Anorak | Only Hereditary Journalists And The Well-Connected Can Afford To Send Their Children To State Schools

Only Hereditary Journalists And The Well-Connected Can Afford To Send Their Children To State Schools

by | 20th, September 2014

IS private schooling fair? Janice Turner writes in the Times :

Having experienced both systems, I agree with Jonathan Leigh, Master of Marlborough College. Private schools must avoid becoming “isolated enclaves of privilege”, he said this week, by engaging with the local community and neighbouring state schools. Maybe not least for the benefit of their own cocooned kids.

It’s about playing fields. They’re not level. The private school parents have to pay a fortune for greenery; the state-school pupils have to find gaps between housing schemes.

But Janice has another view. This one is about an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture:

What an unreal bubble is a London private school. In the midst of the most ethnically mixed city on earth, rare black students may be dragged out of lessons to pose for prospectus photos to give an illusion of diversity.

What utter balls. The London chidlren leave school. They see faces. And for rare black faces look at the Times’ columnists. No need to look at schools.


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Spot the black faces among the heritary journalists, the well connected and the white and talented?

Turner adds:

Children with horses, pools and taxi accounts have Knightsbridge birthday parties when their mates would prefer Pizza Express.

These are not the middle and working classes striving to give their children the best, the plumbers, builders and shop workers going without to pay for their children’s education, or hoping to. These are the mega-minted few. They’ve always been rich and out-of-reach. And, by the way, schools in Knightsbridge have rubbish playing fields. The nannies take the kinder to the gated garden squares and for weekends at the country houses.

In London, only the very rich and connected can afford state schooling. The rest have to toil and try to do better. You may recall the words of TV actress Arabella Weir. She opined in the Guardian (natch.):

Why I would never send my kids to private school. The underlying snobbery and racism are shocking.


She then noted, and without any irony, that school was a lesson in how the lesser classes live:

At a state school your kids will learn to live alongside and appreciate other kids from many diverse and different cultures. They will learn that privilege is not a birthright, that it has to be earned, along with understanding that they need to earn their place in society and earn the right to succeed. They will learn street sense, who to be wary of, who to avoid, how to keep their heads down and how and when to stand up for themselves. They will learn to make room for people of different abilities.

They will understand the lower abilitied and more ethnic. Arabella, not a work of parody, got better:

My 10-year-old daughter now walks home from school alone with a classmate. They walk through several council estates without even thinking about it…

But they don’t live there. They just walk through in way that David Attenborough might wander though a jungle or Arabella a Bangkok street market.

I do wonder what people think would happen to their children if they went to school alongside a less advantaged child.

Dunno. Maybe mum would get a column in the Guardian? Or maybe they’d grow up to be rich and intrepid, like mum’s family. As Arabella said:

When my parents moved to London in the early 1960s, they were advised by their Oxbridge-educated peers against buying their Camden house because “people like us” didn’t buy houses near council estates.

Arabella’s mum’s family owned an island in Scotland. Arabella’s dad also had a column in the Guardian, well, it’s an obituary.

The former diplomat Sir Michael Weir, who has died aged 81, was one of the more distinguished Arabists of his generation… he served mostly in the Arab world, including two tours in Cairo, where, from 1979 until his retirement in 1985, he was British ambassador. In 1981 he was sitting behind Anwar Sadat when the Egyptian president was assassinated and the Belgian ambassador was severely wounded

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Posted: 20th, September 2014 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink