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Are The Telegraph/Sunday Telegraph for real?

(38 Posts)
Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 19:26:34


It continually stuns me how we are supposed to believe that private education is so amazingly fantastic for The Country, how we should all revere and support it- when the reasons include the widely held beliefs that, for instance:

-State schools must learn from private schools (um- like how to ensure your quality by excluding 93% of possible candidates due to lack of money? By interviewing each and every child and their parents? Like making sure there are no SN DC in a class, with 'oh, we couldn't provide for them so they must go elsewhere'; Like providing scholarships to ensure you can poach the best academically performing DC from the state sector in order to boost your league table position; like providing small classes filled with the similarly abled DC of like-minded families- NOT overlooking the tremendous 'social diversity' brought in by Chinese (middle class) children, and Indian (middle class) children, of course....). Yup, I reckon my DSs school could do very well if it were permitted to choose its intake.

-That it is an affront to the natural order of things, that somewhere along the line, Russell Group unis have had to recognise that 'well-tutored' doesn't necessarily mean 'The Best'. It may have been politically engineered (being allowed to charge £9K p.a), mind, rather than altruistically minded.... but they are having to recognise some hard truths.

I am genuinely mystified as to why it is that such clever, so often privately educated themselves commentators cannot see how stupid they come across as when they decry that of course the RG unis must only choose on raw A level score (plus more or less professionally written Personal Statements) coming from brimmingly confident 17 year olds well tutored in interview technique, often by (moonlighting?) university admissions officers in order to ensure they get The Best students whilst also acknowledging that that many, many DC from these private schools may very well be B grade students hand-fed and nurtured, and tutored, and guided towards that A, therefore may not necessarily be 'as good' as the A grader DC from an 'average' comp who had to sit through 5-7 years of low level disruption, a very mixed class academically, 30 DC in that class and so forth.

I would actually have far more time for these people if they came right out and said "I am angry that my DC on whose education I have lavished quarter of a million pounds cannot be more or less guaranteed a Russell Group university place that will, in turn, guarantee them a well paid, influential job that will provide for them the power that will ensure their own offspring benefit, regardless of their actual ability or worth to society".

I have a good friend who plucked her DC from an average state Infant School at 7 to send them £12k p.a. private. Her reason? "I want my children to have the best leg-up in society they can possibly have, we have money, I want to buy them advantage. I want them to shine above other children so they get the opportunities that will guarantee them a comfortable life, a life that allows them to be in powerful positions of choice, an education that buys them confidence- and so be it if others regard that as arrogance"...

"My DH works hard" (presumably unlike the rest of us grin) "to provide this, I expect my DSs to benefit from this so that they, too, have all life's choices before them, and if you (putative- she is my friend!) don't like it, well, work harder and send your children private too." She doesn't work, as an aside grin.... However, she wants to send her DSs to a top-performing state 6th form to maximise their RG chances, incidentally, and is in direct conflict with her DH who feels such spoon fed privately educated boys might disappear sans straight A*s in the maw of the teeming state 6th form thus wants them to continue private to 18.....

I don't like what she says, I don't like her openly playing the system but I have far more time for the blatancy of what she says than this ridiculous 'We must all love private schools because they apparently educate the best which makes us all competitive in the 'global market', etc etc.

Actually, as an aside, I think there'd be considerable less of this apparent anti-private school 'bias' that is allegedly rife if our esteemed 'leaders' weren't proving to be so spectacularly out-of-touch with most peoples lives and weren't all from the upper ends of the private sector themselves!

difficultpickle Mon 18-Feb-13 20:40:54

Everyone plays the system as far as they are able. Do you criticise those who can afford to live in the catchment area of good state schools?

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:00:20

No, not at all. I, with some economies, can afford to live in the catchment of a good state school, so I do.

But I admit it. I readily admit I spent out my money to get my DC into a school with good academic results. I buy my DC what little advantage I can afford. I don't pretend that my DC will do better than otherwise they might have because they are Better. They aren't 'better', they are just in classes with more school-ready, Middle-Class children.

But I admit it. I don't say my DC's school is 'better' at producing The Best. In fact, to his credit, the Head will stand up and say at the start of the Y6 visit 'talk', "Our school does exceptionally well. But so it should given the high quality of the raw material its fed".

Some honesty.

difficultpickle Mon 18-Feb-13 21:06:56

Sounds like you need to change your friends. Ds will certainly do better at his current school than our catchment school. No question. Doesn't make him a better person. I don't know anyone who has chosen private school because they view their dcs as better than those that are at state school.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:17:29

No, I certainly won't change my friend. She has a degree of honesty I like.

Obvs I have no idea why you chose private for your DC.

It might be because:

-You can;
-Your DC is a bit precious, oddball or frail thus wouldn't cope well with the 'all takers' of a state school (the case in much of Europe, incidentally!);
-You want 'a better' education' for your DC as defined as 'more 1:1', 'more hand-holding', the likelihood of better exam results, results which will increase his choices over and above those he might get locally which will buy him opportunity he otherwise may have had to fight for;
-You may recognise that your DC is unable to concentrate when faced with the more disruptive children in the class
-More facilities to get the point home,
-More teachers you personally pay for therefore can cajole more readily than the teachers at the local school;

Of course he isn't a 'better person' but the article and the attendant Daily/Sunday Telegraph-esque comment makes it clear that these are the reasons why we should celebrate and promote Private Education. Because they discharge 'better' people.

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 21:30:36

What a load of rubbish OP.

Parents go private for various reasons. The comps in our catchment aren't brilliant. We couldn't afford to move into nearby catchments that had great comps. So we went private. This is the story for a lot of parents.

Then there are the parents who go private for the same reason you to stay in the best holiday resort you can afford. You want room service, nice pool, kids clubs etc. Nobody would suggest that you want to avoid the 'poor' people and the camp/carvan site. So why suggest that someone who is on £100k+ sends their kids private for snobby reasons?

I agree that there are some parents that.fall into your stereotype but they are a small minority. So it's kind of stupid of you to build a rant around a minority.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:36:19

I didn't use the word 'snobby'.

My -ahem- rant is THE LACK OF HONESTY here, the idea that 'private is obviously best and something the whole country should celebrate- why? Because it produces the BEST children'

Read the article and the comments.

And yes, I pay for a private villa to avoid having to mix with chavs. I don't lie about my reasons.

Abra1d Mon 18-Feb-13 21:40:45

'And yes, I pay for a private villa to avoid having to mix with chavs'


FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 21:55:02

Private schools do not interview parents!

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:01:57

DS's did Filly,but DD's didn't.

DS's was just a 5 min chat which was largely the house master describing school ethos and asking us if we had any questions.

I'm not sure how much credence to give such posts but people have gone on about HMs grilling parents, to see if the parents were of the 'right sort'.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:02:41

Abraid why hmm ?

A serious question.

So, filly you never sat down and had 'a chat' with your child's prospective future teacher, Head of Year, or Head when you went private? You just agreed to pay £8-12 p.a without questioning the school's values, ethos, and so forth, face to face? Ri-i-ght.

You believe you were just having 'a chat' with them and they weren't assessing you?


TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:03:36

Erebus - I know you didn't used the word 'snobby' otherwise it would have been in quotes.

difficultpickle Mon 18-Feb-13 22:09:36

Erebus your 'reasons' for me choosing private are laughable. I chose private because I can't afford to live in the catchment of a good state school and I needed wraparound care. I stayed with private because ds was given a stonkingly high scholarship to his current school. He is carrying on a tradition that is over 650 years old and makes him (and me) extremely proud indeed.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 22:11:05

Erebus, the assessment procedure recently for two senior schools was:

School 1: drop DS off at school with 1000 others, pick him up, wait for offer/rejection
School 2: drop DS off at school with 1000 others, pick him up, wait for interview or rejection, go back for interview, about 20 parents given brief talk with head round a table, some parents asked questions, most did not.

There was no 'chat' in either case, and parents were completely anonymous in school 1, and very anonymous in case 2- there was no practical way of the head knowing the the parent asking a particular question was the father of a particular child.

We did of course meet various teachers, months or even years before on the open day, but we did so again anonymously, there are hundreds or thousands of families looking round, and they are not making notes on you!

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:11:51

Erebus - I say again, you are basing your rant on the premise that these people are typical.

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:21:52

Q: BS: "So why suggest that someone who is on £100k+ sends their kids private for snobby reasons?"

Please argue your point more intelligently! Why do you consider what I said as 'possible reasons why someone might send their DC private' as snobby'?.

You very much implied that what I said was 'snobbery' yet look all aghast when challenged. These, the bulletin points I raised, are all absolutely valid reasons for sending a DC private!

The POINT I made in my OP was entirely that there are a large cohort of Private/Public School Heads who are outraged at the fact they are being vilified, that challenges are being made regarding their evident god-given superiority, based entirely on their assumption that the children they mould ARE BETTER than the rest of the populace. They are incensed that RG universities are, albeit for political motives (being 'allowed' to charge top whack for their degrees) being required to realise that getting straight A*s from a public school just may not mean they are actually getting 'the best' pupils, just 'the best' coached. The private/public school Heads are very upset that the Natural World Order is being challenged. That parents just might demand to know what they're paying for if 'Distinctly Average' Hugo's guaranteed place at a RG uni is being challenged by some Johnny-come-Lately from a nasty comp- who may well have, actually achieved the same grades but whose 'Persona Statement' wasn't so polished?

Erebus Mon 18-Feb-13 22:23:25

filly you selected a school on that?

Bloody hell, our local comp expects a higher degree of parental interest than that!

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:29:32

Erebus - you managed to infer that I was aghasted from one sentence? grin

Get over yourself. You said that you never used the word 'snobby'. I merely said that I never claimed that you did.

FillyPutty Mon 18-Feb-13 22:35:49

No, erebus, that was the application procedure.

The sum total of research I did prior to applying was:

read Good Schools Guide cover to cover
read school website (probably better than your local comp)
go to Open Day and speak to teachers I was interested in (SENCO, maths, various others)
visit other schools' Open Days for comparison
engage with parents online and offline about the schools and other options
speak to head, SENCO, other teachers of current school
consultation with Educational Psychologist (£595)
investigate assessment procedure, help DS to prepare for it (e.g., prior to interview drill on possible questions/answers, practice test papers, etc.)

Now that my son has a confirmed place I am doing further research prior, potentially, to paying a deposit to confirm the place.

As a matter of fact I applied to various local comps, and I can assure you they didn't require that much parental interest to put them down on the form.

The procedure to get in to the best private schools does filter out less motivated as well as less monied parents for sure, but there was not an interview.

Schmedz Mon 18-Feb-13 22:36:58

Why is it that the people who are fortunate to live in catchment areas of good or even satisfactory state schools seem the most vehemently opposed to private education and the most ignorant of the myriad of reasons for choosing a particular independent school?

TotallyBS Mon 18-Feb-13 22:57:22

And why is it that people who choose to live in predominantly white MC burbs keep going on about how they value diversity and that is why they won't send their kids to a private school?

Copthallresident Tue 19-Feb-13 00:16:59

Erebus I suggest you brief your friend, and quickly that universities do not distinguish between candidates at good state schools and good private schools and that fair access strategies which take into account contextual data are aimed at those who suffer disadvantage as a result of poor schooling, poverty, poor parenting, carer responsibilities, learning difficulties etc. etc. They are perfectly capable of spotting a middle class parent has moved their DC to a good state sixth form which will enable them to achieve good results. The governments new Officer for Fair Access is being won over to change any formal quotas that may be imposed (there are none at present) to reflect the strategies that have been shown to work in terms of levelling the playing field for disadvantaged pupils who go on to perform better than their contemporaries from good state and private schools.

I have to say you come over as quite chippy in your OP. Here's some factual reporting for you to start understanding the rather more complex situation. It's not all black and white.............. And Wouldn't normally link a Tory rag but what it reports is accurate and too late at night to find the Gruniad article wink

I honestly can say that DDs peers got to the universities they should regardless of where they went to school. It isn't all confidence building knowledge cramming in private schools either, some emerge with less confidence than they would have gained if they had been top of the heap in a state school.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 01:25:56

Erebus - waiting for an overseas phone call so I've got a few minutes to spare you.

So many stupid things said so where do I start? How about scholarships? Typically about 3 academic scholarships are offered per year at our school. This number is fairly typical. With an intake of 150 kids the impact of these kids on league tables are negligible so it's a bit stupid to post that indies poach these bright kids so that they can improve their league table rankings.

TotallyBS Tue 19-Feb-13 01:27:16

... typical of indies...

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 19-Feb-13 08:50:45

Jealousy is a terrible thing, op

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