself. 37 years after leaving the school, with a brilliant teaching career behind him, he was back at Eton and widening access yet more.

catinhat Thu 29-Nov-12 12:20:50

Depends on what you mean by 'Top Person'.

I'm sort of in favour of the Sutton Trust but sometimes think they seem a bit in awe of politicians, journalists, bankers and not scientists, engineers and doctors.

Having spent a week needing the NHS I have concluded that nurses and doctors are probably more useful than Top Lawyers. (I love that Xenia doesn't think teachers need degrees!)

Plus there is another effect. My husband and I did superbly at comprehensives and therefore have always assumed that are children will also be educated in the state sector. That has knocked 100k a year off what we need to earn.

Therefore, we're not TOP people, just middle people.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 13:48:31

As mentioned in another thread, my DS does about 2 hours homework a night. On top of this load he takes lessons in three instruments. Plus he does orchestra and quartet. Then there is the athletics club that he attends once a week. On top of this he gets ample Me Time to play on his PC and Apple Touch or simply hang loose at his mates.

His school sends a lot of boys to Oxbridge each year and according to the OP's link it has educated a lot of the so called 'top people'. So, unless DS trips up, his future is bright.

What irks me is that his tireless energy is, hopefully, going to get him into Oxbridge and from there a 'top' job but then he will have to face the 'homework is the work of the devil' brigade who will go on and on about the unfair system that favours private school kids over their kids.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 29-Nov-12 15:05:38

Seriously, APMF?

How many people do you think 'go on and on' to management consultants/bankers/other worthy contributors to society about how they only have their job because they went to private school?
Just before I break out my world's smallest violin and all.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 29-Nov-12 15:10:05

Mind you, I have heard DH and his best mate (same industry, both state-educated) discuss people who only have their jobs because they went to private school... but in the context of slack-jawed amazement at their incompetence.
And genuine delight on meeting them on the other side of a deal. grin

But I'm sure that won't be an issue with your DS. Not with two hours' homework a night and all.

CecilyP Thu 29-Nov-12 16:40:05

I am not sure what your point is, APMF. Once your DS is in the working world, top job or otherwise, I doubt if anyone will care how much homework he did in the early years of secondary.

Yellowtip Thu 29-Nov-12 17:02:15

How old is your DS APMF. Has he taken his GCSEs (or IGCSEs)?

orangeberries Thu 29-Nov-12 17:48:36

'homework is the work of the devil' brigade who will go on and on about the unfair system that favours private school kids over their kids.

Not sure exactly what point you are trying to make here?

Is your point really that state school kids (all 93% of the population) do not play musical instruments, do serious sports, attend extracurricular clubs? Or that they do not get homework? Because if your children attended a state school you'd find that the vast majority of children, even in primary school attend a number of activities, play musical instruments and do homework!!

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 18:45:10

@Boulevard. You got the wrong end of the stick. I am summarising the point made by the other side. Namely that Oxbridge and professions like law are biased in favour of private school kids because of snobbery or the Old School Tie.

I was knocking it down as opposed to endorsing it.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 19:11:20

@Cecily - Are you choosing to deliberately misinterpret what I am saying? Of course at the age of 21 no one is going to give a feck how many hours of homework he did as a kid.

DS's school conduct things as if it is a university. Pupils prep for each lesson so come the actual lesson the class discusses the subject as opposed to just listening to the teacher talk. This is what Oxbridge is looking for and this is why so many of their pupils get places.

The point I was trying to make is this. If you think that homework is a waste of time and that children should be children and that they shouldn't be pressured then that is fine. Just don't moan that Oxbridge admissions is unfairly biased in favour of schools like mine.

helpyourself Thu 29-Nov-12 19:39:26

Apologies if this point has been made, but the list is really just a snapshot of important schools 30+ years ago. By definition people of influence are old and male. Hence the lack of Girls' Schools high up. The world has changed, not enough, but I bet if you looked at the highest attaining under 30 year olds (who were educated in the 90's) their educational background would be more diverse.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:40:35

Its not even that
its a list of people whose birthdays are listed in the Times.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 19:44:00

@yellowtip- No he hasn't taken his exams yet. Cue exaggerated rolling of the eyes by Yellowtip.

Before you say it, yes I know that the only things that are certain in life is death and taxes. That is why I said 'unless he trips up'.

As it stands, he is predicted a clean slate of A* GCSEs. And yes I know A* grades are no guarantee of an Oxbridge place. And yes I know he might at any point drop out and become a beach bum. And no, this is not me trying to live my life through DS.

I'm sorry. Did I just use up all your talking points? smile

helpyourself Thu 29-Nov-12 19:48:19

grin tp2
I wonder why the SuttonTrust commissioned it, it's a bit fur coat no knickers research, especially when you get to the single figure schools. You might as well publish data correlating breakfast cereal to educational outcomes.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 19:51:17

@orange - I was directing my comments at the posters who seem to think that their children's brain will explode if they were academically pressured by a bit of homework.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 20:03:29

@help - If you look at recent reports you will see that Oxbridge undergrads are still disproportionately GS and Private. Blue chip employers tend to recruit their fast trackers from Oxbridge so one can extrapolate that the next generation of 'top people' will show the same bias as the current list. So not much change there

helpyourself Thu 29-Nov-12 20:08:16

But a significant change at least gender-wise. Oxbridge actively recruits from schools not on the list. That was not the case when the people on the list were at school.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 29-Nov-12 20:59:02

Sutton Trust : ££$$££$$££$$££$$
from somebody with an axe to grind

NB the 50 : 50 split of state : non state at Oxbridge is actually not nearly as shocking as it might seem (as the parent of state school kids)
because of the demographics of selective and non selective education.
I suspect it will settle at around 70:30 private to State even in another ten years
for eminently sound statistical reasons.

Yellowtip Thu 29-Nov-12 22:27:56

APMF you seem ridiculousy hung up on Oxfod and Cambridge as a parent, almost unhealthily so. You should try getting out more. Big deal to straight A*s. Lots of kids get those. Even at states.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 23:09:28

@Yellowtip - You are right. I do have this unhealthy interest in Oxbridge. I'm such a sad person for wanting my son to study at two of the best universities in the world. I should temper my ambitions for my son so that they are more modest like yours for your DC. [place holder for sarcasm emoticon]

Yellowtip Thu 29-Nov-12 23:18:03

I've never had an unhealthy interest though APMF. I don't think that's how it happens.

Yellowtip Thu 29-Nov-12 23:20:22

And your ambitions for your son ? confused.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 23:45:22

This is a strange conversation. Of course I have ambitions for my child. Don't most parents? It's not as if I am telling him that he must be a doctor or a barrister or that he must study Business and then get a job in the City.

What is wrong with wanting your child to go to one of the best universities in the world? Or is this the old British Thing? ie it is bad form to be too ambitious. After all, we aren't Americans. Is that it?

Heroine Fri 30-Nov-12 02:09:47

Phew! So much confusion here!

The problem isn't so much the cliche of 'he's one of us, give him a job' (equally this could be said at the working class level). The problem is the poor thinking that ends up with a result that looks like a 'he's one of us' bias.

This is the narrative that says 'top public schools both recruit and produce the elite' - if that is the case why pay? (since if they recruit the elite and the outcome is.. the elite, what value are they adding (or put another way, real education worth paying for would recruit the dull and produce the elite))

At Uni, there is a similar narrative - top unis both recruit the best and produce the best - again, why pay, since you have the best already, what value is the uni adding, again, surely the better university is the one that takes the lower abilities and makes more of them.

Employers are duped by both. They believe that if they recruit from top universities, they are getting both pupils selected by ability AND pupils who have been through the best universities.

In fact what employers do when they recruit from top universities is recruit from public schools, with outcomes predicted by primary-school level performance. They do not employ people with innate abilities higher than the average, in fact they recruit people with similar abilities to the normal population with the only distinguishing feature is resources spent on education.

What we, as a country, need is the high achievers from any walk of life to be given the best resources for study HOWEVER what wealthy family would, in truth, be keen to see their offspring move down socially because they have middle-ranking intelligence, because a better able pupil is available to the education system?

This is why the UK did so well in wartime and in crisis. In crisis, johnny toff who is thick can be cast aside for bobby working class if bobby is going to be better for the country's mission as a whole in johnny toff's job.

In fact top public schools do NOT recruit the elite - they by far in the majority recruit on ability to pay.

The output is therefore a function of money. The public school system demonstrates that mediocre students with a great deal of money spent on their education do well and therefore that anyone with a great deal of money spent on them will do relatively well, irrespective of ability. which means class/money rears its head but also the attendant outcome, that many people in jobs recruited through private school and top university aren't the best able overall.

People with little money but high ability will do averagely with few resources, but much better than the average with maximum resources. This is backed up by data that shows a middle grade pupil from a comp is more likely to get a first than a high grading student from public school.

if employers want to recruit the most able, therefore, they should recruit middle to high ranking students from comprehensives into their top level recruitment programmes, and this means they should target high performers from middle to low-ranking universitiies ahead of mediocre performers from top universities.. but guess what, britains top 100 employers only go to 10 universities in good times, and 5 or less in 'bad' times, thus ensuring a public school bias straight away, and a higher probablity of recruiting a mediocre student in terms of ability.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 07:02:39

15% of the kids from my ds comp got minimum ten straight As last year and they work hard in the last two years but not two hours homework a night from day one plus they have a social life, ie hanging round with mates and going shopping. Oh and they also play musical instruments and play sport but parents let them get on with things.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 07:04:04

Oh and this is a non-selection comp and relatively lazy in terms of added value. Surely these kids must be brighter then?

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 09:16:05

@heroine - You are lumping indies in with public schools like Eton. Their pupil profiles are different but you are using the same argument about both. There aren't that many (if any) rich but dim kids at DC's indie.

The comprehensive school reforms resulted in the well-off going private and the slightly less well-off moving to good catchment areas. Today house prices at the school gate are beyond the reach of many ordinary families. As for the remaining GSs, expensive tutors are employed so once again the poor are at a disadvantage. If private schools are banned the parents will simply buy their way into the catchment area of the good schools. This time it will be the less well-off middle classes that gets pushed out.

(puts on Cynic Hat) You can change the rules in an attempt to make things more equitable but the rich and well-off will always adapt. All you can hope to do is to play the game better than the next person. In my case, rather than complain that the top jobs go to Oxbridge grads I am trying to ensure that my working class son is one of those Oxbridge grads. I guess I can live with the fact that people like Yellowtip thinks that this is 'unhealthy' smile

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 09:31:03

@losing - At DS's school 98% gets As and Bs. I think about %95 get straight As. Get your marks up to 50%. Then come back and tell me that my methods sucks.

Yellowtip Fri 30-Nov-12 09:34:42

I think a great many people including the students themselves would think that your very narrow focus on just two universities at your son's age is unhealthy, because there is a remote possibility that he won't get in. What message does he get then? There was the same sort of ambition by proxy displayed on the UCAS thread last year which unfortunately for the DC ended in tears.

Much better surely to hedge your bets? Very good students from a lot of universities can still nab top jobs.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 09:39:21

How selective is your ds' indie? Also your argument about catchment no longer holds up about inner city schools where some are doing really well. Would never expect a comp to get 50% As. That is ridiculous as they are mixed ability. How selective is your son's indie?

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 09:52:09

Hermione I don't think it's that most employers are duped as you put it. More that they use selcetive schools and Oxbridge as a filter.

The perception is that 10As is no indication of employability. As losing points out, 15% of a cohort can get them wihtout too much work. So what do they prove? Nada. Not high intellect. Not capacity to work.

So they use selctive highly selective schools and Oxbridge as a better measure. Not only to assess intellect but also to assess ability to work very evry hard under pressure. The later is probably somehting employers are more bothered about to be honest.

It's the same way most publishers will only accept manuscripts from agents they know and trust. It's not that someone without an agent couldn't have written a work of genius, it's just that in a life where time is your most preciosu commodity you gratefuly use any filter you have faith in.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 10:00:34

@yellowtip - There is a difference between 'You didn't get Oxbridge?? You are such a disappointment' attitude and a 'You didn't get Oxbridge? Never mind. At least you tried. x is just as good' attitude. I obviously fall into the latter smile

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 10:10:54

@losing - There were about 800 going for 150 places. By that measurement, it's not as selective as many of the super selective London state schools.

Before you rush to tell me that of course my selective school gets better results by just being selective with the intake, that wasn't the point I was making.

That point has just been made by wordfactory which is that 15% getting As is not a valid basis for going 'Ha! In ya 2 hours homework face APMF!'

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 10:32:27

The top streams in our dcs comp get excellent results. Around 5 go to Oxbridge every year, many more to Russell group.

There is no private schooling locally and so everyone (professionals, managers, retail staff, farmers, long term unemployed, teachers) sends their dcs to our comp, whether they are academically minded or have severe learning difficulties. We have orchestras, bands, chess, athletics, team sports, prize giving, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, drama and loads more.

That is how a comp should work, and they will never be truly comprehensive until all children including those of policy makers go to them. I do think private schools are a very divisive force in society.

I went to a comp with my sister, my brothers went to a top private boys' school on scholarship. Our girls' private school at the time was poor for science so I was taken out of there age 6, despite being offered scholarship.

We all came out with straight As and all studied Medicine at highly competitive Uni. At least 5 in my year went to Oxford, loads to Russell group, and some to borstal, YTS and everything in between.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 10:36:25

My dd at her comp does at least 2 hours of homework plus music practice. I don't understand what that has to do with private or comp.

Yellowtip Fri 30-Nov-12 10:41:04

Quite Ox. Isn't two hours pretty standard in Y9/10/11? I'd have thought so.

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 10:45:01

Well losing says not. And certainly the DC in my extended family do nowhere near that! They consider my own DC under the kosh and not having a life to speakof grin

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 10:48:35

I don't think that 2 hours homework each night is standard in comprehensives. If it is then, if exam result reports are to be believed, a lot of comprehensives don't have much to show for it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 10:53:53

My y11 certainly does some every night, not always two hours, but quite often works all Saturday or Sunday afternoon. She just does it til it's done, I've never thought to count or complain.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 11:01:41

APMF, not all dcs even in a great comp will get great results. Not all will have great situations at home in which to study and there is a normal distribution in the population of academic potential. There is an learning support and autistic unit in our school which would celebrate a year12 learning to write their own name.

Selective schools select out the equivalent of the top two streams in a comp; that is why they appear to do better. If our top two streams went private next year, the school results would fall statistically. However, it would still be a great school for all abilities and backgrounds, and able to teach any more high ability dcs who enrol.

Two hours of homework is only useful if the student is self motivated and learning effectively. Sitting at a desk for two hours is no magic bullet.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 11:04:06

Exactly steaming.

No ones counting. The point is they want to learn and succeed.

Btw APMF Waterloo Road is a work of fiction grin

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 11:08:27

TOSN I wish my bloody extended family would take a leaf out of your book! They never pass an opportunity to tell me that my DC are working too hard. That they have no life.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:09:11

Is the idea that finishing what she needs to do is a bit minimal, and that in a better school she would be set more, better and harder work which she couldn't finish in less than two hours?

Waterloo road, fiction? Don't be daft! Certainly at the dds' school there is one member of staff doing all the admin, seven teachers, complete freedom to interpret uniform to taste, and all ten members of the sixth form do the same seven subjects together. Was gutted when they announced the school was closing and sold the land for flats all in one day, but have high hopes of the 'business woman' who's been loitering these last few months....

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:11:26

Am I right in thinking your dc are year 9 ish, word? I can't remember how much dd was doing then, but I generally just trust her to know how much time she needs and then do it.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 11:14:38



But they do have small class sizes, though...

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 11:15:45

TOSN yes year 9.

To be honest homework is mixed. Some pices are definitely 'get this done' jobs. You know, learn this vocab, write up this graph, finish this maths exercise. Other stuff is less utilitarian and prescriptive...hence seems to take up more time.

In actual fact my DC don't work that hard. They seem to fit in loads of other stuff and spend huge swathes of time watching I'm A Celebrity and eating crisps.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:16:23

Even smaller , after the lorry incident.....

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 11:17:03

Off course selective schools do better overall because they have a selective intake. I've never heard an indie parent argue otherwise. Yet posters insist on pointing it out to us as if it was news to us.

I was simply making the point that many private schools have a rigorous academic calendar and if one's attitude as a parent is that homework gets in the way of scouts then one shouldn't be moaning that private schools kids are unfairly favoured by Oxbridge.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:19:04

I used to find then, I think, that the stuff which took the time and stressed her out was the second type you describe: art projects and stuff. But she has dropped most of that stuff, though we do have the odd maths-induced meltdown instead.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 11:29:05

Oh, I hadn't read that post about scouts causing failure to go to Oxbridge.

Yes, that's clearly ridiculous. At least we agree on something.

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 11:30:15

The killer this half term has been the Gothic Literature project. DD settled on a reading list that was too ambitious IMVHO. I know it's hard to justify leaving out some novels/shorts...but you have to.

Lesson learned.

No doubt my family will have somehtig to say about all these books school is making my DD read! And they're not even on the curriculum so clearly pointless.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:34:08

I think just Twilight, with perhaps one or two of the House of Night series for comparison, will be just fine, Word......

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 11:49:18

Word. I don't think your extended family will criticize reading and many will encourage this. In my earlier post I mentioned that in later years children work hard in comps but not from day 1 not that they never do two hours homework a night but I am not going to monitor. In fact a parent of a very high performing state super selective school was moaning that her son had hardly any homework compared to the comp his peers went to. It depends how easy your child finds the homework. Some better understood take an hours others done in ten mins. Comps in some places would never set that level of homework because some children do not have a quiet place to work. Take a large family with kids sharing bedrooms. Much easier with one or two children. Also some kids have to work, look after sick parents. I suppose that is their fault they do not get to a top uni. When you are 30+ who cares what uni you went to if you have drive, ambition and are good at your job. Those peopl will always rise up in a work environment because they will stand out. Not all companies are these public school bastions that we hear. I have worked in many mulinationals and not one had an Oxbridge bias.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:50:38

The last feedback on questionnaires at our school was that several parents complained there was not enough homework, and several complained there was not enough. Make of that what you will....

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 11:55:37

I am not a lover of homework from a young age but have always encouraged reading and introduced my kids to great authors. That is different but it is homework for homework's sake that I do not approve of. Some parents seem to think the more the homework, the better the school. This to me is not of any value.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 12:09:43

Ox - to be fair, the poster didn't actually mention Oxbridge. Basically parents were having a moan about homework and about how it was interfering with their children's social lives. I was just making the general point that people aren't prepared to make a commitment to their children's education should really complain about the outcome.

Yellowtip Fri 30-Nov-12 12:13:39

I don't monitor the time my spend doing homework on a day to day basis at all. All I know is that the amount of time they appear to be doing homework varies each day (some nights they do none at all, sometimes much more than 2 hrs) but the school handbook says it should average at about 2 hrs a night in Y9/10/11. I can't imagine it's exceptional.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 12:17:02

.. meant to post shouldn't complain.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 12:21:57

Well, if you look at GCSE results nationally the average number/grades attained isn't that high. So, if 2 hours homework is not 'exceptional' at these schools then I guess that backs up the argument that homework is a waste of time smile

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 12:30:42


I do wonder if you had somehow landed in our geographical situation, with a great comp and no private school, indie, or grammar under 45 mins drive away (and it's crap unless you want to play golf) whether you might have sent your dcs to our comp. I mean if everyone you knew socially whose older children were off to good unis on good courses had sent their dcs there.

Conversely, if I was living in an inner city where the comp was not working and friends had their dcs at private I might have to be pragmatic and consider indies etc. I'm fortunate that my pro comp values coincide with the reality on the ground here.

All I'm saying is, the comp system can work, and it has a better chance if doing so if people from all backgrounds have a stake in it.

The Sutton trust included our school in a report about how some state schools have good links and practices to get students into top unis.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 12:36:14


It depends what they are learning about when they do homework. The grades might be even poorer without homework. Even poor grades or basic functional maths and literacy can enrich lives. Knowing about the civil rights movement, the holocaust for example can alter people's behaviour towards one another.

IMO, learning is never a waste of time, regardless of the outcome in exam terms.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 12:38:55

I don't think anyone here is complaining. On the whoe we all seem to be happy with our choices for our own reasons which are different. By the way always like to get the kids to do their homework before I'm a celebrity!

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 12:40:02

Good post Ox and it depends on the starting point.

grovel Fri 30-Nov-12 12:54:15

Ox, my DS went to a (well-known) indie. He would have gone to your comp if we lived where you live.

Our local comps looked too risky and we were not prepared to experiment with our DS's education. Selfish? Possibly.

That's how it was.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 13:04:10

I would love to be in your geographic location. I could think of lots of other things to do with the £15k pa smile

As I said upthread, if everybody had to go to a comprehensive then people like me would make use of my economic advantage and buy a house outside the school gate of the nearest high performing comprehensive. Locals would get pushed out because they can no longer afford the property prices. Back to square one.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:09:58

That is obviously not happening in ox's location or mine where most people use comps so that is your theory.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:26:21

Lottery places would soon stop that practice in areas where it does happen which may be more London-based. All you need is a diverse population. You can buy a house within short walking distance of a top comp near us for £160k. It is right next to an area of big posh houses and the kids go to the same school. A far fairer system. After a few years of this mentality the comp system may be achieving higher results. Again it is all theoretical but if private schools were abolished people may just use private tutors. All in all I am happy for people to choose private if it suits their children as long as they do not assume that it is the only way to be considered investing in their child's education and they don't knock the state system that the majority of people in this country use.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 13:31:28

If all children went to comps, all these 'top' people mentioned in the thread title would be motivated to use their influence to ensure that state schools countrywide were good enough for their own dcs, and their friends' dcs rather than for 'other people'. They might even fund it properly. The comp results would improve as all the selected school pupils would be in the mix.


APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 13:32:28

It obviously depends on where you live.

School X in my neighbouring working class town has an academic record equal to many Indies but its location isn't that nice so your middle class indie exile isn't exactly going to start a biding war for the three bedroom postwar terrace by the school gate. Contrast that with the catholic school at the more prosperous neighbouring town. Houses in the catchment area cost £70k to a £100k more than same house two streets down.

Having a good school on its own isn't going to automatically drive up prices.

And its not my theory smile There has been oodles of newsprint devoted to the subject.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:37:44

The funniest thing I once heard was a mother who decided to send her children private (very unusual in our area) because she did not want her darlings going to school with parents who drive vans as part of their work. I was speechless as the daughter of a white van man whose three daughters went to rg unis but I was considered ok because I was a professional. That kind of attitude whilst not common is something I really dislike.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:40:22

In that case I would leave the good academic school to those happy to live in that area and produce a future pm. That will soon change people's perceptions.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 13:41:05

Is that any different from the parent who doesn't want their DC to go to same school as privileged children?

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 13:46:50

@ox - Those 'top' people will choose a residence near a high achieving comprehensive in a nice leafy middle class area. I fail to see how this will affect the failing inner city comprehensive.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:48:18

Yes it is. I would rather my children went to school with a diverse population because that represents real life and they need to learn to deal with different people from different backgrounds. I would not send them to a school where the children were all price ledges because in my view and my view only it would give them a distorted view of what is normal. My ds and dd are at schools where there are some very rich people and very poor and it is good grounding for life.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 13:55:02

My SIL told me that she wanted her dcs to go private so they'd be 'rounded' individuals.

I've often wondered what shape she considers my dcs to be? Irregular polygons, I suppose.

A lovely guy I met at uni from Eton told me when he was drunk that he didn't realise 'people like me' went to state schools.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:56:09

Some of the people I have found most inspirational are those who came from very poor backgrounds who have a achieved a lot themselves. Two of these went to Cambridge (from comps) and the others have not done as well academically but have become md by using their brains. Not only that but the young girl who I worked with who had to lie to her mother about going to the library to do her homework because her mom relied on her for cheap childcare for younger siblings and would never have approved of the library. To me she is a top person and I wasn't my child to go to school with somebody like that to teach them how to graft for themselves and to teach them that they are very lucky and should be grateful rather than always chasing the next material goal.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 13:58:55

Actually Ox my kids are long and thin at state schools. Maybe I should fill them up with more junk food after all that is what us normal people do don't we? At least by the 'top people ' who run the daily telegraph.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 14:03:39

Not to worry APMF

The Tories have it covered, they are moving the poor out of the inner cities, haven't you heard? Coming to a leafy catchment near you grin

You see,for a typical comp sized school, say 8 classes per year*, in a less densely populated area it would be hard to draw a catchment line which only took in a middle class intake. There would be all sorts of people living there.

*That's another advantage of large comps, the top streams are so competitive, A*s top stream, A second stream for example.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 14:08:30

At uni I went out with a guy who was from public school and from a wealthy background. He came to visit me at my home and his first words on coming through the door were 'oh my god, you can hear your neighbour's tv from your house!'

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 14:13:50

A mum at our predominantly white middle class primary school made the same point about wanting diversity for her kids when I mentioned we were going private.

Her kid was going onto to the predominantly white middle class local secondary. Hardly a diversified environment.

One of DS's BF is an African boy. His father is a lecturer at one of the London universities. His other BFs are two Indian boys, one Jewish boy and one Belgian. Why does 'diversity' has to be about how much money you have or don't have?

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 14:27:38

I can't even answer that question properly as you have to put in the father's profession and credit the addition of a Belgian child as making your school so ethically diverse. I can't get into competition, traveler children, refugee children but why bother.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 14:31:00

In fact I did chose the catholic school rather than the two local outstanding but predominantly white school for that reason but then I guess I am the child are of immigrant parents although still white so could never understand could i?

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 14:34:31

In my world we're all just people. To my mind diversity as a concept clings to the idea of separation, classifying people by wealth, race, intelligence and so on. Dcs who experience a school with a representative sample of the population will automatically accept everyone, unless they are taught other values at home.

Look at me! I'm so diverse mixing with all these different types of people.


APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 14:50:34

I am not trying to get into a competition as to whose DC has the more 'diverse' groupvof friends.

There is diversity of some sort every where you go. I just find it silly that mixing with people less well-off than yourself is being elevated to a higher level.

I find it funny that middle class parents want their kids to mix with working class people so as to become more 'rounded'. I wonder if working class parents regard your kids in the same way you regard kids that go to private school smile smile

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 14:53:21

Glad we are making you laugh.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 15:00:26

My kids know that they are very lucky. They know that not every one can afford what we can. They know that God created all men to be equal regardless of colour, religion or economic circumstances.

My mind boggles at the thought that people think their DCs can't learn these values in a middle class environment like a private school.

APMF Fri 30-Nov-12 15:14:05

The 'funny' thing is that I'm the working class Midlander yet I'm the 'snobby elitist' parent in this conversation. smile smile

It's a bit like those people who will pay lots of money to visit a region in which the poor inhabitants are doing their best to escape.

catinhat Fri 30-Nov-12 15:16:32

As an employer I love to give jobs to people who went to Cambridge.

I went to Cambridge and it was flipping hardwork. Therefore, anyone who survived the experience is probably very bright.

However, a Cambridge graduate is very different to someone who went to private school. The former will be incredibly able and motivated, regardless of how much money their parents have. The latter is just someone whose parents could afford private school fees.

People often mix up with elitism of Oxbridge with the elitism of privates schools, but they are completely different issues.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 15:25:31

I am a working class brummie too funnily enough!

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 15:51:25

In theory cat yes.

In practice the most selective schools (both private and grammar) take up the most places at Oxbridge.

Many woeking class students go to their nearest university and remain living at home. Most don't go to university at all.

Oxbridge, despite everyhting they do to counteract, remains resolutely middle class/advantaged.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 15:58:06

Ox - perhaps your sister has read 'Flatlands'? grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 15:58:37

(SIL, sorry blush)

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 16:08:18

Surely going to your local university is a cost issue?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 30-Nov-12 16:11:00

losing - definitely, I think.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 16:12:05

I really respected my two friends who went to Cambridge because they worked their asses off to get there and were very single minded. They were both from very deprived backgrounds. Total respect from me as as soon as I found out what was involved I took the lazy option and went to another Russell group uni. Having said that never worked with anyone senior who went there.

losingtrust Fri 30-Nov-12 16:14:49

I am going to encourage mine to go away if possible although we have Aston, Warwick even oxford and Birmingham close by but the experience of independence would be better. Having said that it very much depends on my job situation at the time. At the moment can afford to pay their costs but in six years who knows?

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 17:46:25

Steaming grin

I will ask her next time she says it.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:53:23

do not forget the sound statistical basis why there will always be a disproportionate number of private and selective school kids at top universities.
Once I did the maths it bothered me a lot less.

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 18:18:56

TOSN I think it is absolutely a cost issue that keeps less advanataged students local.

My point was only that advantage of a facet of both public school and Oxbridge. The later less obviously so, as in theory anyone can go. In practice, not so much.

wordfactory Fri 30-Nov-12 18:20:42

What bias is that talking...keep it simple, I am a dolt at numbers grin

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Nov-12 18:37:28

I'll round from 7% to 10% as it makes the maths easier
1000 children hit school ....
100 go private 100 go state selective 800 go state non selective
they all sit GCSEs
after GCSE's statistically 30% kids leave education - and chances are they will all come from the non selective schools
so we now have 100 private 100 selective 500 non selective
after A levels, statistically another 1/3 leave full time education (they may do training courses but will not consider degrees)
again chances are they will not mostly come from the selective and private schools, so an approximation of the students applying for degrees would be
80 private 80 selective 140 non selective
then in degree choices, the kids aiming for RG degrees will be the upper third of that lot - and by definition, the selective school kids will be in the upper half of state, leaving
27 private 40 selective and 33 non selective
ie 27% from private schools at top universities, with not a hint of discrimination, just the likelihood of career choices
round back down from 10% to 7% and you end up with a quarter ....
which actually would be a significant improvement both for our children and the country.

OxandAssinine Fri 30-Nov-12 19:18:55


I will reread that tomorrow when I have not had two large glasses of wine

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Nov-12 20:54:17


rabbitstew Fri 30-Nov-12 21:23:18

Just came back to this thread.... I find it bizarre that my pointing out that human nature dictates that one minority group being rude about a majority group is very predictably going to result in people from said majority group being very rude back is somehow me approving of this, rather than stating the bl**dy obvious - "grown ups" are just a bunch of little kids fighting in the playground and if one person "started it" then it's OK to fight back in the same pathetic way. I would say a huge proportion of people do not improve the way they react to things when the chips are down as they grow up - just look at the way countries behave towards each other, or the way the Daily Mail talks about everyone, or the way the Tory party hate unions or unions hate the Tories.... I really find it amazing how much adults preach to children not to be childish, yet throughout the workplace and amongst world leaders, in newspapers and on internet threads, I see the same pathetic playground fighting, prejudice and name calling. So why APMF apparently finds this difficult to understand, or finds it offensive when I point the obvious out, I don't know.

Besides which, I went to a selective state school and I don't hate myself. I didn't think much of the system of selection, though, as I know too many people who were failed by it, either by being bright but non-academic in the grammar school and resenting the lack of practical challenge, or by being academic but in the secondary modern where there was insufficient intellectual challenge. I also don't like the idea of selection by money, although I feel relieved to know that if the alternative for my children were somewhere where they would receive a lousy education and be bullied mercilessly for being odd or posh, I could select somewhere else with my money... grin So I guess it comes down to how far you feel you need to go to ensure your children get a good deal in life. Some people seem to think this is only possible outside the state sector, or feel this is only guaranteed outside the state sector.

rabbitstew Fri 30-Nov-12 21:26:20

And some people are so desperate to justify the cash they spend on advancing their children in life that they interpret dodgy data in the most curious ways, which just comes across as ridiculous.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:40:24

please do not, ever, count me as a selective school defender
yesterday is as past as the Crimean War

rabbitstew Fri 30-Nov-12 21:45:30

Are you calling me a yesterday's person, TalkinPeace2?!... grin

Heroine Tue 04-Dec-12 15:54:14

There is no way the bias from recruiting public school/oxbridge results in the brightest people. I have met people with cambridge degrees, and with oxbridge degrees who are not bright, as well as the brighter people from cambridge being about at bright as I am. Because I did not go to Oxbridge,I have been kicked out of development opportunities and seen people with less about them, worse work performance statistics and sometimes completely useless administration or intellectual skills get promoted soley because people make the same mistake as many posters here ie assuming they must be bright, even though they are showing no evidence of it, because they went to oxbridge.

I have an anecdote to illustrate this - I went on an informal tour of Oxford led by someone who was an Oxford graduate who could not find his way around the town. Even armed with a map, good local knowledge and a road sign, people on the bus kept obeying the loud posh voice saying 'Its this way chaps, come on!' and took my comments as dissent. When we had been going round in circles for an hour people acknowledged I was right BUT THEN STILL FOLLOWED HIS DIRECTIONS and made sympathetic noises for being late rather than go the correct way based on directions! It was frustrating to have the day later referred to as 'the day you threw a hissy fit' rather than 'the day that we followed that oxford guy who was nonetheless a bit thick because we thought he must be secretly clever because he had been to Oxford.

The fact is that once you go to oxbridge, you are likely to get an oxbridge degree. If they kicked out half on ability and replaced them with the brightest from non-oxbridge each year then you might have a point but they don't. the biggest problem is the application bias, that is then commuted, through no sensible reasoning, to a recruitment bias by top employers.

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