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Private schools - more poor pupils than top grammars and comps

(72 Posts)
Judy1234 Wed 03-Jun-09 07:03:46

So if you want an inclusive mixed education for your child in terms of race and mixing with the poor you pay fees now...... all those santimonious left wingers who choose the "good" state schools are ensuring less social mixing than those of us who honestly stump up the cost of school fees....

FT yesterday:

"Private schools' poor pupil claim

By David Turner, Education Correspondent

Published: June 2 2009 03:00 | Last updated: June 2 2009 03:00

The proportion of pupils at private schools from economically deprived backgrounds is nearly double the figure for the top grammars and comprehensives, the Independent Schools Council will assert this week as it tries to counter its reputation for social exclusivity.

The ISC's conclusions tally with anecdotal evidence that selective schools and the most oversubscribed comprehensives include relatively small numbers of poor children.

But the claim is nevertheless striking because it

suggests the academically best-performing schools that do not charge fees have fewer deprived pupils than private schools charging thousands of pounds a term.

The declaration comes at a time when private schools are under huge pressure to do their bit for social deprivation because of new Charity Commission rules demanding they help low-income families.

It raises the perennial question of how "comprehensive" the top comprehensives really are, measured by social intake.

David Lyscom, chief executive of the ISC, will make the point in a speech to the council's annual conference in London today, although the ISC declined to give details of the research ahead of its full publication later this week.

His calculations refer to the ISC's 1,265 members, which educate the majority of British private school pupils, including those at the most famous schools, such as Eton and Harrow.

His speech also cites recent findings that the number of children at private schools with special educational needs, such as dyslexia, has almost trebled to more than 70,000 in the past 10 years, while declining slightly at state schools.

Several independent schools, such as Milton Abbey in Dorset, have developed a strong reputation for educating special needs children.

Mr Lyscom counters private schools' reputation for being "stuffed full of posh white kids" by pointing to the finding from its recent census that 23 per cent of its pupils in England and Wales were from an ethnic minority, just above the state school average.

Critics might argue that many are instead "posh non-white kids" from abroad. For example, Harrow has a tradition of educating members of the Jordanian royal family, who would qualify for ethnic-minority status.

Mr Lyscom will say: "Even where parents are being squeezed, evidence suggests that school fees are one of the last areas where parents will cut expenditure.

"Unlike holidays, cars and flat-screen TVs, educating one's children is not seen as discretionary expenditure."

He adds: "The greatest threat is probably not economic, but legislative."

The "burden" of regulation "needs to be simplified and, where risks are low, reduced"."

ilovemydogandmrobama Wed 03-Jun-09 07:09:12

What do you mean, 'santimonious left wingers?'

So rich schools have poor people paying school fees. How is this news?

artichokes Wed 03-Jun-09 07:14:15

The article does not define 'poor' or cite whether all private schools have a mix or whether one or two are skewing the average. Is he comparing his figures with all 'good' state schools or the top one or two?

Xenia, you are an intelligent woman with a good education, you know that without such info this article proves nothing and is just a nice bit of spin from the ICS.

artichokes Wed 03-Jun-09 07:18:13

I have just toured out two local state primaries and three local preps. I can categorically state that in our part of London there is no doubt that the social mix is FAR greater in the State sector. But then my tiny snapshot may be go more representative than that referred to in the article. That is why I would not dream of drawing such sweeping conclusions...

cornsilk Wed 03-Jun-09 07:25:14

I have worked in both private and state and would disagree with that claim on the whole where comps are concerned.
It doesn't surprise me at all that there are fewer children from deprived homes in grammar schools. Many parents pay to coach their children to pass the exam, of course children from deprived homes will be at a disadvantage.

Judy1234 Wed 03-Jun-09 10:27:40

It was this bit:
"The proportion of pupils at private schools from economically deprived backgrounds is nearly double the figure for the top grammars and comprehensives,"

WE need compulsory bussing from poor areas to rich to take pupils from poor areas into the areas where house prices are high in the state sector then

artichokes Wed 03-Jun-09 11:20:43

But Xenia, the question is which private schools and which state schools are they comparing. I strongly suspect they are looking at the top 3-4% of state secondaries. The grammars and a couple of top comps and comparing these to the whole private sector including many cheap small schools with no reputation to speak of.

Its hardly news that the top 3-4% of state secondaries are full of well-off kids, but those schools are in no way representative of the huge majority of the state sector. Likewise it is hardly news that lots of families with low incomes still send their kids to private schools.

I wonder what you would find if you compared the top 3-4% of private schools with the top 3-4% of the state sector? I bet it would not reflect the findings of your article which is comparing apples with pears.

1dilemma Fri 05-Jun-09 02:25:09

I'd love to know how they define economically deprived backgrounds.

Who is poorer?

the couple with father in the city, mother at home, 300,000 pounds equity, slightly iffy job security, paying fees out of income, earn say 100,000

The couple where only one of them works part-time, capable of earning over 100,000 annually if they did 3.5 days a week and a stack more if they both worked, but choose not to and get tax credits, almost no mortgage, grandparents pay school fees.

Couple where both work do earn over 100,000 a year full-time nursery fees, and rent a house

salaries seem huge but all in London so costs mega just divide everything by 6 if you want to compare with Oldham wink

Tanith Fri 05-Jun-09 09:53:56

I think there's some truth in this. Many of the top schools offer substantial bursaries to enable poorer pupils to attend. I believe Eton is outstandingly generous in this respect.

The top preps are in a better position to afford bursaries. My child has one. We live on a council estate and are not well off. Our combined income last year was well below the national average. There are other children at my DS's school who are also on bursaries.

Artichokes says "I can categorically state that in our part of London there is no doubt that the social mix is FAR greater in the State sector"
Really? You can tell that just by visiting 2 states and 3 preps? It's not possible to tell by looking at the children in my DS's school who has a bursary and who does not. There isn't a smell or a look that defines them. They don't have a "B" tatooed on their foreheads or wear a special uniform to identify them. Only the bursar knows exactly who, and how much.

I have visited a state primary near my home where the head boasted of the fact that our council estate was usually just outside their catchment area, so the council children weren't likely to mix with the "better behaved" (middle class) children at his school. Of course, he didn't realise that I was one of the scummy council mums, but I was shocked at his attitude. It seems that state education in some schools isn't as inclusive as people like to believe!

titchy Fri 05-Jun-09 10:46:03

Well if it is true then I'm sending mine to a top comprehensive! According to the item they'll have more of a chance of mixing with the posh white kids and it's free!!!!! So Xenia who's the fool for paying!

tryingtobemarypoppins Fri 05-Jun-09 10:59:44

Xenia - I am totally confused, what is your point????

tryingtobemarypoppins Fri 05-Jun-09 11:02:29

Tanith - what age was your child awarded a bursarie??

DamonBradleylovesPippi Fri 05-Jun-09 11:07:18

Xenia with all the education and privileges you have got could you please talk about something else for once? I've been on MNet for 4 years and all I've heard from you is this jibber-jabber. You make me thing that such good an education is a total waste if it creates such narrow minded individual.

tryingtobemarypoppins Fri 05-Jun-09 11:10:41

ooooooo Zenia are you a royal???
Damon - what inside information do you have??

zanzibarmum Fri 05-Jun-09 15:33:01

The "research" by the independent schools reminds me of the old joke: my family was so poor; my mum was poor, my dad was poor even our butler was poor.

There was some research under the assisted places scheme that most of the support went to middle class families - say £40-50k household income. There will be of course exceptions via bursaries but as the recent Sutton Trust (I think) research showed independent schools do not adquately integrate children from poor families as indicated by their excessively expensive overseas trips that only the well-to-do can take part in.

Damon - I agree with your assessment of Xenia; sad really still if it makes her happy that her children are being educated with the poor and downtrodden no need to disabuse her of this. But what get's my goat is those in the independent sector who attack the successful state comprehensive schools as if just because they can afford fees no one else should get as good an education.

margotfonteyn Fri 05-Jun-09 17:44:19

Zanzibarmum, your reply saved me from having to state the obvious.

I don't really see the point Xenia is trying to make. I think most people realise the grammar schools/top comps are a bastion of middle classdom.

But you are NEVER, EVER going to get a really disadvantaged, poor child in a private school, because simply they CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY.Why is that SO hard for a marvellously well educated person such as the OP to understand.

However, you may just get one or two in a grammar school or a top comprehensive.

LynetteScavo Fri 05-Jun-09 17:54:29

I've had a couple of large glasses of wine, so don't feel up to fighting, but

"those of us who honestly stump up the cost of school fees...."

Please Xenia, I am not scabbing off the state by sending my DC's to state school.

Noonki Fri 05-Jun-09 17:57:08

are you trying to tell me that 25% of private school pupils live below the poverty line.


LynetteScavo Fri 05-Jun-09 17:57:14

DamonBradleyloves..... in Xenias defence she has made some good points about bikinis.....

pointydog Fri 05-Jun-09 18:03:38

This is no surprise to anyone, except maybe to some people who find it hard to look for teh true meaning behind a headline.

Also, no one really thinks private schools are all white, do they? The onyl significant distinguishing factor is wealth and wealth exists across teh world.

fivecandles Fri 05-Jun-09 18:16:22

I think this is interesting. Xenia's point is that some supposedly comprehensive schools and many state schools of all types are MORE socially exclusive than private schools. Whether you are pro or against private schools this is a terrible indictment of our state system.

fivecandles Fri 05-Jun-09 18:19:30

And it's those of you who are saying you're therefore stupid to pay private then who are rather missing the point.

I pay for private education for my kids precisely because ironically and sadly they are getting more of an ethnic and other mix there than they would get at the top performing state schools near us (which we're excluded from anyway on religious grounds).

For me, exclusiveness, inequality, divisiveness and hypocrisy in the state sector is what has driven us to the private.

sarah293 Fri 05-Jun-09 18:36:08

Message withdrawn

zanzibarmum Fri 05-Jun-09 18:47:22

fivecandles - so a small number of state comprehensive schools (+GS, I assume) drove you to the private sector. What a hero you are; what deprivation?

No! Surely like most of us mortal souls we choose the best school for our children as was available for us - whether than be GS, community, voluntary aided, private etc. We can all dress up our choice as based soley on some well found principle but isn't it also likely to be the case that we act more or less rationally, given the choices that are available to us.

thedolly Fri 05-Jun-09 18:49:54

For those of you who trot out the old chestnut about giving your children access to the real world via a greater social mix this may be important news (or not as it is one less excuse as to why you do not give your children the fantastic opportunities afforded (bad choice of word grin)by private education.

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