Entirely my own quite confused and unclear views here…
I’ve worked in private school and mainstream, maintained school and I have had awesome highs and crippling lows in both. I’m currently in a medium-sized LA maintained school in the South-West of England and I love it passionately.
What I have learned in all my time in schools is that kids are kids whatever their demographic. They have the many of the same worries, wobbles and emotional difficulties whether they’re boarding internationally or at their local comprehensive. So much of the teenage experience is common. While I think that parents’ influence over their children is significant in their life trajectory, I also believe schools can also have a significant input into the life outcomes of their kids.
So this is all based in my opinion and thoughts from a few years of working in different places. I don’t think at all that private schools are wrong and I think they hold an important place in a broad. I also think that state school probably don’t suit every young person or their families and I think that having the choice as to where to send kids is important, whether in the state sector or the private sector.
However, I do find schools that detract from mainstream, comprehensive schools problematic. I struggle with ‘free schools’ as a concept; they appear to take a disproportionate amount of money to set up. Money which is not from a bottomless, tax-payer funded pit. I find this more problematic than a school that is self-sustaining as a business (not a charity).
Private schools do send a disproportionately large number of students to Oxbridge. But I do tend to agree with this article , where the author calls on all schools to promote excellence for their brightest students. It’s not wrong. But realistically, do mainstream schools have the capacity to manage this and fully support learners in their journey. I don’t know and I find myself in an impasse at this point.
I don’t know what my final views on this are. I don’t have a definitive stance but I am open to talking to others and learning all sorts of new things!