Independent schooling is best
As you know, this website / blog celebrates the achievements of Brits both past and present. However, we are not wearing rose-coloured glasses, and it is clear to us that the government does not always makes the best decisions, particularly the present government. A case in point is education, as pointed out by Michael Henderson in the Telegraph recently.
The system of state education is a national scandal. Great sums have been spent on it, but one in six school leavers cannot read, write or count. Gordon Brown just announced plans to throw another £36 billion at it. In contrast, in the 19th century, Brits paid a small amount for their children's private education, far less than they pay in taxes today. Almost all children went to school, and at least 90% could read and count, as compared to the dismal figures today.
The independent schools, which receive no government funding, have been an enormous success. This is why so many parents are prepared to bankrupt themselves to do their best for their children, and it is why thousands of foreigners send their children here.
The great success of pupils from the independent sector does not appear to be merely the result of money or selection. Only 7% of the population is educated privately, but pupils who have been to these schools accounted for 60% of the British medals at the Sydney Olympics. Of the remaining 40% of the medals, half were won by those who had been educated at one of the country's 134 grammar schools.
It appears that the experiment with comprehensive schools run by the government has been a failure both on the field and off.