No, but it means, due to higher teacher quality, time, and resources that private schools have, that your child has a GREATER chance of gaining As and Bs. It does not, I agree, mean that your child automatically goes to Oxbridge, but due to the fact that he has a greater chance of gaining As and Bs means that he/she will have a greater chance of getting into a high-grade university. And in the end, parents send their children to private school in the HOPE that they will get GOOD GRADES due to the above reasons - they are taking a CHANCE on the child's future.
How about, in who knows how many years time, we see if we have the money to send our children to private schools?
If we do, ask *them* if they want to go. At 10, I was old enough to make the decision between comp and grammar. I think that it should be the child's choice, as it will affect them. You can ask them again at 12, 14, 16 just in case.
Hmm I think this argument is a bit skewed. I went to a comprehensive and am studying at Oxford (as my name suggests!). The people who did well in my school tended to be the middle class kids, namely the sons & daughters of teachers, doctors, pharmacists etc. The self-same middle class kids who had we lived in another area probably would have gone to a private school and left people such as myself to struggle through the tough existence of a comprehensive school. It isn't easy, and sometimes I wonder if those who have had a private education - please don't immediately jump on what I say here, I have plenty of friends who were privately educated - realise just how tough comprehensives can be. There can be no comparison to the inner city comprehensive in the private sector, nor the endemic problems that are rife in state education.
As for the argument over state or private, my county has two types of secondary school - a welsh medium comprehensive or an english medium one. This is fairly common in Wales, as such I have seen Comprehensive Education and only that. I have to say it works for those that want it to, and provides a basic education whether those people realise it or not for the majority that (lets face it) don't want to be there. This is why comprehensives such as the one I went to are branching out into fields that would have been taught in a Secondary Modern forty years ago. For instance my school will be teaching Construction from next year onwards, education after all isn't all about getting to Oxbridge or getting AAA at A Level (or in cases much more), would this happen in a private school? I think not. This is the great benefit of state comprehensive education: it provides for all as it should.
The problem isn't state or private, the problem must surely be quality of teachers. These days those teachers who truly care about their charges, who instill a sense of wanting to learn, fascination, are few and far between. Thankfully my school was staffed by teachers who cared about their work rather than simply being there because the Golden Handshake was all too tempting post graduation. We have to re-evaluate teacher training first not worry about the differences between state and private.
As parents you want more of a guarantee though - and therefore send their child to private school. Intelligence or lack of it in early age is NO indicator, unfortunately, to how intelligent a child turns out to be once he had matured. I was rubbish, absolutely crud, at german primary school (where I got 3s/4s in subjects on a scale of 1=best, 6=worst); then I didn't do great at GCSE (A*A*AAAABBB2 - I could have done better, but didn't know better then), but have thankfully "academically" matured (As= AAAA; pred A2 AAAB). My point is this: if I hadn't been focused on for academic assistance and coaching in private school, my results would have been at least a grade lower than those above. So private education, at least in my personal case, gave me a greater chance of getting good grades. I had, and was made to, work very hard during schooldays, and also unaided during holidays.
Without private school, I would have gone down the academic drain. "Bright and hardworking" comes through nuturing, not necessarily nature. Nature gives you the intelligence to achieve, school the dedication to achievement. And private schools, on the whole, are more dedicated to achievement, it seems.