Tim Hands' article in the Telegraph (Clegg again!)

(65 Posts)
testbunny Sat 02-Feb-13 20:56:26

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9842367/Yes-Nick-Clegg-only-money-will-get-your-boy-a-good-school.-How-sad-is-that.html

At the same time as deriding Clegg's hypocrisy, he seems to back him up...

Is Mr Hands biased towards privately educated children??

Discuss

basildonbond Sat 02-Feb-13 21:15:47

well I assume that as he's head of a very successful private school he would be ...

testbunny Sat 02-Feb-13 21:25:50

Oops. I got the wrong end of the stick - I thought he was from Magdalen College, Oxford Uni! Still, it's sad he has that view of state education, especially as his father taught at state schools.....

difficultpickle Sat 02-Feb-13 21:36:42

Well I got a very different impression of the article. It seemed to me that Mr Hands was looking back to the days where there were more opportunities for bright children that didn't involve parents paying large fees for their dcs education.

These days you have grammar schools where everyone seems to be tutored to pass the exam, comprehensives which are mostly secondary moderns in disguise catering, on the whole, for the academically average and independent schools. A lot of people I know with dcs at independent schools had their own education in the state sector and want to replicate that but can only find it in the independent sector.

I live in a comprehensive area. The GCSE and A level results are poor. I don't want ds going to a school where, if he does well, he will be in the minority.

testbunny Sat 02-Feb-13 21:48:46

Well, if he is in the minority, does that matter as long as he does well himself, and you would make sure of that...or, maybe, I am misguided, or, at best, hopeful??

sicutlilium Sat 02-Feb-13 21:58:56

bisjo that's pretty much how I read it. I share his views: I'm an ex-direct grant, academic scholarship girl, who went on to Oxford, now paying through the nose (or per anum, as the old joke has it) to provide the same type of academic education for my children.
PS: Tim Hands looks like Uncle Bulgaria.

testbunny Sat 02-Feb-13 22:06:34

I went to a state school. It gave me a well-rounded view of life and people, that has made me the person I am today. My parents weren't particularly 'interested'- there was a lot going on- but I did well enough to have a great career, one which most people would love to have. I must admit, personality had a lot to do with it - I was pretty determined. I feel sorry for some of my friends who didn't have the same 'opportunity' as I had - their views are blinkered, and experience of life isn't as rounded as mine. I want the same for my children, but it doesn't stop me worrying that they may get into the wrong crowd and not have the strength of character to ignore the 'cool' kids who think the 'square' kids uncool (I agreed with them publically, but privately I knew I was destined to do better). Still, I worry......I

difficultpickle Sun 03-Feb-13 13:52:06

testbunny I wouldn't send ds to a school that is failing if there is anything I can do to avoid it. It takes a very well motivated child to go against the majority. I would rather he went somewhere that valued and encouraged effort and achievement. At the moment the only option seems to be private but we have a few years for things to change as ds is only in year 4 and won't change schools until year 9.

projectsrus Sun 03-Feb-13 14:46:52

DH and I both went to state grammars from very poor backgrounds (we were both very bright and uncoached) and did very very well. Both went to uni, DH even got a first. I have a postgraduate qualification and both in senior management jobs.

I look around for my children and despite living in a non-grammar area the situation is depressing. The local comprehensive only sent a handful of children last year to university and that was a good year. It has never sent anyone to Oxbridge. Results are very low. Buildings are depressing. There are very bad antisocial issues, the list of problems is endless.

Do I want my children to go to a school like that? Not if I can avoid it. I don't think they'd do well. There aren't enough children doing well for me to think that mine would be any different, as I know plenty of children from our primary who entered at L5 and exited with no qualifications.

testbunny Sun 03-Feb-13 18:34:33

bisjo and projectsrus, if you don't mind me asking, which area do you live in? I can't believe 'failing' schools are allowed to carry on..?? I am in London. The local state schools are 'improving' (they were 'failing') which gives me some me hope, but we may move if they don't continue to improve. There are some grammar schools nearby, but grammars have obviously changed from 10-20 years ago - i.e. coaching children from a very young age, the stress, competition etc.

projectsrus Sun 03-Feb-13 19:21:16

Not in London testbunny so can't really help.
The local school is also "improving", but not fast enough to be a decent school where I want to send my children. There are indeed some very good comprehensives where I would consider sending my children, but catchments are small and expensive or they are faith. So difficult isn't it.

difficultpickle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:09:46

Bucks/Berks borders. Whilst our local primary was Ofsted special measures our local comps aren't in that bad. However I don't think less than 50% A-C GCSEs including Maths and English is good enough when ds could go somewhere where it would be 100%.

The local primary is now doing a lot better but was in special measures at the time I was choosing schools for ds so that plus complicated childcare arrangements meant I made an alternative choice.

testbunny Sun 03-Feb-13 22:16:20

Yes, it is difficult. Our comp is 65% A-C - it's best yet. It has a new head, and I like what I am hearing, so will keep an eye on it........good luck to you both! TB x

Tasmania Mon 04-Feb-13 01:16:29

It is NOT hypocrisy on Clegg's part. There is no way I would want my dc to suffer just because I chose a certain job, and don't kid yourself... it takes years and years to overhaul an education system. Of course, if he had been "in power" for over a decade, I'd say that maybe there is a point about him being a hypocrite. But that isn't the case.

In a way, expecting new leaders of a government to send their kids to a state school means that the previous government must have done their job well - at least in the education sector. Not sure that's the case either.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 06:47:24

At the end of the day a school is only as " good" as the DC who are on roll there. This has always been the case. There were always failing schools and the old grammar school system only served to hide what was really happening.

The real problem has always been ( and remains) attitudes. This largely comes from culture and socio economic backgrounds. In the past there was a place in work for those who had the " lark about" attitude for school ( it was called a factory floor) . Now the place is the dole queue. Previously aspiration would have been to have a job and earn money ( and there was some work ethic for that). Now they just stand on street corrners and wait to be
"discovered" and become " famous" ( "Cos I gotso much talent its obvious innit?"

The big difference is that previously ( forty years ago) most DC were compliant and well behaved in school ( even those from poor homes) and so it was possible to get an education if you wanted. Now, it isnt possible because DC are noisey and arrogant and disdainful and rude to the point of obscene and ill mannered and plain ignorant - and they want to make sure everyone else joins them but ensuring that it is not possible for anyone else to learn either ( "well , if I aint gettin' an education and goin' nowhere, why should you?")

I could lay the blame for all of this ( or at least identify the changes that seem to have led to the dead end attitude and disruption) but to do so would be MN suicide as it would open a can of worms no one wants to see is there.

Unless you address the cultural and socio economic issues first, education will continue to " fail" for most in state schools - although to be truthful I suspect it is " fit for purpose" for the majority who will end up on the dole in these times.

Meanwhile if you value education it has to be a private education because the reality is that for the majority the choice is simple - private education or no education. Mr Clegg knows this.

LadyWidmerpool Mon 04-Feb-13 07:16:10

In Scotland most children go to their catchment comprehensive and plenty of them get into top universities.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 07:21:14

The Scottish education system is very different to the English one - and at the risk of speaking plainly here, coming and saying "In Scotland" is as irrelevent as my saying "In Canada" comparing the Canadian system with the problem being discussed.

projectsrus Mon 04-Feb-13 09:08:21

I don't think this is true. My brother is a teacher in Scotland and plenty of children go to private schools there too.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 09:36:10

Like Fettes

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 09:40:14

Or the Scottish education system as characterised by the standards of "Rab C Nesbitt" and family?

Lancelottie Mon 04-Feb-13 09:44:41

'Meanwhile if you value education it has to be a private education because the reality is that for the majority the choice is simple - private education or no education.'

Riiiiight.

Let's cheerily say to the 93% of the population who cannot afford -- and maybe don't agree with -- private education that, hey, they clearly don't 'value' it.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 09:57:37

Let's cheerily say to the 93% of the population who cannot afford -- and maybe don't agree with -- private education that, hey, they clearly don't 'value' it

I dont know if they value it or not. But if they do, then it has to be up to them to make a difference doesnt it? I would guesstimate overall probably around only 20% of those using the state system place any value on education. The rest couldnt care less.

To that end maybe you need to identify the problem and source a solution?

I do not think that abolishing private schjools is the anwer ( most people like me would just go to another country where we could get away from the rpblem.

" Backward" thinking systems like grammar schools just moves or hides the real issue.

What you have to get to grips with is the culture " chav" that represents some 85% ofthose who access the state system. You need to address that.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 09:58:23

lots of children are privately educated in Scotland, the Old boys/girls network is alive and well.

But I am really impressed with the standard of state education up here. People huff and puff about it, but from what I can see it is of a higher standard than the education i received in the state system in London. That said, I have come through the state system, attended an RG university have a post grad second degree so I guess I did learn something at my state school.

"In Scotland most children go to their catchment comprehensive and plenty of them get into top universities. "

Where I live in Scotland 25% of secondary aged children go to private school.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 10:00:00

Ronaldo, with respect you don't know what you are talking about. Either that or you are Nick Clegg.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 10:15:42

I know what I am talking about better than most. 20 odd years working in schools and colleges of all types gives me experience. Bieng older than most I also gain from knowing exactly what things were like back in the "golden era".

What I get fed up with is people coming and trying to re write the history I lived through and tell me I do not know what I am talking about.

In Scotland I am led to believe things are different. They certainly have a different examination system and rules. But this is about England.

I have said elsewhere that Nick Clegg seems to know the score, and whilst his limp wristed liberal politics dictates what he thinks is OK for the plebs and philistine population of the country generally, where diversity, multiculturalism, minority cultures and inclusion are all to be equally valued, his take when it comes to his own DC is to make sure he does his best forthem and does not sacrifice them on the altar of "principle". For him his own DC's education will be characterised by exclusivity, high quality, good standards, and socially/culturally a mono culture with a single shared value system not one where all cultures are seen as equal. Good for him.

However, what he does for his own DC (in common with most politicians) speaks volumes about what they really know about the ailing state education system.

projectsrus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:45:45

It always surprises me when people say that 93% of children go to state schools, as if this is level playing field. As we all know, many many state schools are selective: we have grammars, we have small expensive catchments (selective by postcode), we have faith schools.

Truly comprehensive schools are probably less than 50% and many of these do have low standards and low outcomes for the majority of children. Yes a small minority will do well but it is the exception. I have one such school on my doorstep and being also old I have seen many parents take the risk and intelligent, motivated children being pulled out or come out with a very poor outcomes in relation to their starting point.

As far as the comment about multiculturalism is concerned, I have noticed that selective private schools tend to be more multicultural as many immigrant families value education very highly indeed and would sacrifice everything for their children to do well.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 10:56:47

As far as the comment about multiculturalism is concerned, I have noticed that selective private schools tend to be more multicultural as many immigrant families value education very highly indeed and would sacrifice everything for their children to do well.

I would be inclined to say multi-ethnic not multicultural. The culture ( as is the socio economic base) tends to be a shared one.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 10:57:22

I think as soon as you starting talking about 'chavs' you have lost the argument.

I know plenty of working class people who have gone through the state system and are now lorry drivers, paramedics, nurses, hairdressers, builders, carers - are you referring to the working classes? What do you mean by chav?

Are these people the 85 per cent of 'chavs' who attended state school?

Lancelottie Mon 04-Feb-13 11:12:54

Well, I can probably give most here a run on the 'old and therefore experienced' bit.

I've had children in four different state schools. Does that count? Of those, I'd say we have come across maybe two to four children per classful who match the chavvy stereotype, and a vast majority who try, who have parents who care, who want to make something of their lives (even if they don't see that the One True Path is to be a privately educated lawyer and go on to raise other privately educated lawyers, a la Xenia).

Presumably we accidentally landed in the only region of the UK where this is true?

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 11:17:31

I didnt talk about "chavs". I said therewas a "chav culture" prevelent in society ( reflected in the media, on TV and follows into school)

I think it is very sad that some posters cannot overcome their instinclive political correctness and prejudices so that they have to make comments saying an argument is lost.

There is no "argument" ( or dispute) to loose. Unfortunately by refusing to look at the elephant herds in the room we cannot even have the discussion.

If you want/ need to address the issues of paucity in the state sector of education, you first have to address the paucity of mind amongst the pupils who form the majority of the intake. That means addressing the culture.

Since you cannot bring yourself to do so then Nick Clegg and freinds will continue to put their children in independent schools and the rest ( 93% ish??) of the population will continue to be poorly served.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 11:38:09

I'm not being being politically correct - you are talking about me and about my friends!

I have friends who did not enjoy their time in education for whatever reason and now have jobs which are not well paid but which do contribute to society in all sorts of ways.

And when I think of other friends who did A Levels with me at my comp in SE London, many have very good jobs now.

Xenia Mon 04-Feb-13 11:47:27

I don't think the one true path is to produce children clones of ourselves, but most parents who have done well including the grammar school Oxbridge ones on the thread usually want their children to have similar opportunities.

I doubt state school pupils are damaged by the absence of my children from their classrooms and those who pay do save the state a lot of money - indeed you can argue that if you earn nothing so don't pay fees when you might work and pay fees you are in the morally poor position as you impose the cost of your child's education on the state sector and indeed through your life choice of idleness ensure your children are worse educated. There is no moral high ground on the part of state school parents. Indeed their machinations to ensure through house price, a house move or religion to gain a place by the back door is much more morally corrupt than any choice to work very hard so you can pay fees.

I thought the comp near my house got 34% A - C in GCSE (my daughter's school got 79% A* and 96% A* or A albeit it is selective) but I see it is much worse only 8% got 5 GCSEs in a proper range of subjects.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 11:55:01

I am not talking about any particular group of individuals. I am identifying thinking patterns. behaviour patterns and thus attitudinal/cultural factors which prevail in our society ( and sub groups) which lead to the current educational situation in state schools.

These patterns are prevelent amongst many but refelct a particular set of strata who dominate the British society at the moment and make up the majority of pupils in school

If you do not belong to that group, despiteyour protestations, if your DC attend anything other than a selective grammar, highly selective catchment comprehensive or an independent school, then they will be educated alongside those who value this culture and be affected by this culture. It is that ethos which leads to under achievement.

Burying your head in the sand and saying " I cannot see it" and " You have lost the argument" is not going to stop the elephants stamping on you ( or most likely your offspring).

Lancelottie Mon 04-Feb-13 12:34:51

But I can only speak from what we've seen, and that is, without moving house or trying to get into a tiny catchment, we have children currently in three different state schools, all containing a decent mix of hardworking, thoughtful, funny, ambitious kids, and a few eyerollingly awful ones. On balance, and presumably by sheer luck, there don't seem to be many pachyderms to ignore.

The DCs certainly don't seem to feel they'll be sneered at for working.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 12:54:46

I just don't understand the dire fate that awaits my children once the elephants have stamped on them...Might they attend a JLS concert? That is certainly something to worry about.

I agree there are many things wrong with society; our widening gap between rich and poor, the strain on working families trying to pay bills while the cost of living rises, the materialistic, hedonistic lifestyle constantly peddled to teens (at state and private school)

But I don't think working class people are the cause of that.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 13:47:15

who mentioned working class here? I think you are being deliberately obtuse and wanting to make an argument where there is none

But best of luck to you. Especially if you cannot see how the culture affects your own DC. I suppose not knowing is good , then you dont have to live with self doubt and regret.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 13:55:17

Lancelottie, I too thought my DS was likely to be OK in a good environment , after all I live in a "naice" middle class village in a rural part of England with a small village school. How wrong could I be?

In complete naivity and, with hindsight stupidity, I sent my DS off to the school. In twomonths he went from being an outgoing small boy, chattering, healthy and one who enjoyed learning to a withdrawn child who often came home with signs of having been scratched or kicked or similar. Of course it was just "school boy" playing and kids get scrapes and scratches. Then my DW had an odd conversation with his teacher. RED ALERT!

Turned out the school was the current depository for every bongo and nutcase who no other school would accommodate - and to thibk I put my kid there? I still angst over it

You may not know what the real case is - patchyderms? I like it but not sure I know exactly what that means.

Xenia Mon 04-Feb-13 14:01:21

Schools in both sectors vary but the bottom line is there is little a mother can do which benefits her children as much as pick a career which enables her to pay school fees. Clegg's wife the higher earner by far in that family is probably unlikely to want her children in a sink school or even in a state Catholic one in London as even those are dire compared with London private schools.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 14:01:48

So when you talk about chavs, to whom are you referring? What culture is this? What fate awaits my children while I bury my head in the sand to avoid doubt and regret?

What will happen? Are you saying that they won't go to university? They will if they work hard enough.

Are you implying that this 'chav' culture is one which means my children will be infected with a desire not to learn? Perhaps, but I hope DP and I set a good example, we are both hardworking, our home is filled with books, we supervise homework, we encourage them.

Are you saying they won't get a good job? In that respect you may have a point as children at private school benefit from the contacts/internships running pal's gastropub or photocopying at the law firm rather than working in a call centre or stacking shelves.

I am not being deliberately obtuse - I just want to know to whom you are referring to when you talk chavs - if you are saying they make up 85 % of the state school population then that is a sizeable proportion, I took that to mean people of a lower socio-economic status than yourself, working class people.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 14:05:00

I did not speak of chavs. I spoke of a "chav culture". When you get that straight we might be gettting somewhere.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 14:10:07

What will happen? Are you saying that they won't go to university? They will if they work hard enough

I am not saying anything. However, statistically the cards are stacked against your DC making good progress or achieving their potential in state schools.

The problem is you cannot know what they might have achieved if you had sent them private.
Saying "oh but look what I/they have achieved from a state school" does not change that fact.

I went to a state school. I have educated myself very well and most would say achived a great deal but I am sure that I hadmore in me and I should have done better and my education, despite what I have achieved has been considerably lacking.

I wouldnt be writing here now if I had been given the schooling opportunities Xenia is giving her DC I am fairly sure.

OhDearConfused Mon 04-Feb-13 14:18:01

@ubik, 10:00:00 Ronaldo, with respect you don't know what you are talking about. Either that or you are Nick Clegg.

Not sure why these two things are mutually exclusive.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 14:20:43

"What you have to get to grips with is the culture " chav" that represents some 85% ofthose who access the state system. You need to address that."

So the 85% are not 'chavs', they are just infected with 'chav culture?'

So you are saying that this is a culture which pervades state schools but not private schools.

So when mum gets out of her white BMW 4X4, flicks her highlights, checks her fake tan in the mirror and wiggles down the road in her sunglasses and juicy couture tracksuit, to drop little Chardonnay at private school, she is not imbued with 'chav culture'? grin

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 14:26:43

The culture pervades many things and extends well beyond any single sub group or culture. Hence 85%. Its a mass culture - a pop culture.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 14:27:33

"pop" as in polular culture. Its the dominanat culture of Britain today ( to make that clear for you)

JoanByers Mon 04-Feb-13 14:36:42

Xenia, I shouldn't worry about those who say you are being a dreadful person by not sending your child to state school.

These are the people who insist nobody has personal responsibility, they are all victims of circumstance. All that is except for middle class people, who are to blame for everything, even the bad behaviour and lack of interest in learning of other people's children.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 15:02:21

Well that was a lovely comment Joan thanks for your input there ( and I think you'll find Xenia more than comfortable with her choices)

CecilyP Mon 04-Feb-13 15:08:38

Yes, I love the idea that Xenia is worried and needs reassurance that her choices were the correct ones!

JoanByers Mon 04-Feb-13 15:09:44

Have not seen any juicy couture tracksuits at my children's private school, FWIW.

happygardening Mon 04-Feb-13 15:31:26

I'm so stereotypical I don't even know what a juicy couture track suit is!!!!

JoanByers Mon 04-Feb-13 15:41:01

I think it's what footballers wives wear.

Here's a helpfully tagged photo of Mrs. Wayne Rooney. coolspotters.com/clothing/juicy-couture-classic-velour-tracksuit/photos_videos/895000

wordfactory Mon 04-Feb-13 15:48:59

I think what ronaldo says about the pervading pop culture, is interesting.

I recently met up with two old friends who had not been back to the UK for some time. Both commented (independently) that the culture has not only changed since last they were here, but that it is extraordinarily dominant.

Amber2 Mon 04-Feb-13 15:59:59

This thread is too black and white...... there is a wide range of parents at private schools and a wide range of schools ...some worse than state ...some much better ....where did Jordan and Colleen choose send their DCs? ... at the poshest Tatleresque prep schools you will find a smattering of the type mentioned above .. ...most non selective prep schools will take if they can pay and are not likely to disrupt...be it footballers wives or Russian Oligarchs ...with aspirations, if not for them, but for their DCS, that money does buy both education and class..

Amber2 Mon 04-Feb-13 16:01:07

I forgot to mention Jade!!

orientalstudies Mon 04-Feb-13 16:21:15

I agree Amber, and why should they not attend. The point being made, I think, is that the kind of popular culture we associate with some of the names you mention (rightly or wrongly) will not dominate the culture of the school. It's fair to say though, that all schools are affected by the cultural changes commented on by Wordfactory's friends.

Amber2 Mon 04-Feb-13 16:35:47

agree...the reasons why they choose those schools is likely because it is the antitheses to the culture they were raised in...but you are going to find more of that type at teh posh schools than the highly selective academic ones...and they probably would not dream of entering them to a high performing state school like Tiffin or Reading grammar because it does not have enough social kudos..

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 17:12:38

I don't understand why you think 'pop culture' and itmohe current values affect state sector children more than children who attend private school.

Amber2 Mon 04-Feb-13 17:22:51

If you were referring to my last post Ubik ..I don't. I think you misread it!

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 17:30:49

So when mum gets out of her white BMW 4X4, flicks her highlights, checks her fake tan in the mirror and wiggles down the road in her sunglasses and juicy couture tracksuit, to drop little Chardonnay at private school, she is not imbued with 'chav culture'?

Never see any of those in the school I teach at ( independent). I doubt any such parent would fit in well or for long.

Whilst it is stereotypic of me a child with a name like Chardonney is more likely to be in a state school in my experience - and usually trouble. If such a DC did make it into our school I would imagine it would not be long before she got herself invited for a long chat in the HT's office and an invitation to find another school as soon as possible.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 17:36:58

I don't understand why you think 'pop culture' and itmohe current values affect state sector children more than children who attend private school

Because ime it tends to. Its just statement of an observation. I have worked in state and independent schools. State schools are dominated by the ethos of this behaviour. On the other hand, often independent schools see little of it or what they do see is knocked out of the DC quickly as they fit into the way we work. Also, many parents send their DC to schools like that I work in precisely because they want to get their DC away from the worst influences and get them a chance to experience something different.

ubik Mon 04-Feb-13 17:39:39

No, sorry Amber.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 17:42:28

We do not have any Chardonnays, Jades, Waynes or similar in my school at all as it happens.

The DC tend to be called Helen, Elizabeth Rachel, Caroline. Boys are Harry, James, Andrew, George etc. The more traditional neams dominate.

We did have a Skye and a Storm a couple of years ago ( and they were friends) I said did have, they decided they didnt like our school and left for the local state school.

happygardening Mon 04-Feb-13 18:15:25

RonladoI can tell you that the children at one if the most famous upmarket and selective coed boarding schools in the UK have a very wide variety of names not just restricted to William, and Kate. In fact I'm often surprised how untraditional the names are.
"If such a DC (named Chardoney) did make it into our school I would imagine it would not be long before she got herself invited for a long chat in the HT's office and an invitation to find another school as soon as possible."
How insulting and patronising I would rather send my DC to a Steiner school than send my DC's to a school who judges them on their name.

Ronaldo Mon 04-Feb-13 18:32:09

happygardening- we have some untraditional names but none like Chardonney. Maybe I should say the names are less cheap looking.

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