Willy Hutton on private schools

Yah, y\’know, it\’s all about class innit?

Private schools perpetuate privilege and thus we should….well, what?

How about sorting out the State schools so that those with any aspiration for their children don\’t flee them?

How about even demolishing the distinction? Get the State out of the provision of education and leave it to simply finance it? Then every school is a private school and we\’re done with the whole nonsense, aren\’t we?

But then that\’s reasonable, logical and liberal, three reasons why it won\’t happen in this country.

2 thoughts on “Willy Hutton on private schools”

  1. The Great Simpleton

    Have you see the latest from To Miss With Love about one of their best students, Brilliant, who has just missed out on a place at Oxford even though her essays were the best the had seen from a state student?

    What must they be teaching in private schools? What are they able to do with their kids that we cannot do? I guess they aren’t chasing loads of bad behaviour. I guess they’re actually able to teach for an entire lesson. I guess they plan their lessons according to what would make for good learning, as opposed to what will keep them in their seats. I guess they can teach their children whatever they want and are not bound by the national curriculum and influenced by the madness that all lessons must be ‘fun’. I guess they simply live in different world.

    And what of poor Brilliant? Well, luckily getting into Oxford isn’t going to make or break her. She isn’t that kind of person. But would she have a place there if she had been to a private school? Of course she would. A private school would never have failed her in the way that not only we did, but in the way that we are all forced to, because we work for the state.


  2. A couple of points.

    The cheap one first. he says “…children from professional families hear on average 2,153 words per hour compared with 616 words per hour for kids in welfare families, so that by the age of three, there is a 30 million word gap between the vocabularies of children of families on welfare and those of professional families.”

    I don’t know what he thinks a “vocabulary” is, but hearing mummy say “middle class” 20 times doesn’t give you a vocabulary of 40 words, just two. There aren’t 30 million words in the language – maybe 1% of that at most.

    Second is that a bit got dropped between his source and his column: the source refers to words spoken, and his column to words heard. Put the radio on and you hear more words, even if mummy doesn’t speak at all. Makes me wonder a bit about the underlying research. How important is it that mummy speaks, rather than Jenny Murray? That different parents give much more encouragement sounds more reliable, and I expect it’s a very powerful force.

    The important point politically is when he notes in passing that “the old corrective institutions – trade unions, co-operatives, factories – are much feebler.” He’s right. He should have added grammar schools, or schools of all kinds, but that rather goes against his angle, doesn’t it? I don’t believe you can legislate away poverty, so the whole mission is to foster effective “corrective institutions”, starting with schools, and he’s right – they are much weaker these days.

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