Overheard at the LFGSS golf club bar

Posted on
of 134
  • I went to my local state infant/junior school from the age of 5 to 11. What I remember most was being really, really bored. There was nothing that was a challenge, nothing to interest me, and with a few exceptions the teachers seemed jaded and about as motivated as I felt about being there.

    When I was about 10, my parents told me there was money available for me to go to a private school. Turns out it was a trust fund, almost certainly set up using money made from mining diamonds in South Africa. Needless to say, I didn't know that at the time. I was told I had a choice - go to the local comprehensive school, and have money available for foreign holidays (I didn't go abroad until I was 15) and other fun stuff, or spend the money on a private education. I opted for the latter, and went to UCS in Hampstead.

    I loved it there. Yes, the facilties were amazing, the grounds and buildings were exceptional, but what made it truly special were the teachers. They were motivated, committed, and encouraged an inquisitive mind and learning for the sake of learning.

    My brother also went to UCS. The fincancial burden on my father (my mother was not working at the time) was astronomical as it turned out that the money in the trust fund didn't cover all our time at school. At one point he was spending over 2/3rds of his net income on school fees, and when he was made redundant in the late 80s/early 90s my brother and I ended up on a bursary, not that I knew this until many years later.

    As a result, I feel deeply conflicted about private education. I abhor the inherited privilege that it represents (notwithstanding that I've benefited from it) and wish we lived in a state where state-funded education made it unnecessary. On the other hand, I feel it would be ungrateful to deny the fact that my eduction made me the person I am today, and even more ungrateful to despise the sacrifices my parents made for me to go to UCS, something I cannot regret.

    I wish all schools were as good as UCS. I wish that all children had the chances I did. Personally, I'd be happy to pay more in taxes to fund better eduction across the board. But I can't blame my parents for wanting the best for their children, and to the extent that I was a willing participant in that decision, I don't regret my decision to go to UCS.

    I can honestly say that I haven't benfited from the 'Old School Tie' network that old Etonians seem to inherit as of right. I'm still friends with a couple of people I met at school, but they haven't helped me at all in my career. As for the inate confidence that a public eduction is supposed to instill, that seems to have passed me by.

    For all the guilt I feel over the source of the funding for most of my eduction, and for all the guilt I feel for having a private education unavailable to most of the population, I can't help but feel grateful that I had that chance. They weren't quite the best years of my life, but they were pretty damned close.

    Fire away.

  • I didn’t go to private school and nor did my sister, but my younger half sister does. Her mum had a terrible upbringing and a miserable time in South London’s schools in the ‘80s. She has only one child and didn’t want her to suffer the same consequences.

    I might add that I was bullied a lot at state school in a decent part of Surrey. I was not pushed, we played boring sports and just generally didn’t get much out of it. My classes were awful, with awful kids and they were overpopulated. There were 300 kids in my year alone, with ten form classes of 30.

    I have done okay in life, but I reckon I could’ve done more had I had a better education.

    My younger sister is somewhat of a genius - literally - hence her mum decided she wanted the absolute best education out there. And fortunately she makes a good living and can just about afford it. This makes my little sister the first person on either parents side to go to private school, so I don’t think it’s fair for some in this thread to say that everyone attending private school is part of the elite, inherited wealth classes. Both of her parents came from actual poverty with emotionally and physically abusive relationships at home as a kid by - like - really abusive.

    They considered grammar schools and state schools, but unfortunately state schools in and around the Guildford area just aren’t great. They weren’t in the catchment area for Royal Grammar School in Guildford, otherwise they’d have tried that.

    She is thriving at Guildford High, she has played more sports than I ever have and I’m over twice her age, she is in a class of 12, is truly mentored by her teachers and is just generally very well looked after at school. She absolutely loves going to school. And I think that says a lot.

    If I had the money to send my children to private school, I would.

  • Surely the issue here is that private/public schools, and to an extent grammar schools do well at the expense of state schools, and at the extent of state school kids.
    Kids that don't have pushy/well off/time rich parents aren't at fault, but with the current system they are get the worst deal.
    School should be a leveller, not an opportunity to entrench social divides.

  • Doin it wrong. This isn't over until every individual lufgusser tells us their school life story!

  • My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it.

  • Almost to the point where were going to need a list

  • The problem with most people that went to private school is that they're twats. I should know, I did and I am.

  • finland abolished their private schools. why can't we

  • I went to a bog standard comprehensive and mostly hated it so I find it quite hard to get angry at people for choosing to send their kids to private schools even if ideologically I really don't agree with them at all. I definitely don't think they should be charities.

    I have done okay in life, but I reckon I could’ve done more had I had a better education.

    It me! I suspect private school could have avoided years of imposter syndrome.

    I'm not picking on you @Brommers but are you sure about this?

    I can honestly say that I haven't benfited from the 'Old School Tie' network that old Etonians seem to inherit as of right. I'm still friends with a couple of people I met at school, but they haven't helped me at all in my career. As for the inate confidence that a public eduction is supposed to instill, that seems to have passed me by.

    Knowing what job you do, do you really think not think your private education helped you get there?
    You also seem to have lived a life (from what I can gather from your posts) which suggests a degree of inate self confidence - racing cars, flying to Europe to regularly ride up and down mountains etc.

  • I have friends who went to private school who are very much this. #noteveryprivateschool though I suppose but I often feel that private school pupils are seen as more able when it's actually just this. See pretty much the entire current cabinet as a case study.

    Learning to be confident and take risks in situations where in reality I'm out of my depth. You could call it professional arrogance or confident risk taking, either way, its something that private school taught me....how to blag.

  • See pretty much the entire current cabinet as a case study.

    Was an article about that the other week

  • Imagine if X parents chucked £30k a year at the local comprehensive… Improve the education of 1000 children instead of turning yours into a wanker.

  • Yes, that's pretty much the point. How much better schools would be if all of the effort and money that went into private schools for the minority went into state schools for all. I don't blame the kids but the parents who make the choice are perpetuating the problem.

  • State schools all the way for me, but I was lucky to grow up in an area (Cambridge) with very good state schools.

    My state sixth form sends the second highest number of pupils to Oxbridge. It's been like this for years (including the almost 30 years ago I went there). In my further maths class of 18 we had 15 who went to Oxbridge to do medicine, one went to King's to do medicine and the two layabouts (me and a mate) did Comp Sci (Sheffield and Leeds).


    I think what this thread shows is that the variation amongst state/private experiences is huge. My own experience is a bit contrary as I went to state schools but was really pushed and encouraged in the subjects I excelled in. The sports facilities at both secondary and sixth form were amazing too.

  • Statements that wouldn't raise an eyebrow in Australia.

  • I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag; I was schooled with a strap right across my back.

  • I went to a state school in Oz and for me a C was definitely shit. It was the lowest mark I got in VCE, it was in Chemistry, and was so shocking, a mate and I arranged some extra lessons with the teacher to help us fix it for the second semester. Definitely other kids wouldn't have bothered but I was trying damn hard to keep my options open for uni so I could escape the town. Other kids who were not interested in uni didn't care about a C and only stepped up if they were going to have to repeat something. My parents (one of which was a teacher) probably had more of an impact on my understanding of the need for a good education than school itself ever did.

    I never thought about girls schools like that though. That sounds pretty cool even if I thought we were all pretty even at my secondary school. Even if what classes we did was even, you'd have louder lads (guilty) getting more attention and when it came time for electives I wonder if girls' choices went wildly different directions because of expectations on them or the general feeling of "this is for blokes what are you doing picking this subject". I did Home Eco for 4 years though so I could eat something at the end of a class haha S.M.R.T.

  • Learning to be confident and take risks

    Could that simply be because wealth (that of parents or peers) allowed it?

    It's a lot harder to take risks when you're working a couple of shitty jobs and if you lose one, your kids go hungry.

  • This is all very interesting but where's the golf scores?

  • I went to three private schools, primary school then gcse years then college years. First was alright, second was generic rugby, lads, bully etc. third was really good. I think I'd be a bricky or something now if I didn't have someone being paid to push me for better grades because I sure as fuck wasn't getting that at home.
    I agree in principle that private schools should be abolished and the money should go to all the state schools instead but also I severely mistrust the govt to actually give the money to the schools. I think I ended up in them more due to availability than any sense of snobbery, we moved from one end of the country to the other and it was a real struggle to find schools for my sister and I. Obv we could afford it which was nice but we weren't rich, the money came from my grand parents.
    I know there's no way I will be able to afford it but I would 100% send my kid(s) to private school if I could mainly for the better access to sports and facilities.

    edit - just to add, I think church schools should be abolished before generic private schools.

  • Obv we could afford it which was nice but we weren't rich, the money came from my grand parents.

    Oh wait we're already in the Golf Club thread lolz

  • Fee paying schools account for 7-10% of children in Education and yet 60-70% of top jobs.
    The argument is not “if you went, you are a twat. If you send your kids, you are soulless”
    It’s about improving and investing in state education.
    Because despite the anecdotes of mediocrity, statistically a private education has many advantages that go beyond the quality of tuition.

  • "bricky" not heard that one before. Ha

  • You have articulated how I feel better than I would of managed. For me that is the route of the problem, if people put as much effort and money in to lobbying their MP over the state of their local state schools we could as a society achieve better outcomes for all instead of leaving so many behind.

  • Post a reply
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Link
    • Image
    • List
    • Quote
    • code
    • Preview

Overheard at the LFGSS golf club bar

Posted by Avatar for fizzy.bleach @fizzy.bleach