Do you think we should abolish private schools? Watch

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Sheldor
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(Original post by ChocolateMelody)
My state school is by anyone's standards quite a high-performing school; we come near the top of the league tables every year for state schools.
However, this does not appear to be enough… they've now started a riding club in a bid to appear more private...

In all seriousness, I don't think it is right to abolish private schools given that some people are paying money to allow their children to have a better education than others and therefore are making that investment towards their child's education. Incidentally, a private school will be easier to get into than a state school - although they often have admissions tests for prospective students, they are not going to offer you a place unless you can pay the fees for a school (and as a result have a fewer pool to choose from).

However, what I do object to is the difference in standards between private schools in general and some state schools. Just because someone might be privileged enough to pay for their child's education, it doesn't mean at all that everyone does. I don't think it is fair that someone should have access to potentially a higher standard of education than someone of the same academic ability just because their parents have more money to spend on them.

Therefore, I don't think we should abolish private schools but I do think something should be done to diminish the difference between the standards of education (I know I'm conflicting with my earlier point about paying for this higher standard but that's my personal view)
Actually, there are a lot of schools who offer bursaries to any pupils below certain incomes, ranging from 5% to 100%, to stop money being a factor in admissions.

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ChocolateMelody
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(Original post by Sheldor)
Actually, there are a lot of schools who offer bursaries to any pupils below certain incomes, ranging from 5% to 100%, to stop money being a factor in admissions.

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Well, yes, but even so, you can't offer that to everyone.
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Sheldor
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(Original post by ChocolateMelody)
Well, yes, but even so, you can't offer that to everyone.
Sure, but it means that if you're academic enough and fulfill all the other criteria to go to the school anyway then affording it is less of an issue.

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JamesTheCool
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(Original post by Sheldor)
Sure, but it means that if you're academic enough and fulfill all the other criteria to go to the school anyway then affording it is less of an issue.
That's all well and good, but don't you need to be some sort of genius in order to pass the scholarship test? Or am I misinformed about that? Either way it sounds very selective and intimidating to me.
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Sheldor
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(Original post by JamesTheCool)
That's all well and good, but don't you need to be some sort of genius in order to pass the scholarship test? Or am I misinformed about that? Either way it sounds very selective and intimidating to me.
The scholarships are mostly honorary and only remove fees for up to 5%. The Common Entrance/11+ test is the one all entrants have to sit, so if you pass that to a sufficient standard to get in and you apply for a bursary then they offer you one so you can come . The bursary is needs based, the entrance exam is merit based.

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Per
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(I'm taking private to mean a school you pay for) No, a lot of private schools are old and very well run institutions and they shouldn't be abolished. And as many people have previously said, wealthy people deserve to choose a good school for their children. I'm from a working class background and my parents' attitude towards my future can be summed up by the fact they smoked while pregnant with me and raising me. I went to a state school, it wasn't the worst but there were many days when I felt the disruptive classmates and the quality of teaching wasted a lot of my time. I genuinely wanted to learn and do well, and I did ok and am now at university but I think there should be some sort of system which identifies students like me and sponsors them through private education or something.
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JamesTheCool
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There's little accent variation at my university. A good portion of my fellow students sound like the cast of Made in Chelsea, either because they've been growing up in a life full of opulence, or because they try to emulate that kind of lifestyle to impress such people (while undermining everyone else). Either way, it really gets under my skin. It's just so obvious that most of them didn't have to fight or suffer much to make it here. This isn't an attack on all privately educated students - just the obnoxious, trendy, socialite ones who shouldn't even be at university - who only make it there because our criminally unfair education system is at their convenience. They usually tend to be the 'cool' kids who end up having the best social lives and a much better time at university than everyone else. What makes me laugh is that you can always see the look of cold resentment on the faces of staff members who do menial jobs on campus.
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Kazzyv
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Just sticking my nose in as a Parent whose son goes to private school. My husband and I both went to state schools, I left at 16 and he left at 18. Neither of us were keen on private schools but when my son was going to a secondary school the only option in our area was a school that was 3 from the bottom in the area league tables. My worry was that no matter how hard my son tried at this school he would struggle- and being a typical teenage boy he probably wouldn't try that hard !
He sat the scholarship exams at the private school and did well. He got a partial scholarship and we could just about manage the fees. So that is where he went. 18 months ago I lost my job and my husband had to change jobs with a reduced salary. However as our son was just starting 6th form we made a decision to keep him at the school - it has cost us every penny of spare cash we have- but it was a good decision and he is doing well.
I just wanted to comment in this thread as not every private school pupil is a 'JP' from Fresh Meat.... A large number are normal kids whose parents are making big sacrifices to give them the best start in lives.

Don t ban private schools but a big yes to improving state schools so that they do give pupils the education they deserve.

Goodbye - parent leaving the room !
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Flobie
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(Original post by Per)
(I'm taking private to mean a school you pay for) No, a lot of private schools are old and very well run institutions and they shouldn't be abolished. And as many people have previously said, wealthy people deserve to choose a good school for their children. I'm from a working class background and my parents' attitude towards my future can be summed up by the fact they smoked while pregnant with me and raising me. I went to a state school, it wasn't the worst but there were many days when I felt the disruptive classmates and the quality of teaching wasted a lot of my time. I genuinely wanted to learn and do well, and I did ok and am now at university but I think there should be some sort of system which identifies students like me and sponsors them through private education or something.
Yes definitely! My friend was in a similar boat, her school was bad and the teachers didn't give enough support (both educationally and emotionally). As I've previously said, there are a few people in my school who have bursaries, but there are quite a few people who don't give one about their education, and are just there because mummy and daddy paid for it. Private schools should be for people who actually want to learn, like you


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JamesTheCool
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(Original post by Kazzyv)
Don t ban private schools but a big yes to improving state schools so that they do give pupils the education they deserve.
Yes but on the other hand, improving state schools is practically a utopia. Although, getting rid of 'mixed ability' classes and streaming kids into classes based on their ability for each subject would be an idea (so take note, Michael Gove). As someone who went to a supposedly good state school, I think the problem is rooted in the pupils, not state education itself.

I understand your situation though. I'd do the same if I had kids (not that I want any, personally). But I still think segregation in schools is just plain wrong in general.
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TheLoveDoctor
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(Original post by Rinsed)
This makes absolutely no sense at all.

Firstly, not all faith schools are private. Far from it, in fact.
Secondly, how is having a faith, or being educated by religious people, an injustice?

Unless you're some Soviet nutjob who thinks that religion is a tool of the bourgeoisie or something similarly ridiculous.
1) exactly, about 1/3 of all public schools are religious/theocratic schools, it's pretty unjust in my honest opinion and pretty unfair on the kids themselves who are subjected to this nonsense when they're meant to be an environment of learning and accepting truths
2) having faith isn't the problem, schools that actively promote one religion over another (or any religion for that matter, it's all non-sense) is a state that is telling its citizens what to believe in terms of religions, and I thought that western liberal democratic society had moved on from that sort of thing - surely we shouldn't be told what to believe? how does a government have that right to indoctrinate us? shouldn't religion be a private matter? some day my taxes will be used to indoctrinate children and actively oppose my own beliefs - how am I meant to be okay with that? surely the government should have nothing to do with any of it in terms of teaching kids what's real and not real, or what's right from wrong? you're blurring "having faith" with "being taught to have faith" - faith is irrational, by definition, so teaching kids to be what is essentially "stupid" is pretty questionable, surely? I don't mean to be rude (if I'm appearing rude), but faith cannot be reconciled with reason in a literal sense because it is a polar opposite of reason

and almost all western democracies are secular and separate church and state, it was a central tenet of the enlightenment. e.g. how is america a "soviet" place to be in that regard? how is it "nutty" to have clear and principled valued of fairness and equality in terms of religion and the government?
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MindTheGaps
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(Original post by TheLoveDoctor)
1) exactly, about 1/3 of all public schools are religious/theocratic schools, it's pretty unjust in my honest opinion and pretty unfair on the kids themselves who are subjected to this nonsense when they're meant to be an environment of learning and accepting truths
2) having faith isn't the problem, schools that actively promote one religion over another (or any religion for that matter, it's all non-sense) is a state that is telling its citizens what to believe in terms of religions, and I thought that western liberal democratic society had moved on from that sort of thing - surely we shouldn't be told what to believe? how does a government have that right to indoctrinate us? shouldn't religion be a private matter? some day my taxes will be used to indoctrinate children and actively oppose my own beliefs - how am I meant to be okay with that? surely the government should have nothing to do with any of it in terms of teaching kids what's real and not real, or what's right from wrong? you're blurring "having faith" with "being taught to have faith" - faith is irrational, by definition, so teaching kids to be what is essentially "stupid" is pretty questionable, surely? I don't mean to be rude (if I'm appearing rude), but faith cannot be reconciled with reason in a literal sense because it is a polar opposite of reason

and almost all western democracies are secular and separate church and state, it was a central tenet of the enlightenment. e.g. how is america a "soviet" place to be in that regard? how is it "nutty" to have clear and principled valued of fairness and equality in terms of religion and the government?
The irony is that you still wish to dictate what state schools may and may not teach children. You're opinion is just different -and more restritive- to others. You cannot objectively say that a religion is nonsense and secularism is the path to truth; it may be your honest and heartfelt opinion (and not an unreasonable one) but at the end of the day that is what it is.

If parents don't want to send their children to a faith school, they don't have to. The reality is many want to, and I don't think this choice should be restricted to those with the money to pay for a private education. I always come down on the side of the liberty to choose.
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hollo
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I went to a state school which was full of disruptive pupils and a lot of the (great) teachers were unable to focus on educating their pupils because they had to spend most of their time disciplining. Coming from a city where private schools are very popular, a lot of people believe that this is problematic because the disruptive pupils (who were almost all from poorer backgrounds - this is not a generalisation, it is sadly just how it was) were diluting the kids who just wanted to get on with it and the kids that actually wanted to learn. If it had been the other way round, there is a chance that some of the disruptive pupils wouldn't have been in an environment where they could egg each other on and they might have concentrated better.

I don't think we should abolish private schools, and I am certain that I would have had a more fulfilling educational experience if I had attended one. I don't know what kind of education I would choose for my children but I disagree with the majority of posters who are saying that getting rid of private schools wouldn't necessarily make any difference - in some areas it would have huge repercussions. I know a lot of people whose parents sent them to private schools on scholarships because their children were joining 'bad crowds' at the underfunded state schools.

We need to push more resources into state education so that people want to send their children there. I know of private and state schools that work together, for example when there is a lack of demand for a subject in one, and this appears to have been effective. We need state schools that have a culture of motivation and learning rather than enduring discipline and pushing uniforms. State schools could learn a lot from private schools and there is no need to remove the choice that is out there.
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TheLoveDoctor
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(Original post by Rinsed)
The irony is that you still wish to dictate what state schools may and may not teach children. You're opinion is just different -and more restritive- to others. You cannot objectively say that a religion is nonsense and secularism is the path to truth; it may be your honest and heartfelt opinion (and not an unreasonable one) but at the end of the day that is what it is.

If parents don't want to send their children to a faith school, they don't have to. The reality is many want to, and I don't think this choice should be restricted to those with the money to pay for a private education. I always come down on the side of the liberty to choose.
1) the doctrine of secularism is based on not intervening in terms of religion or irreligion. if schools don't have an opinion on religion then how is that teaching kids anything? that's like saying by not teaching them about about football they're promoting "anti-footballism" which surely you'll agree with me is nonsense. secularism is keeping a neutral and non-active environment in terms of religion where nobody is discriminated against; you could have a christian child, a jewish child, a muslim child and an atheist child and nobody would be favoured or disadvantaged, e.g. when I went to a private school when I was about 5 I remember that my jewish friend wasn't allowed to attend our assemblies in the mornings because he was jewish so he had to wait in another room - tell me that's not discriminatory and segregatory. if you simply omit from having any sort of religious element then you keep the kids equal and you don't create an abusive power relationship based of how the state (or the schools of the state) are the ones to tell children to believe in god or not to believe in god which obviously is a stupid idea in 2013 because children will believe in anything if it's persistent enough, such as with a religious school curriculum or religious assemblies etc.

2) when I said that secularism was superior and that faith was unreasonable, the former statement was based on the fact that it is based on equality, individual rights, rationality (e.g. kids deciding for themselves, not being told what to think) etc, whereas the latter is simply true by definition; if you have to literally suspend thought and accept "just because" where no rationale is involved, then that is obviously the absence of reason and there's nothing more I can really tell you.

3) and I agree with you - parents have a right to indoctrinate their kids ultimately. whether I like that or not, but I don't think the *government* should force parents and children to be part of a religion they do not agree with, because school attendance is compulsory, so it is a violation of religious rights when there is no freedom to choose (e.g. in this country, the UK, by law, schools must have prayers, and I went to a state school from the point of 9 years old and onwards where they often did have prayers and religion-based encouragements). surely you recognise this as valid? how can you suggest that it is about choice when it is about force?
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bookbreaker
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Why should those who's parents/fee-payers have earned their money through extensive means be deprived of the opportunity for a better education? Any opportunity to have a better education, no matter what your background is, will lead to more progress in society, whether it be combating climate change, curing cancer or what not!

And also, who has the right to tell the parents/fee-payers what they can and can't spend their money on? It's their money, they earned it, so those who are less fortunate should at least have the respect to let them spend money the way they like (To an extent of-course!).

Also, private education makes life easier for state-school pupils, why? Because those who pay for private education pay larger taxes (Due to progressive taxation), and leave places in state-schools less contested as students are being taken from the public system, into the private.
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JamesTheCool
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(Original post by Rinsed)
The irony is that you still wish to dictate what state schools may and may not teach children. You're opinion is just different -and more restritive- to others. You cannot objectively say that a religion is nonsense and secularism is the path to truth; it may be your honest and heartfelt opinion (and not an unreasonable one) but at the end of the day that is what it is.

If parents don't want to send their children to a faith school, they don't have to. The reality is many want to, and I don't think this choice should be restricted to those with the money to pay for a private education. I always come down on the side of the liberty to choose.
The emphasis shouldn't be placed on the parents though. The children should also have a say on whether or not they want to go to such schools, because believe it or not, they're people too and they might have a completely different mindset.

I went to a Roman Catholic primary school, not because my parents and I are religious, but because it was situated in close proximity to our house. It had this vile, bossy sisterhood atmosphere to it, and some of the teachers had very warped, Daily-Mail outlooks on life. I'd say half of my classmates who went there became rebels and drop-outs later on (funnily enough, they tended to have pushier parents). I'm not a cold-blooded atheist but I think religious schools are a bad idea because they are out of date and don't prepare you for the real horrors of the 21st century. Instead they instill a child's head with unnecessary fears and superstitious rubbish.
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Marahahaha
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I attend a private school, which isn't very good. State schools in the area are much better, with better teaching. But, not all private schools are bad. Some are rather good, but on the other hand, a lot need to improve.
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JamesTheCool
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(Original post by John Stuart Mill)
okay
I take that back. I'll admit, that was a stupid thing of me to say. Conservative people often have a greater affinity for the finer things in life.
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MindTheGaps
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(Original post by TheLoveDoctor)
1) the doctrine of secularism is based on not intervening in terms of religion or irreligion. if schools don't have an opinion on religion then how is that teaching kids anything? that's like saying by not teaching them about about football they're promoting "anti-footballism" which surely you'll agree with me is nonsense. secularism is keeping a neutral and non-active environment in terms of religion where nobody is discriminated against; you could have a christian child, a jewish child, a muslim child and an atheist child and nobody would be favoured or disadvantaged, e.g. when I went to a private school when I was about 5 I remember that my jewish friend wasn't allowed to attend our assemblies in the mornings because he was jewish so he had to wait in another room - tell me that's not discriminatory and segregatory. if you simply omit from having any sort of religious element then you keep the kids equal and you don't create an abusive power relationship based of how the state (or the schools of the state) are the ones to tell children to believe in god or not to believe in god which obviously is a stupid idea in 2013 because children will believe in anything if it's persistent enough, such as with a religious school curriculum or religious assemblies etc.
Now, I am not saying I necessarily disagree that a secular environment is the best way to teach children. I don't have any personal axe to grind against religious schools, some of them are clearly very good, but I agree that a more inclusive atmosphere has its benefits.

On the other hand, I don't agree that the government should be allowed to dictate what beliefs should be allowed to be taught in schools. Now, what you are saying is that government-funded institutions should teach no beliefs at all. This ideal is not without some merit, but on closer inspection is impossible. Let us for the moment not specify religious belief, but generalise all beliefs and opinions that are not grounded in scientific fact.
Firstly, when you are teaching history, or philosophy, or politics, or whatever, there is no such thing as an 'unbiased' standpoint. We all have our own biases, and 'unbiased' normally just means conforming to society's pervading opinion.
Then of course, school exposes a huge number social and cultural norms to children that they would not necessarily be exposed to in the home. Not necessarily deliberately or directly, but that does not lessen the huge amount of pressure to conform. The ethos of the school determines which norms they will be conforming to.
Now, one significant factor of ethos is the religious principles (or lack thereof) in the school. You cannot just say a secular ethos is objectively better, or more 'neutral', than a religious one. There is no such thing as neutral in something like this. This is something parents ought to have control over.
If you accept that school has a huge influence on a child's opinions and beliefs, and I do, then why discriminate against religious belief so? That it is more obvious than the others is about the worst you can say about it.

If your argument were limited to the requirement for daily payer in all schools (the unfair promotion of our established religion) you would be on much firmer ground with the entire inclusivity thing. But in this country we have a large number of schools run by a variety of faith groups. Not one particular opinion is being promoted by the government, and crucially parents can decide whether or not they want their child to attend.
I admit that this is not an ideal world, and often parents send a child to a school because it is better or more convenient for them, rather than considerations like this. School choice in some areas is poor, but this is what the free schools and academies programme being run by the government aims to help: to provide a greater number of schools, with greater autonomy over what they teach, so that parents, not the government, can choose what is best for their child.

I am also uncomfortable with the idea, when so many parents want to educate their children in faith schools, that it should be a choice forbidden to those without the money to buy out of the state system.

2) when I said that secularism was superior and that faith was unreasonable, the former statement was based on the fact that it is based on equality, individual rights, rationality (e.g. kids deciding for themselves, not being told what to think) etc, whereas the latter is simply true by definition; if you have to literally suspend thought and accept "just because" where no rationale is involved, then that is obviously the absence of reason and there's nothing more I can really tell you.
There are billions of religious people on this planet: certainly a majority of the world, if not this particular country. To denounce all their beliefs as unreasonable, with little justification, falls somewhat short.

That religion is unreasonable is just another opinion. You think it's true, you may be right. But equally are you prepared to say that there is no possibility that you are wrong? That you are infallible? It is an unfortunate truth that most people's moral and political views require forcing everyone else to conform to what they think is correct.

3) and I agree with you - parents have a right to indoctrinate their kids ultimately. whether I like that or not, but I don't think the *government* should force parents and children to be part of a religion they do not agree with, because school attendance is compulsory, so it is a violation of religious rights when there is no freedom to choose (e.g. in this country, the UK, by law, schools must have prayers, and I went to a state school from the point of 9 years old and onwards where they often did have prayers and religion-based encouragements). surely you recognise this as valid? how can you suggest that it is about choice when it is about force?
It is exactly because it is about force that the idea of government choosing what opinions be promoted to children is so abhorrent. To be honest I agree that this should extend to the requirement for daily payer 'of a broadly Christian nature', but this does seem to be a separate argument.

In any case, your argument seems contradictory. It is abhorrent for the government to decide what children are taught in school by promoting certain beliefs, but acceptable for the government to decide what children are taught in schools by banning others.
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TheLoveDoctor
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(Original post by Rinsed)
In any case, your argument seems contradictory. It is abhorrent for the government to decide what children are taught in school by promoting certain beliefs, but acceptable for the government to decide what children are taught in schools by banning others.
government is the only thing that *does* decide what kids are taught in state schools, or it delegates the authority to do so. who else decides the national curriculum? and who said I advocated promoting certain beliefs? do I need to explain what secularism is? it's an absence of teaching one thing or the other - it leaves that to the parents because surely the parents are the one's who are best suited for teaching kids about such controversial things like this? if you suggest that the government should teach *about* religion, then in my opinion there should be very specific circumstances for this e.g. a class about not only religion but also philosophy and politics where they'd learn *about* them, not that they're true or that they should regard some ideologies (e.g. the 6 "big" religions) over others (especially seeing as there are really only a couple of fundamental political ideologies, e.g. liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, etc where there aren't a billion variations on them like in religious traditions). that's different to banning ideas though - again, if we didn't teach kids about astronomy would that be banning astronomy? if we didn't teach kids about shintoism or daoism is that banning shinotism and daoism? so basically if you're logic follows our government is banning those ideas in schools?
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