It was only yesterday that I blogged about a report showing that wealthy families are by far the most likely to employ private tutors to help their children get into state grammar schools. As if on cue, a Daily Telegraph article has just delved into this topic under the headline, ‘I went to private school – but I can’t afford the same for my children’.
What the figures only hint at, and what this Telegraph article articulates brilliantly, is that some parents are facing a crisis in how they educate their children. This angst-ridden article in the Telegraph suggests that:-
- independent school fees have risen by 20 per cent over the past five years, meaning that parents with even a combined six figure income say they can’t afford this route for their children;
- grammar schools have become the middle class ‘holy grail’, but the fight to get a child into one borders on the deranged (extreme secrecy over the employment of the best tutors; moving into a school’s catchment area, but paying the hugely inflated house prices associated with the school’s proximity; talking of extra-curricular activities such as music lessons as if they are only a means to getting a child a school place; paying for a private primary education in the hope that this will give a child an edge in the selection procedure);
- some middle class parents are (even!) considering making peace with the state sector.
It is the last point which seems most interesting. The article suggests that some parents who would previously have considered independent or grammar schools are now hoping that, if enough like-minded others send their children to the local state school, standards in the state sector will inevitably rise. Perhaps this is an emerging trend, and a welcome one too, in that it will lessen the ludicrous pressure which some children are now under at the age of 11.