Saturday, October 29, 2005


Our Prime Minister went to a fee-paying private school. So did Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, who is in control of State education. So did the junior education minister (Lord Adonis). And the last Education secretary, Charles Clarke, went to public school. So did the Shadow Education spokeman David Cameron, who may well be the next Tory leader (Eton, no less). So did the Health minister.

Alice Thomson in the Telegraph describes how, as the supply of grammar school kids dries up, the public schools are regaining the asendancy they had in the early 20th century.

"Grammar school boys could hold their own, they knew they had earned their places on merit alone. In the 1950s, the grammar school system meant that there were more state school pupils at Oxford and Cambridge than there are now when the numbers are being manipulated.

But when Labour scrapped the grammar school, it turned the country back into a class-ridden society, where the children of the rich had a huge advantage. The comprehensives, if they had been properly streamed, might have worked, but instead they went for the lowest common denominator. No one was allowed to be challenged; no one could fail. Exam results were fudged and school discipline fell apart."

She's a bit kind to the Tories though. Which Education Secretary closed most grammar schools ? Thatcher ! Come to the front of the class !

Nor does she point out how many Tory county councils, like Worcestershire, destroyed their grammar schools in exchange for more central government funding. All praise to those like Buckinghamshire and Kent who stood firm.

I've just listened to the most depressing programme on BBC Radio, Any Questions, the place where the English middle classes weekly demonstrate their utter disconnection from their history and culture.

All four guests and the presenter went to public schools. At one stage Tim Yeo pointed out that he, Jonathan Dimbleby and Max Hastings all went to the same school (a little place called Marlborough). Tessa Jowell went here, Lib Dem (and merchant banker - what a giveaway) David Laws went here.

Ain't it great living in a classless society ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing all these private schools in London that all these people went to.