The fundamentals of education

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The headteacher of one of our local private schools, in his end of academic year 2013-14 speech to pupils and parents, made the following statement (as printed, including the syntactical error, on the school’s website) as evidence for the superiority of his school and other private schools: “Richard Walden the chairman of the Independent Schools Association said at conference recently that state schools are creating amoral children because they spend more time on academic studies than learning right from wrong he suggested that the pressure to get excellent results is distracting teachers from imparting good values to pupils. In contrast he argued that private schools turn out young people with emotional intelligence and moral understanding. He added that privately educated pupils do well not because they are from elitist or privileged backgrounds but because they have received ‘a value-rich education provided with love. Oh how true this is...”

The vast majority of people with experience of state schools will know that, despite the pressures and disadvantages they face, and without the luxury of selecting whom they will teach, the teachers work extremely hard to ensure for their pupils a value rich education provided with love; and will feel that the quoted statement is a gratuitous and outrageous insult to the 93% of our nation’s children who attend state schools, and to their teachers and parents.

As all our children return to school for the new term, it seems important that the headteacher’s remarks do not go unchallenged. I am not naming the headteacher, but anyone wishing to read his speech in full, and even comment, will find it on the website of a local school that offers opportunities for horse-riding, golf and occasional robe-wearing.

Elaine Luke

The Close, Fairlight