Well, we got a good little debate going yesterday on the back of my blog on Fiona’s exchanges with Toby Young on Sky News over his plans to set up a new school.
Amid the differences of opinion btween them was a shared disdain for the angst of middle-class parents who support State education in theory but in practice believe that their children are so special and so different that they have to go private.
This is an angst common to many media people, and has a substantial skewing effect on coverage of state schools, which in turn fuels the angst, which in turn leads to more parents feeling they have to go private, which in turn weakens the support for, commitment to, and parental commitment within State schools.
So today I would like to give over the blog to a contribution on Facebook yesterday, from someone called Nicki Hodges.
‘I have three children in state schools,’ she says. ‘All doing very well. My nine-year-old has a reading age of 11 and four months; my 15-year-old is applying to do the International Baccu(something) at Sixth Form. They’ve been to very ordinary East London state schools and are doing really well. This fuss middle-class people make is just because they don’t want their children going to school with hoodies, shock horror. In fact, there is far less of a drugs problems at state schools, with pushers targeting the private kids who have more money.’
Interesting observation. Sort of makes sense, in a market economy kind of way. Meanwhile, having had two children get to good universities via local state schools, from nursery to secondary, and a third well on the way, I am in no doubt that inner city comprehensives, for all the challenges, give kids the opportunities to be far more rounded and grounded than do the schools that so many middle-class parents skimp and save for in the belief they are buying a better education.