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Abolishing Private Schools in Favor of Public Education

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If I had one wish, one that could benefit Scotland and the rest of the UK, it would be this. Abolish private school education. While I am aware of the widely contrasting views on this topic, I do believe that there are problems with private school education that we need to address. From creating social inequality and division between the classes to allowing the privileged few to be able to buy their children a better chance at succeeding in life, simply because their pockets are bigger. Despite only a small percent of the UK’s population being privately educated , former pupils of private school education manage to control the higher divisions of British society and public life.

To begin with, some might argue that it is completely reasonable to have an option – for people who can afford it- to buy further advanced education, that could help educate children to a higher standard, however I believe this is not representative of Scotland as a whole, this is shown in Scotland’s results in general election with SNP- ninety percent having went to comprehensive schools, and Labour collecting the majority of votes in recent general elections due to being left wing parties, having views that support people who are not so fortunate as the privileged minority.

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Furthermore, it is outrageous that only seven percent of the UK’s population is privately educated yet former pupils from private schools from all over, dominate the upper echelons of society. Dictating the more prestigious and admirable jobs across Scotland and the UK: the courts, businesses, the media, and the civil service. For example, two-thirds of the UK coalition government’s ministers, more than half the cabinet and a third of all MPs attended private schools. In my opinion that is not a government which is able to relate to and make the best decisions for the majority of the population, when the majority of people making the decisions to make this country a better place have led a very different lifestyle and most likely share different views. John Rees a socialist author spoke on BBC radio 2 about his views on this, he commented:

“ 64% of the cabinet were privately educated whereas only 7% of the entire population were privately educated and what this does is, it doesn’t only allow the rich to buy a better education, as everybody recognises not just an educational question, this is about making the next generation of rulers into an elite which can’t be addressed by democratic means, after all if we keep having elections we will have the same people from the same families very often coming from the same schools and the same universities end up running the show what does that actually tell us about the ability of ordinary people to take control of society.”

The main reasons as to why private schools are notably better is due to their classes being significantly smaller and a lot more abundant and advanced resources. Private schools can allow academic and talented children to go above and beyond the standard curriculum set by the government for public schools and give the opportunity to improve a lot faster than you would in a state school. Since, private schools have a much smaller number of pupils in a class this also allows teachers to spend more time and focus on children who may need support , allowing children in that environment to thrive, unlike state schools where classes are filled to the brim – in some cases more than treble the size of private school classes, and some teachers even struggle to control a class never mind teach. This is the harsh reality of today’s world, that because you have money you can get access to superior learning of your child giving them a better education and opportunities for the future.

Money should not hinder a persons progress. Education should simply be based on an individual’s hard work and ability, not on a family bank account. If we have a look at countries such as Norway or Finland which have over ninety-five percent of their students attending public school, these countries have been proven to be some of the best educated countries in the world. According to statistics, by allowing a two-tier system to continue, too many hard working and capable students will fall through the cracks, being unfairly disadvantaged to their wealthy peers. Education is supposed to open doors, not close them.

Sir Peter Lample, chairman of the Sutton Trust educational charity , told that: “It also remains the case that those from better off neighbourhoods, are much more likely to go to university”.

Statistics prove time and time again that those individuals with a private education background have more job prospects and social and education opportunities than those who were educated by the state. The ratio of private school pupils getting into the most prestigious universities is considerably high considering the very small number of children who are educated privately; to the extent where these universities have been accused of discrimination. However, there has been a marginal rise in university entries coming from state schools and disadvantaged areas, but education secretary Damian Hinds added: “Of course there is still more to do.”

Mr Hinds added: ‘That is why we have introduced major reforms through the Higher Education and Research Act, including the Transparency Duty which will require all universities to publish data broken down by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background, shining a light on institutions that need to do more to widen access.’

From the published data, figures showed that two in five universities have seen a drop in the proportion of students from state school.

The shortage of teachers recently has turned into a national crisis, private schools being a possible factor in attracting many of the UK’s teachers with 54% of oxford graduates who go into teaching, end up going to private schools. Basically, what is happening is, the private sector is draining the best qualified teachers out of the state sector, therefore the most appropriate thing in response to do is to get rid of private education and focus on public education. By focusing on one sector, the resources available, the money and the people who care about improving the standard of education will better the status of education and even the playing field for children all with different backgrounds all across the UK.

One of the major social stigmas private education causes is stereotypes and tension within society. In the melting pot that are universities a clear partition occurs between people from different classes due to their backgrounds. Those that had public education often see their better educated peers as stuck-up and opulent. Whereas those privately educated tend to stick with their privileged counterparts and – although usually without realising – participate in things separate and quite different to the rest of the UK. How can u argue that by creating a two-tier system segregating parts of our society is a good thing?

The argument given for keeping private schools is usually that they are pretty good. Of course they are, they’re great. Why shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to receive that kind of education? Why don’t we remove the fee-paying process which will also mean, that the well off will have more reason to have a vested interest in state education and pull up the majority, rather than supposedly pulling down a tiny minority. The greatest impact will be breaking down some of the barriers that separate and divide our society and allowing for greater chances and experiences in life for all of us.  

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