Recently, journalist Sarah Vine publicly supported the state education system in England. The wife of Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove wants to enrol her daughter in a state secondary school as she believes state schools provide broad and comprehensive education.
State Education is a Miracle
Vine called the state education “a miracle” and said “You shouldn’t judge people by their clothes, or where they live, but by who they really are regardless of circumstances; that kids studying to be hairdressers deserve as much respect as those wanting to be rocket scientists.”
She made the comments after the Goves announced that their daughter Beatrice was admitted to the Grey Coat Hospital School.
She further went on to attack private schools by saying they are established on the principles of snobbery. She claimed that students from private schools tend to ignore people unless they are formally introduced. Vine said parents choose fee-paying private schools as they don’t want their children to mingle with the ordinary lot. She continued that when the private school educated students went to colleges they were “so cosseted they could barely open a tin of beans”.
The decision of the couple to send their daughter to a state school became a headline as Gove is the Conservative education secretary who preferred state education over private schooling. In an article to The Guardian, Vine wrote “That, in my view, is the miracle of our state education system. Like the NHS, it welcomes all-comers. The state doesn’t care where its pupils come from; all that matters is where they’re heading.”
English State-Funded Schools
State schools in England offer comprehensive education to students from age of 3 to 18 without taking any tuition fees or charges. There is no doubt that Vine believes state education is “a miracle” as almost 93% of English students are admitted in state-funded schools. These schools include Foundation schools, Community schools, Academy schools, Voluntary Controlled schools and Voluntary Aided schools. They are subsidised by national taxation. Moreover, around 90% of the state secondary schools get additional funding to operate as specialist schools and develop specialisation subjects.
Comprehensive and “Broad Education”
Vine said “I believe that at state school Beatrice will receive a far more comprehensive education – in every sense of the phrase – than at any private establishment.The private sector is built on very different principles. Its agenda is a fundamentally selective one, based not only on ability to pay, but also on pupil potential. And it is also, let’s face it, about snobbery.”
It’s true that as state schools follow a standardised curriculum they certainly offer broader education to their students. Private schools mostly follow a unique and separate curriculum which is different in different schools. Moreover state-funded schools also include a wider variety of students than private schools.
Vine added, “I am mostly a product of the rickety state education system of the 1980s…Some of the schools I attended were far from idyllic.”Scary” would be a better way to describe them. “Blood-curdling” would be another. But in their own way they also provided me with a broad education.”
A study also reveals that teachers of state schools are more highly qualified than the educators in private schools. Furthermore, students in public schools are provided a wide range of courses. The students easily mix with each other as they spend sufficient time together by studying core classes which is rare in private schools.
While she outright supported the state school system, Vine concluded by saying “Don’t get me wrong: I don’t for one second disapprove of the private education sector. Some of the nicest, most well-rounded people I know went to top public schools. Just because I myself don’t really get it doesn’t make them wrong. But I do think having a two-tiered education system inevitably contributes to the polarisation of our society.”
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