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Anotehr hypocritical memeber of socialist royalty changes her mind about selective education when it affects HER child

(56 Posts)
MrsGuyofGisbourne Sun 30-Aug-09 09:37:30

Julia Hobsbawm this time, daughter of the odious Eric.
here
Apparently a bog standard comp was good enough for ther step-daughter, though...

vinblanc Sun 30-Aug-09 09:50:41

I have read the article and think that it talks much sense.

littleducks Sun 30-Aug-09 09:50:56

Is it a private school or a grammar school, i thought it was a state grammar hmm

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 10:03:49

You do what is best for your DC. In the article her son really, really wants to go to the grammar school after the visit. He can tell that it suits him. That is all that matters IMO. I am against grammar schools in principle and I am against people trying to cram their DC to get there because they want it-but in this particular case the DC has seen the schools and given a decided preference-I think that should come above ideology of any sort.I am a great supporter of comprehensive education-but only good comprehensive education. Sadly it should be available for all but it isn't, so I don't blame anyone for doing the best for their DC.

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 10:06:36

I moved away from 11+ area because I don't agree with selective education, but if we still lived there and my DSs wanted to go and had the ability and got a place, I wouldn't put my principles above their wishes.

faraday Sun 30-Aug-09 16:11:03

The issue I have with it all is the way in which so much of our educational 'thinking' in the UK is imposed upon us by people who may never themselves have set foot in a comprehensive school and whose DC certainly never will.

fivecandles Sun 30-Aug-09 17:26:47

It's such a selfish argument: I'm going to go for the best school (state grammar) I can because I can and (I will pay to tutor my child to make sure he gets in) and sod the rest of you.

She condemns the 'politics of envy' but I think it is perfectly natural to be envious of those who are privileged enough to afford a better education for their children.

There is no acknowledgement that ALL schools should offer academic and other excellence and no sense of personal responsibility.

While I have some sympathy with her choice (and must confess that my own children go to a private school) I cannot stand the boastfulness of the article and the failure to acknowledge that other people are not so fortunate as to be able to pay to tutor their kids into a state grammar. Frankly, it would be a much more honest choice to send her children to a private school if she can afford to thus leaving the grammar school place possibly to someone from a less privileged background who might really benefit from it (except that state grammar schools are full of other kids like hers from privileged backgrounds)

abra1d Sun 30-Aug-09 17:40:19

I'm no left-wing apologist but I think she's done what's right for her child. He really wants to go there.

Perhaps we should all just accept that (most) comprehensives really aren't the best place for (most) clever children. Something needs to change.

MrsGuyofGisbourne Sun 30-Aug-09 17:42:04

Five Candles - spot on. As a PR person she is getting her pre-emptive strike (on a bank hiliday - convenient!), and blaming it on the boy - how cowardly! Poor kid.
Comps fine for other people's ordinary kids, but her kid writes like a fifteeen year old, so deserves better than them...

violethill Sun 30-Aug-09 17:53:59

'Perhaps we should all just accept that (most) comprehensives really aren't the best place for (most) clever children. Something needs to change.'

Totally disagree with that statement.

Some clever children might not do best in some comprehensives.

Many clever children do very well

Pielight Sun 30-Aug-09 17:55:10

Golly MrsGofG what has Eric Hobsawm ever done to justify being called 'odious'?

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 19:11:51

I would expect anyone to do the best that they can for their own DC, especially if the DC has a distinct preference-parents ideologies should never come first.

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 19:14:42

It seems very unfair to call him the 'odious Eric'-does OP have any evidence other than a dislike of the parent? Many a lovely DC has a difficult/unpleasant/irritating parent-it is hardly their fault!

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 19:16:57

Sorry -misread-daughter of odious Eric! I have no idea who the Hobsbawms are-so I am open minded on it.

mimsum Sun 30-Aug-09 19:26:15

Eric Hobsbawm was a well-known Marxist historian - what would we do without wikipedia wink

piscesmoon Sun 30-Aug-09 19:32:23

It is no need for his grandson to suffer-I dare say my grandparents had funny views but I don't think my wishes should have been sacrificed for them!

policywonk Sun 30-Aug-09 19:41:07

I love Eric Hobsbawm - a brilliant writer and the only autograph I've ever asked for (a copy of his Long Nineteenth Century, still happily on my bookshelf).

As for Julia, she hates Mumsnet already - she thinks that we rush to condemn without taking much trouble to understand or empathise - so I guess this thread will confirm her in that view...

smee Sun 30-Aug-09 20:15:42

I'm with policywonk. He's a bit of a hero of mine too. Bit bemused by anyone calling him odious, as ol'Eric's a rational well argued soul, so can't see why anyone would call him odious, even if they disagreed with his politics. + as for his daughter, well hey she's still going state isn't she? If you live in an area where Grammar schools are part of the state offered choices and that suits your child best well I think there are worse crimes. If she'd gone private like say Diane Abbott, well yes rant on, but it's not a big sin for me.

jujumaman Sun 30-Aug-09 21:32:31

How do you know that policy? (JH's views on mn not the fact her father is a historian}

I just thought the argument was completely incoherent - what was she trying to say in essence except I feel mildly guilty about trying to get my son into a grammar but I'm going to do it anyway? Her dad wouldn't be impressed.

hester Sun 30-Aug-09 21:41:10

I love Eric Hobsbawm.

elvislives Sun 30-Aug-09 22:11:57

Actually she does say "Of course we should be providing opportunities for all our children and the ideal is a local community-based school system where the standard is high regardless of whether you live in a council flat or a mansion."

I do take issue with fivecandles "state grammar schools are full of other kids like hers from privileged backgrounds". We are in an 11+ area and my 2 youngest went to grammar school. Very few of their classmates could be considered to have privileged backgrounds.

fivecandles Mon 31-Aug-09 08:53:14

Sorry to disillusion you elvislives but there has been lots of research on state grammar schools recently. It turns out that they can be more socially exclusive than private schools (because at least private schools offer bursaries). I'll find a link.

As I've said I personally have sympathy with this woman's choice. Probbably most people accept that you do what's best for your children BUT I do take exception to her justification of her choice on the grounds that her son is special and other kids are not.

I send my kids to a private school but I do not think they are any more special than anyone else's kids (except to me obviously). I think the faciliities etc they have should be available to everyone's kids but unfortunately I live in an area where schools are entirely divided by social class and religion and ethnicity. Ironically the dcs' private school has more of a mix (certainyl by faith and ethnicity) than many if not all of the local schools.

fivecandles Mon 31-Aug-09 09:01:34

Here's a link:

www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/nov/21/schools.grammarschools

'According to research by David Jesson of the University of York, most pupils come from affluent backgrounds, with very few poor children attending grammar schools in England. Of 22,000 pupils entering grammar schools each year, just 2% receive free school meals - amounting to fewer than 500 children.'

As I've said I think it's more honest to go private if you can afford to that use taxpayers money to get a 1st class education for your children (which you have to pay tutors to guarantee) and then say it's perfectly fine for everyone else's kids to get the 2nd class education.

edam Mon 31-Aug-09 09:05:48

"the politics of envy" = the speaker is an oaf. Completely discredits that side of any argument.

kathyis6incheshigh Mon 31-Aug-09 09:09:12

"It turns out that they can be more socially exclusive than private schools"

They can. But they aren't all, they don't have to be and they didn't used to be.
The one my dad went to in a mining village in the 50s was certainly not exclusive; the one I went to was becoming more and more middle class and is now very much so.
But in areas which have a lot (such as Lincs) they tend to be more representative of the local community.

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