Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours

Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours. Matthew Norman is disingenous in criticising state schools and sending his children to private school.

E-mail-sign-up Donate

 

.

I have a letter in today’s Daily Telegraph defending my old school from the left-wing snobbery of Matthew Norman, writing in Saturday’s paper.

Pimlico-SchoolThe letter is as follows:

SIR – Matthew Norman (Comment, May 12) is right to lambast educational elitism in Britain. But his views of Britain’s comprehensives owe more to his own prejudice than any sense of reality.

I went to Pimlico School – which Mr Norman credits only with teacher murders and a one-way path to crack dealing – in the Nineties. It was not the easiest school for a middle-class child with professional parents but, like many other children from a similar background in comprehensives around the country, I thrived in the mixed-ability environment.

The comprehensive experience means that brighter pupils have to learn respect for those of different ability, something sadly lacking from many in the private sector.

The school was academically sound and sent two or three pupils to Oxbridge every year, and many others to good universities. For those less inclined towards the academic route, it had serious musical pedigree with Roots Manuva, Asher D and La Roux all alumni.

The secret was an active parent-teacher association and a governing body that took an interest. My father, despite being a shadow cabinet and cabinet member during that time, chaired the board.

In revealing his own choice to send his son to private school, Mr Norman shows that he is part of the problem. If he really cared about Britain’s education system, he should have sent his son to a local comprehensive and invested his own time and energy into helping it improve.

What really annoyed me was this line from Norman:

“Today, living in a rough west London suburb, we send our son to an excellent private school for no more compelling reason than – though a noble and lucrative profession – crack-dealing seems a career ill-suited to his nature.”

 


See also:

Academisation, academisation, academisation 5 Apr 2012

Non-academies do just as well as academies 3 Apr 2012

Think tank Reform’s school academy claim lacks academic rigour 28 Mar 2012


 

I have nothing against those who want the best for their children. We should aspire to raise standards in all our schools but that process involves parents getting involved in the governance of their local schools.

Dressing up a decision to send your kids to private school by pretending that the state sector does not offer a choice, especially when claiming to be on the left, is incredibly disingenuous. As it happens there are 23 outstanding secondary state schools in London including at least seven in west London.

 


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

49 Responses to “Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours”

  1. Tom Greatrex MP

    Will Straw hits back at Matthew Norman on leftwingers who shun state schools. Excellent counterblast //t.co/orLfrWTB

  2. Mark Ferguson

    Well said @wdjstraw #stateschoolandproud //t.co/YugLHpnX

  3. frances ryan

    "If he really cared about Britain’s education system, he should have sent his son to a local comp." //t.co/a19CMkt8 (via @indiaknight)

  4. ollyonions

    Will Straw hits back at Matthew Norman on leftwingers who shun state schools. Excellent counterblast //t.co/orLfrWTB

  5. Jen

    Will Straw hits back at Matthew Norman on leftwingers who shun state schools. Excellent counterblast //t.co/orLfrWTB

  6. ollyonions

    Well said @wdjstraw #stateschoolandproud //t.co/YugLHpnX

  7. OLLYLAW

    Will Straw hits back at Matthew Norman on leftwingers who shun state schools. Excellent counterblast //t.co/orLfrWTB

  8. Helen Godwin Teige

    “@Markfergusonuk: Well said @wdjstraw //t.co/3aR82bTg” couldn't agree more. Working together and taking an interest!

  9. Stephen Brown

    Well said @wdjstraw #stateschoolandproud //t.co/YugLHpnX

  10. Danny Bremz

    Well said @wdjstraw #stateschoolandproud //t.co/YugLHpnX

  11. Will Straw

    @AdamTyndall @leftfootfwd Here it is //t.co/yzfT1CCH

  12. Political Planet

    Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours. Matthew Norm… //t.co/upAfyH79

  13. Democratic Society

    Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman: //t.co/H8pNcgA6

  14. Shamik Das

    THIS > RT @leftfootfwd: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman //t.co/YO7Qs07n

  15. Mabel Horrocks

    THIS > RT @leftfootfwd: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman //t.co/YO7Qs07n

  16. Andrew Lomas

    I sympathise with @wjdstraw in this //t.co/EFwBKlh3, but the left has to avoid demonising parents for wanting the best for their kids

  17. Chris Bowden-Smith

    Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman: //t.co/H8pNcgA6

  18. Anonymous

    If he really cared about Britain’s education system, he should have sent his son to a local comprehensive and invested his own time and energy into helping it improve.

    ===========

    He is caring. He’s funding the state system, and he is not imposing the cost of educating his child on the state. So the state gets the money, and doesn’t have to supply the education services.

    Just what the left want. All the tax, and no services to provide.

  19. Kevin Meagher

    RT @leftfootfwd: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours //t.co/UnTwmXHw Great piece

  20. Lucy Doig

    Will Straw hits back at Matthew Norman on leftwingers who shun state schools. Excellent counterblast //t.co/orLfrWTB

  21. Joseph Musgrave

    Will Straw hits back at Matthew Norman on leftwingers who shun state schools. Excellent counterblast //t.co/orLfrWTB

  22. Alan White

    Frm earlier: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman: //t.co/H8pNcgA6

  23. Nicholas Swetenham

    @LordBlagger – your argument is appealing, but it treats the private and public education sectors as two separate worlds.

    I would like to see data that supports the idea that increasing numbers of children in private education improves the quality of the public sector, by reducing the proportion of state spending that has to go towards it, as you suggest.

    The opposite could well be true – voters who no longer use the state sector no longer have a stake in it so state schools become worse as politicians see less of an incentive to improve education rather than say, health.

    And of course it is not true that they are paying ‘all the tax’ as parents in the UK can enjoy a reduced tax burden thanks to the charitable status of independent schools.

  24. Kevin Peel

    RT @leftfootfwd: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours //t.co/WjBmhz9x < THIS. Well done @wjdstraw

  25. Kevin Peel

    RT @leftfootfwd: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours //t.co/WjBmhz9x < THIS. Well done @wdjstraw

  26. The Pimpernel

    Will,
    This is a point of view but does not look at all situations .. For many Black & Asian kids they end up going to a school such as Rokeby school mentioned in the Ofsted report they get 10 + GCSE go to a further education college and then a non-russell group higher institution.( I believe the children are not pushed enough (and further it does not have a 6th form) Having been to Rokeby on visits I WOULD not call it a top academic, artistic or sporting achieving school but improving. These kids do not get an insight into the different occupations on offer you do in many private schools. My sister went to an excellent state school in East London for 6th form after attending a poor private school. Yet this school was surrounded by Independent and Grammer. Its results were excellent at both GCSE & A Level, with half dozen Oxbridge intake each year. However it is a faith school. I went to an appalling comprehensive school with teachers (and Yep a number of these clowns are still in Senior positions in Educational authorities)who judged me by my colour as opposed to my ability. Assumed that Black met trouble (I never WAS in trouble) and as opposed to my previous private educational institution DID not provide any inspiration ..In general you get what you pay for .For me a good private with diversity is better than a comprehensive…Having worked at many institutions including the media You still do not get a FAIR representation particuarly in London

  27. Molly

    Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman: //t.co/H8pNcgA6

  28. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours //t.co/hbF2sdBG

  29. andycottrill

    Great article from @wdjstraw on the 'left wing snobbery' view of state schools: //t.co/ck3m9GXF

  30. jackstarbright

    @Mr_Chas @nicolelondonuk – all a school needs is a Labour MP as Governor to sort things out [apparently] //t.co/6J9kxasu” 😉

  31. Dale Bassett

    I have just read this interesting piece by @wdjstraw – food for thought //t.co/DNKU7If5

  32. Thomas Byrne

    I have just read this interesting piece by @wdjstraw – food for thought //t.co/DNKU7If5

  33. Mark Rowney

    RT @dalebassett << have just read this interesting piece by @wdjstraw – food for thought //t.co/nZewZiGz>&gt;

  34. Symeon Dagkas

    I have just read this interesting piece by @wdjstraw – food for thought //t.co/DNKU7If5

  35. Anonymous

    A typical “abolish free education” rant.

  36. Kataskata53

    I think you need reminding that independent schools gain financial advantage and tax evasion through having charitable status

  37. Stephen Wigmore

    I think you need reminding that you have no idea what the word tax evasion means. Unless you would like to back up that accusation of criminal behaviour?

  38. Stephen Wigmore

    “The comprehensive experience means that brighter pupils have to learn respect for those of different ability, something sadly lacking from many in the private sector.”

    Stop being a bitter mouthed bigot. How dare you generalise about hundreds of thousands of people, you hate filled individual. Of course some private school kids are idiots, are you claiming all State school pupils are socially conscious, respectful angels? No, obviously not. So there’s nothing there apart from a cheap shot against people who are different to you. You have nothing to be smug about.

  39. Anonymous

    But the argument being put forward is that because the state can’t provide the same education as private, that private should be penalised. Dumbing down.

    Now what should happen is that there should be payments if you take your children out of the state system into the private. The level should be set below the cost of a state education which is around the 6K a year mark. So if there is a 2K a year subsidy for someone leaving, that is an extra 4K a year for the state to make things better.

  40. Anonymous

    Or you could tax both to raise lots of cash.

    After all, the state effectively taxes the state pension by diverting NI to other things.

  41. Mr. Sensible

    I think I agree with that, Will.

  42. Anonymous

    Except of course, that’s what’s being hammered here. You haven’t read the op, of course. There are plenty of high-performing state schools, in good part because the local LEA stands up to government bullying.

    Your crusade against state education continues, you’re trying to de-fund state schools further. Private schooling is a fully-taxable luxury.

    Better still, of course, would be evidence-based schooling like Finland’s…but no, your rich buddies can’t have an educated underclass. Why, they might see your crusade to reduce wages to Chinese levels threatened.

  43. Anonymous

    You’re a pillock at times. I’ve proposed a mechanism for increasing state funding, and haven’t read it. You then state the complete opposite.

    Still working on the difference in mean and median? Pretty standard GCSE level.

  44. Anonymous

    Ah right, stripping more money from state schools to fund private schools is of course increasing “state funding” in your world. Keep working to end free schooling.

    And you’re the one who doesn’t understand different averages.

  45. Patrick

    As always, the Left wants to take away personal freedom.

    People should be free to send their children to whatever school they wish.

    Before Newsbot says something like “only the 1% can afford to use private schools” -that’s rubbish. It’s a question of financial priorities. Independent schools are filled with children from parents of modest means. They aren’t all Little Lord Fauntleroys. They are the children of parents who understand the importance of education and have chosen, in many cases, not to have foreign holidays, or buy new cars, in order to prioritize education. How do I know that? Because I’ve been to independent school. My best friend there was the son of a tube driver.

  46. Sparky

    Will Straw, in case you’d forgotten, not everyone has a powerful cabinet minister for a father who has all sorts of influential contacts and can open doors and opportunities for you that are closed to most other people. You could have got no qualifications at all, and your father would have sorted something out. So don’t come on here lecturing us about trying to help our children.

  47. Danger Mouse

    Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours argues @wdjstraw in response to Matthew Norman: //t.co/H8pNcgA6

  48. Gove doesn't like bureaucratic interference unless it's his bureaucratic interference | Left Foot Forward

    […] seek to implement their own wide-ranging, top-down design for primary education. See also: • Left-wing snobbery does state schools no favours 15 May […]

Leave a Reply