Private schools have more to offer their pupils
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 03 July 2014
I will put my cards on the table. I would much rather have a system where every state school did their utmost to help their brightest pupils to shine - and there was no independent sector hiving off the cream of the talent.
The trouble is that is not going to happen - even at its most radical in office Labour got nowhere near taking any steps to abolish the private sector.
So there will always be private schools offering smaller class sizes and, as today’s research from the Social Market Foundation reveals, more teaching from staff with top class degrees - giving their pupils a leg up in the world of employment.
Whilst they still exist. it makes sense to try and ensure they take in as many children from disadvantaged homes as possible - so they have a better chance of accessing the richer rewards offered to an elite.
Open access schools could do that - especially if, as the report recommends, they nullify the advantage given to pupils from more affluent homes as a result of their families being able to afford coaching for the entrance test. According to the SMF, the answer is simple: offer all those who cannot afford it coaching.
It will, of course be expensive - £215 million a year if today’s figures are right - and it would be interested to ponder what that money could achieve if spread around the existing state system but ponder this: are you confident of eradicating privilege in the education system? If the answer is no, think again about how you can go about ensuring the disadvantaged have access to the best that is available.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella