Independent thinking British education is in a state of flux and uncertainty. This summer’s A-level results have prompted concerns about the number of university places, as too many well-qualified applicants seek to get started in higher education before university fees rise next year. At the school level, moreover, many troubling questions persist: are grades still inflating? Can Michael Gove’s free schools rescue the state sector? How can Britain possibly build 420 new primary schools in each of the next four years in order to meet demand?
Amid this anxiety, however, the excellence of Britain’s independent schools remains a source of reassurance and pride. This supplement, kindly sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, pays tribute to that achievement. It aims to help those contemplating private education, for themselves or their children, and to teach the uninitiated about what is going on in Britain’s best schools.
In these pages, Fraser Nelson instructs parents of young children looking to pick the right school; Ross Clark defends the embattled A-level system; and Jamie Mathieson tells university applicants how to maximise their chances of getting in. Ralph Townsend, the headmaster of Winchester, discusses the advantages that independent schools offer in the provision of spiritual education, and actress Rachael Stirling describes the head start she was given as an aspiring thespian at Wycombe Abbey.
There is plenty more, too, all intended to entertain and inform, and to show us that good private education should not be regarded as something to be ashamed of, but rather as an inspiration.
Choosing a primary Fraser Nelson
Editor Freddy Gray Drawings John Jensen
Supplied free with the 3 September 2011 edition of The Spectator www.spectator.co.uk
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Defending A-levels Ross Clark
Getting in to uni Jamie Mathieson 11
Christian values Ralph Townsend 14
Boarding works Rachel Johnson 16
Boy wonders J.R.H. McEwen 18
Girl power ary Wakefield 21
The value of Eton Douglas Murray 22
Philip Delves Broughton 25
My first theatre Rachael Stirling 26
Greek drama Will Gore
Rugby’s Olympian Ian Buruma
Choral scholars Will Heaven
Uniform policies Sophia Martelli 34
IN ASSOCIATION WITH BREWIN DOLPHIN | 3 september 2011 | guide toindependent schols