Well, actually, you know…..

Prof Lee Elliot Major, who advises the Government on social mobility issues, said: “The incredible academic success of a select few elite schools shines a stark light on the national social mobility challenges we face.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have candidates for Oxbridge colleges and other highly selective universities from every one of the thousands of schools across the country.”

There are two possible reasons why we might not.

1) Pupils self-select into those academic style schools that teach or Oxbridge levels. Or parents select, or the system of bursaries does, or the system does.

2) The vast majority of schools in the country are shit.

We can even propose a test to sort through these two possibilities. If those bemoaning the selectivity now start to argue that those good at getting into Oxbridge schools must be abolished then that’s an admission that we must kill good schools because the rest are shit.

Given that is what is usually proposed now we know.

10 thoughts on “Well, actually, you know…..”

  1. ‘ There are two possible reasons why we might not.’

    Three in fact: you cannot make silk purses out of sows’ ears.

    People still insist on the blank slate fallacy, that with the same input every child will have the same outcome.

  2. My neighbour spends circa £24k/term on his kid’s education. Am sure this will guarantee Oxbridge entry. His money, his choice. Whether Joe Taxpayer wants to put that sort of money into state schools in order to enrich other people’s children is another matter – not least as there’s not enough teachers to deliver on such a promise. Another alternative is to dumb down Oxbridge and exclude the overseas students that finance these colleges.

  3. If you let rip the parental selection aspect i.e. school vouchers, quite a lot of schools would give the major public schools a run for their money in the Oxbridge stakes. Yeah you’ll have to watch out for Oxbridge colleges then selecting on rowing ability (or even the bio-mechanical predictors for a good rower).

  4. My old school, Winchester, used to feature regularly in the top 3 schools in the Oxbridge lists. Now it isn’t in the top 20 or even the top school in Winchester, losing out to the local sixth form college, despite annual fees of £44,000 a year. It seems pandering to billionaire parents to pay the fees lowers the prowess of the students.

  5. My daughter is very bright and was put into the high flyers group when she went to a rather ambitious sixth form college. Turned out that very bright doesn’t cut it in that group, you need to be exceptionally bright to swim with those fish. She has done ok since I hasten to add.

  6. Toni Blair, curses be upon him, hired private tutors for his children. Well, one wouldn’t trust their state school to do a good job, would one, even though strings had been pulled to get them into that school in the first place.

    And whence came these private tutors? They were masters at Westminster. Ha bloody ha.

  7. Yes… Throw more School at kids to make them more “socially mobile”..

    And ignore the simple fact that kids have vastly different aptitudes, and the vast majority are not suited for college/uni type education. Either not “intelligent” enough, or don’t have the inclination to “study”, or any of the other little things that makes people unsuited for/unhappy in an academic environment. And quite happy in a *ahem* “lowly” trade.

    This aside from whether you even want your kids poisoned by the WokeFest that “OxBridge” has become…

    @Stonyground Isn’t what your daughter experienced the first humbling experience you get at a decent Uni anyway?
    Yes, you’re smart, even very smart.. Then you find you are very much not the biggest mind-shark around.. And have to run with the pack to even keep up.. With grades reflecting this..
    Takes people a lot of getting used to. Most survive that hurdle.

  8. Nearly all Public Schools are charitable institutions because they provide scholarships to provide a good education to those who could not otherwise afford it. That creams off a lot of the best talent that might otherwise have dazzled their contemporaries in the local state school.
    Anecdata: I was sent to Public School, funded by scholarship and parental sacrifices because the local grammar schools did not teach up to Oxbridge entrance standards: seven boys in my year from my school went to Oxbridge, not one of them had paid full fees. I don’t remember details for other years, apart from a guy who got a music scholarship (and the one whose mother was allegedly paying £10 per year), but I think it was typical of those succeeding on academic criteria.
    It was/is in the interest of schools to recruit the cleverest through scholarships and bursaries so as to produce an impressive academic record to attract parents to pay full fees for their adequate (say IQ of 120-odd) but non-genius children.
    So 1) is true.
    The claim that 2) is true is not proven – all that is proven is that Prof Lee Eliot Major wants to hide the appalling quality of *some* schools

  9. “@Stonyground Isn’t what your daughter experienced the first humbling experience you get at a decent Uni anyway?”

    She was pretty philosophical about it. That group was designed to get the kids into Oxford, Cambridge or Warwick. She was pretty pleased to have been selected but realised fairly quickly the type of kids she was up against with their large collections of A* grades.

  10. Dear Mr Worstall

    “… we must kill good schools because the rest are shit.”

    Over the years many (quite possibly all) lefties have opined that that was the only way to make state education “better”.

    It was the Plan of that nice Mrs Shirley Williams (PBUH), the late Baroness Williams of Crosby, when she was Secretary of State for Education and Science (1976 – 1979) under that nice Mr James Callaghan. Grammar schools, the way out of the slums for intelligent working class youth, were to change voluntarily to incomprehensives, or else she would just have to legislate them out of existence. Luckily for many intelligent working class youth, she didn’t manage it.

    DP

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