Vital school lesson that we refuse to learn...
ONCE again The Sutton Trust does excellent research on the terrible state of our schools. Once again, driven by ideology, it misses the point. The revelation that eight expensive private schools together scored as many Oxbridge places as 2,894 state schools will delight Leftwing fanatics, who will pretend it’s the result of Oxbridge snobbery.
In fact, the two great universities strive very hard to encourage applicants from poor backgrounds. But atrocious, disorderly state secondaries don’t teach them well enough, and too many of their teachers, in the grip of inverted snobbery, sulkily refuse to encourage children to apply for top colleges. That’s only the half of it. The Sutton figures, read carefully, show that academically selective state grammar schools come close to matching the vastly expensive public schools in gaining Oxbridge places.
Alas, there are hardly any of them. In the days when we had a national network of state grammar schools, 64.6 per cent of their pupils came from working class homes, according to the GurneyDixon report of 1954. And most survived into the sixth form, in those pre-expansion days the equivalent of university. The Crowther Report of 1959 found more than 40 per cent of sixthformers at grammar schools were working class. What ‘outstanding’ comprehensive or academy can say that today?
By 1964, these bright boys and girls from working class homes were storming Oxford and Cambridge, beating the expensive private schools without any special help or concessions. Then that stopped, when all but a tiny rump of grammars were smashed up in the egalitarian lunacy of the 1960s.
Watching ‘experts’ and politicians discussing education is like being in a nightmare. In that awful dream, I have to watch, powerless, while a surgeon kills a patient because he refuses to use the only procedure which could have saved him.