21 April 2009

Grasping the nettle

According to a recent report by the government's Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, in recent decades, those who have been independently schooled or who are from families that are better off are more likely to enjoy success in professions such as law, medicine, media, publishing, the civil service and banking. It was found that those educated at independent schools dominate the workforces in over half of professional occupations - despite this group representing just seven per cent of society.

I'm not sure that that is really is news, to be honest. I certainly don't think that it represents a failing of either society or the state schools system; instead it seems to prove the old maxim that you gets what you pays for. After all, what on earth do the government think parents pay all that money for, if not for the chance to get their kids ahead? If we allow private schools to exist and allow people to pay for the privilege, we have to accept the logical outcome, and output, of the system. If you ask people whether we should ban private education, the majority would be against it - it doesn't seem very British somehow.

Instead we'd rather allow people to pay for their children's education, and hope somehow it doesn't make a difference. And we'll set up a Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, under the guise of "opportunity", to pretend that it's a level playing field. As long as we don't actually have to get to grips with what causes the disparity.

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