Tory by-election candidate on state education....

(194 Posts)
seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 14:12:40

......sorry it's the Daily Mirror, but so far it's that or the Huffington Post! At least they are showing their true colours......

prh47bridge Sat 16-Feb-13 14:23:31

What true colours? The full quote in the third paragraph shows that she did not say what the headline or the first paragraph claim. All she is saying, rightly or wrongly, is that she doesn't think the local schools are good enough. And what about all the politicians from Labour and the LibDems who think a state education is not good enough for their child?

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 14:31:56

Well, my local outstanding comp has never sent a child to read Medicine at university.

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 14:40:22

What, this full quotation? "She said: “William is very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him – impossible in the state system. He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon.”

tiggytape Sat 16-Feb-13 15:09:20

Politicians of all colours get sniffy about state schools when it comes to the education of their own children. It is nothing new.

Some of Diane Abbot's quotes on the subject include:
"I’m a West Indian mum and West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children."
"But when it came to having to make a very difficult decision for my son, I had to choose between him and my career and I chose my son. For me, of West Indian origin, that was a no-brainer."
"I knew what could happen if my son went to the wrong school and got in with the wrong crowd."

Lord Adonis summed it up pretty well last year when he said:
"It’s not a left or right thing. It really matters because too much of failed education policy since the war has been the result of ideological ministers who don’t use the institutions that they expect the general public to use and that has been true of the Labour side as well as well as the Tories."

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 15:15:39

Nobody. But Nobody has ever said that their child can't be a surgeon if they go to a state school.

Muminwestlondon Sat 16-Feb-13 15:40:10

Well DD1 goes to a state school and they send around 20 to read medicine each year. Even DD2's "notorious" comp sends kids to read medicine most years.

One of the comments below the article says that the Lib Dem candidates daughter is reading medicine and she went to a state school.

tiggytape Sat 16-Feb-13 15:56:30

seeker - Diane Abbot was equally hysterical concerned when she voiced her objections to state schools. Apparently it would lead her son into a world of crime and drugs from which he could never be saved!

"I knew what could happen if my son went to the wrong school and got in with the wrong crowd. They are subjected to peer pressure and when that happens it’s very hard for a mother to save her son. Once a black boy is lost to the world of gangs it’s very hard to get them back."

Politicians on both sides are guilty of some pretty extreme views on the limits of state education even if their party is the one in government at the time.

And like Muminwestlondon - our local comp churns out medics and sends kids to Oxbridge (as do most comps around here although some less than others). The Lib Dem's candidate in Eastleigh also has a DD who studies medicine at Imperial College London having attended a local state school there.

Magdalenebaby Sat 16-Feb-13 16:01:27

The local schools in Eastleigh are very good indeed - Wildern and Thornden in particular. A comment like the one she made indicates that she has not even bothered to look at them.

grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 16:12:29

Looks like she'd be Marmite on MN:

"She is also obsessed with breastfeeding (‘I fed each of my four children for two years’), educational provision for children with learning difficulties (two of her children have special needs) and first came into the public eye when she handbagged Tony Blair on live television during the 2005 election campaign about those provisions".

Bluestocking Sat 16-Feb-13 16:18:51

Thrilled to see that her website (vote4maria) has misplaced apostrophes in it. Silly cow.

prh47bridge Sat 16-Feb-13 16:55:26

Yes, that is the quote. She says her son is gifted and that it is impossible to find the right sort of education for him in the state system. She then goes on to say he wants to be a surgeon. She does not connect the two comments. She does not say it is impossible for him to become a surgeon if he goes to state school. That is the interpretation of the Daily Mirror, not known for their objective approach to Tory politicians. Interestingly the journalist who carried out the original interview from which this quote is drawn did not interpret the comments in the same way, although that journalist works for the Daily Mail and could therefore also be regarded as biassed. For all we know the actual interview may have gone:

Hutchings: William is very gifted, which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him — impossible in the state system.

Interviewrer: What does he want to be when he grows up?

Hutchings: A cardio-respiratory surgeon.

And as Tiggytape says, politicians of all colours have said some pretty extreme things about the state system to justify sending their own children to independent schools.

For what it is worth, Maria Hutchings used to be an active member of the Labour party.

Magdalenebaby Sat 16-Feb-13 16:57:48

It is precisely her assumption that it is impossible to find suitable provision for a gifted child in the state system that I take issue with.

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 17:03:26

So it's OK to say it's impossible to find education for a gifted child in the state system?????grin

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 17:04:34

But well tried, prb!!!!!!!

tiggytape Sat 16-Feb-13 17:04:57

No seeker of course not - but a lot of people believe it is true including both Tory and Labour politicians!

LittleFrieda Sat 16-Feb-13 17:23:48

This really comes down to whether you believe attendance at an independent school confers educational advantage, so that admission to medicine, Oxbridge, vet med etc, is more likely. I think the Sutton Trust (whose objective is to increase social mobility through education) has found this to be the case.

LittleFrieda Sat 16-Feb-13 17:25:42

Seeker - you seem to have struggled to find the right sort of education for your child.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 16-Feb-13 17:26:28

I'm interested in how John O'F got his new school, and why!

Stupid bloody woman.

LittleFrieda Sat 16-Feb-13 17:46:35

FillyPutty Sat 16-Feb-13 19:00:20

Is she even in catchment for the outstanding schools she has supposedly rejected?

The fact is that if you have the money you can find a suitable school for your child.

If you do not, then one may or may not be available in the state sector. Very often not.

prh47bridge Sat 16-Feb-13 22:41:23

I am not saying it is ok to say that. However, as Tiggy says, politicians of all parties have made similar statements. And I'm sure she isn't the only mother who thinks the local state schools aren't good enough.

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 02:20:21

For goodness sake.

Is this country so PC these days that you can't say "I think my local state school can't offer me what I want for my child" without being demonized by pro-state school fanatics???

With Diane Abbott, I can actually understand what she means. The majority of people on MN are white, I guess...

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 06:39:02

Tasmania- but that is not what she said. Why not comment on her actual words, not on something completely different!

Mrspartacus Sun 17-Feb-13 08:31:52

I read this yesterday, and have been hunting since to find out if the excellent comprehensives in her area are actually in her sons catchment. I initially thought she had been mis quoted, either way it is a damaging article For the forth coming election.

wordfactory Sun 17-Feb-13 08:35:58

Oh Good God.
Some DC are so bright that state school doesn't fit. Indeed, most private schools don't fit...

These DC thrive much better in super selectives.

scaevola Sun 17-Feb-13 08:54:36

Politicians of both sides are very hypocritical when it comes to their own DCs and whether they should go into the stated education system which they, as MPs, should support.

I think the hypocrisy is generally worse from the Left, as their ideological stance is generally more abolitionist of diverse sectors in education provision.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 08:58:50

"I think the hypocrisy is generally worse from the Left, as their ideological stance is generally more abolitionist of diverse sectors in education provision."

I agree. But have any of them actually said that it's impossible to become a surgeon if you go to state school?

scaevola Sun 17-Feb-13 09:02:59

Probably not. But that's an unhelpfully narrow straw man point, really.

I think Lord Adonis (a Tony crony) put it well.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 09:05:37

I don't think it's a straw man- it's what she actually said! I'm not saying that's what all Tories think- but she obviously does, and it's her standing in this by election!

scaevola Sun 17-Feb-13 09:12:57

Of course it's what she is quoted as saying. That's not the straw man. The straw man "have any of them actually said that it's impossible to become a surgeon if you go to state school?".

The exact wording isn't the important part - there are, as acknowledged by Labour's senior education policy maker, many examples of Labour politicians dissing the state sector. And I find that more hypocritical then the Tories doing so, for the Tory support of a more diverse system with greater range of sectors/types isn't exactly news.

AThingInYourLife Sun 17-Feb-13 09:19:32

Why must politicians think the state sector is good if it is not?

Adonis was right - the problem is not a recognition that there is a problem.

It's the complacency with which that problem is treated by people who don't believe it affects them.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 09:35:07

They don't have to. Acknowledging problems iis one thing. Saying that you can't become a surgeon from a state school is quite another! Particularly in an area with outstanding secondary schools.

prh47bridge Sun 17-Feb-13 09:46:14

As I have already pointed out she did NOT say that it is impossible to become a surgeon if you go to state school. That is the Daily Mirror's spin on an interview conducted by the Daily Mail. The quote shows that she said:

- her son is gifted and she can't find the right sort of education for him in state schools

- her son wants to be a surgeon

She did not connect the two points. For all we know the Daily Mail's journalist may have conflated two completely separate answers to produce the quote. But even if the quote is correct, she does NOT say that it is impossible to become a surgeon if you go to state school. Her only comment about state schools is that in her view they don't provide the right sort of education for her son. I'm with the Guardian's interpretation - she said her son is too bright for state schools.

One of the most annoying things about politics in this country is the way that politicians' words get twisted to make out they have said something they haven't. It happens to politicians of all parties - I have in various forums stuck up for politicians of all three major parties when they have been attacked for something they did not actually say.

By all means attack her for saying that she can't get the right sort of education for her son in state schools, although personally I would rather have politicians who think state schools aren't good enough provided it motivates them to do something to improve the education system. If all politicians think state schools are wonderful and no change is needed we will carry on slipping down the international league table.

We have the same problem in spades over the NHS. Any politician who suggests the NHS is less than perfect gets savaged by opponents and the press. The result is Stafford and all the other hospitals currently under investigation for failure to care for patients properly.

grovel Sun 17-Feb-13 09:52:42

I once had a fridge called a prh47.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 17-Feb-13 10:12:46

You keep separating the points as though it makes a difference, prh but it doesn't! It was a stupid, offensive and ill-informed thing to say.

Never mind whether she's in the catchment for the outstanding schools: are their teachers in her would-be constituency??

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 11:21:42

Seeker - her actual words, according to the tabloid -- which you should never read nor believe--:

"William is very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him – impossible in the state system. He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon."

She may NOT have said that in that order. To be honest, it doesn't even sound right??? Look at it. It's as though a whole chunk was missing from the middle. For all we know, she could have said this:

"*William is very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him - impossible to find in the state system.* He is a special needs child, and doesn't do well in a class of 30 plus people. Of course, children who are naturally bright and sociable fair perfectly well in that environment. William isn't such a child. It takes a lot of one-on-one work for him to fulfill his potential, and we want that for him. He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon, and we will do anything possible to make that happen."

Or it could have been one of those cases that was misunderstood on the other end because you left a whole chunk of info out. Were you never asked a question and answered it so quickly that you left out some valuable information that to you may have seemed unnecessary, but to others out of the loop would have been needed for comprehension? Of course, most politicians employ speech writers, etc. to prevent this happening to them.

I do know people who use the term "gifted" in describing what others would see as "special needs" - a very PC thing to do. So when someone tells me these days that their child is "gifted", I'm aware it can be anything from being a genius to needing very, very special care. Sometimes, both go hand in hand.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:27:16

Yes. She might have said that.

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 11:44:38

TheOriginalSteamingNit / Seeker

Just out of interest: Why do you care if she thinks Ofsted "outstanding" schools are not good enough for her children? If you have seen the "other" side (e.g. the really good private schools), you can't help but think that state schools can't match them most of the time (there are exceptions). So if I had the money... yes, I'd send my kids to the better private school with their huge cricket and rugby fields, and old, idyllic buildings - complete with the kind of libraries I dreamt of as a child. Most likely because I wouldn't think the state school was good enough - in comparison to what the private sector could offer me.

Of course, while DH and I openly admit this to each other, we'd be very careful saying this in front of others - because as we can see from this forum, other people take an offense to it. Probably something to do about it being unfair that it's money that determines an education.


Wake-up call.

What's the difference between that and someone buying a Porsche, a bigger house, luxurious family holidays... need I continue?

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 11:51:32

In this particular case, I care because she is hoping to become part of the government of the country. And I don't want people in charge who think that you can't become a surgeon if you go to a state school. Yes, I know you have produced some post hoc rationalisation to explain why she didn't actually say that, but so far I only have her words to go on.

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 12:00:53

Seeker - I would be very reluctant to vote for someone who thinks that state schools are good enough as they are, and pride themselves with having sent their kids there, and still "did well". You never know what the parents did outside of school, e.g. discussions around the dinner table, huge bills on tutors, drama school, music lessons or holidays in France to perfect that French. For less educated parents or families with less money, it would be difficult to achieve the same.

Plenty of Offsted-rated "outstanding" state schools are simply not good enough. So if I had the power to change that, I would. However, if I thought they were in fact good enough, schools would not be on my priority list. I may focus on other things instead.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 12:29:06

"Plenty of Offsted-rated "outstanding" state schools are simply not good enough."

And you know this because??

And as I said, she appears to have written off state education before she started. Not saying that improvements need to be made, and there are schools that aren't good enough.

LilyBolero Sun 17-Feb-13 12:37:19

She is bonkers. When she tiraded at Tony Blair, the provision she was angrily defending was not being removed, reduced, or at threat of being changed in any way.

She also believes the abortion limit should be 10 weeks.

And the quote about education defies belief - what does she expect parents of very gifted children who CAN'T afford private schools do?

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 12:37:42

seeker - It is all relative. When I say not "good enough", it's because I've been around a few in our area, and my friends have been around a few in theirs... but we all have been around a few of the major private school ones, and while the "outstanding" schools may have been "good enough", if we had never seen the private ones, they were no longer "good enough" for us afterwards.

Sad that the state schools just can't compete with them... so DH and I are working hard to ensure DC can go to whatever school we think is "good enough".

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 12:44:47

Yep. Loads of extra money will do that to a school.

The fact remains that someone hoping to enter government should not write off state education before she starts.

dapplegrey Sun 17-Feb-13 13:13:17

Nick Clegg has said he may educate his children privately. Did you object to that, Seeker, or is it just Tories that are criticised by you?

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:26:25

Yes, I object to that too. No, it's not just Tories.

prh47bridge Sun 17-Feb-13 14:27:47

TheOriginalSteamingNit - So in your world all politicians must say that their local state school is a brilliant success even if it is the worst school in the country?

The point I am making is that she did not say that you can't be a surgeon if you go to state school as alleged. She did say that it is impossible for her son to get an adequate education in the state system as he is gifted. That wasn't the brightest of things to have said. But I have no problem with a politician saying the local schools aren't good enough. I wish more would do so.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:32:25

"So in your world all politicians must say that their local state school is a brilliant success even if it is the worst school in the country?"

Of course not. Nobody has said she should. But she has dismissed the state system out of hand. And however you rewrite it, she did say that you can't become a surgeon from a state school. And she said that a bright child can't be educated in a state school- in a constituency with outstanding schools. Which is, if nothing else, completely stupid.

LittleFrieda Sun 17-Feb-13 14:37:39

Value for money in the state sector may be better, but the education on offer isn't (in my experience) better. This is probably because the spend per state pupil is vastly less than the spend per pupil in the independent sector.

I wish people wouldn't pretend state education is better.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 14:40:06

"I wish people wouldn't pretend state education is better."

Who is?

adeucalione Sun 17-Feb-13 14:58:36

My understanding is that she has four children, three of whom are doing well in the state system, which suggests that she is broadly supportive of the state system locally.

I also know that three of her children are autistic. Maybe if William is autistic and gifted, that might make it harder for her to find suitable state provision, the sort of provision that might allow him to realise his ambitions to become a surgeon?

No idea. I don't like the woman (since her barmy attack on Blair and MMR rant) but think its shabby to criticise her choices, for one of her children, who may well find mainstream education difficult.

Faxthatpam Sun 17-Feb-13 15:03:19

Ummm... me?! Or - at least it can be.

I actually do believe that you get a better all round real life education from an outstanding state school, than you do from the expensive private school "idyll".

I have an uncle who is a professor of Economics at LSE, he says that, in general, the state educated undergrads cope better and achieve more than the privately educated ones. For practically everyone life isn't a rarified idyll and at some point, you are very likely to have to deal with this. IMHO smile

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 15:03:32

Apparently her oldest daughter is 24, and has Aspergers.
Her oldest son is 18 and is severely autistic.
The son in question is 12 and her youngest daughter 10.

It would seem that she has considerable experience of the state education system from this.

Faxthatpam Sun 17-Feb-13 15:07:05

Whatever her experience, it was a very silly thing for a candidate to say during a by election. For that reason alone she should be criticised.

tiggytape Sun 17-Feb-13 15:36:42

And I don't want people in charge who think that you can't become a surgeon if you go to a state school.

I don't think you'll have anyone left to vote for then seeker. There are people in every single political party who make it very clear that state school is not an option for their children. Some of them blame their spouse, some of them say how easily influenced their children are, some cite the highly gifted excuse...
a few stick to the party line and send them to state school but look very green about it and top up with tutors...

Every governing party we've ever had has included people who would not 'inflict' state education on their own children however much they publically defend it to the masses.

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 16:06:54

Good parents would normally go for the school that is best for their child. Sometimes, that school is non-existent in the state school sector, but is available in the private sector.

Are you saying that the parent should not do what's best for the child out of principle?!?

Faxthatpam - that might be all well and good what your uncle said, as long as the student remains a student. At some point, he/she will had to leave the idyll of HE, and you'll find that no matter how well the state school students may have done in academia, in most of the well-paid careers, the ones at the top were overwhelmingly educated in the private sector. Even in less-paid (i.e. they don't earn that much) but prestigious sectors such as academia, I'm told that this is the case.

I don't actually believe that you get better a all round education in the state sector. They do that better in the private sector, where there are generous budgets for drama, music, debating, etc. We do not live in London, so there's not even the excuse of the local state school being more ethnically diverse. The private schools, however, are - because a lot of families with a non-white background actually place a huge importance on education, and are very ambitious as to where they believe their kids should be heading.

Faxthatpam Sun 17-Feb-13 17:28:12

It depends where you want them to end up I guess. I just want my kids to be happy and well adjusted adults with a real idea of what it's like to live outside of that private school "idyll". I want them to be good at motivating themselves and I want them to be good at empathy. So far I am not disappointed, my DS1 is in his 2nd yr of uni, he had his moments but he found his way out of them. I think if more politicians had this background they would be far better at their jobs.

The point about HE is that it can be the first taste of this real world, with all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds, and all sorts of distractions. It isn't an "idyll" in the way a private school (as described by a previous poster) can be, it is a stepping stone into reality. That's why most kids from comps do better I guess, they are used to working and dealing with the distractions. You are right, there are definitely not enough state educated people in the "top" ie highly paid careers - that is NOT a good thing and it's an issue that needs addressing.

Anyway - sorry for hijacking the thread, I was only really responding to the assumption that we all agree private = best! smile.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 17:34:40

People are spectacularly missing the point.

Nobody is saying that politicians should pretend that bad schools are good schools.

I suppose if they are open about it there is no reason why they shouldn't send their children to private schools.

What this woman said is that it is impossible to get an education for a bright child in the state system. She also implied, if not actually said, that you cannot be a surgeon from a state schools. I don't want people in government who believe these things.

Faxthatpam Sun 17-Feb-13 17:48:27

Yes, from what she is quoted as saying - which is all we can go on - the implication was certainly that you cannot be a surgeon from a state school. This is idiotic. She should not be in government if she believes this.

LittleFrieda Sun 17-Feb-13 17:56:28

It's up to the people of Eastleigh who they elect to serve them in government.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 17:57:44

So not appropriate for people in other constituencies to discuss it? How very bizarre!

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 17:58:19

I am a bit suspicious that she is Nadine Dorries mk2.

However, she didn't say that you cannot get an education for a bright child in the state system.

She said,

"William is very gifted, which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him — impossible in the state system."

It might well be that she cannot find the right education for 'William', in the state system.

That is not "no bright child can be find a good education in the state system".

I don't believe for a minute that she implied you cannot be a surgeon from state schools.

It's normal for newspaper articles to omit part of people's prose, prompting questions, and so on. It's unreasonable to assume that she actually uttered, consecutively:

"William is very gifted, which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him — impossible in the state system."

followed by, without any intevening words or prompts,

"He wants to be a cardiorespiratory surgeon."

The whole thing looks to me to have been sub-edited by a tabloid editor, it doesn't read like spoken English.

I believe that she, as have numerous other politicians, have stated that one of her children 'needs' a private education.

I also believe that she said that he wanted him to be a surgeon.

I do NOT believe that she said or even implied that this was impossible from a state school.

You just can't manufacture this kind of outrage from a two-line quote in the middle of a Daily Mail article.

The article also claims:

"Clearly, money is tight. ‘Three weeks ago I had to scrap my car because it broke down a second time and I couldn’t afford to fix it. But there’s a bus stop nearby, though I have to change buses to get into town. And the other mums are brilliant at helping out.’
A talented pianist and cellist, she sold her cello to buy a new TV. The family aquarium lies empty because they can’t afford to stock it."

I checked, and she used to live on Romsey Road in Benfleet - a modest house in a modest area. The implication that she is some sort of remote Tory grandee who has no idea about the real world seems to be quite misplaced therefore. She looks rather, to be one of the allegedly mythical squeezed middle parents who has made sacrifices to send one of her four children to private school.

tiggytape Sun 17-Feb-13 18:02:52

seeker - but that is no different from Diane Abott (and countless others) believe. She didn't just turn her nose up at her local state schools but at all state schools in general.
She didn't say that state school limits career options - she said that state schools lead to gang membership which is obvioulsy no less insulting or ridiculous.

Lots of people hold ridiculous views on the 'dangers' of state schools including people in every government we've had. As it is, I doubt Tory would take the seat in Eastleigh anyway and, if the public made it clear to all 3 main parties that they expect support for state schools in practice not just in principle, then perhaps less politicians on both sides would come out with this stuff.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 18:06:54

I don't think she did, actually. I think she said that the wrong school and getting caught up with the wrong people could lead to gang membership.

But I think she was wrong too- I am an equal opportunities politician basher!

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 18:11:14

I think Diane Abbott had a point, much as I dislike her politics. Outcomes specifically for black boys in London, outside of private schools, are generally dismal. By comparison many Indian and Chinese boys do very well.

DadOnIce Sun 17-Feb-13 18:13:31

But people don't go to private school because they are "too bright" for the state system, or because they want something the state system can't provide. If this automatically happened, there might be some argument for an alternative to state education. What actually happens is that - a small handful of token bursaries aside - people go to private school if their parents can afford to pay for it. So the alternative system exists not to serve the pupils who need something different, but those whose parents have the deepest wallets.

wordfactory Sun 17-Feb-13 18:14:05

If she had said, 'well I've had my two eldest go through our local schools and I just don't think they'll be right for my son who is super bright,' would you have been happy?

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 18:25:55

'But people don't go to private school because they are "too bright" for the state system, or because they want something the state system can't provide.'

Yes they do.

"What actually happens is that - a small handful of token bursaries aside - people go to private school if their parents can afford to pay for it. "

Yes that's also true.

The two are not mutually exclusive. Hutchings, it seems clear, cannot afford to send all her four children to private school. She has chosen to send one to private school because she feels that he in particular 'needs' it. We don't know if he gets a bursary or scholarship, but clearly this decision has been influenced by her assessment of her son's needs.

I don't think she has said that he is 'too bright for state school'. She feels that her chosen private school better caters for her son's needs, whatever they are, than the available state schools. This is undoubtedly true!

Perhaps when she moved from Benfleet she missed the cut-off for school applications so was allocated a failing school for him. Or, perhaps she applied in time, but could not afford to live in the catchment for one of the good local schools and went private instead.

LilyBolero Sun 17-Feb-13 18:31:07

We really don't need another nutter in parliament.

She only moved to Eastleigh in 2010, when she was selected as the candidate for Eastleight.

She is anti gay marriage, and anti abortion, and says her preference is no abortion, but if you have to have it, the limit should be 10 weeks. (Look at the abuse Nadine Dorries got for suggesting 20 weeks!).

Whatever her views on education, she was very very foolish to say something like this. Not someone who should be in politics.

She says she is someone who 'gets things done'. But her response to not thinking local (outstanding) schools were good enough was to duck out and go private. John O'Farrell set up a school and chaired the governors so the whole community got a STATE school that was good. That's getting things done.

tiggytape Sun 17-Feb-13 18:31:12

Agree with DadOnIce - it isn't based on need. It isn't about bad outcomes for black boys or the additional needs of exceptionally gifted students. It is about the fact that most parents have no option but to send their children to the local state school.

Parents of black boys and / or exceptionally gifted children are generally stuck with the local state school and whatever that can offer. If politicians are saying such schools are not suitable for certain groups of children, where does that leave parents who don't have the money but who have children with the exact same needs or backgrounds as those of the politician in question?

LilyBolero Sun 17-Feb-13 18:32:09

tiggytape; exactly - most people don't have the get-out option of private.

John O'Farrell on state education

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 18:53:30

So many people happy to rewrite the quote to make it more acceptable!

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 19:38:13

Because she did not say that you cannot be a surgeon from a state school. She did not say state schools are unsuitable for bright children. These are facts.

If you want to read things into her comments that she didn't actually say, that's your choice. My experience of media quoting people suggests that is inappropriate.

LilyBolero Sun 17-Feb-13 19:59:12

Well, I haven't heard anyone from ToryHQ saying 'the quote is out of context', or 'she was talking about his SN'.

What I have heard is that she said it is impossible to find the right education for her son in the state sector, because he is very gifted.'

Which is just rubbish.

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 20:27:18

So what state school was her son allocated, Lily?

Yamyoid Sun 17-Feb-13 20:49:36

Bloody stupid woman, seems like she's on a mission to lose the by election. She's also accused of plagiarising Wikipedia on her website.

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 21:09:02

Sounds like another fine piece of Daily Mirror journalism.

LilyBolero Sun 17-Feb-13 21:24:59


Maria Hutchings' webpage - notes on Eastleigh;

" The modern town of Eastleigh lies on the old Roman road, built in A.D.79 between Winchester (Venta Belgarum) and Bitterne (Clausentum. Roman remains discovered in the Eastleigh area, including a Roman lead coffin excavated in 1908, indicate that a settlement probably existed here in Roman times.

A Saxon village called ‘East Leah’ has been recorded to have existed since 932 AD. (‘Leah’ is an ancient Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘a clearing in a forest’). There is additional evidence of this settlement in a survey from the time which details land in North Stoneham being granted by King Æthelstan to his military aid, Alfred in 932 AD. The prefix ‘Est’ or 'East' is thought to refer to its location relative to the established settlement of Baddesley.

Eastleigh has seen a rapid and controlled expansion in residential, industrial and commercial development over recent years. The borough of Eastleigh was ranked the "9th best place to live in the UK 2006" by a Channel 4 programme."

And Wikipedia entry on Eastleigh;

"The modern town of Eastleigh lies on the old Roman road, built in A.D.79 between Winchester (Venta Belgarum) and Bitterne (Clausentum).[3][4][5] Roman remains discovered in the Eastleigh area, including a Roman lead coffin excavated in 1908,[6] indicate that a settlement probably existed here in Roman times.[3][7][8]

A Saxon village called ‘East Leah’ has been recorded to have existed since 932 AD.[9] (‘Leah’ is an ancient Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘a clearing in a forest’).[9] There is additional evidence of this settlement in a survey from the time which details land in North Stoneham being granted by King Æthelstan to his military aid, Alfred in 932 AD.[3][7][10] The prefix 'Est' or 'East' is thought to refer to its location relative to the established settlement of Baddesley.[3] ...... there is another paragraph here that Maria Hutchings did not plagiarise


Eastleigh has seen a rapid and controlled expansion in residential, industrial and commercial development over recent years. The borough of Eastleigh was ranked the "9th best place to live in the UK 2006" by a Channel 4 programme.[14]"

LilyBolero Sun 17-Feb-13 21:25:44
FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 21:46:12

Reuse of content from Wikipedia is encouraged, though you should include a source. It doesn't look like she wrote the website herself anyway, looks like an agency.

prh47bridge Sun 17-Feb-13 23:04:51

Actually Wikipedia's current terms of use do not require any acknowledgement of the source. So nothing wrong with quoting that article, although I personally wouldn't have put that page on her website at all. It doesn't serve any useful purpose and there is no indication what the flags on the map represent.

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 23:38:47

That's true... Wikipedia is all about open source, isn't it...

GrowSomeCress Sun 17-Feb-13 23:48:27

Really don't see why this is so horribly shocking... certainly less shocking than Diane Abbott's claim that West Indian mums will go to the wall for their children (implication being that other mums will not hmm remember the interview where she refused to answer about that)

Farewelltoarms Mon 18-Feb-13 06:59:12

Isn't the real lesson that you should never talk about your child being gifted outside your family or their educational setting.
Yes I know gifted children bring their own challenges etc but shorn of nuance or suitable context, you sound like an arse.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 18-Feb-13 07:45:13

Personally I find it more disturbing that Labour have backed a candidate who has openly admitted that he wished the IRA succeeded in killing Margaret Thatcher in the Brighton bombing.

So on the one had we have someone who has chosen private school for one of their children.
And on the other we have an apologist for terrorism.

And MN is concerned with the one who chose private school. hmm

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 07:56:45

Link please?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 18-Feb-13 07:59:53
seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:02:39

And did you read the rest of the article? Or just the headline?

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:03:43

Oh, and it's not the fact that she sends her child to a private school that's the issue, it's her comments about state education.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 18-Feb-13 08:14:47

Yes I read the whole article.

Seeker I find it really hard to get exercised about someone wanting the best for their children, it is what we all want.

As you yourself have said on here many times, state education isn't up to scratch. It serves some children very well, and others not at all. The inequality in the system is massive, and in many places it is essentially a lottery as to whether your child lands on their feet or not.

I would rather that a politician said 'state education cannot cater for my child', than sent their kids state and had them tutored like mad behind the scenes - all the while proclaiming the fabulousness of the system.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 08:18:41

So if you read the whole article, why are you saying he's an apologist for terrorism, when he is obviously not?

And the point is not that she said state education needs to be improved- she said that she that it would be impossible for her child to get an education in the state system. She then said he wanted to be a surgeon, which has been widely interpreted (and no clarification or denial has been issued) as meaning she believes it is not possible to become a surgeon from state school.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 09:29:29

Love it when people chuck accusations like "terrorist apologist" out, then disappear when called on it.

Believeitornot Mon 18-Feb-13 09:45:46

<de lurks>

This woman has made me hmm with her comments that gifted kids and state education just don't work. Madness.

John o'farrell is my hero. I've read his article before and what he says is true.
If you want a decent education for your child, get off your arses and help improve state education. Get on the board of governors. If not, write to them, and push for things to happen. I'll be applying for governor when my ds goes to school (even thinking of doing it before) - we might send ds to a not very well performing state because we think it will suit him. We also will invest time in his education ourselves - not just pay someone else to do it for us.

As parents we educate our children as well as the school.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 10:46:38

The wiki thing is just laziness though. As a prospective MP your notes on your prospective constituency should not be cribbed from Wikipedia!

As far as the schools thing, those of you supporting her, how do you think children in state schools, who are 'very gifted' and aspire to be surgeons etc, are feeling? To be told by someone who may soon be in govt that their ambition is 'not possible' because they are in a state school. Or that state school is not good enough for HER son, but it's good enough for THEM.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 18-Feb-13 11:00:07

Yep, that would be disappearing to feed and dress my children... Not everyone can sit on here all day.

Ok so perhaps I exaggerated, but no more so than anyone extrapolating hatred for the entire state sector from Maria Hutchings comments.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 11:49:20

I didn't say she hated state education. I said that she believes that you can't become a surgeon from a state school.which is what she appears to have said, and in the absence of denial or clarification from Central Office I can only assume that's what she meant to say.

You didn't exagerrate, by the way, you misrepresented. Rather shamefully.

DadOnIce Mon 18-Feb-13 11:52:52

FillyPutty - you miss my point when "correcting" me above. People do not go to private school just for being "too bright" or wanting something the state cannot provide. There are thousands of children in this position. There are not thousands of free private school places. The places are not determined by need, they are determined by ability to pay. That's my objection to the system. I would have no problem with a genuinely flexible system which provided schools most suited to particular kinds of pupils, regardless of parental income and background.

It's the sense of entitlement from people like Hutchings and Abbott which voters find so objectionable. The "I need this therefore I get it" attitude.

GrowSomeCress Mon 18-Feb-13 12:17:46

DadOnIce, we live in a capitalist society - of course things aren't determined by need. That's why some people have bigger houses than others, or bigger cars, or more clothes, or more holidays.

DadOnIce Mon 18-Feb-13 12:23:56

I think comparisons between such consumer goods and education are erroneous, for reasons which I have explained at length before and which I'm sure have been done to death on this thread.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 12:28:31

I think it's hard when it's people in government, or prospective MPs who make out that they 'have no choice' because of some circumstance or other - their child is very gifted, their ducks are cold etc. Because it's not like a parent of a child who has identical needs, but bank balances mean they have no choice, doesn't worry as much about their child's education. It's not like the child is any more deserving of better education etc.

It always makes me a bit sick that whilst imposing the 'bedroom tax' on the poorest families in society - charging them money for a bedroom they have 'decreed' they don't 'need', even though there may be nowhere for them to go, the MPs are more than happy to claim ££££ for second homes, duck houses etc. The taxpayer provides 14 bedrooms for wealthy David Cameron, his millionaire wife and 3 children, despite them also owning 2 other houses, one of which was hugely subsidised by the taxpayer. But he argues that a family on the breadline should be penalised because the only accommodation available to them is 3 bedrooms, and as they have 2 sons, they are only entitled to 2 bedrooms. Or the family with a disabled son who is not 'entitled' to his own bedroom.

And yet George Osborne was 'entitled' to have the taxpayer enable him to buy a large house with a paddock....which he has since sold at a huge profit, even though we the taxpayer paid the interest on the mortgage he used to buy it. Paddock link Clearly a paddock is ESSENTIAL for sorting out the economy....

That's why it matters if an MP or a prospective MP utters such tosh such as 'my son is too clever for state school, his ambitions cannot be met there'. Because we end up with a society where it's one rule for the rule-makers and their friends, and everyone else can go hang.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 12:28:44

But there are things which should in any civilised society be determined by need. Education, for one. Health care for another. I realise that expecting this is utopian, but I couldn't vote for anyone for whom it was not at least an aspiration.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 12:29:12

(that bit about the bedroom tax etc was in response to the comments about a 'capitalist society')

DadOnIce Mon 18-Feb-13 13:13:34

I'm convinced that, if private schools didn't exist and we had to invent them, they'd seem like a really odd idea. As odd as having a special private bin collection, or private bus service, or private fire service, or private park for children to play in away from the riff-raff. (Actually, there probably are those, for all I know.)

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 13:28:52

Oh I'm not sure people would find it odd dadonice

People always want to make life as they want it, if they can. They don't just want what is offered. They want to customise it. We're individuals afterall.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 13:39:40

There are council gyms for £20/m and private gyms for £300/month.

There aren't any societies where people will all accept a common standard of provision.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 13:45:41

I think the problem is the attitude of 'the state schools are ok for the plebs' children, but MY child is special and he must have better'.

Everyone's child is special. Some people have the means to buy a better start for their child, but that does not make it right or fair. And certainly not to then blab to the newspapers that you've done it because 'he is too clever for the state sector, and it is not possible to become a surgeon if you have attended a state school'.

That is how her comments were interpreted, I have heard no denials from either her or CHQ, which you would expect; all I have heard is Grant Shapps saying 'it's up to her how she educates her children'. If it was out of context, you can bet they would have leapt on it.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 13:50:22

"There are council gyms for £20/m and private gyms for £300/month"

Absolutely. But you don't have politicians saying it's impossible to get fit in the council ones!

themottledcat Mon 18-Feb-13 13:58:11

Completely agree with DadOnIce.

However, how old is this child? How on earth does he know he wants to be a Respiratory Surgeon anyway? Having much older children, and living in a very MC area, I have witnessed many parents who want their children to be doctors only to have their dreams shattered when they discover they're not bright enough at the level of competition there is to get into medical school from both the private and state sector, and no doubt all the applicants will be regarded as 'gifted'.

It's a bloody stupid thing to say though. Her son won't thank her for it in years to

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 14:08:45

I know, the idea of knowing what speciality of surgery he wants is a bit mad. Fine at that age to aspire to being a doctor, or even a surgeon, but crazy to have decided such a v narrow area, before having got your A Levels, got your place at med school, got through your med exams, done your House years, applied for a number, etc etc etc.

My dd wants to be a paediatrician - but that is because she wants to be a doctor, and 'wants to help children' - that is her experience of doctors. If she does decide to do medicine, then great, but I'm sure her aspirations within that would change, and she may do something entirely different altogether.

She is state school educated, but super bright, doing fantastically well!

Callthemidlife Mon 18-Feb-13 14:23:45

This should be on the politics boards rather than the education boards because this is a political issue far more than an educational one.

Whether or not people object to the content of her comments in principle is by the by. most of us are hypocritical when it suits us and we're fortunate in that our handwringing is usually not recorded for posterity by others.

The problem I have is that we are being asked to put into public office a politician who does not even have the sense to have worked out in advance how to media-manage an issue that was always going to be brought up. And who appears totally unable to empathise with the population she is askign to support her. That lack of emotional maturity suggests there is something rotten to the core in the selection of political candidates.

Tasmania Mon 18-Feb-13 14:28:59

DadOnIce You'd probably find a lot of those "private" things in gated communities that seeks to keep away a certain part of the population. So there really is no need to reinvent the wheel.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 14:47:44

Seeker politicians are generally not expected to justify their vast houses (the prices of which they have inflated through their policies), their expensive cars, nice holidays, or indeed fancy gyms.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 15:02:08

Doesnt she have the rest of her children in the state system already so she is not completely dismissing state?

The schools might be fab for YOUR children whatever your beliefs, grammar,comp or private. Why cannot we all not live with each others choices? For me the grammars were not great for my pontentially non academic boys, the sec moderns I wouldnt wish on anyone so we went private.

You be happy with your choice but please dont foister your choices on me.

50% of private school pupils go to university. But only 7% are educated privately. If you want your children to go to uni and you have the money then the stats speak for themselves. Small classes, strong discipline, lots of choice of activities are all things that have really helped my boys. Bigger classes, lack of discipline in the local sec modern are not the things I am looking for so I have discounted this option.

Of course if the state system was OK here I would use it. But its not so I wont.....

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 15:30:52

No. But they should be expected to explain why they think you can't be a surgeon if you go to a state school .

Tasmania Mon 18-Feb-13 15:33:42

Seeker - But she didn't say that (as so many people have already pointed out).

If I was working at the Mirror, there are some pretty juicy stuff you posted in this thread... where if I combined them together, you'd be pretty shocked at what you said.

But of course, between us, you know what you said and didn't.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 15:39:39

There are some state schools where they wont have a hope in hell. Of course there will be some state schools - particularly the grammars where there is a good chance they will being academically biased.

As I understand it medicine requires 8-10 GCSE's at A*/A. Why on earth would someone experimate with sending their child to say a sec modern where going to univeristy is not the norm let alone giving them the chance to study medicine.

I am not saying that ALL state schools arent capable. A close colleague has a DD just finishing her grammar school education and who A'levels permitting will study medicine. If this potential MP thought there was an excellent state school that would allow her son to follow his dream then she would be pretty silly not to take it. But she doesnt so she is looking at alternatives.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 16:00:26

But the schools in Eastleigh are 'outstanding'. We're not talking sink schools here.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 16:10:41

So all of the schools are outstanding? 100% of them? Maybe she knows something we dont. Or perhaps she has had a look at a private school and prefers for THIS son to choose this option.

Its not as though she is putting ALL her children through the private system.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 16:24:15

maisiejoe, it's not really whether or not she goes private, it's the statement that her son is 'too clever' for state school, and the inference that he couldn't achieve his ambition of being a cardio-respiratory surgeon in the state sector.

When the vast majority of people have no choice about where they educate their children, this is not a clever or nice thing for a would-be politician to say. It has an element of 'my son is too good for that school, but it's fine for YOUR children'.

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 16:35:26

Tasmania- if she had been quoted out of context Central Office would have denied or clarified. They didn't so we can assume she meant what she said.

Maisie- there are many people who study medicine from
state schools and not just grammars.

muminlondon Mon 18-Feb-13 16:43:22

If I lived in Eastleigh and sent my children to a state school there I would feel either really angry that with a ill-chosen comment she has implied my own children's school is crap when it really wasn't, or really depressed that my own options were indeed crap. Does she expect to get much support?

According to a search in the DfE performance tables for 'Eastleigh' there is one private school in Eastleigh with 40 pupils last year - 4% of the total. The top school for GCSE results inc English and Maths (92%) - was outstanding with results better than the private school.

There are other schools performing less well but their results reflect a very different intake in terms of prior attainment and deprivation. Is she just pissed off that she's in the wrong catchment area? She may get lots of constituents complaining about the unfairness of government policy so she should have a response.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 16:49:32

I am wondering actually how many people actually do end up studying medicine at uni that are from sec moderns or comp's. Geninue question bearing in mind that 50% of the 7% of privately educated pupils go to uni and lets ignore the grammar's. They pick the brighest pupils so have an unfair advantage especially if you are looking to gain all those A's at GCSE's.

I will be honest here, I dont have wildly academic boys, middle stream and could well be distracted by what goes on in boys lives now so because we could afford it we went private. And it hasnt let us down yet. My DS is expecting A*/A's and a few B's in GSCE. The expectation at his school is aim for the A an A*. Have plenty of chances to correct a weak subject, surround them with like minded boys whose parents are paying significant fees to give them this opportunity and will be supportive. Parents evenings are always very well supported because actually after paying all this money why wouldnt I be interested. Whereas in my DM primary school in London - well they are lucky to get 50% of parents attending or showing any interest.

I have said on other threads:

Be taught tennis by Jimmy Connorsand you wont be as good as him but you will certainly be able to hold your own in a tennis match.

I realise that the boys are getting opportunities that others are not. I certainly didnt. And sometimes they can seem to take it for granted. My job as a parent is to ensure that they understand that this education is only achieveable because of our choices in life. Some people wont take these choices or for whatever reason dont want them or maybe they are closed to them.

Unless of course we all live in a Communist State....

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 16:51:44

And of course going private bypasses the catchment area marklarky. You can go where you want - school acceptance of course.

weegiemum Mon 18-Feb-13 16:57:25

We're in Scotland so no G&t register here, but my dd1 is exceptionally gifted at art, her state school (not quite bog-standard as it's bilingual) is looking to put her in for Standard grade next year (s2) and higher the following year.

My dh is a doctor who went to a state school. He's a GP, but he has 2 school friends who are surgeons and one is an anaesthetist.

Some school kid saying they want to be a cardio surgeon clearly knows nothing much about medicine. Study it for 5 years, then decide what you want. There's not a lot of openings in cardio-thoracic surgery.

Also, I'm not sure that cardio-respiratory is actually an option. Lungs and hearts are quite different!

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 17:03:47

It is

(a) unlikely that she is sending her son to the one private school in Eastleigh. A few miles up the road you have for example.
(b) unlikely that her son was offered a place at the top state school in Eastleigh.

According to this:

the catchment doesn't include any of (rather grotty) Eastleigh at all, but rather the leafy and expensive Chandler's Ford - the catchment conveniently excludes all the lower quality housing on the other side of the M3.

A quick look on Rightmove shows houses at £535k summarised as

"APPROX 1/4 ACRE PLOT- Much improved detached family home set within mature gardens. Thornden School Catchment"

Another at £520k listed as

"The property is within Thornden School catchment. "

Meanwhile in actual Eastleigh, there are lots of houses like this:

A similar house in the catchment for this so-called Eastleigh school are nearly twice as expensive:

Fact is that parents (those who can afford it) pay tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds for access to better (read: those without many poor people) state schools, yet get all high and mighty about those who are upfront about this process and simply pay the money directly to the school rather than some blood-sucking estate agent.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 17:13:41

I agree, its funny how some think paying excessive sums for a house to get into a desirable catachment area is OK but actually coming out and saying that you are paying for private ed is seen as the devils choice, paying your way into privilge etc

Its exactly the same thing.....

And for those of you who think we are wasting our money and state education is the same etc. You make your choice and I will make mine. You might have a great grammar, good for you. Or you might have a bog standard school and want more for your kids. You might choose to move house to get a better school. Its fine.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 17:16:24

Here is a map of the catchment:

As you can see it has been lovingly gerrymandered to include as many middle class areas as possible.

To the north they include Otterbourne, which from Rightmove is a pleasant affluent area:

In the west you can see 'Baddesley Road', which again looks lovely:

But no room for the kebab shops and council houses of Eastleigh.....

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 17:20:28

Actually how much more are you paying for a house in a desirable catchment area I wonder? If you took private ed from 11 it would cost you say £12k x 7 years = £84k

Are these house £84K more I wonder. Of course it self fulfilling. When you come to sell they are easier to sell, nicer areas,etc so for some I guess a no-brainer....

Of course you can then smugly say you dont believe in private eduction etc.

Tasmania Mon 18-Feb-13 17:28:15

I agree - I absolutely detest the postcode lottery.

Where we live, the immediate area is nice enough and leafy, but when it comes to schooling, we live in a not so great area (including secondary schools in special measures)... meaning DH and I are either looking to move before DC goes to school OR go private. Likely both to happen (as we're currently renting).

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 17:40:26

Tasmania - the majority want what is best for our children. What I have found in the private sector is that when parents are paying for education they have certain expectations. Of course there are the parents with lots of money who dont care how they children do (just like the state system) but IMHO they are a tiny tiny minority. Most people paying these sums of money are doing it for a reason.

Its funny how surrounding yourself with pupils that are there for a reason means that the very few bad eggs messing it up for others get spotted very quickly. A friend of my DS was expelled from his school last year for mucking around in school, paying more attention to girls and egging others on. The school didnt like it. So he moved elsewhere. But I thought explusion was for very serious issues, it seems not nowadays.

DadOnIce Mon 18-Feb-13 17:47:33

The postcode lottery is an example of something imperfect in the state system, which should be fixed. It's not how it is intended to work. The private system, on the other hand, is totally designed with the paying of fees to get a "better" school in mind. It's how it was always meant to work.

I appreciate that's a subtle distinction which not everybody will get.

Tasmania Mon 18-Feb-13 17:51:05


That exactly is the reason that DH and I are particularly pressing for private education. Not many sane people would throw away 15k for nothing. Once your DC goes to school, you sort of have to let go, and as they say - Parents, Peers, Perception. When the parents let go, the peers become the major influence of a child's life. They are shaped by those around them massively, until they reach a certain age, where they develop their own perception of those around them.

Also, I want DC to have a similar experience to my education (small class sizes, etc.), and things have changed so much, that this would now only be available in the private sector.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:03:25

How I agree with you Tasmania. Speaking as a ex sec modern pupil I would go private every time. Some on threads have an issue with private education. They have never set foot in a private school and there are the very very few who dont believe in them. Of course that is fine. I love people who dont believe in something and follow it through in real life but they are very rare.

And there are some who think that somehow we are wasting out £15k, the state is fine and for them it might be, they might have their children in a grammar (private schools for the smug some would say!) and for them and the right child it works brilliantly.

FWTW - I think grammar schools should be everywhere, make them the norm for the bright. Make schools for the trades equally as important. Have you seen how much some top hairdressers in London charge and they have a mammouth waiting list.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:11:23

My DS looks like he belongs in a boy band, handsome boy (proud mum alert!) but his best friend is a scholar at his school. Friend is very bright but a little shy. So, they work well together. He can rush his way around a squash court, he can play a reasonable game of tennis and as we live near London I would like to think he is street wise. He travels on the tube on his own, can get lost and find his way around. I have always insisted he do this and if he is really stuck and lost he can call us (he never has!)

So, in terms of confidence he is great, going on the tube the other day he helped one friend who had never been on the underground and there are a few of his friends that are very sheltered but generally boarding brings out confidence. You have to sort it out yourself. There is no M&D to guide. Its just you and for the right child it is a powerful lesson to learn.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 18-Feb-13 18:15:07

Speaking as a ex sec modern pupil I would go private every time I don't understand what you mean by this? What has the one to do with the other?

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:18:38

Because based on my experience I dont think they are fit for purpose. They are not one or the other. They arent for the academic and they arent clear what their purpose is. Technical Trade college perhaps?

They are purely in place to take the kids who dont pass the 11+.There is no expectation and I dont want want for my children.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 18-Feb-13 18:53:00

Ah, you mean that faced with a secondary modern or private, you would choose private? I thought you meant you would just choose private whatever.

LilyBolero Mon 18-Feb-13 19:07:37

afaik there are no secondary moderns.

I would strongly oppose the return of the grammar; 11 is too young to split children into 'academic' and 'practical', and why should they be split anyway? You would end up with 11+ being 'who can pay a tutor the most'.

I have no problems with private schools. I do have a problem with a prospective MP declaring that her son is too good for the state sector. Presumably the state schools are good enough for the children she is hoping to represent, because they are not 'very gifted' and don't aspire to be cardio-respiratory surgeons. (though as someone said, I'm not sure that actually exists anyway; you have Cardio-thoracic surgery, and you have Chest medicine - not aware of a speciality of cardio-respiratory surgery!

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:30:54

There are sec moderns in the grammar school areas. If one is faced with a sec modern and they can afford it then I think private is the only option.

BTW - if one had the choice of ANY school without any thought of money or location which school would you actually choose. ....

1. Grammar school
2. Private school
3. Sec Modern
4. Comprehensive

I suspect the sec modern would come down very low...

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 19:33:33

There are secondary moderns. And there are grammar schools. But very few. Practically statistically negligible.

Most children go to comprehensive schools. And, as I have said repeatedly, my beef in this particular case is not that Maria Hutchings sends or doesn't send her child/ children to private school. My beef is that she is able to say something which sounds as if she believes that it is impossible for a very bright child to receive an education in the state sector, and that it is impossible to become a surgeon if you go to private school. Had she been taken out of context, Conservative Central Office would have issued a denial or a clarification. They didn't. Which suggests she means what it sounded as if she said. And that the governing party shares her view. Which is both wrong, and outrageous..

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:35:56

You say there are few Seeker but there are some in both our areas and very unpopular they are too...

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 19:36:54

Maisie- my ds is at one!

Tasmania Mon 18-Feb-13 19:38:36


My choice would still be Private School on (1), Grammar School on (2)... and I don't really like options (3) and (4) as they are too far off my own school experience.

Reason being that generally, a Grammar School still has a larger intake (~30) than a Private School... and I feel very strongly about that issue.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:45:04

Seeker, but you did want Grammar so the sec modern was not your choice.

DadOnIce Mon 18-Feb-13 19:52:06

I went to a grammar school. Nobody, that I knew of anyway, was tutored to get in. It just didn't happen.

The only reason the whole middle-class tutoring madness has sprung up is that people perceive a limited supply for a growing demand.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 19:57:57

school catchment map

As posted by someone else to show how unfair it all is... Whaaa? Gerrymander??!

The bit between Otterbourne Golf Course and Sandpit Copse is fields.. well-educated cows, anyone? Boffin Barley? AND that section is in the catchment of Kings in Winchester which comes more or less second to Thornden throughout Hants in terms of academic performance! You can get into Kings from miles out of catchment yet its academic results are stellar!

If you're going to throw that in, you need to check your facts better. You haven't made your case well.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:02:03

And seeker, yes. I am in agreement with you. Everything we've heard so far does tend to point to the idea that this candidate considers the schools in Eastleigh, including as they do, a school that gets 92% of its pupils A-C in GCSEs inc Maths and Eng, (and 58% Eng Bacc if you like that measure) not good enough for a DC who I'd guess wouldn't understand the branches of surgery if he fell over them.

DadOnIce Mon 18-Feb-13 20:02:49

Most catchments in small towns will be an odd shape. In cities they're vaguely wedge-shaped, spreading out from the centre. Given the social make-up of big cities - there will always be poor white working-class areas, always particular areas which have higher than average % of certain ethnic minorities, always more affluent white middle-class suburbs, etc. - it's hard to see how you could have catchment areas which don't reflect this.

I'll say it again - none of the imperfections in the system in practice mean that state education, with school catchment areas, is in any way a bad idea in theory. To argue that it's a bad idea, you need to show how it is supposed to work ideally and then pick holes in that, not talk about the imperfections in practice.

I'm still chuckling at O'Farrell junior's comment "I didn't know there were so many blonde people in London."

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:10:08

Indeed, dad- catchments aren't necessarily created to piss parents off- they come about to reflect different changes in areas. Naice areas where every house has a 3/4 acre garden suddenly get much smaller catchments as everyone in that area sells half their garden to profit from the building of another house, supplying more DC to the local school. Schools are static things, multi-million pound 'set' investments that cannot relocate to reflect every small but incremental change in the local demographic.

My own estate is neatly riven across its centre. Originally, one could get into the 'local' comp from 20 miles away but its reputation grew, the catchment shrank (via stuff like the garden grab and the need for the County Council to inexplicably make housing for waaay more than its fair share of wannabes) so the estate got carved in half, but that was actually before one school became more desirable than the other. Now one is way better than the other. But that's not the council's, or my, fault.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:33:07

Q, maisie: "They have never set foot in a private school and there are the very very few who dont believe in them."

What I found most amazing about recent poll the Sunday Telegraph held up as an example as to why private schools are so bloody amazing is that 57% of parents, given the choice, would send their DC private"

Only 57%? What about the other let's assume 36% (excluding the 7% already going private)? Do they count as 'not believing' in them?

seeker Mon 18-Feb-13 20:36:32

Maisie- not. It wasn't my first choice. But if he wants to be a doctor and has the ability and application, he will be. I have not written him off because he's at a secondary modern school!

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 20:57:15

Because grammars are often as good as some private schools. Therefore if you are in a grammar school area and your children go to them then why would you choose the private sector.

Both Seeker and I live in large grammar school areas and they are very very popular.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:03:47

As an aside, I am often amused, though, at the number of parents who feel that the choice is private, or, failing that, grammar- like a parent who can afford private's DC will automatically get a grammar place.

Q: "DH has just been made redundant so we have to remove Jocasta and Tarquin for their private. Where can we move with good grammars?"

What shocks lie there.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:07:33

Maisie define 'good as'. Do you mean 'at getting DC through exams'?

That may not be everyone's measure of 'good'.

Many privately educated DC wouldn't do well at all at a state grammar, 30 to a class, get on with it. Many DC do 'well' at private schools because they are individually tutored. Which is why you'd choose a hand-holding private over an 'all-in' grammar. That's why you might go private- because your child might not cope in a state school of any hue.

Do not assume The Grammar is the poor man's Private.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:10:42

I think the complete opposite. The grammars werent right for us so we went private. The grammars are still not right for us from an academic view point. That doesnt mean for the right people that I dont think grammars are a great state option.

And it is very tiresome to assume that parents educating their children privately have no idea about the state system at all. The days of the lords and ladies going to the big private boarding schools like Eton and Harrow with no idea of life outside are long gone...

edam Mon 18-Feb-13 21:12:58

Hilarious gaffe. The sheer arrogance and stupidity of the modern Tories laid bare for all to see by their own candidate! I don't know what school had the dubious privilege of educating Maria but it doesn't say much for her knowledge of education nor of medicine.

I should imagine many of her potential constituents feel quite insulted. At least they've found out what the silly mare actually believes now, before putting their cross in the box.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:14:32

Erebus - I know you dont like private schools but please dont trash them all and start indicating that pupils wont be able to cope in a state system. The grammars around here are full of very tutored pupils who can often struggle once they get a place. They dont just get on with it.....

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:16:17

Edam, it didnt do Diane Abbott any harm in terms of her seat!

edam Mon 18-Feb-13 21:23:27

Diane Abbott was, quite rightly, given a lot of flak. Now it's Maria's turn. Maria deserves criticism as much as Diane did.

Our local Tory MP is far too sensible to ever say my sons' school isn't good enough for his kids - FGS, that's just basic common sense (and manners).

John O'Farrell's right, if you think there's something wrong with local schools, get stuck in and DO something about it. (I'm a school governor, FWIW.)

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:28:38

I don't like private schools?

Far from it.

Wish to god I had the wherewithal to buy my children advantage despite possible intellectual deficiency!

I'd love, love, love to send my DS to schools with 15 per class, 15 hand selected, well behaved boys of very similar ability, no nasty SEN, no problematic difference, learning lessons from slightly oddball, maybe eccentric yet utterly committed mad-bat professorial types (OK, OK, who'd be taken apart by an 'ordinary' class of kids) with the almost guarantee that at the end of it they'd get RG uni places where they could mix with other privately educated DC who hey! Might not be the most erudite, wise or far thinking of their generation but were all very naice. Like our Cabinet.

What an easy ride which any parent might want for their DC!

OK, I also recognise that many of these private DCs would do fine in the state system. Some might not get that A* ( a risk a parent would have to take) but those DC's presence in that class might help general feel and discipline of that class but hell, which parent, given the opportunity to avoid that risk, wouldn't 'go private'?

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:29:23

Diane I think was worse pulling the race card and going completely against Labour values. She had I believe been in place as the Hackney MP for years (time to do something about it and also to know that not in a million years did she want that sort of education for her DS!)

Time will tell whether Maria will get in or not but the previous MP was Chris Huwe so not a great act to follow.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:31:22

Caveat: No, actually, I wouldn't love for my DSs to be utterly divorced from the reality of everyone else! I am very happy with the state comp they are it but I will be as honest as to admit I chose it because it doesn't have too many 'social issues'. Their classes are not disrupted by chairs flying past their ears! But there are problems, all of which are quickly dealt with.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 21:34:36

Erebus, according to Hampshire County Council, Thornden School received 610 applications but made only 280 offers.

The final offer distance was 1.1 miles.

Kings School, which you claim you can get into from anywhere, received 1056 applications and made 354 offers. It was possible to get in there from parts of Eastleigh, but not all of it by any means.

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:36:08

Erebus - you have clearly never been in a private school or had an experience of any of them. So, what on earth makes you such an expert. Surely you should be asking people who have experienced the private system what they think as opposed to your off the wall views.

Eccentric teachers - I have seen two in the whole school who could be thought of as odd. SEN - well my DS has two in his class.

Very similar ability - dont make me laugh. Just because you have money doesnt mean it comes with intelligence. Just like not having money means you are clever.

Get the chip off your shoulder and perhaps see that not everyone holds the same view as you.

And what about the pupils on scholarships, full busaries etc or whom English is not a first language and who bring a great oppportunity to experience different cultures. How would you see them?

maisiejoe123 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:39:05

And how are pupils at private schools divorced from real life? Both my DH and I work, we have to budget, we dont have vast sums of money lying around to pay for their education. The children see this. Not everything they want is given to them on a silver plate. Those days are long gone! Both DS's know that they will be expected to get holiday jobs. One has already done some shop work.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 21:52:09

Actually looking at the data, nobody got into Thornden from out of catchment, the 1.1 miles would be within catchment.

The other school the Mirror claims she should have sent her son to (Wildern) made only 3 out-of-catchment offers last year. According to the Hampshire CC website, her house is on the border of the catchment, the road - Burnetts Lane, West End - is part in, part out of catchment. So she may or may not have got a place here. (Definitely wouldn't have got a place at Thornden or Kings though.)

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:54:29

maisie how do you know I have no experience of private? Because your arrogance leads you to believe that if I did I'd never break with the coven to say the things I have??

"Very similar ability - dont make me laugh. Just because you have money doesnt mean it comes with intelligence. Just like not having money means you are clever."

Where have I said 'clever'? I said 'similar ability', I never said 'high ability'. YOU read that into my comment which I find interesting in itself. It has endlessly been shown that the highest ability and lowest ability DC learn more effectively from being in similar ability classes. My DSs school separate out the higher ability in MFL and Maths (only) and, come Y9, the DC with the lowest ability, and the class sizes then go 10, 15, 27, 27 (etc etc), back to 15, 10. The highest ability in, say Maths can't be taught effectively in an all-ability class because several, at 14, already have A* Maths A levels...

I could go further and suggest you only need to glance at our current Cabinet to see that money doesn't equal intelligence.....

"And what about the pupils on scholarships, full busaries etc or whom English is not a first language and who bring a great oppportunity to experience different cultures." Um- the important word here is 'scholarship' The clever DC of the less wealthy have been dragooned in to up the school's league table position. And, to be honest, most of the non-indigenous DC I know of in private schools come from more 'English stylee Middle-Class families' than the 'white kids'! There are dozens of non-white DC in my DCs highly performing (academically) state comp. The vast majority of their parents are hospital consultants. They bring no more 'cultural diversity' to the school than my DC, and nor do I expect them to.

filly shit! I live 3.5 miles from Thornden, yet my children are there! In catchment. My god! And a good friend's DC are in Y7 in Kings from Romsey 8.1 miles away!

Don't tell.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 22:03:16

I'm sure admissions change from year to year. Anyway, West End, where Hutchings lives, is definitely not in catchment for Thornden.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:08:23

No, our catchment has remained stable for many years.

TBH, I'm not sure the point you're trying to make, filly.

Yes, you cannot necessarily get into Thornden from out of catchment, one that's a couple of miles wide and 3 1/2 miles long, but you can sure as hell get into Mountbatten in Romsey (a very good choice, esp as it's very 'comp') or Kings in Winchester (more GS'y) from miles away.

The point remains that this prospective MP has openly and brazenly in a manner as yet not 'corrected' by her party, implied that the only way her DS can become a what was it?- 'thoraco-respiratory surgeon'?- is by going private.

She is a disgrace, one that further proves that however clever you think you are, don't say stupid things.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 22:24:47

She didn't openly or brazenly say anything. Two sentences appeared in a Daily Mail article that are very unlikely to be verbatim quotes of what she actually said.

She is (or was, certainly), a governor here:

having got her older son a diagnosis of autism and a place at that school.

I would wager that she knows more about the educational needs of her children than the journalists trying to turn it into a scandal. I bet she knows more about local schools than the leader of the party (one N. Clegg) who are the leading opposition in her seat too.

Faxthatpam Mon 18-Feb-13 23:47:09

Aaargh this thread is like groundhog day.
Whatever she knows/doesn't know about local schools, whatever education she has chosen for her children, the fact remains that it was a fucking stupid thing for a candidate to say to a journalist during a by election.
She is a stupid woman, therefore she should not be an MP.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Feb-13 10:53:18

If we exclude everyone who has ever said something to the media that is open to misinterpretation from being an MP we will have very few candidates left.

Seeker keeps saying she will believe the Daily Mirror's interpretation of the comments until the Conservative Party issues a clarification. To be honest, given her clear bias, I doubt anything the Conservative Party says would change her view. And in my view, for the Tories to attempt a clarification at this stage would be poor media management. The Daily Mirror is the only paper that has chosen to interpret the comments in this way. They are hostile to the Tories and their interpretation of two sentences from an interview given to another paper is, at the very least, an extreme interpretation of the alleged quote. To issue a clarification or correction would give the story oxygen and may lead to more people believing it is true on the Yes, Minister principle - never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

There is no dispute that the Labour candidate in this election wrote, "In October, 1984, when the Brighton bomb went off, I felt a surge of excitement at the nearness of Margaret Thatcher's demise. And yet disappointment that such a chance had been missed." That is offensive to say the least, even if it was, apparently, intended as humour, and could be read as supporting terrorism. You may not like Margaret Thatcher/John Major/Tony Blair/Gordon Brown/David Cameron/Ed Milliband and may disagree with their policies. No problem with that. But in my view it is completely unacceptable to express disappointment that one of them hasn't been killed in a terrorist attack. Of course, he wrote that 25 years ago, at which time he also said he had wanted the UK to lose the Falklands war. Maybe his views have changed but he hasn't disowned those comments.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 11:01:06

"Mr O'Farrell, writing on Twitter after the comments came to light, said: "So the Mail have gone for me on something I already volunteered about myself, which I said in 1984, and acknowledged was wrong as I said it."

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: "I'm sure if you asked him now whether he [Mr O'Farrell] agreed with that [the comments] now he would say no."

He said the book was written 20 years ago, adding: "Some of it is in bad taste and should not have been said, but he was writing a book that was at the time, very funny, very witty."

He said the comments were "probably bad humour - him trying to be funny, but clearly not funny".

From the BBC website. Among other places.

Tansie Tue 19-Feb-13 11:14:32

I'm just amazed that a woman who considers herself to be of the calibre necessary to represent the voters of Eastleigh in parliament can fall so spectacularly at the first hurdle, namely alienating the parents who send DC to either Toynbee or Thornden. Managed to annoy both in one throw away sentence.

Not terribly clever!

Tansie Tue 19-Feb-13 11:21:17

see here so not just The Mirror!

A 'clarification' that muddies the water further?! grin

bugster Tue 19-Feb-13 11:31:14

Anyone, politician or otherwise, who says 'my child is very gifted' makes me want to chunder....

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 11:43:03

Ah. The clarification means that what she actually said is that it is impossible to get an education at a state school for a gifted 5 year old. So that's all right then.

Erebus Tue 19-Feb-13 11:49:15

grin seeker

prh47bridge Tue 19-Feb-13 12:49:13

No, that is not what the clarification means. According to her she actually said that where she was living at the time it was impossible to find the right provision from the local state schools. Saying, for example, that the state schools where I live do not provide properly for a child with ASD is not the same as saying it is impossible to get an education at a state school for a child with ASD.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 12:51:34

Saying that you can't get adequate education for a child with ASD where you live is very different from saying it was impossible to get an education for a gifted 5 year old!

DadOnIce Tue 19-Feb-13 13:20:19

I'm sure little Hutchings opined at the supper table, "Mater, I wish to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon! Kindly arrange suitable education for me forthwith!"

GrowSomeCress Tue 19-Feb-13 16:19:31

DadOnIce nice attempt at making her out to be posh and rich but she's struggling to afford many things like most normal people

Tansie Tue 19-Feb-13 16:21:36

Which makes it all the odder that she couldn't see that her remarks could, at best, be considered 'inflammatory'!

DadOnIce Tue 19-Feb-13 17:06:19

I'd suggest that for most people genuinely "struggling to afford things", school fees are not top of the list - regardless of how badly you might think your child fits into state education.

GrowSomeCress Tue 19-Feb-13 17:20:23

DadOnIce I was actually talking about the fact that her car broke and she couldn't afford to fix it - and other normal things

DadOnIce Tue 19-Feb-13 17:24:50

I confess I was attempting to inject a little levity (I held off calling him Tarquin), but I do think my basic point stands - that if you are genuinely in need, school fees are simply not on your radar. If you can afford them at all, even if it's by "scraping together", you're already on a different planet financially to many of your would-be constituents. None of this takes away from the fact that she's made a very ill-advised comment and is now attempting a hilarious backtrack.

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 17:58:15

Oh, dadonice- be careful! I get pulverised every time I suggest that!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 19-Feb-13 18:26:24

dadonice has spoken unmitigated sense throughout this thread grin

seeker Tue 19-Feb-13 18:32:34

Can you have unmitigated sense? Well, if you can, he most definitely has!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 19-Feb-13 18:53:44

Yes, you can wink. I have decided.

DadOnIce Tue 19-Feb-13 19:37:21

Just treading more carefully on these threads than I used to under my last name smile Looking back over some of them, there has been a little wilful revisionism which I was not around to correct... and I was accused of having "cronies"!!

lainiekazan Wed 20-Feb-13 12:43:06

I used to live in Eastleigh and I must admit I would not have sent the dc to a secondary school there. Leave Thornden out of it. You would not get into Thornden if you live in Eastleigh itself. And, sorry to say so, but Thornden wouldn't be Thornden if it swapped its kids with those from an Eastleigh school.

That being said, you wouldn't say so to anyone living there, let alone if you were hoping to be the MP!

Tansie Wed 20-Feb-13 15:45:37

Thornden is in Eastleigh, as a point of boundary law! grin but I know what you mean, and yes, I doubt Thornden would do as well if it had to swap intake with one of 2 of the other schools in the Borough.

And no, it's pretty stupid to declare that if you want to be taken seriously as the local population's representative!

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