The compulsory school system in the UK is split into three broad categories:
· State funded schools
· Public/independent schools
· Home schooling
Approximately 93% of children in the UK attend state funded schools and 7% attend fee paying public schools. Home schooling is something of a rarity.
Public school pupils do not have innate intellectual gifts that state school children do not possess, yet the statistics relating to their eventual position in society do not support this. 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior armed forces officers, 55% of top civil servants 36% of the Cabinet and 43% of newspaper columnists are ex public school pupils. All of this from a pool of just 7% of the population!
High level appointments are normally awarded to members of a social network created within the public school system. This nepotistic, cronyist system gives old school chums, friends and family preference to outsiders. This means that the UK establishment is a very elite clique. What is more, the system is self perpetuating with successive generations attending the same schools.
This, in itself isn’t such a problem. It is reasonable for wealthy, powerful people to try to do their best for their children, friends and family, just as we all do. The real problem arises because the public school elite are those that ultimately control and run the state school system. They have no real, practical experience of the state system and they have no vested interest in it.
One of the best education systems in Europe is that of Finland. The system in Finland does not abuse children by subjecting them to an excessively arduous and competitive regimen, yet it is ranked joint 1st in the world by the UN’s Human Development Index and 12th in the world by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The UK is ranked 26th by PISA.
Although Finland has an independent school system, it is one which must take its funding from the government. Independent schools cannot charge fees, and selective admission is prohibited. In short, everyone, regardless of their social class, has to send their child to a state funded school in Finland. This ethos has the special advantage that the people with influence, power and wealth, ensure that their interests are served by making the state funded system in Finland second to none. Badobadop suggests that this would be a very good model to adopt in the UK.
The world is becoming ever more competitive. It is no longer acceptable for a privileged, but not particularly talented elite, to be in control of our country. The only way we will succeed, is by nurturing every single one of our brightest minds, regardless of their social class… In other words, a meritocracy free of prejudice and discrimination.
“The public school system in England is a breeding ground for cronyism and nepotism in the higher echelons of society. It stifles social mobility and compromises our standing in the ever more competitive world order. The way forward is a true meritocracy in which equal opportunity is offered to every single member of society. This can only be achieved through the establishment of a ‘same for all’ education system with a permeating culture of uncompromising excellence.”
Ban public schools!