Wednesday 20 January 2010


The issue of public schools- private schools for those of you who are not English- is one over which I find it very difficult to be objective. I went to a very fine boarding school for girls, the finest in all England, so far as I am concerned. The environment- academic, sporting and social- was second to none, and it took a diffident eleven-year-old girl and turned her into a self-assured young woman, nurturing ever talent she knew she had, and discovering a few she did not know existed!

Did it encourage 'social separation'? Insofar as I understand this expression I would have to say yes, I suppose it did. We all came from privileged or very privileged backgrounds; but we were never encouraged to take a condescending view of other people, quite the reverse in fact. Was it elitist? Again yes, but I personally do not see anything wrong with this, because I take the view that excellence should be encouraged and nurtured.

For me it is ironic in the extreme that the assisted places scheme, that allowed bright children from less well-off backgrounds to attend public schools, was ended by a government headed by a man who himself went to a very fine public school in Scotland. It was simply an act of petty spite that encouraged more separation, not less.

Let me concluded on a personal note: if I ever have a daughter she will go to my old school! Yes, she will.


  1. One is a fool not to grab every oportunity afforded them, especially in these glommier times.

  2. Were you a naughty schoolgirl? ;-)

    I'd put my kid in a private school if I had the means. Public school teachers get burnt out so fast by dispassionate kids forced to be there that they stop caring. It shows in the grads the kids bring home.

  3. I’m posting the following comment on behalf of Time Thief.

    Time Thief said

    My mother was a teacher -- a very good one at that. I was homeschooled and lived a very exciting and mobile life as a child. I lived in many places in three different American states, in three different Canadian provinces, and in two northern territories.

    Most but not all locations we lived in were remote or semi-remote. I lived in a trapper's cabin near the arctic circle, on a horse ranch, on a cattle ranch, in a fishing lodge, on farms, in a TiPi (no kidding!, and that was just the beginning.

    In order to be homeschooled Canadian children must be tested annually to ensure they are learning the curriculum sent to them in correspondencece courses. Few recognize that the entire year's curriculum can be completed in 5 months and not ten when one is focused. In every case when testes I was assessed to be 2 years ahead of my public school "peers". When it came to academics plus social skills including the resilience it takes to blend into many different cultura

  4. TT, that sounds wonderful, the sort of experience that clearly turned you into a very resiliant human being.