Why is private education so taboo now?

(587 Posts)
DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 06:24:55

When I was younger I was privately educated as were most of my friends. Now we all have children and almost all of them have decided to send their children to state schools. Whilst for most of them it was a question of money, for others it really wasn't: they believe that every child should have the same educational opportunities and if parents like them start giving their kids exclusive treatment then the system won't work. Some of these parents chose local 'outstanding' state schools, but one couple with enough money to buy every private school in town admirably chose their worst local state school and work hard to improve it.

I listen to these stories with interest, sometimes admiration but mostly respect for their choices & views.

So it's with some alarm, now we have chosen a private school for our son, do discover the hatred this decision engenders. Private education has, it would seem, become taboo.

So here's my question: is it morally right for people to get angry with parents who privately educate their children?

BadgerB Fri 11-Apr-14 06:35:47

It is not morally right for anyone to be angry that someone of their acquaintance chooses to educate their own children differently. Putting a point of view is reasonable - expecting everyone else to agree and fall in line is definitely not.
And IMO your friend who chose the worst school is doing her children a grave disservice. One idealistic family is not going to transform a bad school. `

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 11-Apr-14 06:48:32

I don't think it is taboo. I think there is just a bit divide between those who choose state and private schools. So you will get that reaction from the parents who have chosen state. But you will also find another circle of friends who have chosen private. Personally, I've seen the sort of reaction you describe from both circles - the privately-educating friends who look down their nose at me when I mention the name of the state school my daughters go to ... and the state-educating friends who whisper behind the back of the brave couple who chose the local prep.

It's sad.

MothershipG Fri 11-Apr-14 06:51:45

I don't think you can generalise from your social circle to everyone else!

It isn't taboo where I live, not that many can afford to, but those that do aren't ostracised and there are certainly no moral judgements attached to it.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 07:04:17

Now this is one of those OPs that I think must be exaggeration for effect. I would love private education to be "taboo" and for everyone to send their children to their local schools- but I can't see it happening any time soon!

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 11-Apr-14 07:06:54

Its certainly not taboo round where I live - there are many thriving private schools.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 11-Apr-14 07:08:05

I've also found that once your child has started school, the topic of which schools to choose diminishes and the vast majority of people just don't discuss private v state.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 11-Apr-14 07:19:42

I don't think it is taboo. Most people simply can't afford it.
see here
They are more likely to present it as a definite choice than say they are forced to use state schools because they can't afford an alternative.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 07:25:55

Maratorama I assure you I'm not exagerating. Some reactions have been so violent I've come away feeling like I'm not just a bad mother, but a really awful person in general. Having lived abroad for nearly a decade, it was a shock. I don't think it's just my group of friends: lots of criticism of private education in the media and on mumsnet. It's really quite scary! I hope my children won't be judged as harshly as I have been.

meditrina Fri 11-Apr-14 07:29:32


If that is the case, then I would say that you need a new set of acquaintances. For that is dysfunctional overreaction.

Or do you just mean 'not everyone agrees with me and I feel a bit miffed'?

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 07:30:51

I wish I lived in a community where everyone just sent their child to the local school- how fantastic! I wish I had lived there when mine were younger.

Not sure what bit of Mumsnet you've been reading, but in my experience it it incredibly pro private school. There was a survey a while ago which (I think) showed that more than 50%of mumsnetters used private schools- much higher than the national average. And that is most definite reflected in the education boards.

RunnerFive Fri 11-Apr-14 07:31:03

It's always been like this. You are probably just moving in slightly different social circles to those of your parents. I was at university with a girl with very successful parents who sent her to the local comprehensive which had a terrible reputation, and it was absolutely and utterly the right decision. She had extremely good A levels and I have never met anyone who was so genuinely confident and at ease in any social situation with friends from all walks of life.

meditrina Fri 11-Apr-14 07:32:23

X-ed with you last.

I'm not sure which bits of the media you mean, but having read (and contributed to) lots of the MN threads, my view is that you are seriously overreacting.

Is this the first time that you've had to realise that not everyone is going to agree with you? And that their views are valid too?

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 11-Apr-14 07:34:22

My daughter is at a private school and I completely understand why there is a lot of anger at times towards this system. It IS socially divisive, my daughter is in a little privileged bubble and it is not fair that there are children who do not have the same opportunities as she does. However, she is my child and I am willing to make sacrifices for her to have the best standard of eduction as I can. Had the state primary been able to do this, I would have sent her there. I also don't believe that her going to the local state primary would have made any difference to the fact it wasn't great.

glowstick Fri 11-Apr-14 07:37:00

The social circle you describe is not the normal at all!

Private schooling is still alive and well here and mine would be off in a heart beat if we had the money..

HomeHelpMeGawd Fri 11-Apr-14 07:49:33

Private schooling is certainly an issue which engages morality, and politics. It's therefore not surprising that people have strong reactions, although it's more surprising that your social circle are so open in sharing their views on your choices.

wordfactory Fri 11-Apr-14 08:02:49

Certainly some people react badly.

I had a few 'friends' who completely over stepped the mark when we sent our DC private. Bad manners doesn't come close.

And still we have acquaintances and the entirety of our extended families who see it as a competition. Funnily enough it's a competition we can never win grin. If their DC get better grades we will have 'wasted our money' if our DC get better grades it will be because we 'bought them.'

My advice OP - smile and nod, smile and nod. Never expalin, never complain.

saintsalive Fri 11-Apr-14 08:04:47

Dont take notice of what is said on mumsnet re education and some other things. It is off kilter with the rest of society. It has a life all of its own. And dont forget, people tell lies on here, and follow whatever the last few posters have written.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 11-Apr-14 08:08:29

It's not 'taboo', your friends just have more integrity different ideals from you, obviously.

Retropear Fri 11-Apr-14 08:15:37

I think most people in society are more aware these days and see the need to work hard in order to eradicate the unfair advantages private schools give.

I think it's slowly happening but until it happens I guess they will be looked at unfavourably.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 11-Apr-14 08:21:29

The thing is though nepotism works across all sections of society, and that won't change simply by disliking private schools.

Finickynotfussy Fri 11-Apr-14 08:21:47

Well, we're the opposite way round (both state educated, as were nearly all our friends and our extended families). We're planning to send DD private as there is a huge shortage of school places round here and we can't take the stress of waiting to see what the council will come up with, if anything. Also only private schools seem to guarantee the wrap around care that will enable us to keep our jobs (in education!) I am expecting some flack, but who cares - you can't make these decisions based on what other people think.

I think some people react strongly as they see your decision as an implicit criticism of theirs. However, some people live in parts of the country where sending your child to a good local school is a genuine possibility, or the wrap around care thing isn't an issue. In which case, hurray, you get to have 'integrity' AND your DC gets a good school!

CMOTDibbler Fri 11-Apr-14 08:24:57

I think the bubble thing depends a lot on the school too - my ds goes to a private school which includes 8-6 care in the fees, and has holiday club available every holiday. It therefore attracts a lot of working parents, and the majority of cars aren't posh. It is more diverse culturally than the town where we live, and children come from a wide area.

In contrast, my friends live on a commuter belt estate of expensive houses, most of which are 4-5 beds, and the school which was built on the estate has a catchment of half a mile, so no one at all outside the estate (its detached from the actual town) goes. The children are all terribly middle class, no non white british children. It seems like they all go to football/brownies/ballet on the estate too, so little mixing with other children. Lots of chat about overseas holidays and skiing.

I've only met a few people judging our school choices, but in purely terms of childcare - we have no family help at all - it is the best thing for us and ds

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 11-Apr-14 08:30:39

Cmot- but that IS still a bubble! The vast majority of people can not afford fees at all, so you will only have the wealthy who are working (not your average earners claiming tax credits) and the ones who are not working are still very well off. It is not about expensive cars, but the lifestyles of the children at private school, and the fact that they are entirely sheltered from how other children live.

Coconutty Fri 11-Apr-14 08:30:51

Not taboo where I live. Lots of our DCs are at private schools and its never been an issue.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 08:31:06

"It therefore attracts a lot of working parents,"

As opposed to state schools which attract a lot of [] parents?grin

mummytime Fri 11-Apr-14 08:31:32

Its not at all taboo around here! My children all have lots of friends at private schools, all schools mix quite widely.
However it does cost a lot more than it used to. So quite a lot of people in normal professions who could have afforded it (Doctors - including surgeons, Bank Managers etc.) cannot afford the fees. They were rising at at least 5% per year in the not too distant past. I often wonder how people manage to pay the fees.

wordfactory Fri 11-Apr-14 08:34:46

mummytime it is a lot more expensive (relative to income) than it used to be...

This means much of the traditional middle class can no longer afford it. In much the same way that they cannot afford much of the life style that they grew up with.

goshhhhhh Fri 11-Apr-14 08:46:42

We chose an outstanding state school vfor our Dd (which does better both pastorally & results wise than the private - so a no brainer really) & distinctly remember the conversation with one mum last summer, who was distinctly snooty about our choice of a state school. I think it goes both ways & we have some people being iffy because we didn't choose the local school. I think some people will always disagree with your choice as human beings have this need to compare to either feel superior or feel lesser. It seems to me that people do judge or be judged.

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 08:48:00

In answer to your question op, because england has a long standing and uncomfortable history of class division. Less so now, though private school is one of the ways it continued to exist. If private schools didn't exist, state schools would be better.

I don't agree with private schools ideologically. A good friend has a child at private school. She knows how I feel about it, (she asked my opinion I might add) but I equally understand her reasons.

CMOTDibbler Fri 11-Apr-14 08:52:43

I should have said 'children with two ft working parents'.

Neither is reflective of population as a whole, but your school can only ever be reflective of the catchment - and unless every school was forced (and parents were forced to send their children) to select an intake according to disposable income/gross income, ethnicity, disability/additional needs, religion mix, then thats never going to happen is it.

MrsC1966 Fri 11-Apr-14 08:55:07

No, of course, not morally right but perhaps you need to think about why they feel this way. My (privately educated) parents decided to state educate me despite being able to afford private and their friends chosing the private route for their kids. My father had socialist parents and he strongly believed that we had the same opportunity that those in the private sector had. I would love to say that he was right but he wasn't - failing the 11+ and going to a run down state secondary modern was my undoing! For those who can't afford it, I'm guessing their anger is generated by jelousy. For those who can afford it but chose not to privately educate them, then perhaps they have the same idealist views that my father had. Saying that however, there are some amazing high performing state schools around that take away the need for the private option. Show some kindness to those who direct their anger towards you - they have issues that they need to work through about their own choices.

middleclassonbuesary Fri 11-Apr-14 09:07:45

98% of our friends/acquaintances have or are educating their children privately, over 70% will be at boarding schools. At work only a large handful educate their children privately, very rarely at boarding schools, here I encounter more hostility especially to boarding because of the exorbitant cost and many are hostile to the idea of boarding in general. People interestingly become very much less hostile if I say we receive a bursary, I think people often don't like it if they think you've got a spare £34 000 pa that you can spend on school fees. Money doesn't bring out peoples better sides IME.

Slightly off topic, but I wonder how much real difference any parents can make to a failing school, no matter how rich and idealistic they are or how hard they work. Of course they can support their own DCs, they can become governors but that isn't really about the day to day running of the school, so what is it that they are going to do to improve the school?

middleclassonbuesary Fri 11-Apr-14 09:10:19

boom this is a genuine question why would state school be better if private schools didn't exist?

Nocomet Fri 11-Apr-14 09:17:11

I have a circle of friends where some of us have DCs at state, some at private and one with DDs at both.

It isn't always a recipe for total harmony as everyone feels they have made the right choice (or are jealous they don't have rich grandparents).

It's very hard to sympathise with someone being broke, when there are 3 very good state secondaries they could have sent their DCs to.

I guess it's the lack of imagination and lack of the courage to step out from the world they knew as children.

But as other posters have said private education used to be cheaper. Both my DM and my DSIL went to the sort of little private girls schools which have now closed or amalgamated into far more professional and expensive establishments.

Also both DM, DSIL and one of my privately educating DFs went to private school, in part because the boys grammars were far better than the girls. A reason that no longer exists.

alemci Fri 11-Apr-14 09:36:08

yes I agree about the cost, I was privately educated as was my db and the fees were reasonable I've been told by my parents.

Mine go/went to a very good state school which is not immediately where I live but my dd got in on music ability selection which was one of the criteria. Alot of the parents live in the area surrounding which is very affluent but some dc travel a distance.

I've had the odd dig over the years' usually from disgruntled parents who couldn't get their dc into the school.

Take no notice of others. Do what you feel is right.

wordfactory Fri 11-Apr-14 09:40:41

The way I see it, my shoulders are broad, so I can take it if people want to get sniffy grin. I never ever argue back.
Whatever comment they make my answer is 'yes, I'm sure you're right.'

But I draw the line at adults making comments at my children! That is unacceptable and I will step in.

Mintyy Fri 11-Apr-14 09:45:30

I am one of those who is just deeply uncomfortable about private education. I am not jealous or bitter or anything like that and I have good friends who educate their children privately (but we skirt round the subject). I happen to think that comprehensive education is better for children, I hate the privileged bubble referred to above.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 09:47:51

"I should have said 'children with two ft working parents'"

As opposed to state schools which attract [..] parents?

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 09:48:46

<hands round state/private bingo cards>
<licks lucky dabber>

wordfactory Fri 11-Apr-14 09:50:59

mintyy I am sure many of us are deeply uncomfortable about a lot of things...but good manners prevents us harranging people about it!

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 09:57:43

Middleclass - because they'd have to be, to deal with the demands of wealthier parents who have higher expectations of their children than less well off parents.

I.e. expectations of privately educated children are to get professional well paid jobs. Doctors /lawyers at the least. Aspirations of working class are lower as opportunities (for good education etc) are less.

happygardening Fri 11-Apr-14 10:02:47

"I hate the privileged bubble referred to above"
Many children at state schools live in a privileged bubble we don't all live in cities with all the advantages but disadvantages too. Here in Smalltownsville only 1% at our "outstanding academy" are on FSM, 2% are not white, there are more Range Rovers in the car park at parents evenings than there are in the car park at my DS2's school. But this is a reflection of the area as a whole. This is the stamping ground of the affluent, the wealthy rural middle classes, many here seem to either choose state education or big name boarding schools, small unknown independent days schools are really struggling to fill their vacancies. Our head at the "outstanding academy" prides himself on the fact that's he's modelled much of what he's done on independent ed. He feels he's a viable alternative not to Eton et al but your average run if the mill independent. He's very aware of parental expectations.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 10:03:02

"demands of wealthier parents who have higher expectations of their children than less well off parents."

Ooh, that's a new one!

<hastily prints new bingo cards>

tiggytape Fri 11-Apr-14 10:03:09

It isn't taboo where I live.

Lots of people dip in and out of private school over the years.
Lots especially start off in private schools because it is virtually the only way to get wrap around care. A lot of the primary schools don't even have a breakfast club let alone after school care.

Lots of parents have one child at state and one child at private which seems to cause outrage on MN but is considered perfectly normal in an area where one child can get allocated a great state school but the other one might not (single sex, selective and lottery schools all in the surrounding areas)

Nobody seems to think private fantastically is better. In fact there tend to be state schools that lots of people want and the private school is often their back-up if it doesn't work out.

When I talk to parents at my DC's (state) school, lots of them either used private schools for a short time when the children were little or have other children in a private school or are considering a private school for 6th form.

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 10:13:29

But boom do we not need the top independent schools to set the bench mark, just like we need top athletes, top musicians etc? I know that top independent schools offer so much more because they have so much more money but is it all about money?
Friends send their DC's to a well know but not overly selective boarding/day school in a well know city, The local comp yr on yr is catching up with their results, and also increasingly emulating many of the things offered at this school in particular sporting opportunities, they are often competing for the same day children especially for the 6th form where many jump camp from one to the other, this has in turn made the independent school pull it's socks up, it's trying to improve it's results, getting even better coaches in for sport etc the comp is now doing the same, so perhaps both need each other.
Is life as black and white as you seem to think it is?

wordfactory Fri 11-Apr-14 10:14:24

Oh come on martorana you know full well that the expectations/aspirations are different in different wealth groups.

I am absolutely certain this is an issue between your DS and your DD's schools.

One of the biggest issues that we have to try to address in the widening access prog for Oxbridge is to try to get people from certain backgrounds to even consider us!

Oubliette0292 Fri 11-Apr-14 10:19:35

I sent the DC to their local lower school. However, when it came to middle school I sent DD private (DS will also go private from September). I feel very privileged to be able to make this choice - most of the parents I know cannot afford to do this. They are generally educated middle class professionals (teachers, lecturers, scientists) who would have been able to afford private education 30 years ago.

I haven't found my friends to be hostile to the decision I have made regarding schooling. On the other hand, my mum (retired teacher) and sister (teacher) have made it very clear that they disapprove of my decision. Apparently I should have sent my children to the local catchment school (which has been in and out of special measures for several years) because 'if you don't support it, it will never improve'. hmm

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 10:27:01

It IS all all a out money, of course it is! If u have money, u have more choices, simples! The question is really, are u ok with that or are u not?

If u feel uncomfortable about choosing private school I suspect ur values lie closer to notions of equality, rather than freedom.

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 10:32:47

Middleclass - I personally think that level of competition is all that is wrong with the world, and the root cause of many mental health issues that plague the western world. Comparing yourself to others / having to be better than others to feel good, ultimately leads to feelings of deep insecurity and inadequacy, IMO.

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 10:41:25

"Do I feel uncomfortable choosing private school?"
My situation is slightly different from many at my DS's school although we still pay (approx day fees). I don't feel uncomfortable because basically I just love the school and what it is and offers. I am aware that we are lucky to be there and I am very aware that my DS has so much more than children in the state sector and I feel sad and concerned that so many children don't have what he experiences, but then I also worry that many living in poverty in their lives outside of education don't all have what he has. If he returned to the state sector it would be a well regarded, very popular comp. or a very well regarded and successful 6 th form college. I very much doubt that his presence at either would make one jot of difference to the school or those receiving a mediocre education else where.

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 10:49:00

I don't agree boom we need excellence in our lives, whether it be education sport music etc? I recently watched the Great British Sewing Bee I'm a dress maker frankly much of what I saw was mediocre but there were some true examples of excellence, things that I can only dream of making, and dream I do, if they can do it and with ridiculous time constraints so can I.
I also ride horses on a few occasions I've watched closely some of the worlds greatest riders, I come away awestruck but inspired can I sit as elegantly as they do, present a horse at a fence so perfectly, probably not in truth but I'm going to try and emulate them.
We need this level of competition.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 11-Apr-14 10:55:33

Here's a good competition, kids: whose parents have enough money for you to come through this door? Oh bad luck, most of you - you lost the competition, but you did need it in your life and I'm sure you feel the better for taking part!

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 11:11:33

Are you deliberately missing my point original top independent schools like top musicians, sewers, artists, horse riders and many others set a standard that others can aim for. I'm never going to ride like Mark Todd or design dresses like Valentino but I still come away inspired with ideas buzzing around in my head, I modify what I've seen to suit my ability, and circumstances including financial. From watching what goes on it state education they are trying to copy some of what the best of the best independent schools offer.

NCFTTB Fri 11-Apr-14 11:12:04

Some children at middle class state schools also live in a bubble. The parents allegedly so morally vehemently opposed to independent schools better hope they don't win the lottery jackpot I always think! Many parents end up paying school fees by default, as their local state school has let them down.

NCFTTB Fri 11-Apr-14 11:14:15

Also agree with others who have said that the wealthy people who idealistically chose a terrible school for their children are doing them a huge disservice. In an ideal world every child would go to their local school perhaps and receive an excellent education but that is simply not the case and education is the one thing you don't take a chance on.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 11-Apr-14 11:16:20

Why would they hope they don't win the lottery jackpot? confused.

Middleclass I don't think it is as simple as saying they set a standard others can aim for when they exclude the majority of people from accessing this amazing 'standard'. How can you aim for it, if you're not allowed it? I get that you're saying some well-to-do state schools might consider having extension classes or a nicer uniform or something, but I'm not sure how this competition really works when the playing field isn't level. Or indeed, present, in some schools.

alemci Fri 11-Apr-14 11:17:27

Oubliette is your ds like that because she cannot afford the ps option for her dc?

I think your mum should support you. why would you want to send your dc to a failing school. They are more likely to be dragged down there.

NCFTTB Fri 11-Apr-14 11:26:57

I agree - you are doing what's best for your children. Your mum and sister don't get a say.

If someone in the anti-independent schools camp won the lottery, it would subsequently reveal whether their views were idealistically or financially driven.

LargeBustedMamma Fri 11-Apr-14 11:28:22

DC went to state and private schools and I don't recall anyone reacting in an almost violent way! We had a few acquaintances and family members who thought we were snobs for going over to the private sector though. We made the decision because DD was so unhappy at her state school and after two years of attempting to work with the school, we felt enough was enough and moved her. Would have been more than happy to pick another state school if there was one available. We decided to give DS the option of moving to a private school as we didn't want him to feel his sibling was treated more fairly.

I never felt supported in education by my own parents and to be honest it made me more cautious for my own children's education. I really couldn't care a less what others attitudes are. We made the decisions we did because we wanted our children to be happy in their schools and as a whole they were.

Crosseyedcat Fri 11-Apr-14 11:33:40

It really isn't anybody elses business how people choose to spend their money

In the same way as political views/where to live are your own choice!

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 11:34:28

"Oh come on martorana you know full well that the expectations/aspirations are different in different wealth groups."

I prefer to use advantage/disadvantage or privilege/lack of privilege- it's more complicated than simply money.

And I was just marking the box- I haven't see it expressed like that before.

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 11:36:39

I watch the best and modify it to suit my situation. I can't be Mark Todd my riding is fairly inept and I lack horse power and my dress making lacks Valentinos sheer eye for design so both are inaccessible for me but I can copy some things that are possible in my circumstances, aspiration for yourself and other in both education, sewing and riding or what ever field cost nothing, dedication costs nothing, the Germans dominated the world of dressage for so many years because of their sheer dedication, we finally woke up and realised this and then won ourselves.
As I said up thread life is not just black and white the haves and the have nots.

Crosseyedcat Fri 11-Apr-14 11:38:19

Martorana - I was at a rough state school in a poor area with very low aspirations for all its pupils. I succeeded against the odds and now am in a senior position. It is precisely because of my experience that I want my child to have the advantage I didn't

Mintyy Fri 11-Apr-14 11:43:16

I'm not haranging anyone ... am I? confused.

rabbitstew Fri 11-Apr-14 11:43:45

Well, for those who think they can't make a difference, it appears it is thought that school governors have sufficient influence to affect state schools in Birmingham. grin

As for getting angry with people for not sharing your views on education - it is not my experience that most people get angry about it. If most people did, we wouldn't have so many private schools, would we (if any).

Oubliette0292 Fri 11-Apr-14 11:44:12

My DSis probably couldn't afford private school for her DD. However, the state schools in her local area are generally rated outstanding or good. Therofore it is incredibly unlikely that she will ever be faced with the prospect of sending her DD to a failing school.

We were all educated in the state system (my parents couldn't have afforded private). However, myself and my DBro went to grammar school even though we didn't live in the catchment area (so I do think my mother is being hypocritical). Plus we grew up in North Yorkshire, which generally had (and probably still has) good schools even if you did go to a comprehensive rather than a grammar (which DSis1 and DSis2 did).

My mother generally disapproves of me. I work full-time rather than being a SAHM (and to add insult to injury I work in the private sector, not the public sector). I live in the South rather than the North. I don't go to church despite because of my upbringing. I choose to think that all this is her problem and not mine.

hmc Fri 11-Apr-14 11:54:25

It is kind of taboo among my friends. I don't know anyone who can afford private who nevertheless have opted to state educate (except for ks1 and ks2 where we have an OFSTED outstanding village school). Those of us who privately educate aren't exactly vilified by our other friends for it but we have learnt not to talk glowingly about our children's private school (this gets chippy reactions) whereas conversely it seems perfectly acceptable to wax lyrical about how great the local comprehensive is. In fact the safest option seems to be not to mention their schools at all

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 12:04:13

Martorana, and what underpins privilege / underprivileged, advantaged / disadvantaged? Money!

Middleclass, your aspirations are reflected by your class. A council estate kid is not likely to aspire to be an amazing horse rider! Getting out of poverty is more pertinent, not to mention more time consuming. The fact that we live in a v unequal society perpetrated further by divisive school systems, means that the vast majority of those competing to be 'as good as the best' if not better, are from a privileged background

mummytime Fri 11-Apr-14 12:12:02

Umm plenty of kids on my working class council estate would have loved to have been horse riders, some even had riding lessons.
50% of people wanted to leave, but how they wanted to do that varied (show business, education, marrying rich, small time crime, football etc.).
The other 50% roughly were pretty happy and valued the closeness of living there.
But I guess it was in the South, so could be very different from somewhere in the North.

I think a lot of the way parents react to the private/state debate is based on emotions. "Am I doing the right thing?" "Am I letting my children down?"

BTW some children from failing schools do survive/thrive. When league tables first came out my school was at the very bottom, DH's was just above it. We both ended up doing okay (including degrees from very good places indeed). Would we send our children to the same schools, not if we could help it (although we both had some very good teachers).

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 12:19:03

boom but as I've said aspiration and sheer dedication are required in what ever significant changes you wish to make in your life.
We have Malaysian friends they are stunned by the complacency of the British, they come from grindingly poor families (peasants) they are proud of what they've achieved for themselves (professional occupations educated at the Ivy League) and their DC's. Their parents were desperate for their children to escape their poverty stricken lives.
I've been a governor at two schools and was stunned by the "oh those children come from the local social houses so this is why they can't read very and don't their prep" attitude of the teachers.

HolidayCriminal Fri 11-Apr-14 12:51:43

I suspect OP's parents faced some criticism, too, but they didn't choose to share it with their offspring (why would they?)

"is it morally right for people to get angry with parents who privately educate their children?"

Angry is wrong & stupid. But they have the right to disapprove in other ways without being angry. Maybe it's something in how you present yourself & your choices that gets their back up, OP?

happygardening Fri 11-Apr-14 12:59:49

So much energy us wasted on the independent versus state school education debate. I hope those who so strongly advocate state education and so vociferously oppose independent education and endlessly complain about inequality expend a quarter of this energy trying to make state education better.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 13:11:14

"Martorana, and what underpins privilege / underprivileged, advantaged / disadvantaged? Money!"
Up to a point. But it is more complicated than that.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 13:18:20

Will try Wordfactory, thanks!

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 13:30:14

Wordfactory, interesting answer one mother gave me for choosing state over private (which she could afford) was admirably honest: 'I don't want to sound like a pushy mum, but they stand a better chance of gettingvinto oxbridge if they've been at a state school'. She was nevertheless kind enough not to judge me on my choice of private.

rabbitstew Fri 11-Apr-14 13:40:55

middleclassonbursary - that's amazing. I would have thought going from Malaysian peasant-class to Ivy League educated professional class in one generation would be considered highly remarkable by any standards, English, American or Malaysian, and a teensy bit ridiculous to hold that up as achievable by the overwhelming majority of the world population, or to hold it against the rest of the world population for failing to achieve it.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 13:41:16

HolidayCriminal, I understand why you might guess I'm bragging about my kids going to private schools (otherwise why would people react so angrilly, right?!). But I only tell them if they specifically ask, and then almost apologetically (which am not proud of, but as I said private education seems to be more taboo now than ever).

rabbitstew Fri 11-Apr-14 13:41:51

(achievable for)

rockybalboa Fri 11-Apr-14 13:46:09

No, it's not taboo but does unfortunately give rise to a strangely blinkered attitude in some of those who decide to privately educate. My god-daughter is going to private school. Her mother sought my opinion about what sort of bike to buy her. I suggested Isla Bike and said lots of children at DC's (state) school have them as do we and many friends. Friend actually said "what, people who send their children to state school buy £300 bikes for their children?" with a look of utter disbelief on her face. I changed the subject before I said something rude.

redskyatnight Fri 11-Apr-14 14:20:26

You could equally ask if it is morally right for people to get angry with parents who choose state schools for their children.

Because I've experienced that attitude. (mostly notably from DParents who seem to consider my sending the DC to state school to be akin to child abuse).

middlescallonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 14:23:57

rabbit maybe exceptional but I assure you that's what they've done they see education as the only route out of grinding poverty. I agree it's not possible for all to do it to this level but my point is that we need the best in all fields to aim for, to show how things can be done and that aspiration and dedication is not money dependent.
The culture for many in countries like Malaysia is to achieve what ever your circumstances.

HolidayCriminal Fri 11-Apr-14 14:27:11

Actually, if you want me to guess (and it is guessing, I don't know you from Eve), I wondered if you were saying horrible things about state ed, or unkind things about the sort of parents who would send their children to state schools, or how you wouldn't touch your local state school with a barge pole, or how you want your children to avoid plebs (I could go on).

So not bragging, more like snobbery.

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 14:31:20

Op in answer to your question, yes it is 'morally right' to express yourself if u feel strongly about something. If you feel attacked though pull the people up on it, tell them u feel judged / whatever. Or, distance yourself from people that have different politics and ideals than u.

boomoohoo Fri 11-Apr-14 14:37:20

Middle - but you get that we all don't start from the same place, have the same opportunities, don't you? You only have to look at the backgrounds of the Oxbridge attendees to see that

rabbitstew Fri 11-Apr-14 14:57:18

So, the burning question, DoMyBest. Why have you chosen a private school for your ds? grin

middleclassonbursary Fri 11-Apr-14 15:01:20

boom of course I get it but you stated up thread that a certain "level of competition" is what wrong with the world and causes mental health problems. I think excellence be it independent schools, horse riding, sewing or in all other works of life sets a gold standard that we can all that's all as in institutions and individuals, admire, aim for, adapt to our circumstances learn from and be inspired by. Therefore we need the elite.
You accuse me of being middle class in my outlook and experiences fair enough but anyone can have dedication and aspiration what ever their back ground it's one of the few things in life that are free.
My worry is that unlike independent schools some state schools have low aspirations for many of their pupils, especially those from disadvantaged background and as a governor of two schools this was my experience.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 15:06:57

Rabbitstew (great name) that's a whole different debate which I'd rather not get drawn in on for fear of being lynched smile

rabbitstew Fri 11-Apr-14 15:19:29

Spoil sport. grin

Playfortoday Fri 11-Apr-14 15:53:51

I think OP you also have to recognise that you're implicitly judging the state schools as 'not good enough' for your child which your friends might rankle against. I'm sure you don't do it deliberately, necessarily, but it feels very undermining to those who feel that the local school is good enough for their children.

My neighbour told me there was no point looking round the primary that my children go to 'because it's an inner city state school'. I asked her what she meant by that and she got arsey and said who was I to judge her for her choices. She didn't see that I felt she was judging my choices by saying that the school she could see from her window wasn't even worth spending an hour looking round because it was clearly so crap.

When private school using parents say things like 'we had to go private because my child's just so bright/sensitive/talented' you must see that it might come across a little badly. They are judging just as much as being judged.

Xpatmama88 Fri 11-Apr-14 15:56:14

Boom, even people starts at the same place, have the same opportunities, but the most important point you missed is ability. You can't assume everyone has the same abilities. I hope to believe Oxbridge attendees have the high standard and ability they needed to succeed in their courses, and the selection process by the tutors are fair.
We choose to sent our DCs to top independent school ( very selective one) because they have abilities that other schools find it difficult to accommodate. My DD started reading at 3 in her little nursery school, and off to our local CoE school at 4 1/2, she was reading the highest brand book in the classroom, the teacher and classroom assistant just bemused, and did not know what to do with her whereas most of the other children in class were still learning their A, B, C.
We were lucky in a way as DH was offered a job overseas, so we took the opportunity, we were able to experience education system in Far East, and then we noticed the different, the high standard, and students could learn at their own pace. She did well, always top in her class.
When we returned to UK we chose to send her to one of the very well known selective independent school, just to see whether she had the ability to get in, through 6 hours entrance exams (she was 9 then). She got in, when she was there, I then realised the standard was so high, I'm pleased she could mix with group of girls who had similar ability as her.
Many years later, seeing her gaining a 1st, and on her way to a medical career, what can I say? I'm sure other people will say she will do as well if she goes to other school, but we can't see in a parallel universe if that really happen! And is my child future, I will not take a bet on that.

Crosseyedcat Fri 11-Apr-14 16:14:35

Playfortoday - on the other hand you get people saying that they wouldn't send their child to X school because everyone is stuck up/snobbish etc etc [also not OK??]

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Fri 11-Apr-14 16:26:36

Private schools used to be relatively affordable, now they're not. So the middle classes are bigging up the state system, because they have no other choice. Which is a good thing. However, OP, you're perfectly entitled to your choice, whyever you made it, so ignore the "haters" and it'll all die down.

tiggytape Fri 11-Apr-14 16:29:40

Playfortoday - in some areas people cannot get into the state schools so they aren't rejecting them at all. They'd be perfcetly happy to have any of their 3 or 4 nearest schools but the catchments are so small that none of those schools will take them.

Some people don't realise that living in easy walking distance of a state school isn't always enough to get a place and that people who send their children private are sometimes doing so because they cannot have the local school not because they have rejected it. There are places where people cannot get into any of their 6 closests schools and face Home Ed, private schooling or accepting LA transport to a school in another area. The ones who squeeze into the local state school catchments are seen as luckier than the ones who don't.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 16:33:48

Playgortoday, I understand that patronising comments about how private schools are better would annoy people (I don't do that). But I wonder if the argument about parents feeling 'implicitly' that a decision to send a child to private undermines state can't be taken further: if a parent buys a child a state of the art bicycle does that implicitely undermine another parent's choice to buy a cheaper one? And does that give the parents of the cheaper bike the right to get angry about the more expensive model? Especially if they believe the cheaper model's just as good, if not better? And (taking the argument further) why do we care what choices others make (be it for their children, or not)? I'm curious, interested in others' choices. But, fundamentally, its their life, their family, their decision isn't it?

Taz1212 Fri 11-Apr-14 16:38:15

Private education is definitely taboo in my little world. DH and his extended family are completely against it and whilst DH has come round to my the decision to go private, his family can't seem to resist making little digs at every opportunity.

What I have found very bizarre is the attitudes of other mothers in the playground. DD is still at a state school and as soon as we made the decision to go private for DS, loads of people changed around me. I mostly keep to myself. However over the past year I have on the one hand had some people make verbal negative comments to me, but at the same time there are mothers who suddenly find me very appealing as a potential friend and want to talk about DS' school all the time! hmm It's all very strange. I'm no different and it seems so oddly important to some people.

JaneinReading Fri 11-Apr-14 16:47:08

It's the other way round around here. No one on our road sends children to state schools. it's unheard of. Same in our family - all we siblings only ever went to private schools and all 9 cousins in the next generation go to or went to private schools only.

Also it's morally wrong to pick a state school if you could afford to pay or get off your bottom and get a job to earn the fees. If you don't pay when you could you are stealing money from the mouths of the poor. It is morally wrong to take a state school place you don't need. The moral high ground is with the private school parents and by the way it is not true that state schoolers find it easier to get good university places. 50% of Oxbridge places go to privates whereas only 8% of children are at private schools.

pointythings Fri 11-Apr-14 16:48:34

I think it's incredibly rude to judge people on their choice of school. I'm one of those who wouldn't send their children private even if we won the Lottery - but if our schools were really dire I would home ed, so would still be opting out and choosing to be judged by those who are so inclined. In an ideal world we would have a system where everyone could have access to a good education irrespective of wealth, but that isn't the world we live in. I don't think you can change a dire school from the inside. Apparently success at school depends on parental involvement, so supportive parents with a child at an awful school would be able to help their child reach their potential, but to think that a whole school culture can be changed by parents strikes me as a bit naive.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 17:04:55

JaneinReading that's the first time I've heard the argument that if you could afford private you are morally obliged not to go state or you're stealing 'from the mouths of the poor'. It's an interesting argument, but doesn't it make those who have the choice to go private (via burseries or not) damned if they do (stealing a place from someone who needs it more) damned if they don't (reinforcing elitism and innequality)?

Mintyy Fri 11-Apr-14 17:06:39

I laughed out loud at JaneinReading.

RufusTheReindeer Fri 11-Apr-14 17:15:23


I agree, it's nice to see that the definitions of poverty are ever changing and that I am now officially poor!

Or am I stealing from the poor hmm I'm so confused, if I sent my three to private school I probably would be poor!

Playfortoday Fri 11-Apr-14 17:17:14

Crosseyedcat - yes of course it's wrong to slag off children at private schools as snobs. I just think that some of the criticism of states is quite subtle and implied but nonetheless real and so doesn't get picked up on in the same way.

Tiggytape - I agree about shortages absolutely. But we are the only people who go to our local state on our street and they are all well within distance. Some parents seem to agree with janeinreading's laughable suggestion that it is morally superior to pay.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 17:24:09

<starts work on entirely new bingo card to encompass janeinreading's views>

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 17:28:30

"that's a whole different debate which I'd rather not get drawn in on for fear of being lynched"

Really? Maybe you aren't as circumspect in real life ? Might that be the problem??

Marmitelover55 Fri 11-Apr-14 17:29:23

I went to a private school and was teased/told I was a snob quite a lot. In fact I felt really embarrassed about my education. Maybe it's a good thing that we can't afford private education for our DC grin? Fortunately we have an outstanding comp nearby which DD started in September, so she won't ever be in this situation. I don't feel as though the marginal benefits would justify the vast expense anyway...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 11-Apr-14 18:05:25

I've read the same views expressed by jane on MN before.

HolidayCriminal Fri 11-Apr-14 18:22:34

Maybe some of you just have horrible judgemental resentful interfering friends. I sent DS private for 2 yrs & no one gave me grief, including some quite poor people I regularly chat to.

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 18:37:33

What- actual real life poor people?

HolidayCriminal Fri 11-Apr-14 19:01:07

Poor in pocketbook only. Richly endowed in decency. smile

Martorana Fri 11-Apr-14 20:06:30

That's al right then.

TruffleOil Fri 11-Apr-14 21:02:58

I've never met anyone IRL who has said: I think private education is wrong. I think people say these sorts of things only under the cloak of anonymity.

hotcrosshunny Fri 11-Apr-14 21:15:29

The choices we make for our children are so personal and touch the core of us, hence peoples reactions.

People sent their children private = judging state schools to not be good enough

People send their children state but can afford private = making a political statement and have chips on their shoulders.

I'm being slightly flippant...

We've gone state for our ds and most of his peers will or have gone private. I have been avoiding talking about it because I can sense the reactions of those who pay.

It is funny watching people put the feelers out about schools. I remember having a chat with someone about schools and she didn't even mention private schools. I then overheard her telling someone that she really wanted her kid to go to a particular private school and that state was not an option. Why not just be honest with me!?

I personally wish that the state sector had more resources - this is for the future population ffs.

DoMyBest Fri 11-Apr-14 21:52:29

Martorama, understandable guess but no, that isn't the problem.

RufusTheReindeer Fri 11-Apr-14 21:59:13

What I don't understand on these threads is how some people don't understand about circumstances changing

So for example when we first had three children we couldn't afford to send them to private school, if DH was on the same wage back then as he is now then we could IYSWIM

So someone like jane may well think that once DH started earning a suitable wage we should drag our children out of state school where they have all their friends and are happy and pop them in the nearest private school

TruffleOil Fri 11-Apr-14 22:00:08

I don't know anyone who sends their children to state schools. Not by design, but because I'm an expat and have made 90% of my friends through my children's school and the remainders are single friends, work friends, etc.

There are people in my neighborhood who send their children to the state schools obviously, but they are mostly 15-20 years younger than me and it's a pretty big bridge to gap.

TheVictorian Fri 11-Apr-14 22:19:54

My question is that if everyone went to the same type of school then in the long run it would it make a difference in terms of everyone having the same standard of education when different variables such as quality of teachers, ect are factored into the equation ?.

JimBobplusasprog Sat 12-Apr-14 09:12:23

I harbour some prejudice against private schools if I'm honest. I think it's because the majority of people have been priced out of the option as fees have gone up so much relative to incomes. So a large proportion of the parents who can pay are in banking or sectors that profit from banking. I feel these sectors have some culpability for the widening income disparity in the UK and responsibility for the financial crash. The rest of us have got poorer.

So I think this is where my bias stems from. Despite this we will have one dc in private next year but we can afford it for one child as we get a major bursary in his case.

DoMyBest Sat 12-Apr-14 10:07:52

JimBobPlusaSprog, thanks for being so honest. But isn't it all relative? We can afford private school (just, and for now) but I have friends who are so rich they can afford thing I could never dream of: it doesn't make me angry, far from it I'm happy for them (and curious about their different lives, which I get an occasional glimpse into: it's fun to see).

Martorana Sat 12-Apr-14 10:13:06

"but I have friends who are so rich they can afford thing I could never dream of:"

That's absolutely fine when it's holidays or cars. Less fine when it's a basic civilized right, like education or health care. Even less fine when you're talking about the sort of schools which perpetuate privilege.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sat 12-Apr-14 10:21:31

I don't think it is "morally wrong for people to get angry with parents who privately educate their children?". Such people are entitled to such an opinion, emotion and political position. Parents who have enough money to pay fees and children bright enough to pass entrance exams are lucky to have additional choices for their children and should just "suck it up". I am one of those lucky parents. That's my direct answer to your question.

I do think that the idea that "paying fees" makes a better school is totally false - and yet I see parents talking about this all the time (better teachers, better facilities etc etc). Those parents are seeing better outcomes from the school because it has an "entrance exam" not because it has better teaching. In fact, the "better teachers, better facilities" point is incorrect because the "value add" of most private schools is poor to average. They start with a high attaining cohort and mostly get that cohort to where you'd expect them to get. Why would you bother paying for that?

On the other hand, I have never bought the arguments that the private school system either damages the education system at large or that it is critical to the continuing socio-economic divide.

Take the thought experiment of abolishing all private schools (about 5% of all schools). That would mean in a state school classroom of 30, "Tarquin" would represent 1 student. I don't think any of the other 29 student's outcomes will change at all because Tarquin is now in their class. Neither will Tarquin's eventual political actions or social diversity change, because 95% of that comes from Tarquins parents, not from the school. Abolishing private schools would have almost no effect on how the rich behave or how politicians make decisions. Its a falsehood to believe it would.

Finally, if you do think having schools that can select their intake by intelligence and wealth is unacceptable then you can't allow any form of selection and still have your position hold water - i.e. you have to ban grammar schools, faith schools etc too.

Rant over .... smile

TruffleOil Sat 12-Apr-14 10:25:34

This thread has much of the same views expressed in the recent thread "should private schools be banned".

I don't agree with children having unequal access to education. But exactly how principled to you expect someone to be when it comes to their child's education? If you live in an area with bad schools, and you can afford to send them elsewhere but you don't - isn't this putting your political views before your children?

I'm more than happy to pay taxes to fund better schools, school fees to support bursaries, whatever it takes - but I won't send my children to a bad school.

wordfactory Sat 12-Apr-14 11:45:14

martorana what about basic human resources such as shelter and food?

I suspect you can afford to access a decent standard of both for your DC? Far greater standard than many can?

Why do we not insist that all children have the same access to these things? Why are they so different to education and health?

Arguably, food and nourishment have a far greater impact upon a DC's life thasn education?

alemci Sat 12-Apr-14 12:09:56

I've worked in private and state sectors of education. The PS has more resources and smaller classes and the teachers do have to go that extra mile and it is expected of them. The students want to achieve so give them extra work to mark etc.

Also if you got rid of PS you would have all the extra dc in the state system and by them going private you free up state school places ITMS.

RufusTheReindeer Sat 12-Apr-14 12:44:57


I agree completely with you in regard to resources and smaller classes

I don't agree with the comments about teachers, obviously I can only go by my experiences but my children's teachers are excellent and most certainly go above and beyond what is expected

alemci Sat 12-Apr-14 13:25:45

the parents at the ps expected it of the teachers and they often had unrealistic expectations because they are paying.

I think there are some excellent teachers in the state system

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sat 12-Apr-14 20:37:16

No sooner did I say it than people posted it.

"Those parents are seeing better outcomes from the school because it has an "entrance exam" not because it has better teaching. In fact, the "better teachers, better facilities" point is incorrect because the "value add" of most private schools is poor to average. They start with a high attaining cohort and mostly get that cohort to where you'd expect them to get. Why would you bother paying for that?"

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 12-Apr-14 20:43:55

No sooner had loads of people said it loads of times on loads of similar threads than you posted it more like, marrieddad.

tiny bit patronising!

RufusTheReindeer Sat 12-Apr-14 20:48:14

There are not better teachers in the private sector

There are however, in a lot of private schools, better facilities

blitzen724 Sat 12-Apr-14 20:54:30

I have encountered some people with the attitude that private education is wrong or unnecessary, but very rarely. My circle of friends is a real mix, and those with children at state schools have more holidays, newer cars and bigger houses than I do. They don't look down on me for living in a shed any more than I look down on them for sending their children to a school that doesn't have a boat house.

Most people don't give two hoots, although that's not the impression some newspapers like to give...

gardenfeature Sat 12-Apr-14 20:54:44

There was another recent thread on here. The poster said that the "average" DS had done fairly well at private school but not necessarily better than they would have done elsewhere BUT the contacts they had made had been "invaluable" in terms of future career prospects etc.

Reminds me of an article in a newspaper I read where a student's work experience had been "shadowing the Indian Ambassador to the UN". You don't find that at the local secondary.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sat 12-Apr-14 21:19:08

TheOriginalSteamingNit massively patronising I think grin. The point still stands ignored. Perhaps I'm just wrong (highly unlikely as I never am).

Taz1212 Sat 12-Apr-14 21:56:07

I have no idea whether the teachers at DS' school are better than the teachers at DD's school but the overall academic experience is better at DS' school. He has access to better facilities (e.g. using the senior school science labs whilst still in the junior school), the school can deviate from the Curriculum for mediocrity Excellence as they see fit and the range of courses on offer is many times that offered at the local school.

TruffleOil Sat 12-Apr-14 21:58:08

I don't think the teaching is better. I think there's quite a lot of good teachers who are philosophically opposed to private schools.

HanSolo Sat 12-Apr-14 23:23:24

I think one thing we should consider before judging others is that in the main, the majority of people in England do not actually have a choice when it comes to schools. Most have to take what they're given (and this year, there's going to be quite a few that don't even get given a place!) and I think that breeds resentment of anyone that does have a choice, be it a choice to send their children to fee-paying schools, to their local outstanding state school, or to their really lovely, nurturing village school.

This is not the reality for many thousands of parents, sadly, they just have to accept a place in a school that is not what they hoped for.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 08:51:55

"This is not the reality for many thousands of parents, sadly, they just have to accept a place in a school that is not what they hoped for."

But will, in the vast majority of cases be absolutely fine.

I agree, though. My hackles rise when people talk about "choosing to go private" or even worse "having no choice but to go private". And don't start me on "making sacrifices to go private"......

DoMyBest Sun 13-Apr-14 09:26:43

So would I be right un summarising the conclusion to my question (and this debate) as being that parents with children in state schools have the moral right to voice their opinion against private schools to those parents who privately educate, that whilst in theory they shouldn't go so far as get angry about it, in practice - given the inequality & lack of choice for most parents - it's acceptable that they do?

happygardening Sun 13-Apr-14 09:48:52

Yes parents with children at state schools do feel they have the moral right to critisise our decisions, to endlessly tell us that their state school is as good as our chosen independent, offering at the vey least the same facilities and opportunities and often better results and always better more imaginative teaching with definitely no spoon feeing. If on the on the other hand parents who chose to send their children to independent schools comment on state schools in any kind of negative way we are immediately jumped upon and told that we are only doing it because we are after the non existent old boy network other nice children for our precious children to mix with, our belief that these schools can get fantastic results from are average children, preferably Oxbridge entry, and that our children will be completely clueless about the real world.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 10:15:41

"So would I be right un summarising the conclusion to my question (and this debate) as being that parents with children in state schools have the moral right to voice their opinion against private schools to those parents who privately educate, that whilst in theory they shouldn't go so far as get angry about it, in practice - given the inequality & lack of choice for most parents - it's acceptable that they do?"

No, it's not acceptable to be angry with somebody simply because they choose to privately educate. However, some people for whatever reason feel the need to justify that choice by denigrating state schools, pupils, teachers and parents. So "My children are privately educated because that is what I want to do" is absolutely fine, and anyone who got angry with that would be completely out of order. However (and these are genuine example from Mumsnet) "I privately educate because I've seen what goes on is state schools <shudder>" and "I wouldn't throw him to the wolves" and "I don't want him educated with the dregs"- well, I think it would be justified to be a bit angry with those statements, don't you?

I don't know why you have had an angry response, OP- but I have to say that your disinclination to say on here why you chose private school for yours does make me think that just possibly you might have expressed reasons that might have upset people a bit?

Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 10:22:49

Inequality and the undermining of the meritocracy - which is perpetuated by the private school system - makes me angry.

I try to keep these feelings out of my interactions with friends and acquaintances who have their children in private schools as it makes life socially awkward.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 10:23:59

"to endlessly tell us that their state school is as good as our chosen independent, offering at the vey least the same facilities and opportunities and often better results"

Who on earth would say that a state school could offer the same facilities as a fee paying school? That would just be stupid.
There are plenty of state schools that get better results than plenty of privates, though.

Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 10:29:04

Martor - being completely honest though, people only generally fork out huge sums for private education because they think the state sector ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH for their child.

So either they think it's not good enough for your child either (in which case they observe your family with a mixture of pity and superiority) or they think it is good enough for your child, but not theirs, usually because they see their child as more sensitive/academic/talented and therefore more needful of a socially exclusive provision which doesn't accommodate ordinary kids. though the bursary system which is there for decidedly not ordinary extremely clever and hard working poor kids gets waved around as proof of the social inclusiveness of private schools by parents who feel a bit guilty about it

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 10:43:45

I know, minifingers. But I know people who manage to go private without actually saying that. It's not an easy thing to do, though. Which is perhaps why sometimes private school parents don't understand why people get cross. And why it's sometimes very hard not to be slightly pleased when the money turns out not to be as well spent as they thought. I'm not talking about schools like HG's son's- nobody could deny that is money well spent. But when my neighbour's DIL had to double check with us where ds went to school after an outing "because he has such lovely manners and is so good at conversation" it was very hard to suppress a grin. It's the any private school is automatically better than any state school attitude that really riles me.

DoMyBest Sun 13-Apr-14 10:55:27

Thanks for all these views, really interesting - especially as even those of you with the strongest views against private education seem to agree that its wrong to get angry with parents who can/do go private.
I'm quite shocked by some of the incensitive quotes from the 'privates' against the 'states': Martorana I've never said stuff like that and I never will (if I don't want to go into why we're going 'private' it's because I don't want to detract from this debate, on whether it's morally acceptable to get angry with parents who do/can go private, because I think it's an important issue which hasn't been addressed).
But it goes both ways: attacking independent schools, or parents with means to go private but choose to try to improve their local state school, doesn't help anyone.
I hope that this discussion will, at the very least, make all parents - no matter their means, views or circumstances - think twice before criticising others. I know I will.

RufusTheReindeer Sun 13-Apr-14 10:59:50


I am more than happy to believe that people have a go at parents who send their children to private school and morally criticise as you state

I also believe that people have a go at parents who send their children to state school

You see it all the time on these types of threads and it seems to be pretty much even

I have friends whose children go to private school and I would consider it for mine but we can't comfortably send all three.

I think that the facilities are better in most private schools, I don't believe that the teaching is any better but I think that smaller class sizes, parents who want their children to do well and picking and choosing who goes to your school makes a huge difference.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 11:38:03

"But it goes both ways: attacking independent schools, or parents with means to go private but choose to try to improve their local state school, doesn't help anyone."

Attacking the idea of independent schools is a different thing. I am politically opposed to private education, and will argue against their existence until the cows come home. If private school parents choose to take that as a personal attack that is, I am afraid, their problem. I am perfectly prepared to accept that private schools benefit individuals but they are bad for society as a whole. And the more people speak out against them the better. So while at an individual level it should be live and let live, in a wider political context it can't really be. IMHO.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 13-Apr-14 11:55:34

No married, not ignored, it's just been said a lot of times before so you didn't get a pat on the back for it!

I don't think it's wrong to get angry with parents who go private, if you disagree with it. I think it's wrong to be horrible, but not to feel frustrated and angry at a decision you feel is morally wrong. The personal is political! It would be rude to actually, I dunno, start ranting at someone for doing it, but not wrong to feel angry.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 12:17:58

Any selective school does better than any non selective one. Whether it selects on academics, wealth or faith. Or on any madey-uppy criterion you care to come up with.

tiggytape Sun 13-Apr-14 12:36:29

Any selective school does better than any non selective one.

Not if you are measuring value added.

Value added is very important. A selective school getting 95% brilliant results is probably doing no more than it should given its very easy intake. It might even possibly be failing 5% of its pupils if the selection procedures really did accurately assess their original ability.

In terms of results, parents want a school that enables their child to get the best results that they can (amongst other things - results aren't all that parents care about).
Not all schools are equally good at this across all ability groups and selecting only bright children doesn't necessarily mean that a school will do better for them than a less selective school would have done. It depends how they learn, what their confidence is like, what issues they might have, where their weaknesses lie...

Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 12:42:19

"I am perfectly prepared to accept that private schools benefit individuals but they are bad for society as a whole. And the more people speak out against them the better. So while at an individual level it should be live and let live, in a wider political context it can't really be. IMHO."

Ay ay to this ^

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 13:15:46

Not if you are measuring value added.

Value added is very important. A selective school getting 95% brilliant results is probably doing no more than it should given its very easy intake. It might even possibly be failing 5% of its pupils if the selection procedures really did accurately assess their original ability."

Most people ignore value add. That's why a lot of excellent schools are dismissed. Generally people look at end results only. 99% A*-C = good, 60% A*-C mediocre, 40% A*-C bad. Few people look into it any more deeply than that.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 13-Apr-14 13:34:50


If you mean it's been said a lot already on this thread, then mea culpa. If you mean it's been said elsewhere across the whole forum, that assumes I have read the whole of the rest of the forum along with everyone else on this thread - sorry but I'm not omniscient (or maybe I am ....)

I'm just sore for not getting a pat on the back. grin

happygardening Sun 13-Apr-14 14:47:28

Martirana I frequently read on MN comments about how their particular state school offers as much as any independent school, there were comments stating exactly this on a very recent thread.
We need to live and let live as I've said before I hope those who feel so "angry" about private schools regularly channel the same amount of energy into improving their state schools and others in their areas because it is only by improving what the state school offer will schools catering for the worried middle classes will consider state ed. But I suspect your not directing your anger at these families and schools I suspect your directing at the small group of elite Eton et al and it's alumni. These schools are here for good because these parents will always choose them regardless of how good the state sector is.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 15:55:31

"Martirana I frequently read on MN comments about how their particular state school offers as much as any independent school, there were comments stating exactly this on a very recent thread."

Really? I can't imagine anyone saying anything so dim- the funding disparity makes the statement ludicrous.

Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 16:03:48

Happy - no amount of energy being channeled into state schools will reduce average class sizes those of private schools. Neither will the involvement of middle-class parents in the running of state schools diminish the energy-sapping drag on teachers and students of having to work with a disproportionate number of hard to educate children.

Schools are communities, and like all communities they're affected by ghettoisation.

RedRoom Sun 13-Apr-14 16:27:27

I'm always intrigued by people who claim that private schools have 'better standards', as if state school staff don't give two hoots about their pupils and don't bother to push them. It's such rubbish.

I think it has more to do with those private schools being academically selective and filled with children whose parents are willing/able to pay for education. That does make them fairly middle class, privileged places. That doesn't have anything to do with how well the children are taught: they are already at a distinct advantage because they are bright and well supported at home.

I've taught in three private and five state schools. One private school was one of the 'elite' public schools that costs well over £30k per year. The standard of teaching was no better there than at three of the state schools (the other two were admittedly dire because they were on special measures). The main reason that the state schools did less well were that they weren't academically selective, class sizes were bigger, behaviour was poorer and a number of parents didn't take much interest in their child's progress. It was nothing to do with how well teachers taught.

I am of the opinion that if your local state school is lovely, then you are mad to pay for private education. However, if your local state school is poor and behaviour is bad, then it is no crime to pay for a school where children want to learn and do well.

I think the problem comes from blanket statements about all Behaviour in state schools being poor and all private schools employing better teachers. Quite a few private schools have teachers who aren't even qualified. A first from Cambridge really does not make you a good teacher, or even a qualified one, even if it impresses some parents.

summerends Sun 13-Apr-14 16:41:10

Costing over 30k per year does not make a school elite or guarantee quality. There are a fair number of boarding schools costing that much that certainly do not have particularly good quality teachers or management

iseenodust Sun 13-Apr-14 16:57:01

Wordfactory Off at a tangent are you connected to the Oxbridge widening access prog? Friend's DD went to a state 6th formers talk recently and was nearly put off. The feedback was Cambridge representatives were a no show and Oxford representatives didn't want questions and left early for train.

tiggytape Sun 13-Apr-14 17:03:46

I pretty much agree with RedRoom

I wouldn't criticise anyone for the choice they make but I think (unless there are specific reasons such as catering well for additional needs) it isn't worth choosing a private school if you have decent state school options.

A larger than average number of children attend private schools over my region as a whole. However within that there are pockets mostly caused by people who cannot access the good state schools and who have decided to pay for private schooling rather than be sent to schools in other boroughs.

Here is is very normal for people to have a "private school back-up" - the private school is seen as very much their last resort school if all else fails certianly not the prefered option. Most people want a good state school but know they might not get it. In London there are some very good state schools indeed but of course with a shortage of spaces. People will explain "we live in Station Road so that's why Jack goes private" and everyone will know that living where they do they wouldn't have got any local state school at all.

Consequently there isn't the same stigma attached to choosing a private school - other parents accept some people have lost out on the school lottery and couldn't or wouldn't move house.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 13-Apr-14 17:31:31

Well said RedRoom!

I think your analysis is worthy of further .... err .... analysis (me fail basic composition test)

"The main reason that the state schools did less well were that they weren't academically selective, class sizes were bigger, behaviour was poorer and a number of parents didn't take much interest in their child's progress. It was nothing to do with how well teachers taught."

Academically selective
- Would state schools be better if there was more explicit selection and streaming? In other words, make teachers jobs more focused on sets of students with similar abilities and needs. Does the "comprehensive" model hinder teachers? This would mean having schools for low attainers, middle attainers and high attainers? Maybe that's not workable, but perhaps there is something better than comprehensive?

Class sizes
- Is there anything we can do to make state school class sizes smaller or more manageable for teachers? Is this simply a need for more teachers i.e more funding?

Poor behaviour and lack of parental input
- How do state school improve behaviour and parental support? This seems an "uncrackable nut" to me as it all starts at home. What if parents with children that have poor attendance, behaviour etc were "offered", at their option, a state boarding school option? Could that help? Obviously, not talking about wrenching families apart, only where there are willing participants. Boarding will reduce living costs for the family materially too which might help reduce stress etc. Some parents might find that attractive, especially if benefits were protected.

RedRoom Sun 13-Apr-14 18:58:05

summerends I know that a school costing £30k or more a year doesn't automatically make it elite. I mentioned the cost because the teaching at that expensive school wasn't 'better' than the free comprehensives that I worked at before. That, to me, is not good value for money.

I used the word 'elite' because it is one of the most renowned group of English public schools (Eton/Harrow/Westminster etc). Would rather not say which one I worked at in case it outs me at some point.

My point was merely to say that sending a child to an expensive private school is not something that any parent should feel makes them, or their child, superior to those at local comprehensives where 'standards are lower'. To return to the OPs point, the topic of private schools can be taboo because sometimes the implication is that, if you pay, you care. If you don't pay, you value education less. That is plain wrong. Quite often you are paying for no more than to have your child surrounded by other bright children from reasonably affluent backgrounds.

RedRoom Sun 13-Apr-14 19:23:03

marrieddad I guess the main model of selection is the grammar school system. I went to one myself and it gave me opportunities that I wouldn't otherwise have had. However, I totally agree that it can be demoralising when children fail the 11+ and their brighter friends go off to other schools. I'm not keen on putting a lid on children at such a young age, and I know that research shows that some children can feel labelled as 'not bright'. Then you can have cases of self-fulfilling prophecy: I already know I'm not the brightest, so why try to be academic? Grammar schools are wonderful for those that pass, but do nothing for those that don't.

So, let's say we don't divide children at all- let's have mixed ability classes in comprehensives. Well, I've taught mixed ability classes and, good grief, that is challenging. Trying to stretch to the top and give extra support to the weakest (in a class of 30 in one hour) is really not easy. I'm not sure that method meets the needs of children either.

That only leaves us with setting and streaming. I am totally against streaming which places children in the top, middle or bottom set for everything, because very few pupils have the exact same affinity for very different disciplines such as Maths and English. Setting does work, or it does for me, especially if it is mobile and pupils can move up and down within the academic year. The problem is for those in the bottom set, who may feel disaffected by this. I always tell them that it is better to be supported than to be in a class where they struggle. For me, a good comprehensive with setting would be my first choice.

One thing that would make a massive, massive difference to the quality of educational provision in this country is smaller classes. I am utterly, utterly convinced that this is the case. It's not going to happen because there is no money! I think that, after behaviour, class sizes make the biggest positive difference.

I like the boarding idea. There are fines for parents who don't care if their children truant school constantly, but there isn't much schools can do about home aspects that don't directly affect the registers, unless there is abuse. For example, when a child regularly turns up having had five hours sleep and no breakfast but doesn't care/ their parents tell them they don't need to go to detention / their parents don't ever bother turning up to parents' evening. All of these things make it incredibly hard for teachers to convey the importance of education, because the children aren't intrinsically motivated and their parents don't help matters.

That was a long post. Sorry OP: not quite on topic, but still interesting to explore.

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 19:32:12

I think it is the change in how society thinks that has led to many disliking private education.
Those that can't have something now a days have to shout about how unfair it is. Whereas years ago it was just accepted that you couldn't have it, what is the point of jealousy was the general thought.
Now we live in an entitled society and everybody wants the same as the Jones's.

Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 21:03:01

"Would state schools be better if there was more explicit selection and streaming? In other words, make teachers jobs more focused on sets of students with similar abilities and needs. Does the "comprehensive" model hinder teachers? This would mean having schools for low attainers, middle attainers and high attainers? Maybe that's not workable, but perhaps there is something better than comprehensive?"

This is something I've always believed to be true - in fact I'd suggest most people think it's obvious.

However, the research doesn't bear out the value of streaming and setting, particularly for low ability pupils. This article asks why parents support it so enthusiastically, the answer to which is two-fold: that parents aren't aware of the evidence from educational research; that the education system in the UK is competitive and schools which stream and set are more able to attract middle-class pupils. hmm


Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 21:09:38

"Those that can't have something now a days have to shout about how unfair it is. Whereas years ago it was just accepted that you couldn't have it, what is the point of jealousy was the general thought.
Now we live in an entitled society and everybody wants the same as the Jones's."

The children of the rich have done nothing to earn or deserve the specially privileged education they have access to.

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 21:13:35

MiniMum - good try, but I think you're harking back to the pre-World War 1 days... Since then society has gone from people largely accepting their inherited place in society, to wanting society to be more equal, back to people largely accepting huge disparities in fortune but without any universally accepted rules of fairness, equity, moral conduct, etc. This is not the sole fault of those who are jealous - a smidgeon of the blame for this has to be laid at the door of the badly behaved rich and powerful. smile

lottieandmia Sun 13-Apr-14 21:15:27

I went to a private school and nearly everyone I went to school with has sent their children to state schools.

OTOH quite a few of the people I knew who went to state schools have sent their children to private school. Perhaps because for some people it's something to aspire to.

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 21:26:48

Minifingers - if the rich and privileged refused to spend any of their money on their own children, because their kids had done nothing to deserve it, they would be considered very odd parents by most people, I think. grin

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 22:01:19

The children of the rich don't need to do anything to earn their right to a private education though.
The rich have always gone to private schools, the super rich with not much intelligence Tim but dim, went to Eton or Harrow and became MP's.rabbitstew how old do you think I am grin I was talking about during my life time.
I will be sending my dc to a particular private school if that is what she wants, not just any to gain a better education or anything.

Minifingers Sun 13-Apr-14 22:27:32

rabbit - of course people will always want to protect and advance their own children, even at a wider cost to society in general. That's human nature.

The question is whether as a society we ought to facilitate this or see it as a desirable and acceptable state of affairs.

"I will be sending my dc to a particular private school if that is what she wants, not just any to gain a better education or anything."

"Now we live in an entitled society and everybody wants the same as the Jones's"

I think the word 'entitled' will be more applicable to your dc than mine. I wouldn't say to mine: 'if you fancy something that costs 15K a year you can have it darling, just say the word, even if I think it won't benefit you and is just something you fancy.'

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 22:38:58


The fees are 30k actually, and she can go if she wants to, she has shown an interest and its her decision.
How is that entitled? Of course it would benefit her, that's why I said a particular school.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 23:08:17

""Now we live in an entitled society and everybody wants the same as the Jones's"

Can I ask why you think your child is any more entitled to whatever she will get from her 30k a year school than any other child?

And please can we stop this "you're only jealous" meme? It's silly, insulting and does not contribute to the debate.

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 23:10:56

MiniMum - your lifetime has clearly been considerably longer than mine or my father's, which puts you in an era from well before WW2 (my father was born pre-WW2...). Either that, or you were very well cosseted in your youth. Did you attend a certain private school? grin

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 23:13:27

Or... are you trying to keep up with the Jones's?

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 23:17:39


I was brought up in a community and society that really wasn't bothered that some people went to state and some private.
I never met a child who went to private school until I was about 15, although I knew they existed.
Working class were just that. I remember the old sketch of the classes, I look down on him etc. It still makes me laugh.
No, I went to the sink comp and left school with nothing, no private education near us grin, not that my parents could have afforded it.
Maybe its a working class thing, I don't know tbh.

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 23:21:09

Ah. So now you know it exists, your dd wants what the Jones's have. She's got a bit of a sense of entitlement, hasn't she, that dd of yours? Now that she knows that private schools exist and all that?

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 23:21:55


Yes, she is very gifted and its a great opportunity for her to pursue the career she so desperately wants. She works extremely hard and will go through several stages to gain a place. very few children are accepted into the school, and it is very small for the age range it covers.

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 23:27:12


The Jones's don't go to this school, it isn't really for them unless they happen to fit the bill and then no doubt they would choose it as well.
Its a school that specialises in what dd wants to do, she has been told she is what they look for, it fits her and happens to be a private boarding school.

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 23:28:40

Aha - so it is actually untrue, what you said about everyone wanting what the Jones's have, then. grin

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 23:33:04

So an equally gifted but poor child wouldn't be able to go? They "wouldn't fill the bill?"

Or is it one of those special gifts that only rich children have? grin

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 23:35:21

I think there are a fair few on these threads who want what the Jones's have and kick up a fuss when they can't have it.
You only need to look at the animosity some people have towards certain schools or types of school where there is a perceived better education.
You do the best for your kids with the opportunities and choices you have, sometimes they are good, sometimes not so good.
But that's just my opinion having had both good and bad schools for my dc.

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 23:37:01


I am a sahm and my dh earns min wage, we are the poor family grin
The rich families have to pay.

rabbitstew Sun 13-Apr-14 23:37:28

MiniMum - there is a subtle difference between wanting what the Jones's have and not wanting anyone to have what the Jones's have.

Martorana Sun 13-Apr-14 23:53:25

Now I'm completely lost. If whatever this school offers is available to anyone with talent, regardless of income, why should anyone be "jealous" of your daughter being able to go there? I presume we're talking about the Royal Ballet School? In which case it has no relevance at all to any discussion about private education.

MinimMum Sun 13-Apr-14 23:58:46


I never said anybody was jealous of my dd, she doesn't go to a private school yet.
Of course it has relevance because many people have to pay a lot of money for their dc to attend. The thread is talking about private schools.
I believe everybody should be able to choose the education they or their dc want, but if its out of your grasp well so be it.
My ds never had the same gift/talent so would never have gone to this school, I couldn't afford private, the schools round here are shit, they had to get on with it.
I wasn't moaning woe is me, my dc don't get to go private, I helped and encouraged them as much as I could.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 00:02:41

"I wasn't moaning woe is me, my dc don't get to go private"

I haven't actually noticed anyone on this thread doing that either.

MinimMum Mon 14-Apr-14 00:16:08


Yes, I see the subtle difference.
Maybe I was a bit quick to jump to the conclusion of jealousy, although I do know that this exists to a certain degree.
Are you saying that more people seem to be against private ed because they don't think anybody should be able to go.
I know its only my opinion but that sounds bizarre to me, even considering the point I made above about my ds shit schools.
Money will always buy privilege be it better quality food, a flash car, big house, private school, 6 holidays a year, yacht etc.
We can't all have these things, there aren't enough jobs paying that sort of income, for everybody.

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 00:23:03

Parents are massively sensitive to the relative opportunities afforded to their DC versus others. Private schooling is a very obvious example of opportunity that is reserved for the few. But there are other opportunities - such as a loving, supportive, engaged family - that are also extremely valuable. Not all privately educated DC from affluent homes get one of those.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 00:28:01

You know, I am sure I am by no means alone in being able to think beyond what is beneficial to my own child and to look at society as a whole. I do not make political choices based entirely on self interest. I do hope at least some others do too?

MinimMum Mon 14-Apr-14 00:34:03


I'm too old and grey to think about other peoples kids, been there, done that, bought the t- shirt. It didn't do much good tbh, we don't get to change what gov decide, not very often anyway.
Now, my political choices are purely based on self interest as I expect most others are.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 00:35:03

MiniMum - yes, money will always buy privilege. I think those who are anti-private schools per se would also mainly be those who do not think huge wealth inequalities can be justified; and private schools are increasingly only really available to the hugely wealthy, anyway. In other words, the totally anti-private school are largely those who think society is just set up all wrong in the first place and who wish that they could change society in general, not just the education system, which is merely a symptom of our society.

I guess it does have to be said that huge wealth is not normally just the result of brilliant intelligence or unusual talent (that alone does not make someone wealthy), but also requires a certain degree of ruthlessness and exploitative behaviour. I often think that when I look around stately homes, or museums stuffed full of antiquities: most of this amazing achievement, invention, history and exquisite craftsmanship was built on the back of huge inequalities and injustices, intended for the pleasures of a few, not the benefit of the masses. The hoi polloi were never really intended to enjoy these things - that was an unfortunate (and temporary) change in the balance of power. It doesn't stop it all being exquisite and remarkable, though.

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 00:35:31

I think it is best to make political choices based on self-interest and to encourage others to do the same. I don't want other people to fondly imagine what is best for my child.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 00:44:51

I'm sure they aren't thinking fondly of your child, Bonsoir. grin

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 00:46:47

People are extraordinarily short-sighted and short-termist when they make decisions they THINK are in their own self-interest.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 00:51:51

"I'm too old and grey to think about other peoples kids,"

I'm too old and grey not to.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 00:59:11

Bonsoir - whether people are fondly imagining or not, no political decisions would be made at all without politicians and civil servants imagining what is best for other peoples' children. Clearly what you want is anarchy.

Paddlinglikehell Mon 14-Apr-14 01:59:40

My daughter started in a state school, I was educated in a state school and a 'rough' comprehensive. I did OK.

However, our outstanding school let us down, for all the reasons Red Room stated and more, so after much angst, we took the decision to move her to an independent school and I was embarrassed by this!

No one has criticised us, or made comment, we still meet up with her old friends and their parents, interestingly, most have said how much they would love to be in a position to be able to do what we have done, but couldn't afford it.

The education she is getting and the opportunities, astound me every day and to be honest, I am shocked at the difference - maybe we are just lucky with our choice - however I feel bad for those kids still in her old class and cross too that they haven't access to the education she has. It is so wrong that everyone hasn't the same opportunity. Hypocritical, as we could have stayed and sacrificed DD's education (and happiness) to try and improve the state system, but my DD comes first.

I actually find myself making excuses for the fact she is at a private school, only the other day a really old friend I don't see much asked what school she was at and before I had finished my sentence, she said 'you don't have to justify it, you are entitled to send her where you like' and it made me realise how much I do.

We have done what is best for our dd, I am sorry that choice isn't available to all, it's nothing to do with her being 'entitled', we are just lucky to be in a position where we have both worked hard and in a position where we can afford it.

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 07:15:22

PaddlingLikeHell, I have a friend in the same situation as yours: she's so apologetic that she's sending her child private.

This thread's got a number of us discusding why education's such a sensitive issue, and as one MN said it's because it touches on the broader issue of wealth inequality: a majority of my friends who most benefit from wealth inequality (went to top public schools, have good jobs & substancial incomes) are against it. They vote for parties which tax them the most, think inheritances should be made illegal, and that unused large estates should be confiscated. I wonder, given how both the 'have nots' and 'haves' tend to agree about this, why the communist party doesnt get a greater share of the vote in the UK (not being sarcastic or rude, am serious).

I'm not of the same view. I have more than some, less than others, and I like it like that. I don't believe we have a moral right to get angry that some can afford to privately educate and others can't (especially as it's all relative: what about all the children in countries without access to any education at all?) or who have bigger houses or flasher holidays, but we do have a moral obligation to give back/help even out the most extreme disparities). Oh dear, I've just launched a whole other debate, haven't I?!

Brabra Mon 14-Apr-14 07:22:25

I think intelligent people have always been against private schools.

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 07:32:20

I think you think wrong, Brabra.

lottieandmia Mon 14-Apr-14 08:49:51

See, I often can't believe that when people vote they vote only for themselves but that's just me.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 09:18:01

"I don't believe we have a moral right to get angry that some can afford to privately educate and others can't"

It depends. I don't think we have a moral right to be angry that some people are richer than others, I agree. But I think we not only have a moral right but a moral obligation to be angry that we have a system which perpetuates privilege to the extent that there are more people from Eton than from state schools in the Cabinet. If we believe that private education is inherently better, then surely we have an obligation to be angry that it is only accessible to 7% of the population?

I suppose what I am saying is that it depends what you mean by private education. If you're talking about little local private schools that people send their children to because they like the hats and the cricket teas, and which are actually as far removed from Eton and Harrow as Bash St Comprehensive is, then, while the social divisiveness is teeth itching, it arguably doesn't actually impact on society much. The big problem is the stranglehold that the "top" public schools have over the "mover and shaker" stratum of society. And there is class within class even there- even if any one of us sent our child to Eton they still would probably not be a member of that "set". Those people who send their nice middle class child to private school to "make contacts" are sometimes sadly disappointed! There's a really good bit in a Dorothy L Sayers about this- I'll see if I can find it.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 09:28:52

An extract from Murder Must Advertise, for your edification and enjoyment.
"“I like to be agreeable with everybody,” said Mr. Smayle, “but reelly, when it comes to shoving your way past a person into the lift as if one wasn't there and then telling you to keep your hands off as if a person was dirt, a man may be excused for taking offence. I suppose Tallboy thinks I'm not worth speaking to, just because he's been to a public school and I haven't.”

“Public school,” said Mr. Bredon, “first I've heard of it. What public school?”

“He was at Dumbleton,” said Mr. Smayle, “but what I say is, I went to a Council School and I'm not ashamed of it.”

“Where's Dumbleton?” demanded Ingleby. “I shouldn't worry, Smayle. Dumbleton isn't a public school, within the meaning of the act.”

“Isn't it?” said Mr. Smayle, hopefully. “Well, you and Mr. Bredon have had college educations, so you know all about it. What schools do you call public schools?”

“Eton,” said Mr. Bredon, promptly, “—and Harrow,” he added, magnanimously, for he was an Eton man.

“Rugby,” suggested Mr. Ingleby.

“No, no,” protested Bredon, “that's a railway junction.”

Ingleby delivered a brisk left-hander to Bredon's jaw, which the latter parried neatly.

“And I've heard,” Bredon went on, “that there's a decentish sort of place at Winchester, if you're not too particular.”

“I once met a man who'd been to Marlborough,” suggested Ingleby.

“I'm sorry to hear that,” said Bredon. “They get a terrible set of hearty roughs down there. You can't be too careful of your associates, Ingleby.”

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 09:34:36

Brabra intelligent people have always attempted to secure the best resources(as they see it) for their DC.

Be that food, shelter, education, healthcare, safety, cutural enrichement etc...

But people seem to be rather choosy about which resources they wish to insist on equal provision. Education is a yes, shelter is a no. Healthcare is a yes, food is a no.

To my mind parents have the responsibility to provide these things for our DC and the state has a duty to ensure that all DC have reasonable access. However, at no point should the state dertermine how we provide these things for our DC or limit us.

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 09:36:11

Sorry martorana but you are showing your age if you think Sayers is any longer a good reflection grin.

The world is a global economy. The top schools are a reflection of that. What used to be important cahet has changed.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 09:39:02

I only posted it for entertainment, Word! And to illustrate the point that many seem to miss- that there are private schools and private schools.......

Remind me- how many old Etonians in the Cabinet in this changed world of which you speak?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 14-Apr-14 09:45:47

As ever, I would say it's because other things aren't provided equally that a level playing field in education would be a bloody good thing.

But Word, you're presumably not saying that people who are against private schooling are in favour of, or cool with, or uncaring about, inequalities in all the other areas you list? Your phrasing seems to impute a kind of irrational fetishization of education over anything else to those of us who are against private education, as though we're absolutely fine with some children being less loved, less culturally enriched, less healthy than others.... but of course nobody is taking that position, are they?

We cannot legislate for all children to be equally loved, or all houses to be the same size, or all parents to be equally effective. What we could do is not segregate children for the 11 years of their education by how wealthy their parents are. It's not rocket science!

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 09:52:53

Well I think that is the case nit.

None of us expect equal provision of basic resources. I don't think many of us would say equal provision would be a good thing. Most of us don't want the state to either decide upon the provision or to dole it out.

We want to make our own decisions for our DC.

I just can't see why education stands alone here.

Provided that the state ensures every child receives a decent amount of each resource (food, a home, an edcuation, accesss to healthcare) I think most of us would not wish to have those resources imposed on us.

Clavinova Mon 14-Apr-14 10:05:25

The op says that most of her friends can't afford private education for their children and so I suspect that jealousy is the motivation for some, especially if their siblings can afford it. Others might give the impression of being able to afford it, but with two or three children, a nice house, cars and holidays, maybe not. Others might send their children to good/outstanding state schools and think that the cost of private education isn't worth it, but I don't know why they would be openly hostile towards you. I don't think anyone on this thread has actually said that they can afford private education but have chosen not to for political reasons;everyone who is anti private school adds that they couldn't afford it anyway.

If the op's friends can't afford private education then they haven't had the luxury/dilemma of choosing. It's easy to say you wouldn't move your happy child from their state school if you won the lottery/inherited money, but if you had the funds from the outset? Not such an easy choice.

What are the ages of the children involved? It's easy to influence your child's educational experience and choice of school friends at a state primary school; will the op's friends choose differently for senior school?

What other educational/lifestyle choices do the op's friends make? Did they join an NCT group to meet nice mummy/baby friends and send their children to an expensive Montessori nursery? Do their children have private music lessons or ballet lessons? Do they have swimming and tennis lessons at the David Lloyd Club rather than the local sports centre? Will they pay for private tutors if necessary? Do they go to church/polish silver? Do they go on picnics at National Trust properties during the holidays instead of the local park? (The NT properties near me are more socially exclusive - white, professional classes - than any of the private schools will ever be!) Will they choose private healthcare for their children? If the op's friends are paying for any/all of these opportunities then I don't think they're morally better than the op; they're just paying for the privileges they can afford rather than the ones they can't.

Indeed, I often read on these threads that posters choose state education for their children and "top-up" where necessary, but if the "topping-up" costs several thousand pounds each year per child, where's the moral justification in that? Also, should state schools ban all educational trips abroad (geography trip to Iceland, Latin trip to Rome for example) or the skiing trip to France because some dc can't afford it? Should they provide free music lessons for everyone - not just for one year but for five/seven years?

I've just remembered one example of a wealthy celebrity who chose comprehensive education for his children - Paul McCartney. His daughter Stella famously called him "tight" for doing so, but when she wanted to appear hip and trendy she said it was the best thing he could have done; she's chosen private education for her own children though.

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 10:05:59

martorana you don't honestly believ that if there were no Eton, David Cameron would be stacking shelves in Tescos and the PM would have gone to a comp in Doncaster? Eton is only a reflection of the types of families that send their DC there and the ambitions they hold. Eton doesn't create these people.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 10:08:17

Actually, I think education should stand alone. Or stand with health care. Because a country's society and progress depends on the education and health of its citizens.
If we think about health care, generally people go private for convenience and extras. The basic health care is the same whether you are NHS or Private- often even provided by the same people. Private gives you convenience, nicer sheets, better food, a view and no hoi polloi. In many cases, private education is the same- the National Curriculum with a boater and ponies. But if we think that some children get a significantly better actual education based on their parent's wealth, that can't be right, surely?

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 10:14:04

I would say that housing and food have a far greater impact on a child's outcomes than their school. But you don't want your choices curtailed there, I'm sure. You don't want the state to decide foe you.

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 10:14:16

In all seriousness, and again with no sarcasm intended, if so many of you think that the UK should legislate against disparity (educational, income/bonuses, unused land, etc) why don't more brits vote communist? The educational system in China is egalitarian (if you ignore the elites who are packed off to be educated abroad), and the former USSR system was amazing. If the 'haves' really are an elite minority, the 'have nots' stand a better chance of winning the most seats in Parliament. I suppose what I'm saying is, if you want to change the system, don't take it out on those of us you think have more than you; just use your vote and watch the majority win! We in the 'elite' minority would loose out (and probably move abroad) and the majority would be happy.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 10:16:33

"I would say that housing and food have a far greater impact on a child's outcomes than their school. But you don't want your choices curtailed there, I'm sure. You don't want the state to decide foe you."

I don't think I understand that.......

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 10:18:08

Wordfactory - I disagree with you to a certain extent. I think boarding schools do have a bigger impact on people than day schools - lots of young boys shoved in together with very little privacy during their adolescence... It's like an Eton survivors group running the country.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 10:19:01

The state is regularly making decisions on food policy.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 10:20:28

"suppose what I'm saying is, if you want to change the system, don't take it out on those of us you think have more than you"

What do you mean? Are you suggesting that the only people who question the role of private education are those that can't afford it? <sigh - not that again>

Oh, and "elite minority" - reallly?I think I am beginning to see why you have had so much hostility in your social circle....."grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 14-Apr-14 10:20:39

I think that only makes sense if you think of sending a child to state school as the equivalent of forcing you to move out of your house into a small and unpleasant one owned by the state.

It's that old argument that if you dislike private education or thing it's in any way morally problematic, you're basically a communist, isn't it?

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 10:28:29

Its not about it being pleasant or not. It's about having a choice versus having the state provision imposed on you. None of us want that in respect of other basic resources. But you want to cherry pick eduction. Its not logical is all I'm saying.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 10:29:46

wordfactory - I see very little logic in most human beliefs, values and behaviour.

Are you a computer? Why this obsession with logic?

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 10:32:19

Well I would think making educational policy based on emtional reaction aint gonna do much good.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 10:34:01

I would think making educational policy based on logic aint gonna be possible. You can't just teach logic in school. grin

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 10:34:08

Martorana, stop it!
I used the word 'elite' in a negative way, as in that's how we're perceived - distant, elitist, unfair, etc. It's the language often used by those who are against private schools.
Now address my point: if abolishing private schools is so important to you, do you at least vote for a party which promises to do that?

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 10:36:24

Logically speaking, leaving irrational, emotional people free to make their own choices is illogical.

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 10:37:06

Agreed Rabbitstew: if parents want to wipe out inequality, it seems odd to limit it to just education.

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 10:38:22

Yes indeed, better to force the people to be free.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 10:40:31

"Now address my point: if abolishing private schools is so important to you, do you at least vote for a party which promises to do that?"

If there was one, I would. All other things being equal.

Can you address my point? Why are you assuming that only people who can't afford to use it have an issue with private education?

Clavinova Mon 14-Apr-14 11:00:37

I've already addressed your point Martorana:
Nobody on these forums ever says that they can afford private education but they think it's morally/socially wrong.They do say however, that private education isn't worth it because they can always "top-up" if necessary or that they prefer to spend their money on nice holidays and new cars. Everyone actually opposed to private education adds that they couldn't afford it anyway, apart from Paul McCartney that is.

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 11:02:38

Martorana: The UK communist party would abolish private schools-do you at least vote for your convictions? www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/man/comm97.htm

I don't think only those who can't afford private schools are against them: that was one of the main points I made in starting this thread.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 11:05:36

No, I am not a communist. As I said, if there was a party that wanted to abolish private schools I would vote for it, all other things being equal.

It is utterly bizarre to think that not supporting private schools means you are a communist.

Migsy1 Mon 14-Apr-14 11:08:12

It is your decision - your right. Personally,I'd just avoid hostile people.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 11:11:47

""suppose what I'm saying is, if you want to change the system, don't take it out on those of us you think have more than you"

DoMyBest- it was the above than led me to believe you think only those who can't afford them oppose private schools. An understandable interpretation, I feel.......

alemci Mon 14-Apr-14 11:14:07

I don't oppose private schools and we can't afford them.

An colleague of mine couldn't get his son into the local primary school and the other school choices weren't great so he sent him to the prep school but he would have rather he went to the local primary as it was so expensive.

The school where I worked was mainly an Asian intake as many of the families at the school preferred single sex education. This isn't offered in any comprehensives. The grammar schools have this as well.

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 11:27:56

The UK Communist party would go the further in ironing out inequality (including abolish private schools) than all the other parties and yet they don't do well in elections. I realise this is a whole new debate, but do any of the parents who expressed broad criticism if the current system (banker bonuses, private schools, private healthcare) vote communist? And if not, why not?

alemci Mon 14-Apr-14 11:29:57

Maybe a read of animal farm might be helpful?

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 11:36:45

" do any of the parents who expressed broad criticism if the current system (banker bonuses, private schools, private healthcare) vote communist? And if not, why not?"

Because they arn't Communists?

Migsy1 Mon 14-Apr-14 11:40:20

Do communists vote?

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 11:42:44

Yep. "vote early, vote often" smile

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 11:43:00

Alemci that made me laugh smile

I think the Communists need to rebrand themselves: many of the views I've heard on Mumsnet and elsewhere about the need to abolish inequality in general and private schools in particular are reflected more in the UK Communist Party manifesto than in any others. I suspect (despite being an economic liberal myself) that if more people read it they'd get way more votes and inequality would be erased sooner.

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 11:43:18

ranbitstew - the state does not decide what food DC eat. There is a huge range of foods for parents to choose freely between.

Anyway, I very happily took my DD to a holiday revision course at one of the UK's most expensive boys' schools this morning. Open to all, not very expensive... And chock full of DC from local prep schools. Attempts to share facilities with the local community are valiant but take up among the less privileged is impossible to enforce...

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 11:44:07

Migsy1 that made me laugh too! This thread was in dire need of some humour, thanks smile

alemci Mon 14-Apr-14 12:18:10

you are never going to abolish inequality. I suppose Jesus had a similar approach in Sermon on the mount.

communsism doesnt work and demotivates people. you need to look at Russia or Eastern Europe.

I met a lovely Yugoslavian? I think lady on holiday who had emigrated to the Usa. she had a professional job in the former Yugoslavia or it may have been Hungary but a communist country, nothing to buy in shops, anything there was available was extortionate.

why would you want to inflict that sort of existence on people. the party members would do ok but quite scary for the rest of us.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 12:20:08

Getting silly now. Shame-it was interesting. Hey ho.

DoMyBest Mon 14-Apr-14 12:42:40

My views are much more economically liberal, not communist (although we're moving back from a country where the communist party is a respected and credible one, where income tax is one of the highest in the world, and where many of our friends didn't know that private schools even existed - I'll let you guess where) smile

I just thought I'd point out that many of the things on some of the mumsnet parents' 'wish list' are in the UK communist party manifesto, but not in the other manifestos. Worth a look at if you want to permanently eradicate inequality, surely?

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Mon 14-Apr-14 12:50:20

Test for potential communist.

1) List all your possessions, including your house.

2) Find other people (rich, poor, anyone).

3) Share all of the things on your list with those people.

In fact, all those things on your list are not yours to share. We collectively own them and you only get to use them if you demonstrate that by using them we all benefit more than if anyone else is using them.

True communism is hard. Whilst it will be impossible to prove and people can "say" anything, I bet not a single person on this forum could ever really be a communist, despite talking a good game.

The closest I have ever seen to communism today is in Cuba. In years gone by in Hungary, pre-westernisation. It isn't pretty, no one is happy, no one likes it.

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 12:57:12

Nobody has said they are,nor aspire to be a communist. Domybest is doing that really annoying thing that some people do when you express any but right of centre views "I suppose you all want us to live in a communist state then?" Doesn't half spoil the conversation but, as I have said before, explains why she perceives hostility in her real life social circle.

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 13:05:21

But banning access to any education that isn't provided for by and controlled by the state is a central tenet of communism.

Or am I missing something?

Martorana Mon 14-Apr-14 13:11:31

What did you say your stock response was, word? Ah I remember "Yes, you're right"

wordfactory Mon 14-Apr-14 13:13:13

Yes, thank you mart I'm know I'm right grin. Glad you see it.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 13:16:35

Yes, MarriedDad, Communism did seem to suffer a bit from a lack of prettiness. Goes back to my point about all the things we gawp at in museums and the stately homes we wander around - great beauty created out of great inequality, making it difficult for the average communist to live with. We still haven't managed to work out a system where everyone feels that life is both largely free and tolerably fair, because we can't all agree on what we think is worthwhile, what "fair" looks like, or what we expect others to do to contribute towards a "fair" society.

Bonsoir - of course the state has a massive role in food policy. We're constantly having tiresome and wrong messages blared out at us about what it is healthy to eat, whether we should have specific nutrients or chemicals added to our food and water, what hygiene standards restaurants should meet, how long shops can keep perishable foods on the shelves, how much salt should be allowed in processed food, whether genetically modified crops should be allowed, whether farmers should receive subsidies, whether food security means we should grow more food at home, whether we can import and eat bush meat, whether we can steal eggs from birds' nests, whether we should promote "healthy schools," whether all KS1 and reception children should be entitled to free school meals etc, etc, etc. What we have on offer to us is the choice we have left, not unlimited, unfettered choice to poison ourselves and others in any way we fancy, or starve ourselves as a result of our own failure to plan for the future. It would actually be quite alarming, given the massively swelling world population, if there weren't people out there thinking about more than their own immediate personal interests and stomach.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 13:21:32

wordfactory - isn't there a subtle difference between the state providing the cash and the state controlling it? The Tories seem to think so in their education policy - they happily hand out taxpayers' money to organisations government and the taxpayer appear to have no control over whatsoever.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 13:23:25

Sorry, the Tories seem to think so in all areas of public life - public money for private funds.

I think that, especially in the UK, private education is - in many cases - a mean to preserve the status quo.

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 13:54:28

The state having a role in food policy is not the same as the state controlling what we eat. There is no national curriculum of prescribed meals, year by year.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 15:13:51

I'm not sure what you think that's got to do with anything, Bonsoir? The state has control over education policy but even with the national curriculum has never prescribed exactly how and exactly what teachers should teach. But then I guess you wouldn't know that, not even living in the UK?...

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 18:06:22

Since my DD attends a school that follows the English NC I think I have a perfectly adequate grasp of the relative freedoms, rabbitstew. You are very obtuse if you think that the NC is not highly prescriptive but that people are not free to feed their DC almost anything.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 18:59:01

You are very obtuse, Bonsoir, if you think that is what I am saying. grin

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 19:00:59

Explain to me where you have not said that...

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 19:01:46

Explain to me where I HAVE said it.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 19:02:22

I can point out where YOU said it, if you would like? Your penultimate post, unless we cross post. smile

Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 19:06:41

You seem to be getting cross because of the silly things you have written on this thread wink. Chill...

weatherall Mon 14-Apr-14 19:13:50

I went to a private school and I've noticed that now my peers have kids of school age none of them are going to private (with one exception whose fees are paid by grandparents).

Taz1212 Mon 14-Apr-14 19:22:51

I'll find it interesting to see what my DC do with their children. My father went to boarding school, I went to a state school, my DC are/will be privately educated... Will my DC continue the pattern and send theirs to state schools? grin

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 19:24:04

Nice try, Bonsoir. I see little miss cross-chops who calls people obtuse and then thinks they are cross if they mimic this can't find where I ever said the government tells people exactly what they can and can't eat, so has decided to pretend I'm the one who is cross. grin

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Mon 14-Apr-14 20:21:44

I'd be in so much trouble here if I ever used the phrase ....

"little miss cross-chops" ..... smile


Bonsoir Mon 14-Apr-14 20:24:47

Crosser and crosser grin

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 20:26:58

You would, MarriedDad. wink Cunning manoeuvre to put it in quotation marks. grin

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 20:27:50

I'm sorry to hear you're getting crosser and crosser, Bonsoir. sad Have you tried yoga?

Saski Mon 14-Apr-14 20:43:57

If the state does indeed have a meaningful role in what we eat, then how can you explain the co-existence of vegans and paleos? Of people a baby being weaned on Greggs, and a child who has not had a chicken nugget by the age of seven? People who shop at Whole Foods, people who shop at Iceland?

The state sets a very modest baseline, and everything else is up to you.

Lanabelle Mon 14-Apr-14 20:44:21

I think a lot of it comes down to the quality of the state school (after the cost too). Our state village school was shut and the pupils now fall into the catchment of a different primary school with a modern building, modern facilities, more classes etc and it really does look like a good school and I'm sure most of the children there are really lovely but also within this schools catchment is a 'problem' area. I am not for one minute blaming the children but some of the parents :O even I am shocked by some of the things I have witnessed and I only drop my friends children off there when her husband needs the car (which is once in a blue moon)

parents fighting (actual fisticuffs/ swearing etc) in the playground whilst dropping off/ picking up children.
the language used to each other and to their children is atrocious and not just swearing, a lot of it is sexualised too.
children boasting in class about things they've seen such as drug taking or police raids.

I really don't want to send DS there when the time comes and have even contemplated either moving house or switching to permanent night shift to pay for private schooling because I don't think primary school age children should be exposed to this - and I mean theirs or mine

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Mon 14-Apr-14 20:51:09

It isn't taboo here in SW London. and having re-trained as a secondary teacher I am turning cartwheels that my DC are not attending the local state schools I have been training in.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Apr-14 21:48:33

Saski - apart from Bonsoir, I don't believe anyone said the government DID have a meaningful role in what we eat, did they? I said it gets involved in food policy at the moment, not food micro-management, and it does, at national, European and International level, and a lot of taxpayers' money is spent on this. It does get involved, as closely as it thinks it can possibly get away with, in order to protect public health (and this is only really so that it can increase its chances of having people healthy enough to be able to work and thus pay tax...) - our chocolate bars do not generally contain dangerous levels of toxic pesticides, for example, and if not eaten to excess will not do us any harm whatsoever. Along with considering increasing tax on anything with sugar in, precisely with the hope of controlling what we eat, government is even considering fluoridating our water supply, which I think would be considerably harder to avoid even than state education.

Where education has a special place, of course, is that it is seen as a way of gaining some control over the way we think and behave, and thus increasing control over all the things others seem to be claiming the government doesn't get involved in... like what we eat, whether we exercise, how hard we work, whether we pay tax, whether we are good citizens of the Big Society, etc, etc. Trying to crush the teaching unions could be seen as just another way of ensuring the state can get more control over our schools and our lives, so that we can all be kept running around in our little hamster wheels, unable to get off, but too blinkered to see or understand what we are really doing, anyway.

Basically, the state is very interested in having control over all areas of our lives and if it can't do it through schools, it will still find other ways.

Interestingly, the more the government claims it is very hands-off and small-stateish, and pro-private enterprise, the more I feel exploited and controlled by said government - they even want to mine all our private medical data for information and profit.

We have never, really, been so controlled as we are, now. And it's not just the state wanting to control us, but multinational corporations. It's all a big battle to control us, so that we can be mined for profit.
Big Brother is watching you... even if you are at Eton. grin

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 07:20:46

So rabbit your antidote to all this state control is to ban any education that isn't directly state controlled?

Saski Tue 15-Apr-14 07:25:04

rabbitstew I tend to agree with (my interpretation of) a few parts of your post but I can't tie them together. I think it's true that the state benefits from compliant, non-questioning citizens and a "traditional" education may nurture these qualities.

But isn't that an argument against state control of education?

rabbitstew Tue 15-Apr-14 08:53:11

rabbitstew rolls her eyes at the ceiling. Does anyone fancy looking back over all the posts in this thread and fancy telling me if I have ever said that I want to ban any education that isn't directly state controlled? I've said that I believe that most people who want this don't just want this, they are also more likely to view the way our society is structured in general as wrong, given that the education system is a reflection of our society. I haven't said that I therefore think private schools should all be banned. Frankly, that would be a pointless thing to do in this society at this point in time - a society in which I live and choose to live, albeit I agree with those who think we are all becoming increasingly egocentric tossers, after a brief period of guilt and hoping to do better after the 2nd world war. Using a private school doesn't automatically make you more egocentric than anyone else, it just means you've analysed your situation and decided that was the best thing to do. There are plenty of other ways to be egocentric and don't we all, as a society, use them to aplomb? We don't even want to be bothered by any associated guilt any more, because "we're all worth it." (vomit) grin

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Tue 15-Apr-14 09:04:05

The teaching unions ( and I belong to one) are made up of their members and therefore there to protect their members, not to promote educational innovation - indeed they resist it.

happygardening Tue 15-Apr-14 09:48:24

What a sad state of affairs Thelate although frankly and. I hope it's not something you free with. Although sadly from my experience this does not come as any surprise. I used to only work in the public sector with children not only did my union actively promote innovation in my field I have a legal obligation to keep my self up to date with it and ensure my practice is underpinned by it.

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 09:50:25

"The teaching unions ( and I belong to one) are made up of their members and therefore there to protect their members, not to promote educational innovation - indeed they resist it."

Really? When you've finished turning cartwheels,could you elaborate?

happygardening Tue 15-Apr-14 09:52:58

Let's try that a again bloody auto correct.
What a sad state of affairs TheLate and I hope it's not something you agree with. Although I have to say it does t come as a surprise. I too work with children in the public and private sectors and not only does my union actively promote current innovation in my practice I have a legal obligation to ensure that my practice is underpinned by it.

happygardening Tue 15-Apr-14 10:50:40

Obviously too busy turning cartwheels to elaborate.

Saski Tue 15-Apr-14 11:10:20

rabbitstew rolls her eyes at the ceiling.

3asAbird Tue 15-Apr-14 11:48:05

I think schools are dvisive issue no matter what sector or where you live in england/wales as bit more chilled in scotland I think.

My birth father went to expensive private school and still screwed up his life.

I had ex who went private boys ordinary middle class background on old assisted places that labour scrapped in 97 and hes done very well and better than if he had gone same crap local comp I went too which was truly awful but only seniors in town.

No taboo here bristol has largest independent sector outside london and huge shortage places and some truly dire state schools.

If I meet someone who goes private I think gosh you jolly lucky you have that option.

I have 3 kids so cant afford private.

My daughters in juniors at small state primary in affluent village where many o them go on exotic houses, few flash cars but most truly wealthy have beaten up volvos. Some d leave before year 6 g private prep assume prepare them for 11+ but some leave in year 6 and go onto selective state schools and private schools so moneys not an issue guess if people fortunate have good state school on doorstep then they save money for seniors.

However all these outstanding amazing state schools have very small catchments so means have to have wealth just stand shot at getting in so weighing up which is cheaper moving house or paying private way house prices are some private school fees must seem a bargain.

A lot of wealthy people also maybe more covert top up state education with tutoring and other extra curricular so they still have quite a nice life and live middle class bubble money buys choices.

lots of grammar places cost money to get into and not every area has grammar schools.

grammar and faith schools can also invoke a hostile reaction too.

All we can do is make decisons based on factors at at time applying what we can afford and hope for best.

When feeling under attack easy get defensive and look at it through rose tinted glasses.

We have been in 2 state primaries one rc 1 coe.

The last school one of dds classmates went to cheapest private prep in area 1500 a term. at new school there are 2 people who left that prep school as just because its private its not good, in fact several have left for good state schools or other private leaving her classmate in class of 6 bit small and her mother likes to tell all and sundry that her child goes private school yet she moans shes broke and cant afford send younger one there next year so its bit odd situtation.

Daughters new freind who was at prep much prefers state coe and her mum says the education they receive so much better so when old school mum gloats i think oh well nothings perfect everyone wants different things.

I like even mix but most schools so skewed its hard find even mix.

David camerons kids go state and he intends send them state senior but naiice middle class one.

Lot of socialists polly toynbee, dianne abbot, balls kids all go private.

The media makes huge hype out of who went went private and its become quite political now.

On schools boards often see lot private so few mumsnetters must go provate some not through choice just lack school places.

The uk more expensive these days and many cant afford replicate their own childhood with education, holidays and houses.

itsbetterthanabox Tue 15-Apr-14 15:00:13

I think a parent who chooses private education is a selfish one. No child is worth more than any other. Education should be a fundamental right and we should all receive it equally. That is the only way we can live in a true meritocracy and I think democracy.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Apr-14 15:07:06

There are many arguments against private education. The argument that all DC should receive the same education is not one of the stronger ones.

MariaJenny Tue 15-Apr-14 15:52:31

I think a parent who chooses state education when they could afford to pay fees is a selfish one. They are putting other children before their own and failing in their duty to their child.

I think a parent who chooses to feed their child healthy food and read to it is a selfish one. No child is worth more than any other. All children should receive the same diet/reading experiences. To give more to your child which others dot have will not achieve equality.

[Don't my points above illustrate why it is perfectly morally right to pay fees and no different than spending your money on the child's diet rather than cocaine or shoes say?]

Bonsoir Tue 15-Apr-14 15:57:13

It is the moral imperative of parents to bestow advantage upon their own DC to the very best of their ability.

Minifingers Tue 15-Apr-14 16:45:05

Maria - what you feed your child impacts on no one else's child. Paying to perpetuate a system which actively disadvantages the majority of children by contributing towards social and economic ghettoes, hiving the children of the rich off into socially isolated islands of educational privilege, from which a good number will go forward into positions of political and economic power - well it's not good for society. It's divisive. It PERPETUATES inequality. It perpetuates political and economic fuckwittedness the like of which our current government specialises in - because it's born of a social apartheid.

itsbetterthanabox Tue 15-Apr-14 17:16:48

Minifingers has said it all tbh. That make sense Maria?
Bonsoir you may not think it's the strongest point but it is the only one that matters in my book. I think it should be the moral imperative of adults to provide an equal society for all children. Not just each individual parent looking after their own. That just breeds hatred and inequality.

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 17:45:57

Minifingers-brilliantly put.

Bonsoir- no it isn't.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Apr-14 17:58:37

Life is a competion, Martorana. It is not cheating to engage fully in that competition.

MinimMum Tue 15-Apr-14 18:09:07

I totally agree with Bonsoir, life isn't fair neither.
Somebody up thread suggested that selective schools in terms of vocation was not the same thing.
This seems all right to people, almost acceptable and yet selective through academia is not?
All selective private schools are the same and are all unfair to a certain degree, even those that offer 100% bursary are unfair to those with a bigger income, higher out goings who can't afford fees.
What do we do have no Olympians, dancers, musicians or actors, because it isn't fair to those who can't afford it?

Minifingers Tue 15-Apr-14 18:10:25

Life is indeed a competition, and investing disproportionately large amounts of money in the education of one social group makes a true meritocracy impossible.

Minifingers Tue 15-Apr-14 18:12:03

No - not have no Olympians etc. just acknowledge that everyone should have the same chance to reach their potential and create an education system to reflect this.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 18:19:19

Of course buying certain foods to feed our DC impacts upon other DC. As does how much we're willing to pay for housing.

By buying these resources for our DC we stimulate economies that have negative impacts upon many DC.

Very little is done in isolation. But that doesn't stop us wanting those resources.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 18:24:41

Also, the very act of feeding one's child home cooked food made with the very best fresh ingredients puts them at a distinct advanatge over the millions of DC who have parents who cannot or will not provide that.

And the act of providing your DC a lovely home in a beautiful safe place, filling it with toys and books and comfort greatly advanages them over DC who don't have such things.

Elibean Tue 15-Apr-14 18:43:47

Wise words, WordFactory. Very little is done in isolation indeed.

I suppose we all walk a tightrope between looking after our own and thinking about the world they live in - the communities, the wider 'family', and so on. For me, thinking about inclusion IS 'selfish' too, in that I want my children to grow up in a community that values inclusion...so I work hard to support a school that does just that.

But it is a balancing act, and under different circumstances who knows what choices I might make.

Elibean Tue 15-Apr-14 18:44:38

Incidentally, where we live, private education is not at all 'taboo'. Quite the opposite.

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 18:47:02

"Life is a competion, Martorana. It is not cheating to engage fully in that competition."
I didn't say anything about cheating.

But I don't actually think life is a competition.

Ubik1 Tue 15-Apr-14 18:50:28

I hate the martyr complex some parents have about choosing to privately educate their children (or send them to an indie boak)

I've said it before - you have bought your child advantage above the vast majority of the children in this country. Therefore they are not some oppressed minority facing prejudice. They have won life's lottery.

And I work almost permanent nightshift to pay our mortgage/bills.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Apr-14 18:57:25

If you don't think life is a competition.... You are wrong!

Taz1212 Tue 15-Apr-14 19:02:57

I'm not convinced most parents would want their children in the sort of environment that many private schools have. Our local state primary school was a mess so the Council brought in a high flyer Head who had previous experience in the private sector <by complete coincidence DS is now at that private school and I recognise what he "borrowed" grin >. He was tasked with implementing what he could from his private sector experience. He did this with great gusto and the school was transformed. Results were up, pupils had great school pride, there was a real sense of community, parents were much more heavily involved in their DC's education and there were far greater expectations of everyone - pupils, teachers and parents.

How the parents howled. Not all- I thought it was fantastic- but oh, so many were not happy with the changes. Too much competition! To much required parental involvement! Too high expectations!

The Head moved on to bigger and better things after a couple of years and since then the school has been in a rapid decline. It's now nearly 4 years on and every single initiative implemented by that Head has been removed. The atmosphere has completely changed but most people don't seem all that bothered.

Yes, private schools are unfair but whilst many at the local school look down on me for going private, they wouldn't want their DC at my son's school even if it were readily available to them for free!

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 19:23:23

"How the parents howled. Not all- I thought it was fantastic- but oh, so many were not happy with the changes. Too much competition! To much required parental involvement! Too high expectations!"

I don't believe any parent has ever complained about too high expectations...! And in my experience, private schools do not go in for parents involvement. And the wrong sort of competition is very damaging.

Ubik1 Tue 15-Apr-14 19:23:24

A competition for what though?

MinimMum Tue 15-Apr-14 19:39:24


The general argument seems to be, even though many would not like to attend the same school, that your ds shouldn't be allowed to go.
I don't understand this futile argument myself.

So many times on these threads we read that people are only too happy in their state school and how good it is, better in some cases than a local private school.
Then they argue it isn't fair some dc get to go private. Make your minds up.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 19:47:25

Martorana I can quite assure you that many of the things that my DC's private schools hold dear are anathama to many an MNer.

They just don't want what it offers. Or at least they want to cherry pick the bits they think they might like.

So wehy not leave me to it?

I'm not for one second insisting that their DC have it. I'm not even suggesting that I ought to get it via the state. I'm happy to pay for my quirky nonsense wink.

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 19:48:24

"So many times on these threads we read that people are only too happy in their state school and how good it is, better in some cases than a local private school.
Then they argue it isn't fair some dc get to go private. Make your minds up."

God, I hate this faux puzzlement. So boring. Such a waste of time.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 19:48:58

And if you don't think parental involvement is part and parcel of private education, you obviously haven't been anywhere near a modern prep school!

Taz1212 Tue 15-Apr-14 19:49:30

MininMum Yes, that's exactly the general argument! I find it quite surreal that the same people who think it unfair that I'm sending DS to a private school were actively moaning about the environment when the school was run along the lines of that exact private school. They don't want it for their children but they don't want my DC to have it either. grin

Martorana It is entirely possible that DS' school is unique in actively involving parents in their children's education <it does sell itself on its family enviroment and includes parents as part of the wider X school family> but all of the private schools around here do seem to expect parental involvement.

Ubik1 Tue 15-Apr-14 19:49:31

It's not about education quality. It's about the contacts you make at private school, the doors it opens whether interning a friend's mother's law firm or arranging for a friend to get work experience in the media with daddy.

That's the difference.

MinimMum Tue 15-Apr-14 19:52:12

The wordFactory

Well said. Although I have no idea what anathema means. grin
You are doing the best for your children with the resources you have.
We should all do this instead of bothering about what others are doing.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 19:53:36

ubik all that stuff happens quite independently of school, I assure you.

I have been asked by the world and his wife if I can get my agent to read their (usually awful) book.

DH has been asked by most of his mates if they can help with work experience (none of them send their DC to our DC's schools).

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 19:55:19

"We should all do this instead of bothering about what others are doing."

The problem is that I care about the sort of society my children will live in when they grow up.

MariaJenny Tue 15-Apr-14 19:57:57

I don't agree that food for children and reading to them are any different from education. In fact the fuel that goes into them arguably determines their outcomes including mental and physical health even more than a private school will. It is just as much advantaging you as a good school as is a parent who reads to you every night as well of course as those who love and cuddle you. Other allegedly divisive things might be instilling a work ethic and stoicism in a child and / or giving it a particular accent. There is nothing wrong with advantaging your own child. It is called love. It has the moral high ground. It is nothing about which to be ashamed.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 19:58:57

But martorana you seek plenty of advanatge for your own DC. You do your level best for them.

And I quite applaud you for it.

But you seem to be always very critical of others who do it.

As has been said, these things are a balance. And I think it behoves us not to pat ourselves too heartily on the back and not to point fingers too readily at others!

MinimMum Tue 15-Apr-14 20:09:34


We all care about what sort of society our children will live in.
Private schools have always existed, I can't see your point.
It didn't do me any harm, nor the generation before, nor this generation coming up now.
If your child was suited to a particular school that happened to be private and you had the money, you would send them.

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 20:21:17

"But martorana you seek plenty of advanatge for your own DC. You do your level best for them."

I send my children to the nearest state schools that will take them.

I do also take them to music lessons and things if that's what you mean.

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 20:24:50

"If your child was suited to a particular school that happened to be private and you had the money, you would send them."

I wouldn't, actually. But that's beside the point.

I think that the way privilege attracts privilege is disgraceful. The very fact that here are more old Etonians in the Cabinet than people, from state schools says it all.

MinimMum Tue 15-Apr-14 20:29:46

I didn't know that any people from state schools were in the Cabinet.
You go to Eton for that, surely.
My dc weren't interested in a career in politics or members of the Cabinet, so state school was fine for them. Horses for courses, and they didn't have the background for that type of school.
Wouldn't want to stop those who do though.

Minifingers Tue 15-Apr-14 20:33:37

"There is nothing wrong with advantaging your own child. It is called love".

If it makes society a worse place for other children to grow up in and undermines our meritocracy (it does), then there IS something wrong with it.

I don't believe that society should accommodate the wishes of parents to shove their child as far as possible towards the favourable end of an uneven playing field - no matter how 'natural' this urge is. Not if it results in social unfairness.

TheWordFactory Tue 15-Apr-14 20:35:23

So what other things do you think should be banned in order to attain 'fairness'?

Or is everything you do for your DC, okay? Just other folk thast need to be reigned in?

summerends Tue 15-Apr-14 21:15:48

Plus ca change .
Private education is not always an advantage for future life but offers choice and reduces competition for good state schools. As wordfactory and others say, people who advocate banning private education should also desist from paid extracurricular activities, buying books and providing unfair advice and access to an expensive university education. It would make for a much fairer system but I'm not sure whether the next generation would thank us for it.

TheVictorian Tue 15-Apr-14 21:21:07

How does having everyone at the same type of school giving everyone the same standard of education make things any better. As your giving them the same starting point but after that taking into various factors such as extra circular activities, know / being friends with various important people ect ?

DoMyBest Tue 15-Apr-14 22:27:22

I'm just going to throw this out there along with education, food and extra curricular priviledges: should private healthcare be banned too? Do we have a right to get angry if a parent pays for a private health service for their child when they could have chosen public? Should private companies be abolished because they allow shareholders to choose unfairly high salaries (which might be used, for example, to pay for private schools)? Where should the free market end and equality be enforced?

rabbitstew Tue 15-Apr-14 22:58:47

Well, tbh, I've always thought some private healthcare to be worse, morally, than private education, as it's a way of queue jumping, although if the government continues to run down the national health service, I will begin to see avoiding some NHS hospitals as a sensible way of avoiding being killed off. You can argue that private education can be chosen for reasons other than wishing advantage on your offspring (eg I don't think it's really hugely advantageous to your life prospects to go to a scientology school or a Rudolf Steiner School, etc), but I don't think you can really argue that paying to get your hip replacement sooner than some other poor sod is because some people like waiting around longer than others. So I guess we all have a different idea of where it is most important for the level playing field to be well and truly level - and human nature means if it really is a choice between life and death, few of us would actually choose to die in the queue if we could find a way of avoiding it.

rabbitstew Tue 15-Apr-14 22:59:59

... in other words, in an imperfect world, we almost all behave imperfectly.

libertytrainers Tue 15-Apr-14 23:04:33

it would just be nice if everyone could see the value of educating all children the same.

private schooling buys jobs for kids, i don't really see how that would be a good acomplishment as an adult to look back upon if they had any conscience but people generally don't think of others these days do they

rabbitstew Tue 15-Apr-14 23:25:55

I'm not sure private schooling actually does buy jobs for kids in most walks of life. Some people really do bankrupt themselves trying to pay for their kids to go to private school. You could say that in many cases, that's just misguided. Their kids might well have done far better had they saved the cash and helped their kids onto the housing ladder, or helped them set up a business, or enabled them to travel the world and enjoy themselves, or encouraged a random hobby. The sort of parent who pays for their kids to go to private school is not the sort that will, if their children do go to the local comprehensive instead, then leave them to sink or swim. They will in general find whatever way they can to help their children succeed in life, to protect them from whatever they feel they need protecting from, to give them the skills they value, to give them the experiences they feel to be worthwhile. The biggest inequalities exist outside of the school system, not within it - most of our state schools are perfectly adequate when it comes to educating such well-supported people sufficiently to get a good job at the end of it. If you want to put an end to that inequality in background, you have to do something far more radical than get rid of an excellent way of draining spare money out of peoples' pockets.

happygardening Tue 15-Apr-14 23:58:37

Can someone please explain to me how sending my DS to a state school would have benefited any other children?
I can see that by choosing to send my DS to his independent school and turning down a place at a super selective grammar has hopefully benefited another boy. But it doesn't matter how I look at it I can't see that my choosing an independent school actually makes any difference to other children. But it has made a difference to him as an individual.

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 00:01:18

happygardening - you could have sent your ds to state school and donated the money you are spending on his private education to a worthy cause which benefits children from difficult backgrounds?...

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 00:03:43

If you are actually spending money on something, you could always be spending it on something else if you chose to, and therefore benefiting someone or something else in the process, whether that be you, someone else in your family, some other business or charity, the state's coffers, or some other country.

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 00:05:17

You could then change your name to saintlyhappygardening. ;-)

Paddlinglikehell Wed 16-Apr-14 00:22:33

I would happily send DD to the local state and she did go until Yr2, but it was so bad, she couldn't read, was told she was rubbish at maths, she sobbed daily at going, lost confidence and developed a phonic tic.

The alternative state was full and the waiting list was long.

I wasn't so thrilled about removing her to a private school, it went against what I felt was right, but it was best for her.

Within a few weeks my happy confident child returned. She is in Yr4 now and has several times thanked us for taking her out her old school.

As I said before, I cannot believe the difference, I am sure there are just as good state schools out there, but not unfortunately in our area.

DoMyBest Wed 16-Apr-14 06:37:10

HappyGardening, my friend (who chose her local state over private because it was so bad and because she thought she could make a difference) argues that it helps as (1) a first step towards wiping out inequality - she lives in an area where state schools are frowned on by those who can afford private, she says if parents like her set the example & value the state system then others might follow, (2) she helps raise money for the school which has helped build stuff the kids love which has given the school a happier atmosphere (3) she's on the board of governors and is working hard to improve standards. I like her reasoning, and can see the results start to pay off. I just still wouldn't have made the same choice.

TheWordFactory Wed 16-Apr-14 07:51:39

liberty how on earth does private school buy jobs?

Do you imagine that assembly involves a conveyor belt, contasining offers for positions at Goldmans? That the year 10s can just hand over a fiver and keep the offer until later?

Also, I think the idea that one cannot be proud of ones achievements is your parents payed for private school a nonsense.

I ewas brought up on one of the worst council estates in the UK. My parents left school at 15. I'm dyslexic.

I would say every single poster on this threadf had a better start than me. That they were advanataged. Does that mean their achievments are worth less than mean? That only I'm allowed to be proud?

What utter rubbish!

Martorana Wed 16-Apr-14 08:10:28

"Can someone please explain to me how sending my DS to a state school would have benefited any other children?"

It wouldn't. Private education can be a huge benefit to individual children and that makes no difference to individual children in the same cohort. That's why swapping personal anecdotes is entertaining but pointless.

What we are talking about is how the whole system works. How private education,naming many other things, perpetuates privilege and maintains an inherently unfair society.

MariaJenny Wed 16-Apr-14 08:12:19

Those who don't earn enough to help those who are also badly off by buying a school place can help in other ways. They could, on the arguments put forward on the thread, not read to their own child at night but go out and do that on the local council estate. They could give their children half its dinner and the other half to a neighbour. They could make sure their child spoke badly to level the playing field so that it had as poor communications skills as the other children around. As you see this proves how wrong those parents are who say that private schooling is some kind of awful moral wrong. In fact it is the moral high ground no better or worse than all the cuddles and consideration and reading to them that good parents do to their child. It is part of that continuum of doing your best for your own child.

TheWordFactory Wed 16-Apr-14 08:23:00

I think one of the worst inequalities in education , is not the existence of privsate schools, but the lack of funding for tertiary education.

The current system of loans, means all but the very poor are reliant on their parents being able and willing to pay for their living expenses (the mainanance loan usually doesn't even cover accommodation).

Thos of us who are willing and able to pay for these top ups and greatly advanataging our DC. We're massively disadvanataging all those DC who cannot get the cash and either have to go to their nearest university and live at home, or not go at all.

I wonder how many of us, though, will choose not to pay for this advanatge when the time comes?


Martorana Wed 16-Apr-14 08:24:28

"I would say every single poster on this threadf had a better start than me. That they were advanataged. Does that mean their achievments are worth less than mean? That only I'm allowed to be proud?"

Actually, Word, yes I do think your achievements count for more, say than mine do. I come from a long line of university educated men and women in professional occupations. My brothers and I did the same- we had to fight no battles, overcome no resistance-it was easy for us. My daughter will go to university in September (barring disasters in June). We have been willing and able to support her through the process. I am very proud of her, but nobody could possibly say it was a struggle for her!

You had to swim against the tide- I swam with it.

TheWordFactory Wed 16-Apr-14 08:29:20

Maybe so martorana but I still don't think that means you and everyone else can't be just as proud.

The idea that DC who are advantaged in any way, be that private school or whatever, don't work hard, have no talent, buy their achievments so they can't be proud as adults (which is essentially what liberty was saying) is bloody daft.

happygardening Wed 16-Apr-14 09:17:38

DoMyBest 1. if I send my DS to a state I don't to believe that those who send their DS's to Eton, Win Coll, SPS Westminster will follow suit, people who do this don't give a stuff about where their neighbours send their children. Parents who choose Eton et al don't sit their weighing up the pros and cons of Eton over Billericay Comprehensive, they don't compare their results, suddenly find religion hoping they'll get into their local church school or wait until the local LEA has allocated them a school before deciding whether or not to turn down the place at Eton, state education is not even on their radar. 2. I don't have the time to raise money for my school. 3. I don't have time or the motivation to be a governor I would rather boil my head than be a governor or sit on a PTA.
Finally I don't live in an area with failing unpopular state schools I live in an area with state schools that frequently have better results than many less selective independent schools, this is wealthy Middleclassville people are not sending their children to independent schools because their state options are rubbish, they're sending them to independent schools because this is what they do, they like and believe in what it has to offer, and feel the ethos matches and suits them. So what do suggest shall I move to a deprived area as well?

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 09:22:15

But yes, motherteresahappygardening. smile

Martorana Wed 16-Apr-14 09:23:32

"The idea that DC who are advantaged in any way, be that private school or whatever, don't work hard, have no talent, buy their achievments so they can't be proud as adults (which is essentially what liberty was saying) is bloody daft."

I agree. But I certainly have a level of expectation for my children because of the advantages they have had. I see no reason why people should be praised for things that come easily to them (back to the old "it's no fair that Fred gets a gold star for sitting on the carpet for 5 minutes when my PFB doesn't get one for always sitting on the carpet" Mumsnet meme) There are children for whom 6 Cs at GCSE is a huge and praiseworthy achievement. For mine it would......not be. Once you get in to Eton, for example,(or any other good private school you care to name) you have to try quite hard (qua Prince Harry) not to do well. So surely 10 A*s from Eton is a less impressive achievement than 10 A* from Bash Street Comprhensive with 50% lower achievers and a hugely disadvantage catchment?

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 09:26:24

Hmm. You could still be hard done by as a result of the weight of your parents' expectations, from a privileged background. Isn't it lucky that Darwin's father backed down about the Beagle voyage? He told his son he would be a disappointment to the family because he wasted his time hunting for beetles and mucking about outside instead of knuckling down to a classical education and then working hard to become a doctor or clergyman.

Comps in Billericay are aspirational around here, with people moving to get into catchment. Not all state schools are equal.

Which is an intrinsic part of the problem.

happygardening Wed 16-Apr-14 09:44:37

MrsCake your not getting it are you? I live in the catchment area of one of the countries best performing state schools, with places, over the county line is a top ten usually top five grammar school my DS had a place there and still I choose to pay.
Why because I like what it offers, I'm not talking about exam results I firmly believe that my DS would have got the same results, if he hadn't died of boredom, at either state schools I like it there, I feel comfortable there, I like the staff, the ethos, the lack of government interference, the breadth of education, the learn something everyday for the sake of it not because it's could be on the next exam paper, I like the fact that he's not being made to sit 12 GCSE's, that history and a English Lit are not examined subjects just done because they are there, I like the fact that my DS who has no real interest in literature talks with passion about Mallory, Dante, Hardy, then suddenly opera, then Shakespeare then last night a 20 th century artist who I've never heard of, I like the fact that sport is optional and he as a none team player doesn't have to do a team sport, I like the fact that it's an oasis of tranquility in this busy world we live in, I'm even slightly sold on the Mediaeval building and the daffodils in the grass. And that is why I pay I too couldn't give a stuff about where my friends and neighbours send their children be it state or private,bI chose this school because it works for us.

TheWordFactory Wed 16-Apr-14 09:44:49

martorana they may be more impressive if you went to a bad school, but they're still impressive from anywhere. Private schools don't give A*s away. DD is already up and revising for her year 10 exams when I'm sure many DC are still in bed.

TheWordFactory Wed 16-Apr-14 09:48:00

rabbit if your parents high expectations are all you have to contend with, I think you'll do okay in life.

Ubik1 Wed 16-Apr-14 09:56:02

Really it doesn't matter how intelligent a working class or lower middle class child is, the odds are stacked against them in career terms. The access to and exposure to certain social networks is what gives private schooling the edge. It creates a microcosm of advantage which is so tough to break into - it creates it's own social signifiers which immediately single out the interloper.


Which brings one ineluctably back to private schools, those highly resourced, highly skilled and ferociously dedicated blockers of downward mobility. What has been thoroughly documented – including by Michael Gove in a memorable speech last year – is the quasi-monopoly by their alumni (many full of I+E) of the leading positions in life. What has been far less highlighted is their success, as both formidable exam machines and sophisticated social networks, in preventing the nice but dim, or even the nice but indolent, from moving downwards.

Martorana Wed 16-Apr-14 10:02:54

"martorana they may be more impressive if you went to a bad school, but they're still impressive from anywhere. Private schools don't give A*s away. DD is already up and revising for her year 10 exams when I'm sure many DC are still in bed."

Word- I am absolutely sure you know exactly what I mean.

summerends Wed 16-Apr-14 10:14:19

Have to say WordFactory that for once I agree with Martorana - your achievements are more impressive than those who had their educational path facilitated. Does n't stop me feeling very proud of my DCs' efforts at school though even though they have never had to fight for an aspirational education.

TheWordFactory Wed 16-Apr-14 10:34:59

ubik I dunno.

I think there has been a degree oif downward mobility. Some parts of the middle class now find themselves nouveau pauvre.

They can't access the same things their parents could; private school, Oxbridge, large homes, early retirement.

And they seem to fall into two camps.

Those that are in denial that it matters and cleve to their MC indicators, believeing that those things will be more than sufficient to return their DC to their rightful place in society.

And those that can see that however nice those indicators may be, without the back up of cold hard cash, they're not that handy. They tend to vociferously against the advanatages that private school and wealth can give. Though, of course, not so vociferous against all the advanatages they can give wink.

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 10:41:08

Aww, but wordfactory, I think Darwin would have made a lousy doctor. He was scared of the sight of blood. grin

rabbitstew Wed 16-Apr-14 10:47:35

But there you have it, wordfactory - it isn't always the private school that makes the difference, it's the cold, hard cash. grin

alemci Wed 16-Apr-14 11:36:44

I think you sum up a private school ethos very well Happy. I used to love working in one.

I didn't appreciate my PS education when young but I do so now.

happygardening Wed 16-Apr-14 12:05:31

If I could get exactly the same thing without paying I happily would, I don't give a rats arse about networking be it the non existent old boys network or the very much alive and kicking social circle network, nor am I lying awake hoping my DS is going to become a cabinet minister (in fact the thought is more likely to give me nightmares) or a God forbid a banker.
It is only in our teens that we are lucky enough to have time to be exposed to so much, to learn and listen and see without the pressures of life interfering and a I hope that this learning will give an inner satisfaction for years to come.
It's exciting to be able to recognise a painting, to know something about the artist, to hear classical music and recognise that too, to look at architecture and understand the period it was built in the context, to hear a play poem you love or even hate on the radio, to be filled with awe by Brighton Pavilion, Lincoln Cathedral or the rare Mediaeval stained class window at our church, to laugh with joy at the Mikado, to be visibly moved by Miro even if you don't understand it. Education should of course enable us to function in the world but an outstanding education should open our eyes to all that is around us so that we see the world differently and get pleasure from what is around us.
This is what I'm paying for.

Martorana Wed 16-Apr-14 12:25:10

"It's exciting to be able to recognise a painting, to know something about the artist, to hear classical music and recognise that too, to look at architecture and understand the period it was built in the context, to hear a play poem you love or even hate on the radio, to be filled with awe by Brighton Pavilion, Lincoln Cathedral or the rare Mediaeval stained class window at our church, to laugh with joy at the Mikado, to be visibly moved by Miro even if you don't understand it. Education should of course enable us to function in the world but an outstanding education should open our eyes to all that is around us so that we see the world differently and get pleasure from what is around us.
This is what I'm paying for."