"Private education: Is it worth the money? Fees at independent schools can reach £23,000 a year, a price many families, unhappy with the state sector, are willing to pay. But, reports Amelia Hill, more and more parents are protesting about the quality of private education"
On top of all the usual devastating problems with schooling, such as the coercion and suboptimal learning environments, the article fingers the fee fixing cartels, some unusually poor teaching, the "Stalinist" attitudes, the emotional sterile environment, the performance anxieties, the educational neglect, and the fact that the more you pay, the less likely your child is to get a first at university.
In seeking to justify choosing private schooling for her child, one mum is quoted as saying about her state school experience:
'The 'lifeskills' I learnt at that (state) school included how to be made to feel awful for wanting to learn, how to be bullied because you have an unusual name, how to cope with the tedium of being forced to read 101 Dalmatians when I was reading Jane Austen at home, how to be ignored because you're generally quiet and get on with it, how to be abusive to teachers and how to be spat on when you got off the school bus. I now work my fingers to the bone to send my daughter to a private school.'
Quite why this mother thinks that these problems are unique to state schools is baffling. Being an academic success at our equivalent boys' private school was a complete no-no. Pupils were regularly bullied in both boys' and girls' private schools for any imaginable difference. Knifing was not uncommon in the boys' private school, though the stiff upper lip and shame meant that more often than not, you hid your wounds. Drug abuse and tedium were endemic. Being ignored, unless you were very unlucky, was the norm though unusual interest and interference by the teachers was a feature of life for some students. OK so on the girls' side we couldn't abuse the teachers, but that was not for lack of wanting to.
Another mum, in despair at all the schooling options, writes:
'Sometimes I think the only answer is to give up my job and teach them from home; how else can I be sure both their education and their emotional wellbeing is cared for? But then what about my life?'
Which sort of begs the question, "why is it only sometimes that you think like that?" and "Can you not imagine yourself into a situation where you can not only manage this, but can also have a life? Home Education is fun for all the family.
Incidentally, author Jilly Cooper writes:
" And the pupils I know from Cheltenham, for example, are always very polite and good mannered".
Which is just asking for trouble really...