Author Topic: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.  (Read 8019 times)

Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« on: January 26, 2011, 06:43:20 pm »
Tonight 9pm BBC2.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 07:40:57 pm »
Except for viewers in Scotland.

It's on on Thursday here. Tonight we have Crimewatch.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Wowbagger

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 07:51:10 pm »
Except for viewers in Scotland.

It's on on Thursday here. Tonight we have Crimewatch.

I'd say the English do too.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

clarion

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 10:03:13 pm »
Except for viewers in Scotland.

It's on on Thursday here. Tonight we have Crimewatch.

I'd say the English do too.

;D :thumbsup: POTD
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Rapples

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 07:52:17 am »
Interesting program, didn't catch the end.

It seemed fairly damning of the comprehensive's ability to match public school education compared to the grammar system.  It seemed to confirm what my old history teacher told me, that the actual value of a private education these days is much higher than it was 30-40 years ago, because the gap is getting wider.

Rig of Jarkness

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 07:54:28 pm »
And further evidenced in the awarding of music contracts apparently.

It seems to me that what we're seeing is the success of the previous generation of grammar schools.  These gave children of modest means the chance to shine. Many took full advantage and achieved sufficient wealth that they in turn were able to send their children to fee paying schools.  And this is the generation that is now achieving success in Parliamentary elections/the music industry etc.  I see this as just a natural progression.
Aero but not dynamic

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 08:14:03 pm »
Interesting program, didn't catch the end.

It seemed fairly damning of the comprehensive's ability to match public school education compared to the grammar system.  It seemed to confirm what my old history teacher told me, that the actual value of a private education these days is much higher than it was 30-40 years ago, because the gap is getting wider.


I wouldn't have got any more "O" levels or "A" levels at a fee-paying school, I don't think; maybe I would have got three A grades at "A" level rather than AAC, but in 1987 even AAC was more than good enough to apply to Cambridge for an engineering course.  I didn't, because of the fear of not fitting in with all the private school lot.

Some private school teachers are crap; you don't actually need any qualifications as I understand it (my wife is a state school teacher and her friend's brother teaches at a prestigious private school).
Never tell me the odds.

Rig of Jarkness

  • An Englishman abroad
Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 07:16:11 am »
The programme raised quite a large number of questions, I'm surprised that there hasn't been more response to it on this forum.

Amongst the points that struck a chord with me were
- The dominance of the career politician
- The closing of the trade union channel as a means of entry into political office
- The lack of socio-economic diversity
- The fact that none of the above apply to the same extent in Scotland or Wales (or presumably N Ireland)
- That comprehensives are not providing the opportunities formerly provided by grammar schools for those with talent to shine

Edit - the other point I've just remembered was the staunch Labour Party member he interviewed who refused to vote at the last election because not of the candidates had a working class background.  In my book that's not much different from refusing to vote for them because of their gender or race.
Aero but not dynamic

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2011, 08:05:29 am »
I think there is a million miles between most private schools and those such as Eton, in all sorts of ways.

Pancho

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2011, 08:38:21 am »
I agree with the grammar school (and, by extension, assisted places) having been a hugely powerful route for entry into politics and business. And, often overlooked, the TUs.

One aspect touched on in the programme was the power of party over constituency - the parachuting in of the favoured and connected into safe seats - at the expense of popular but unconnected local candidates. I'd be interested to know if this has become worse over the past decade. Incidentally, another reason I dislike PR systems as it increase the ease of parties to do this.

However, the question remains - why can't comps adequately develop pupils in the way grammars did or the assisted places scheme allowed?

Last week I watched my daughter in a public speaking competition in which there was a single state school team entered. I was quietly hoping that, Hollywood style, they would confound stereotypes and, with their fantastic oration, wipe the floor with the opposition. It wasn't to be - their posture-free shamble onto stage in their scruffy labourer style uniforms[1] set the tone perfectly for their performance.

I spoke to them after and left the event angered. These were bright kids and happy to put the time in outside of school. How could they be let down so badly? They weren't just poor performers on stage; they lacked the important one-to-one discussion skills for the in-the-margins parts of these events; giggly girls and boys shuffling with eyes downcast. Intelligent, yes, but utterly unschooled. And this was the only comp that had the wit to even enter. Poor sods.

Hopefully, I'll report back from the next rounds of the event to say our region is unrepresentative. I'll let you know next week.

[1] I'm undecided on uniforms but if you are going to have them at school, don't choose a rig that makes the wearer look like he's turned up to move the furniture around.

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2011, 08:45:11 am »
Don't feel angry about it...you've helped create the situation.

Pancho

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 08:48:56 am »
Don't feel angry about...you've helped create the situation.

Care to elaborate?

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2011, 08:58:49 am »
I flagged this up on this board because it's where people might look to plan their viewing, but a discussion belongs on POBI. It's an important subject, largely because our current education sytem is out of step with developing countries.

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2011, 09:02:37 am »
Don't feel angry about...you've helped create the situation.

Care to elaborate?

By supporting the private school system.

The downcast glances and shuffling on stage are happening because those pupils are well aware of their social inferiority. 

Panoramix

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2011, 09:51:29 am »
Don't feel angry about...you've helped create the situation.

Care to elaborate?

By supporting the private school system.

The downcast glances and shuffling on stage are happening because those pupils are well aware of their social inferiority. 

You need to back this up because I have anecdotical evidence showing the opposite.

Pancho

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2011, 09:57:30 am »
I flagged this up on this board because it's where people might look to plan their viewing, but a discussion belongs on POBI. It's an important subject, largely because our current education sytem is out of step with developing countries.

Good point - can someone move it to its rightful location?

Wowbagger

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2011, 10:42:06 am »
One of the reasons my kids are so eternally grateful to the head teacher of their primary school was that he expected his pupils to excel, no matter what the opposition. When we took chess teams to National Championships, he actually told them that not only did he want them to "beat the posh kids" but that he wanted them to make them cry. Chess, of course, tends to be the domain of the Public Schoolboy. There are very few girls.

Quite frequently, at primary school age, my daughters used to find themselves playing a small boy who would look smugly at his blazered chums and say, all too often rubbing his hands in glee, "Oh good! I'm playing a girl!" What he didn't realise, of course, was that the girl in question happened to be a National Champion in her age group and she didn't say a word nor bat an eyelid. She just thought "Oh good! I'm playing an idiot!" Generally the games were very one-sided: the good players knew who my daughters were.

Of course, there were other state schools who participated and some who succeeded, but they were normally from Richmond-upon-Thames or Hampstead Garden Suburb. For the record, Temple Sutton won 4 national titles in a 10 year period.

This year, the school has the best team for about 10 years I reckon. They are in the National Championships again and have already accounted for Southend High (a State Grammar) and Forest School (a massive fee-paying establishment in Redbridge) and will play Norwich School in the East of England Final soon.

The Temple Sutton Head doesn't just concentrate on chess: we still have the 11+ in Southend and the grammar schools operate it as their entrance exam. He takes his best Year 6 kids and crams them for this. Temple Sutton's best ever scorer in this was a young lad who came 16th in the County. He also won the British u11 Chess Championship with a 100% score - only the 4th junior ever to achieve this. For three or four consecutive years I took him on holiday with us to the British Championships, and for most of the rest of the year I would take him to weekend events where he would clean up with prize money. Sadly, this lad came from a very difficult background and, because of his mother's influence, became very unreliable. A couple of times I went to pick him up for a County match only to be told by his mother that he wasn't there when I could see him in the bedroom window. I suspect that she was depriving him from his chess because he's been misbehaving. Essex would turn up a player short, which was extremely embarrassing, so I just stopped picking him for the team. His academic success collapsed. From being 16th in the County at 11+ he had a mediocre set of GCSEs and worse A levels. His chess went nowhere.

With hindsight, we were conducting a social experiment. We demonstrated that, with the right schooling, kids from council-estate schools can compete with, and beat, the public schools. Allow them to fall way from that and they become mediocre. So in this country we cream off at two levels: firstly, whether you can afford the privileged education and, in Essex, Kent and a few other places, whether we can run an 11+ system which allows kids to be creamed off again. We stick the failures in the sink schools and concentrate on the elite.

What's the difference between the kids? Parental attitude. In the fee-paying and grammar school, the right parental attitude is highly concentrated, they make demands of the school and of course the school provides. The norm in the other schools is tending towards the couldn't-care-less and those kids who have the potential for success are quite often labelled swats and creeps. The system is geared to make them fail.

It is a great tragedy that a Labour government didn't sweep away all this privilege and at a stroke remove all the fee-paying and entrance-exam schools. If they had, and comprehensives had become the norm, every school would have had a hard core of parents with the right parental attitude who would have carried the rest along. There would be no school in which there would have been an anti-educational hard core. There would be far fewer barriers to success amongst kids from less privileged backgrounds.

Curiously, the posh kids would have benefitted from this. Having street-hardened opposition tests them to see if they could sink or swim. The young lad I mentioned above used to terrify his opponents because, so far as they were concerned, he was a freak. A wily, sharp chess player who spoke Saarfend and could give them a bloody nose afterwards (not that he ever did but he had a commanding physical presence). Just imagine what Tim Henman could have achieved if he's gone to a comprehensive school.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Jaded

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2011, 10:55:47 am »
every school would have had a hard core of parents with the right parental attitude who would have carried the rest along.

A mistake is to 'leave' this up to parents alone. The success or otherwise of schools impacts on the whole of society, health, business, the voluntary sector, crime, governance. Parents are hugely important but we need to find a way of making sure all sectors realise how important schooling is, and then get involved in local schooling and education.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

gonzo

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2011, 11:03:52 am »
What's the difference between the kids? Parental attitude. In the fee-paying and grammar school, the right parental attitude is highly concentrated, they make demands of the school and of course the school provides. The norm in the other schools is tending towards the couldn't-care-less and those kids who have the potential for success are quite often labelled swats and creeps. The system is geared to make them fail.

I'd say that the far more important point in this is something that you didn't list at all; some parents push their kids to succeed, others don't. Most parents at private schools will push their children because they know how important an education is. What I mean by this is that they'll, for example, sit them down and make them do homework properly. If you're unemployed and have no interest in finding a job, you're going to pass on your 'couldn't care less' attitude about exams to the children.

To give you an example, a successful friend of mine was given 15 minutes of mental arithmetic every night when he went home from school. He was also sat down to do homework every night. Both his sisters went to Cambridge, he decided to go to a different uni.

Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2011, 11:08:49 am »
You need to back this up because I have anecdotical evidence showing the opposite.

I know you place a lot of value on anecdotal evidence.

After all, you subscribe to an entire belief system based on a fantasy novel.  ;D

Wowbagger

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2011, 11:59:30 am »
What's the difference between the kids? Parental attitude. In the fee-paying and grammar school, the right parental attitude is highly concentrated, they make demands of the school and of course the school provides. The norm in the other schools is tending towards the couldn't-care-less and those kids who have the potential for success are quite often labelled swats and creeps. The system is geared to make them fail.

I'd say that the far more important point in this is something that you didn't list at all; some parents push their kids to succeed, others don't. Most parents at private schools will push their children because they know how important an education is. What I mean by this is that they'll, for example, sit them down and make them do homework properly. If you're unemployed and have no interest in finding a job, you're going to pass on your 'couldn't care less' attitude about exams to the children.

To give you an example, a successful friend of mine was given 15 minutes of mental arithmetic every night when he went home from school. He was also sat down to do homework every night. Both his sisters went to Cambridge, he decided to go to a different uni.

That's precisely what I mean by parental attitude: the expectation that the child will succeed and the wherewithal to make it happen.

Regarding Jaded's point, spot on, but just imagine the difference that is made when every school has a critical mass of parents who are willing that school to succeed, rather than bunging them all into the same school. When every school has its fair share of captains of industry, academics, politicians, high court judges and trade union leaders, they expect results for their kids and there is then no barrier for the poorer kids in the same school to take advantage of the benefits.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Jaded

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2011, 12:05:13 pm »
Yup. But a hiccup with parents, is that unless they have multiple kids they are involved for a limited time. Consistency and continuity is valuable (as is gradual change too, of course)
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

mattc

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2011, 12:07:19 pm »
Regarding Jaded's point, spot on, but just imagine the difference that is made when every school has a critical mass of parents who are willing that school to succeed, rather than bunging them all into the same school. When every school has its fair share of captains of industry, academics, politicians, high court judges and trade union leaders, they expect results for their kids and there is then no barrier for the poorer kids in the same school to take advantage of the benefits.
Currently the Captains of Industry (if they can't afford private schools in this recession) send their kids to the best comp in the area, and all the other CsofI follow.

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Pancho

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2011, 12:13:01 pm »
Quote
You can only join this club if you can afford a house in the right area.

Which is a real problem; it's even more purely financially selective than the independent system - there you still have to pass entry exams however much wonga your parents might be able to wave.

Wowbagger

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Re: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain.
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2011, 12:13:36 pm »
Yup. But a hiccup with parents, is that unless they have multiple kids they are involved for a limited time. Consistency and continuity is valuable (as is gradual change too, of course)

That's true, but every year group has its own highly-motivated parents. The baton gets passed on.

I was vice-chair of governors at the kids' primary school for about 10 years, working to the same chairman, one Ron Kennedy, who was leader of the Labour group on Essex County Council. When my youngest left, I thought long and hard about staying on, but the deciding factor was when a couple of parents, working together, decided to make a bid for the chair and vice-chair's job. The timing was perfect: to be honest, my heart wasn't in the job after my daughter had left, I didn't want to fight an election and win (pressure to perform) and I certainly didn't want to fight an election and lose (I'm a very bad loser). The time was right for both Ron and me to retire gracefully and that's exactly what we did. We'd helped the Head steer the school through the choppy waters of Local Management and Grant Maintained status (we always avoided the latter, hanging on to the ideological belief that it was the Local Authority's job to oversee education) and now it was someone else's turn.

I still go into the school to teach chess, but that's now my only involvement. That may well come to an end in July as the Head is due to retire.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.