This is interesting

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will on Thursday mount a bid to force public schools to open up their music, arts and drama departments to state school children.
Hundreds of independent schools would also be forced to offer careers advice, help finding work experience placements and a university place to teenagers from state schools.

Because it’s saying that for all the money spent on the union run state schools they’re still shit.

Perhaps the solution is to make the schools the state already controls less shit?

124 thoughts on “This is interesting”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Part of that is likely to be a hidden conspiracy theory that the good schools use their personal connections to get their own students into university.

    I expect a quota will be next. How else do you make sure they do a good job?

  2. Not so crazy. The primary reason for attending a private school is networking, something that no amount of good teaching in the State sector can provide. On that basis, it makes some kind of sense.

    In practise it probably won’t make much difference, since the families of the kids from Gasworks Street Comprehensive have no networking to trade, but it might work to some degree among the pupils themselves, if a poor kid can ingratiate himself with a rich one.

    So, maybe worth a try. I must admit I can’t find much to object to in this, especially considering that these schools masquerade as charities.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Conscription is so very rarely a libertarian policy. But even if you like the conscription option, people forced to work for others are not likely to do a good job. Why would they? What are you going to do next – hold their families hostage?

    They do not masquerade as a charity. They are charities. You may not like the object of their charity but that does not change what they are.

  4. @ Ian B
    ” The primary reason for attending a private school is networking, ”
    Tosh – it’s to get a good education

  5. Eh? “For all the money spent on state schools” compared to what? Private schools?

    You cannot infer a ford focus is shit because it’s not as nice as a Bentley. Conclusion state should provide Bentleys for all also not your smartest.

  6. Nb getting a good education and network effects tightly related. Easier to get a good education in a good network

  7. IanB

    The primary reason for attending a private school is networking

    Not true. The reason I sent my daughter to a private school was the superior teaching, the absence of disruptive oiks, and the emphasis on development of character, confidence and good manners. She made some lifelong friends at the school, but not one of them has been of any help in her legal career or networking.

  8. I have read (and so it must be taken with a pinch of salt) that something like 70% of active Labour members before the Corbyn surge were teachers; it’d be a brave Labour leader to turn round to the bulk of his membership and say “You lot? You’re a bit shit”

  9. I attended a private prep school until 11, then went to Comprehensive. My sister was privately educated until 14, then comp.

    We’ve often discussed this; the advantage was who you’re with, not what you learn. It’s an environmental thing, and a networking thing.

    As a libertarian, I object to State compulsion. I also object to a privilege based society. Neither seems likely to end in the near future. As a particular policy this does little to arouse my ire, is the point.

  10. john77,

    Honestly, it doesn’t make much difference, and many private schools aren’t any better than state schools. I know someone who is teaching IT to kids in a prep school and she’s basically teaching by the book. She has no idea about IT beyond what any housewife knows, and is an ex-comp teacher. I’ve met people who came out of private schools in Bristol that you wouldn’t guess had been.

    I tend to agree with Ian B – it’s the networking and other opportunities. I know someone who teaches squash at a private school and he’s an ex-UK top player. You don’t get that at a comp.

    A lot of the success in private schools is correlation. Rich people who are smart, who generally have smart kids (because genetics) and/or care about their kids education send them there. The schools weed out the thickies by entrance exams, boosting the results.

    The ugly truth (but you can’t generalise, some comps are bad, and sometimes that isn’t Gasworks Street Comprehensive) is that you can’t do shit with dumb kids and/or lazy parents. I was in a school which had a catchment area of the whole town and we had rich kids and poor kids. And who ended up in the 6th form? Generally, the rich kids. My brother left that school with 2 As and a B at A level (in old money A levels). Some of my classmates left with nothing, and the next time I saw them they were on Panorama about youth crime having been convicted of armed robbery.

  11. Corby can fuck off. What goes on in private schools is none of his or ZaNus business.

    Do you really think Ian, that a twat like Corbyn has even considered “networking”. A sanctimonious leftist prick such as he would be horrified by such a thing. Officially at any rate.

    Altho who you know is just as important in socialist shitholes as anywhere else.

  12. Connections might be made at really top schools (although most at such establishments would already know each other) but most private schools are just there giving a good education.

    I went to a minor private school and the one claim to fame connection I can boast is that (allegedly) a couple of decades later whoever Banksy is went there.

  13. It’s a little bit of a departure to be honest – every Corbynite I know wants to nationalise all non-comprehensive schools and turn them into comprehensives. Under these plans Parents will be given no choice as to where their pupils are being sent – if you’re unlucky enough to have your kids sent to a school with 100 plus first languages or where gangs are likely to murder your child – tough luck.

    Your children owe everything to, and indeed are the property of ‘The Courageous State’ and you should feel ‘joy’ that you are being taxed to help ‘those less fortunate than yourself’ – after all you were only able to accomplish all you have achieved in life not through your own efforts but through the facilitation of the ‘Courageous State’ – to suggest otherwise, frankly, is neoliberal sophistry of the first order.

  14. @ Ian B
    Networking? YMBJ
    In my 40-odd year career I encountered one guy I knew at school and got a circular informing me of a useful journal edited by the younger brother of another. Neither the meeting nor my firm’s very perfunctory consideration of the journal (“it might be useful but we’re not going to pay for it”) came to anything.
    But I did get a good education.

  15. The primary reason for attending a private school is networking

    I still don’t believe that. University yes, school no. Most people develop stronger bonds with their university mates than their school mates, and allow all but one or two of the latter to disappear from their lives. University mates are often for life.

    I think people send their kids to private school for 3 reasons:

    1) They genuinely think the education is better (which it is).
    2) They don’t want the kids around.
    3) They have bought into the bullshit that you need to spend £30k per year on schools or their children won’t be getting “the best”.

  16. @ The Stigler
    Most of the teachers at my prep school were excellent – I reckon I and the other scholarship candidates could have collected four (or, in one case five) ‘O’ levels each if we had sat them while the rest of the class was taking Common Entrance and I have never pretended to be Winchester Scholar level.

  17. My brother left that school with 2 As and a B at A level (in old money A levels). Some of my classmates left with nothing, and the next time I saw them they were on Panorama about youth crime having been convicted of armed robbery.

    Pal of mine from back in Wales was told by his father, a man who ran his own plumbing business, that if he didn’t get 5 or more GCSEs at C and above he had two options:

    1) Start work as an apprentice plumber with his old man.
    2) Leave the house and make his own way in the world.

    Poor Darren got a string of Es, and started work with his old man the next Monday morning, which hit him like a tonne of bricks. Fast forward a few years and he’s taken over the business from his Dad and is doing very well, thanks very much. :Looking back, with that piece of parenting alone his Dad was probably the smartest man I’ve ever met.

  18. Tim Newman-

    Yes, but the public school is the springboard to the right University. It’s about the class you’re mingling in. It’s all a process.

  19. “”The primary reason for attending a private school is networking”

    “I still don’t believe that.””

    Because, outside Eton and Harrow it’s not actually true.

    What you get is a higher standard of education, a more old fashioned approach (being taught things vs investigative learning), smaller classes,more relevant equipment (not cr*p du jour), less government interference and more opportunities to do things, and very little in the way of grot (because the grot can’t pay or won’t pay) which is dealt with quite rapidly.

    Why did neither of my two attend the local high school ? Because the H/T was in the middle of a mental collapse and it showed in the school.

  20. The public school is the springboard because they teach stuff rather than faff about. A major reason for this is they can ignore the crap du jour from the DfE and OFSTED to varying degrees.

  21. IanB

    the advantage was who you’re with, not what you learn. It’s an environmental thing, and a networking thing.

    And you’ve just changed your ground from networking being the primary reason people use private education to “an environmental thing” being at least (if not more) important than networking.

    To repeat, networking is not much of an advantage to the privately educated. Like john77 and my daughter, I have not networked with any of the people I was at school with, and I was privately educated up to age 18 – apart from one ghastly year in a County Primary, where I was bullied and used as a classroom assistant because my reading age was so far ahead of the other pupils.

    The advantages of a good private education are better teaching, less class room disruption, inculcation of character and good manners, and often a Christian ethos, too (which is fast disappearing from multi-culti state schools).

    I also object to a privilege based society.

    In other words, you are a closet socialist.

  22. AndrewC

    “Connections might be made at really top schools (although most at such establishments would already know each other) ”

    Don’t think the parenthetic statement is true. It is easy to think that the rich and famous all know each other, but although they may move in similar circles, they (and their kids) aren’t all going to know each other. Boarding schools, with their larger geographical catchment areas, presumably accentuate this compared to local day schools where there is more chance of parents / families knowing each other.

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Worstall – “There are private day schools that cost less than the Dept of Education pays for state schools…..”

    There are state schools in London that cost more than Eton. Or they used to. I don’t know what Eton costs these days.

    Luis Enrique – “Nb getting a good education and network effects tightly related. Easier to get a good education in a good network”

    If by “good network” you mean a lack of gang banging drug selling thugs, sure. Nice Upper Middle Class people have nice Upper Middle Class children. It is almost as if, what’s that word, oh yes, IQ is partly genetic.

  24. I experienced both. Of course, this was in the 1970s and early 80s, so is out of date. But the claims of superior education were the same then as now, so I think it’s valid.

    I learned at both types of school. Same kind of stuff. Did homework. The teachers at Gasworks Street knew the same stuff about quadratic equations and the banana crop of Brazil as the ones at St. Custards. St Custards did way to much sport, hence my frequently repeated anecdote about getting a detention for saying to a teacher that only a fool would interpose himself between a cricket ball and the ground.

    At St. Custards I was among the sons of (Common Market subsidy) farmers, accountants, lawyers, doctors and other State guilds. At Gasworks Street they were the children of plumbers, factory workers and taxi drivers etc. And the bullies accents were rougher and/or Afro-Caribbean.

    You could learn the Periodic Table or history of the coal industry at either.

    That’s just my experience mind. They demolished Gasworks Street a few years ago replaced it with Saint Anthony Of Libya’s Faith And Mindfulness Academy or something.

  25. Theo-

    Networking is an important element of the environment. The network is the human environment you are imbedded in.

  26. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “As a libertarian, I object to State compulsion. I also object to a privilege based society. Neither seems likely to end in the near future. As a particular policy this does little to arouse my ire, is the point.”

    So you are not a libertarian. As a privileged-based society is an inevitable product of a free society. You do not object to this example of State compulsion.

    Ian B – “Yes, but the public school is the springboard to the right University. It’s about the class you’re mingling in. It’s all a process.”

    What universities would these be? Oxford and Cambridge are run entirely by Grammar school boys who actively discriminate against public school boys. You can get in with a lower state school score than public school mark.

  27. Theo: “I also object to a privilege based society.

    In other words, you are a closet socialist.”

    Hardly-socialism IS a privilege based society. Do you think that the Party hierarchy don’t have a word with various apparatchiks to get what they want. Very much the same with some well connected prick over here having a word with a council or national political hack to bend the system.

    Any system where there is supposedly one rule for all but which can be got around by having a word with your mates or your mates mates or Party members or the funny handshakers or whoever– stinks.

    Unfortunately all systems are like that since the Fall.

  28. Yes, but the public school is the springboard to the right University.

    Yes, sort of. But it is only true for a handful of private schools, the ones you’ve heard of. For the rest, it’s not a ticket to a good university.

    It’s about the class you’re mingling in.

    No, it’s not. Universities don’t care who you went to school with. They don’t ask, and you have little opportunity to tell.

    It’s all a process.

    Yes, one whereby you go to a good private school and the school administration helps you go to a good university and the university is predisposed to that particular school. It has nothing to do with the networking you do with fellow pupils.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “also you should expect schools not catering for nicely brought up bright young things to be spending more per (difficult) pupil”

    Why? This is why people send their children to private schools. There is no point trying to teach a donkey to sing opera. Resources should be concentrated where they can do some good. Not mildly annoying the violent and dangerous by keeping them confined in a classroom when they want to be elsewhere.

  30. The network is the human environment you are imbedded in.

    In my school, that would be the unwanted offspring of divorcees, the sons of corrupt African politicians, and Hong Kong-ese who couldn’t speak English. I suspect now you could add spoilt Russians to that list.

  31. And a quick google suggests that a typical independent school around here charges:

    Day fees per term:

    £1,654 to £3,885

    Scholarships & bursaries:

    Available

    Another in the area charges:

    Day fees per term:

    £2,740 to £5,334

    Scholarships & bursaries:

    Available

    Obviously, boarding fees are higher, so you aren’t comparing like for like with the amount charged by Eton.

    So both charge round and about the same as a state school receives from the taxpayer.

  32. ” Resources should be concentrated where they can do some good”

    yes, hence you might want to concentrate resources such as therapists on kids who come from nasty backgrounds and are messed up.

    Oh, or are you just assuming nothing can be done to help such kids?

  33. BiW,

    well I am surprised to see numbers as low as 4,962 per year, I guess we need to see the full distribution of private school fees across UK to know how representative that is (day fees, as you point out).

    note though that the range you report goes up to 16,000 per year, stretching “round and about the same ” as 6,000 a bit far

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “Oh, or are you just assuming nothing can be done to help such kids?”

    I am not saying it. It is true. The evidence is that nothing can be done to help such children. Or at least therapy and therapists do not help and may make them worse. But even if it was so, it is not the education department’s job to pretend to care about such things.

    On the other hand, I have a sneaking suspicion that therapy delivered via the French Foreign Legion might well work.

  35. So you are not a libertarian. As a privileged-based society is an inevitable product of a free society. You do not object to this example of State compulsion.

    Privilege is unearned advantage, not differential outcomes SMFS. Do keep up.

    This is half the problem; people can’t tell the difference.

    This thread is also another reminder of something I first realised at St Custards, which is that many people believe that everyone below them in the social order is innately inferior. Hence, the constant repetition we get here from SMFS et al of society consisting of only two classes, “good people like me” and “the Residuum”.

  36. Luis-

    And selective schools don’t have to spend money on difficult children. They just aren’t at the school.

    There were a few crayon-eater IQs at Custards, but they weren’t difficult. Just dim. Probably leading lights in the local Conservative Association by now.

  37. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Privilege is unearned advantage, not differential outcomes SMFS. Do keep up.”

    Yes. So what? A libertarian society is one full of unearned advantages. Inheritance for instance.

    “This thread is also another reminder of something I first realised at St Custards, which is that many people believe that everyone below them in the social order is innately inferior. Hence, the constant repetition we get here from SMFS et al of society consisting of only two classes, “good people like me” and “the Residuum”.”

    Actually as a good member of the Middle Classes I tend to think most of the Upper Class are pretty vile too.

    Luis Enrique – “no, you *are* just saying it.”

    No I am not. There is no evidence that any talking therapy works in any way at all except for some limited evidence for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Which is irrelevant as the Education bods don’t use it.

    There is no therapy that works. Nor should there be.

  38. “This thread is also another reminder of something I first realised at St Custards, which is that many people believe that everyone below them in the social order is innately inferior. Hence, the constant repetition we get here from SMFS et al of society consisting of only two classes, “good people like me” and “the Residuum”.”

    The true warrior precept is that of accurate perception. To know your enemies–neither under nor over-estimating their capabilities.

  39. Actually as a good member of the Middle Classes I tend to think most of the Upper Class are pretty vile too.

    Yes, the justification-by-moral-superiority meme which arose during the Victorian Era has been much discussed here and all part of the same attitude.

    The Upper Class are immoral wasters. The lower class are bestial. “But we are just right!” said Goldilocks.

  40. SMFS:”There is no therapy that works.”

    Yes there are. But therapy is an art not a science. It is dependant on the skill of the therapist. There are very few with the needed levels of skill. And even such can do nothing in the face of unwillingness and hostility

    Q-“What’s the problem?”
    A-“Fuck off”

    No way forward there really.

    ” Nor should there be.”

    Not sure what you mean by that.

  41. yeah, you are still just saying it. you might be right but you have not provided a shred of evidence, you are merely asserting it (just saying it)

  42. On liberal vs strict teaching methods:

    It’s amazing how the army can take 16 year old school drop-outs and turn them into lean mean killing machines within very little time.

    On when & why to send your kids to fee-paying schools:

    Theophrastus nailed it with “the absence of disruptive oiks”. Everything else derives from that.

  43. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “Ian B – yep”

    Good one Ian. Luis agrees with you.

    Ian B – “Yes, the justification-by-moral-superiority meme which arose during the Victorian Era has been much discussed here and all part of the same attitude.”

    And yet strangely enough those snobbish middle class Evangelicals, with their unearned privilege, went on to create the Industrial and Scientific Revolutions. You know, the things that 1000 years of wine swilling nobs had failed to invent. Nor had 100,000 years of beer swilling yokels.

    It is almost as if, I don’t know, they had better values.

    Mr Ecks – “Yes there are. But therapy is an art not a science. It is dependant on the skill of the therapist. There are very few with the needed levels of skill. And even such can do nothing in the face of unwillingness and hostility”

    Are you talking about therapy or psychics? Because I hear pretty much the same thing about other types of witch doctors. This one really works! This one knows what she is doing!

    “Not sure what you mean by that.”

    People have a right to their own mental integrity. If we could successfully meddle with the way people think, it would be abhorrent and immoral. Better that we can’t.

  44. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “It’s amazing how the army can take 16 year old school drop-outs and turn them into lean mean killing machines within very little time.”

    The British Army is actually the largest Adult Education provider in Europe. They can take a bunch of illiterate young men who have had all the “education” they can take, and the Army can teach them to read. They have a roughly 100% success rate.

  45. “It’s amazing how the army can take 16 year old school drop-outs and turn them into lean mean killing machines within very little time.”

    So can urban gangs. It’s not hard.

  46. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “yeah, you are still just saying it. you might be right but you have not provided a shred of evidence, you are merely asserting it (just saying it)”

    I am saying it but I am not just saying it. It is true. It will go on being true whether or not you admit that fact. You may be interested in this book:

    http://metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=4975&cn=397

    Given it starts from the recognition that talking therapies don’t work any better than a placebo but defend them on that point. Why not? Less harmful than aromatherapy.

    Notice that even the NHS admits it. Here for instance, what do they say about CBT?

    http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/T/talking-therapies/

    Cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT)
    ….
    What are they based on?
    They are based on scientific methods.

    Look what they say about the others.

  47. note though that the range you report goes up to 16,000 per year, stretching “round and about the same ” as 6,000 a bit far

    Fair point. But having the top of the cost range only a shade over double to get what everyone here seems to accept is a far better education (whatever the underlying reasons for being better), seems like a bargain to me.

  48. As others have said, much the best thing is the absence of disruptive oiks. By far the single largest factor that made me decide not to continue as a state school teacher was the presence of disruptive oiks, by which I mean deeply frightening violent criminals.

    Private schools do, of course, also have problems with bullies and druggies (probably more of these than state schools) – but when they start getting so bad they scare off other pupils *and teachers*, the problem gets dealt with. My state school headteacher admitted that there was scarcely any point in trying to expel anyone. Endless appeals, and if you did by some miracle manage to expel the thug, the school you dumped him on would get revenge by sending your school someone as bad.

    It *may* be a little better nowadays, partly because of a little-known side of the private education biz, namely small privately-run “sin bins” that often also take substantial numbers of disruptive oiks from the state sector, paid for out of some obscure budget or other. They are sometimes quite good at rescuing people, and even if they aren’t, at least they keep them away from everyone else.

  49. Took a long time for all this shit to be settled by Luis Enrique quoting actual capitation allowances (as they used to be called when I taught in the State Sector). My memory of Further Education was of turning out hundreds of students (some adults) per year with good A levels @ £3,000 a student. (Even less for evening class and other students who got A levels on a one-class-per-week basis over one year only).
    By doing full time programme of 3 A levels in the day and another 2 A levels in the evening one of our teenage students managed to get 5 A levels at one go: all grade A. Needless to say she couldn’t get into Oxbridge: her family background included a lot of Bingo.
    This thread is riddled with really nasty class prejudice: this country is not better for being run by a self-styled elite from Eton etc who stay in power by corruptly bribing the homeowning majority of voters with unearned untaxed capital gains in the value of their houses exceeding average wages for a year.No amount of boasting by public school monsters of how clever they are is going to diminish the ill effects of the system on the macro level.
    Meanwhile we wait for the next predictable house price collapse feeding through into a predictable fractional reserve banking collapse .As predictable as the floods .But not to privately educated Class Warriors.

  50. The last I did the simple calculation “education budget” divided by “number of school age children” for the UK it was about 8k and that was a few years ago.

    I teach in both private and state schools here in Thailand. The syllabus is the same. The private children listen and learn something, the state children muck about and don’t. The advantage of the private school is the absence of the later.

  51. Lets not forget that parents sending their kids to private schools are still paying the taxes that pay for state schools.

    As a governor of a primary school, I know that SEN kids gobble up huge amount of resources and mostly get sent to special schools eventually, to everyone else’s relief. It is beyond belief to see how a form of 60 kids can be measurably damaged by 2 disruptive (mild word for literally evil kids aged 8) children. I did point out that there was a lot of talk about those 2 monsters but that the other 58 were rarely mentioned. The former 2 had a gaggle of “professionals” to keep occupied, so….

    You cannot separate the family environment from the resulting behaviour of some kids. However, those parents are rarely held to account, which is probably why the problems rarely get solved.

  52. Oh, and the funding is rarely the problem.

    Witness this comprehensive school who was planning to use the cash from pupil premium to buy ipads for everyone. Not a particularly successful school either.

    The kids at the private school can play rugby on their own pitch, the only difference with my kids at the state school is that they take the (council) bus to the nearest park. Not the same cost, but the same result.

  53. “this country is not better for being run by a self-styled elite from Eton etc ”

    What did Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Fatch! and Major have in common?

    The (privately educated) vandals that destroyed the Grammar schools have some explaining to do.

  54. “As others have said, much the best thing is the absence of disruptive oiks”

    And that’s just the teachers.

  55. Luis Enrique said:
    “spending per pupil just shy of £6.000 in 2011 … Eton currently around £35,000”

    a) a lot of that is the boarding cost (beds & food, night staff, weekend staff, keeping the brats amused at weekends, etc., plus the costs of complying with various childcare regulations) which isn’t covered by the state school costs.

    b) Eton has high brand recognition and can charge through the nose; there’s a lot of independent day schools a lot cheaper than that (as someone else pointed out) .

    I’m amazed that Eton is only six times as expensive as a State day school. I would guess that half to two thirds of the cost of Eton is actually the boarding (nights & weekends), which means the actual education bit is only two or three times the cost of State schools. And that’s the “top” private school.

  56. @ Ian b
    “Privilege is unearned advantage” My privilege was having good parents – that is the result of a free society. Your criticism of SMFS lacks clarity of thought.
    “This thread is also another reminder of something I first realised at St Custards, which is that many people believe that everyone below them in the social order is innately inferior. ” Yeah, and all Tories drink blood. In my experience that sort of attitude is actually more common among left-wing “intellectuals”.

  57. Monoi,
    Agreed. I’ve seen difficult classes completely transformed by just one boy being off sick. If you haven’t actually seen it first hand it’s difficult to understand just how disruptive a “disruptive” child is. You’re easily talking a quarter mil a years worth of education pissed away by one child.

  58. The basic thing this boils down to is this; either attending a public school is advantageous (for whichever of the reasons discussed here) or it isn’t.

    If it is, you have to concede that The Left have a point.

    If it isn’t, people are wasting their money.

    So which is it?

  59. @ Ian B
    Left-wing intellectuals look down, not on those below them in the social order but on everyone less intelligent than themselves (and some of us more intelligent than them who disagree with their dogmatic views so are derided as ignoramuses). So your riposte is an own goal.

  60. The advantage private schools have is that they don’t have state school children in them, so putting state school children in them destroys the advantage, which I rather suspect is Labour’s cunning plan.

  61. I wonder if the independent member of the AMS are included in Jezza’s plan, or is it just for the non-denominational indpendent schools.

  62. @ Ian B
    Attending a private school is advantageous for the reason I have stated, *not* for the ones you allege.
    By the way, when did you stop beating your wife?

  63. Ianb: It is an advantage –but so what?

    So are lots of things.

    Mr Phig-Phook is an old Etonian–and a useless leftist shite. Being an ex-eturd might have helped him get to 10 Death St–but lots of dross got there and did plenty of damage to us without being ex-eturds.

    Don’t let your present anomie blind you to the fact that there is always worse waiting in the wings. And Corpork would be even worse.

  64. I used to think that the way to do education was skim off the cream, hothouse them, and there’s your next generation of brain surgeons, etc.

    I now realise I was wrong. It would be more cost effective to skim off the dross and keep them well away from their contempories who are trying to get an education. You could send the disruptives to special schools, schools that have been approved, shall we say?

  65. Ian B,

    I’d say that spending money sending kids to Eton or Wellington might be worth it. If your local comprehensive has problems, it might be worth sending them.

    But I do believe based on the experience of parents who have raised kids in both, rare creatures that have seen both (a friend of mine had her kids, then married a bloke whose wife is paying for theirs to go to private), and not kids in a bad school, but good comp vs private, that it makes little difference. There’s a big correlation in this – you take out the utter thickies, give some bursaries to smart kids who really want the facilities or some sort of special expertise that you have, and you get better results.

    I even say this about “good schools”. My kids primary is rated one the best in town in terms of grades, but I thought the leadership there was bog standard. But the right parents and kids and you get good results. The parents fill in the gaps (like setting their kids extra homework that the school won’t).

  66. If the main benefit of private school is selection and keeping out the stupid and/or disruptive, rather than more expensive (better) teachers and facilities etc., then I guess there’s no reason to think it should be more expensive than state school, especially as they are spared certain costs associated with special needs kids.

    but if that really is the reason why private schools are better than Tim’s suggestion to make the schools the state already controls less shit becomes trickier whilst you have private schools creaming off the best kids. You cannot close the gap with private schools whilst that’s going.

  67. Ian B writes, “The basic thing this boils down to is this; either attending a public school is advantageous (for whichever of the reasons discussed here) or it isn’t.”

    It usually is.

    “If it is, you have to concede that The Left have a point.”

    No, I don’t have to at all. The Left claim that the advantage (if any) gained by private education is *unjust*. I do not concede that, for the same reason that I do not concede that the advantage my parents gave me by bringing me up to love books, with the result that I got into Oxford from my state school, is unjust.

    The Left also make the related claim that inequality of outcome is an evil in itself. I do not concede this either, on the grounds that the claim is philosophically absurd.

    “If it isn’t, people are wasting their money.”

    Yes, they sometimes are, but that’s no more my business than the fact that they sometimes waste money on cars or holidays or fancy weddings or anything else. If you feel moved to write a book alerting people to the undoubted fact that some private education is not worth what parents pay for it, feel free.

  68. Luis,

    > “whilst you have private schools creaming off the best kids. You cannot close the gap with private schools whilst that’s going.”

    The state sector’s problem is the presence of the worst kids, not the absence of the “best” (actually wealthiest) kids.

  69. Theophrastus nailed it with “the absence of disruptive oiks”. Everything else derives from that.

    Yes, which derives from the ability of a private school to expel pupils. That’s the key difference IMO, having attended both.

  70. Luis Enrique writes, “whilst you have private schools creaming off the best kids.” Who teaches the “best” kids scarcely matters, although I note that that oft-used phrase unintentionally reveals that an attitude in which the children are a resource to be mined by the school is by no means confined to the private sector.

    What matters is getting rid of the worst kids, by which I solely refer to the worst-behaving kids.

    Teaching children who are unintelligent but tolerably well behaved is no problem to either private or state schools. Some private schools discreetly specialise in this segment of the market. When I was a teacher in a state school I found that I got more satisfaction out of teaching children who struggled academically.

  71. Zorro: “but if that really is the reason why private schools are better than Tim’s suggestion to make the schools the state already controls less shit becomes trickier whilst you have private schools creaming off the best kids. You cannot close the gap with private schools whilst that’s going.”

    Oh Boo Hoo!!–the states property is being stolen by those nasty private schools.

    The sooner the Alcalde catches up with you the better.

  72. Three independently-written comments from me, Andy M and Tim Newman crossed, all of them saying basically the same thing. It’s because it is the most important thing to say.

  73. Ecks dipshit no boohoo, just pointing out you cannot raise standards to level of best selective schools if what determines standards is selectivity.

    Natalie and others, well that’s got to be only partially true, a school of high ability non-disruptive pupils from advantaged backgrounds is going to be better than one of low ability non-disruptive pupils from disadvantaged, no?

  74. Ecksy:

    Hardly-socialism IS a privilege based society.

    Yes, of course it is; because privilege is ineradicable – which is my point. Yet Commissar IanB wants to eliminate all “unearned privilege”: the desire to attempt that is socialist – not libertarian or conservative.

    IanB:
    Networking is an important element of the environment. The network is the human environment you are imbedded in.

    You are shifting your ground again. And the two sentences above mean different things. You are making it up as you go along.

    This thread is also another reminder of something I first realised at St Custards, which is that many people believe that everyone below them in the social order is innately inferior. Hence, the constant repetition we get here from SMFS et al of society consisting of only two classes, “good people like me” and “the Residuum”.
    And:
    Yes, the justification-by-moral-superiority meme which arose during the Victorian Era has been much discussed here and all part of the same attitude.

    Many people – class warriors of which you seem to be one – think that everyone above them in the social scale is inferior to themselves. You have made numerous disparaging remarks here about the middle versus the working class.

    Privilege is unearned advantage, not differential outcomes

    Eliminating “unearned advantage” leads inexorably to tyranny – from preventing parents choosing a school for their child to ultimately interfering with (even abolishing) the family because the family confers “unearned advantage”. The goal of equality of opportunity is fine when ‘opportunity’ is taken as no more than that people with equivalent qualifications should be treated the same in the job market, regardless of background. However, once ‘opportunity’ is broadened to cover all or some other factors that affect outcomes, we are deep into socialist territory.

    If it is, you have to concede that The Left have a point.

    Really? I see no reason to concede anything to the Religion of Equality and Social Justice. All the solutions for dealing with unearned advantage – from comprehensive schools in the UK to the creation of socialist states in China, Russia etc — have been worse than the original ‘problem’. ‘Social justice’ rests on the assumption that all wealth ultimately belongs to the courageous state, so the state has the right to decide its distribution in the name of ‘social justice’. And that assumption is tyrannical and contrary to natural justice.

  75. Bloke in North Dorset

    Andrew M – “It’s amazing how the army can take 16 year old school drop-outs and turn them into lean mean killing machines within very little time.”

    As someone who dropped out of school and joined the Army at 15 I never fired a shot in anger. I did get a good C&G in Telecomms and Electronics and then progressed to what is now awarded a degree.

    Of course the difference with the Armed forces is that their students want to be there and if they change their minds they can leave up to a certain point or get chucked out if they get disruptive.

  76. Bloke in North Dorset,

    That’s what I meant – and what Ian B misinterpreted. The Army offers excellent training in useful skills, and disproportionately often to people considered unteachable by the mainstream education system.

    And yes, as confirmed by others here, the ability to expel time-wasters is fundamental to a decent education system.

  77. Some private schools discreetly specialise in this segment of the market.

    At the time, the speciality of my school was ensuring that the less-able-than-their-parents children of the local professional classes and the didn’t-want-to-follow-Daddy-into-farming children of the stout yeomanry got to university, while the future stout yeomen got to meet future stout yeowomen and both got enough of an education to avoid being trivially swindled by the agricultural factors representative.

  78. @ Natalie Solent
    Surely the problem is not the presence of the worst kids but the blatant refusal of the state-controlled schools to control these pupils? Sixty years ago teachers would discipline naughty, let alone deliberately evil, pupils.

  79. I send both my kids to a private school here – I do it because the state schools are shit. I’d happily save myself money if the state schools were good. I know the state schools are shit because I had to send my youngest to a state school while he was on the waiting list for a private school – I even chose one of the more exclusive postcodes on the island to get the best state school catchment area – and it was still shit. The level of work was boring my son – and he wasn’t bored in his last school… so it was them, not us.

    Anyway, I don’t drive – never have. I walk 5km to work every day, don’t even bother with the buses (mostly because they are shit). I have friends who drive BMWs and who send their kids to state school – their car costs more than my children’s education. They have the right to spend their money how they like – so do I. It might end up with inequality of outcomes for our children, but that’s what happens in a free society. Free will leads to inequality – and that’s a square the ‘liberal’ left will always struggle to circle.

  80. @ Luis Enrique
    “Ecks dipshit no boohoo, just pointing out you cannot raise standards to level of best selective schools if what determines standards is selectivity.
    Natalie and others, well that’s got to be only partially true, a school of high ability non-disruptive pupils from advantaged backgrounds is going to be better than one of low ability non-disruptive pupils from disadvantaged, no?”

    What determines how good a school is is not the simplistic exam results table but how well it educates its pupils: the extent to which it adds value to their innate abilities and starting levels (including therein home environment). One of the best (arguably the best) school in my town is the one for primary-age children with “moderate learning difficulties”. None of us expects the local comp to get the same results as Winchester or St Paul’s Girls, but we do regret its failure to give bright poor kids the same chance as the grammar schools and to give a basic education to the rest.

  81. Bloke in North Dorset

    Perhaps Corbyn should talk to his former lover and ask why she sent her child to a private school and then set about fixing those problems, rather than bowing to the green eyed monster.

    LE “but if that really is the reason why private schools are better than Tim’s suggestion to make the schools the state already controls less shit becomes trickier whilst you have private schools creaming off the best kids.”

    If only the private sector did cream off the best kids, especially the ones in bad schools, we’d more children for poor backgrounds getting in to Oxbridge which would be good all round. We used to have a system where this happened but St Tony cancelled it. (To be fair it had been hijacked by the sharp elbowed middle class, but that just means it should have been fixed)

  82. Of course it’s bloody networking John. It”s so they don’t network with the kids off the estate

  83. Natalie and Roue make very important points, which I support.
    The strength of selective and fee-paying schools is not who they admit, but who they keep out. The best way of improving Gasworks Street Comprehensive would be to expel the headbangers- all they do is destroy the educational prospects of every one of their classmates. Not to mention fighting, bringing weapons to school, selling drugs on the school premises, setting the place on fire, stealing, smashing up the cars in the staff car park, and flooding the toilets.
    Get rid of the wild bunch, and you might even find that you can risk exposing the newly calm and orderly class to the delights of the chemistry lab, and even re-instate some long lost subjects like metallurgy.

  84. john77, yes, restoration of the power to discipline would help, but sixty years ago the teachers had the power to hit the kids. It was better than the present system in which the education of an entire class can be ruined by one troublemaker but, er… had its own problems. The power to expel as a realistic (i.e. fairly often used) ultimate sanction is a lot less dangerous to the character of those who hold it. And it must be made explicit that if that if a child is too disruptive even for a special school, they must be abandoned by the system. The fact that everyone knows there are endless second, third and fifteenth chances is what has blighted the lives of so many kids, including the disruptive kids themselves.

    There is little hope of this happening in the state system in my lifetime.

  85. @ bis
    I grew up in a town where there weren’t enough middle-class kids to form a football or cricket team in each age-group, so out of school we had to play with some working-class kids to make up the numbers (especially if you wanted two elevens on the field/pitch).

  86. Tim Newman/ Natalie Solent

    Both spot on – It is the inability of the State Sector to provide discipline or expel disruptive pupils which causes many of the disparities between the independent and state sectors. Oddly this seems to be unique to the Western World (and probably to the UK and US even). Corbynite education systems elsewhere do not have this issue – Try Attacking a teacher in, say, North Korea and see how far you get – as has often been said by the excellent Mr Ecks, the UK and US Extreme Left are the most stupid people in the world – worse even than their North Korean counterparts….

  87. @ Natalie Solent
    Certain teachers do not use what discipline powers remain to them – in some cases deliberately. Turning a blind eye to kids being attacked and injured just because they are brighter than the teacher (a small minority of teachers but one like that is too many, two or more in a school is a disaster).

  88. I don’t think it’s a networking thing so much as it is an environment thing. Assuming a baseline level of competence in the teaching staff, the most important driver of academic success isn’t funding, or the number of PhDs held by the teachers, but is the quality of the other pupils.

    If you have an environment that encourages and supports learning, and a set of children who want to learn, and you enforce this by expelling those that are too disruptive, you will do well.

    If your public school is permitting carefully-selected state school pupils to join music and drama lessons, say, then you don’t lose anything, as long as you remain able to enforce the same disciplinary standards against the state pupils.

    Admit entire classes, and you lose that.

  89. @ Sam
    “if” … “if” … “if” …
    “Assuming a baseline level of competence …”
    Some teachers are better than others, even within the same school – even after 50+ years I can remember the difference between the skills, not just competence, of different teachers of the same subject.

  90. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    @Van Patten
    It is the inability of the State Sector to provide discipline or expel disruptive pupils which causes many of the disparities between the independent and state sectors

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. But you then go on to blame the ‘Extreme Left’ for this state of affairs. Corporal punishment in state schools was outlawed in 1986 under the Thatcher administration. The same administration which oversaw more grammar school closures than Wilson and Callaghan combined. Perhaps the Mainstream Right have more responsibility in destroying the educational prospects of the proles than any of the Extreme Left, whoever they are.
    Incidentally, it was around 1986 that girls’ performance in schools overtook that of boys. Make of that what you will.

  91. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    Scratch that bit about Grammar Schools, I was misinformed. It was Margaret Thatcher as the secretary of state for Education who closed or merged the most grammar schools for a comprehensive alternative.

  92. “Corporal punishment in state schools was outlawed in 1986 under the Thatcher administration”

    Only because she had to under European law. Or Human rights law, or something like that, that Lefties always approve of. You can bet your bottom dollar there wasn’t a groundswell of opinion in favour of a ban on corporal punishment on the Tory back benches. Too many paid for it on a regular basis for that…….

    Reintroduce the cane to State schools, and the results would dramatically improve. Particularly if the most evil little shits (almost entirely male) were given a good kicking behind the bike sheds by some suitably burly Welsh PE teachers every now and again, just to show who is the boss.

    The sad thing is that all this ‘Oh we can’t hit the poor little lambs, it’ll scar them for life’ bollocks actually condemns young people (mainly male) to lives of misery, because they are never disciplined, never get anywhere in education, or gain any self control, which are crucial elements necessary to progress in life. Typical Lefty faux tears – it makes them feel better to ban corporal punishment, the fact it makes millions of lives worse than they would otherwise be is irrelevant. Its all about THEM.

  93. @ Witchsmeller Pursuivant
    OK but you are still misinformed. Read the statistics on page 10
    The Wilson Callaghan government in 1974-79 closed over 60% of grammar schools existing in 1974 and more in number, not just percentage, than Mrs T agreed to in June 1970 to Feb 1974.
    Why is it that the Left are never correct in order to avoid being Right?

  94. “Incidentally, it was around 1986 that girls’ performance in schools overtook that of boys. Make of that what you will.”

    GCSE’s were introduced in 1988 (I took last year of O levels in summer ’87). This introduced the concept of coursework towards your exam mark, rather than it all being on the final exams, a principle that favoured girls (who tend to work diligently throughout the entire course) over boys (who tend to be better at coping with ‘winner takes all’ final exam pressure).

    However there may also be an element of the lack of corporal punishment affecting boys more than girls, as they would be more likely to be unruly or disruptive, and if not disciplined early in their teenage years, would be far more likely not to learn a thing at school.

  95. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    @John77
    I have conceded my initial error. My correction was also incomplete; I think Thatcher was the individual minister who closed most grammar schools – presumably the Labour education ministers under Wilson didn’t hold their positions for long. Again, if you have evidence to the contrary I would be happy to retract my correction as well.

    See first paragraph for my source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/education-the-end-of-the-grammar-school-1179844.html

  96. @ Jim
    There was also a tendency for girls, but not boys, to accept help with their coursework from their Mums.

  97. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference between a capo in the mafia and a Labour MP.

    Socialists are capitalists who don’t have to work…

  98. @ Witchsmeller Pursuivant
    You know what sonny? I can *walk* 100 metres faster than Usain Bolt can run 400 metres. Does that make Usain Bolt a worse runner than me?
    You need to think before trusting any newspaper (even the FT these days).
    Sadly I don’t have detailed statistics for June 1970 to Feb 1974 to hand to compare to the terms for each Labour Secretary of State but it is clear from the table in the reference that I gave you that Labour closed more Grammar schools that the Conservatives. So please expand your apology to acknowledge that.

  99. Luis

    the number of £6000 is not the right number to compare with school fees. That is the revenue spending per pupil and excludes capital expenditure. Note to figure 2. You need to add between 10 and 20% for capital expenditure, which is also part of the cost for private schools. Around £7000 give or take. You also should add something for central administration – which is a cost for private schools, but disappears as admin costs within the education budget.

    Average day school fees per term according to the ISC census were £4,000, so the annual cost will be around £12,000 – not the absurd £35K of Eton (average boarding fees are £9,600 per term, so around £29K.) Also most school fees will include the cost of meals for private schools, which reduces the differential still further (around £400 if you believe Clegg)

    http://www.isc.co.uk/research/annual-census/
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-school-lunch-for-every-child-in-infant-school

    A significant difference still, but not quite at the level your post would have suggested.

  100. @ ken
    Well said, but omits the difference between 2011 prices for state schools and 2015/6 prices for private schools.

  101. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    @john77 – I take your point and retract my reference to grammar schools entirely. It was still Thatcher that abolished corporal punishment though 🙂

  102. So Much For Subtlety

    Van_Patten – “Both spot on – It is the inability of the State Sector to provide discipline or expel disruptive pupils which causes many of the disparities between the independent and state sectors.”

    The teachers, present and former, I know say that the biggest change that would improve their lives is support from their Head. It is not really about expulsion. If they discipline a student, their Heads will not support them. So they have no means to punish at all.

    Naturally the feral children run riot and there is nothing anyone can do. This is probably the worst lesson you can teach a young aspiring member of the underclass – that the gutless middle classes are so gutless they won’t punish you for swearing at the teacher. Because that behaviour is going to escalate. Until at some point he will find a judge who will enforce some sort of punishment. Better to get in early and deter than leave it until he does something really bad.

  103. As Harry Potter is my current best source of information about how the British school system works I can’t speak about the overall system there. I can however look at the schools I experienced in my youth.

    The town I went to high school in(generally ages 14-18) had a public and a private school. Being a fairly wealthy town the public school was well funded and in the honors program provided a better education than the private school. The public school had 3 tracks, honors, regular, and [insert the current PC term for slow]. The troublemakers either didn’t get accepted to or quickly got kicked out of the private school.

    The only major difference that I saw in the 4 different sections we had was home life. The kids in the lower tracts almost always were from poorer homes. These kids not only didn’t have parents that helped with homework but many only got one good meal a day which was the subsidized school lunch. The lucky few that managed to develop friendships with honors students were normally the only ones that managed to learn anything. I attribute this to the fact that they were able to network with other students that could show them other life options. Many of the poorer students never made these friendships and almost all either failed to graduate or ended up like their parents getting drunk(or worse) after their shift at McDonald’s.

    My take is that the most important thing that determines how a child will do at school is the environment they are in most of the day. If one bad apple is put with a group of 29 honors students in class, with proper discipline when needed, the networking effects can be a positive influence that counteracts the bad home life. This is not true when there are more than one “bad” kid in the same group as instead of being forced to mix socially with those of a different background they will form a group of their own disrupting other’s learning. Sending a large group of “bad” kids for music and art education at a private school won’t solve the basic problem. Far more resources{smaller class sizes, free breakfast and lunch, non-teacher support…) need to be spent per pupil from a disadvantaged background to achieve the desired results.

    Finally we must remember that in any group of children, no matter what type of spoon they were born with, there will be true bad apples. While Mr X was generally a good kid the fact that he had to earn money for food and clothing led him to dealing steroids to the football team. The system ended up throwing him in jail instead of addressing the root cause. This needs to change before the feel good projects will have any chance of working.

  104. Ah, I should have mentioned that you’re not the only people on the list but it *has* shrunk since a number of my parents’ opponents died of old age.

  105. Witchsmeller Pursuivant said:
    “It was still Thatcher that abolished corporal punishment though”

    Wrong again, I’m afraid; corporal punishment in schools was abolished by the Blair government in 1998.

    Thatcher’s government did oversee the end of corporal punishment in State schools, from memory not by choice but because of a decision of the Court of Human Rights. But that only applied to State schools; private schools remained free to birch until St Tony (or probably his missus) got squeamish about it.

  106. john77

    A back of the envelope based on the links below suggests that the number in 2014 terms is around £8100 (taking the primary and secondary expenditures from table on page 4 of the first and dividing by the number of state school educated page 3 chart A). Although this number is subject to upward revision because of admin costs and possible downward revision based on the blanket nature of the costs specified.

    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01078.pdf
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/410543/2014_SPC_SFR_Text_v102.pdf

    The State does a lousy job given the expenditures.

  107. Luis

    Not that much of an outlier for boarding. I’d also guess that the regional spread of private schools favours richer parts of the country, meaning that fees will be higher due to regional pricing disparities, so the comparison is not oranges with oranges. Depending on what one is interested in, this disparity could be relevant.

  108. Liberal Yank

    Yup. Here’s the university equivalent:

    http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/03/01/the-ivy-league-earnings-myth

    “Dale and Krueger concluded that students, who were accepted into elite schools, but went to less selective institutions, earned salaries just as high as Ivy League grads. For instance, if a teenager gained entry to Harvard, but ended up attending Penn State, his or her salary prospects would be the same.”

    But, networking helps some:
    “As with the earlier study, there were some students who did fare better financially if they attended elite schools. The students who fell into this category were Latino, black, and low-income students, as well as those whose parents did not graduate from college.”

    “While most students who apply to selective colleges may be able to rely on their families and friends to provide job-networking opportunities, networking opportunities that become available from attending a selective college may be particularly valuable for black and Hispanic students and for students who come from families with a lower level of parental education.”

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