The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

Public Schools in Great Britain

Category: Educational System

For the moment let us leave aside the moral aspect of giving separate education to those who pay for it and look at a report on the public schools written by a sociologist who himself went to a public school. says John W., Lecturer in Sociology at University College, Cardiff: “The public schools attract the most highly-qualified teachers and offer a privileged education to those who can pay for it.’’

“Public schools not only start with a wider ability range, but also have pupils whose parents expect them to stay at school until they are 17 or 18 whether or not they are academically successful. On the other side it can be said that many working class boys of high ability leave school at 15 or 16.”’

Yet the latest Ministry of education statistics show the percentage of successful “A’’ level candidates is continuing to rise, although a higher proportion of grammar school pupils are now staying on into the sixth form. This surely proves, if proof were needed, that there is a great potential of boys and girls who would benefit — and the community as. a whole would benefit — from the extra years of education that the parents of public school boys and girls are in a position to buy for them.

We learn that whereas 60 per cent of public schools offer five or more languages, only 23 per cent of grammar schools can do so. That a quarter of the maintained schools are still using laboratories built before the war, “seriously deficient by present-day standards, and only half have completely modern laboratories.”’

And so on, until the conclusion is reached: “Though the outstanding boy will succeed whatever school he goes to, the public schools can still offer important educational advantages and clearly have no rivals in the art of getting boys to Oxford and Cambridge.’’ A boy attending the average maintained grammar school has very much less chance of an Oxbridge place than a boy of equal ability at a public school.

Or again — and this presumably applies to the so-called Redbrick universities as well as Oxbridge — the report says that public school “pupils still take far more than their numerical share of university places, still dominate positions of power and influence in the country.”

« ||| »

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.