So. Private schools.
This friend of my neice's who is to go to private school is the son of an old friend of mine. We were mates when we were at university in Hull and we shared certain beliefs. I particularly remember that we just KNEW The Clash were the best band in the world ever, and that we just KNEW private schools should be abolished as they perpetuate the evil class system. What was it again that he used to really hate? Oh yes, it comes back to me - people who 'Sell out.'
This morning I find myself rather depressed and recalling the lyrics of 'Burning Sky' by The Jam - another band we were both really into - 'Ideals are fine when you are young and I must admit we had a laugh but that's all it was and ever will be.'.
Apparently on Friday this ex-mate of mine made £250,000 via some business he conducted on e-bay.
My sister did shame him into saying that he would much rather have sent his son to the local state school. He lives in Highgate - one of the most expensive areas in London - but wouldn't you know it, the school of his choice was unavailable (the only decent school in the Highgate area????) and it was either private school or a school in Tottenham so 'What can you do?' No, clearly it wouldn't do for his little Johnnie to attend a school with nasty working class kids.
Would I feel differently about this if it was my child faced with attending a school with a really bad reputation, and if I had the financial means to pay private school fees? I HOPE I wouldn't but I don't suppose I could stake my life on it, but I do know that every time a family like that of my former friend chooses the private system instead of the state then another state school loses the chance of engaging with motivated and interested parents and kids to the detriment of that school. With that knowledge I would feel so very very guilty if I did ever find myself even flirting with the idea of private education for my children.
I think of myself as a tolerant person. Why, I even chat amiably with rival football supporters in the pub before games and have been known to congratulate them afterwards when their team has stuffed us (through gritted teeth mind). However, I have fallen out irreconcilably with people in this village who to me inexplicably do not send their precious darlings to our village school but send them to private schools instead. This choice made in the face of full knowledge that our village school is judged to be an outstanding school by OFSTED. In the community but not OF the community. Which brings me on to the subject of people who want to live in a beautiful village but who have no desire whatsoever to have to engage with their neighbours, but that is a rant for another day.
* From 'The Clampdown' - by The Clash. Wonder if he still listens to them?
Guilty - How do I plead? I plead "Guilty" your honour. Though I did spend six weeks in Ireland in the summer of 1974, visiting amongst many other places the youth...
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