Declaration of independence When David Cameron invited representatives of Britain’s leading public schools to 10 Downing Street to discuss education reform, journalists thought they spotted a PR gaffe. Here was an Old Etonian Prime Minister imposing his snobby elitism on the country. The free schools agenda, they said, was little more than – the inevitable phrase – an ‘ideological Tory scheme’ to dismantle state education.
It’s true that, in terms of media spin, Mr Cameron, a child of privilege, is not the ideal man to shake up Britain’s schools. But teaching children is too important to be derailed by the anti-snobbery of hacks. Britain’s top independent schools remain the envy of the world, and the government is absolutely right to recruit them to help the free schools project. What better way to improve education than by consulting those who do it best? Our only objection is that Mr Cameron didn’t ask a wider group of private schools. The independent sector is brimming with talented people and good ideas.
We hope that this supplement, kindly sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, will shed light on that excellence, as well as serving as a guide to those considering an investment in private education. In these pages, Ross Clark looks at how parents not possessed of vast wealth can afford independent school fees; Rachel Johnson offers parents advice on open days; James Delingpole explains why he sent his son to boarding school, while Harry Phibbs asks why the state does not save money by placing more children in boarding schools; and Will Gore looks at the proud history of the Combined Cadet Force.
There’s plenty more, too, for parents and children. We hope you find it amusing and useful. Look out for our next supplement in September.
Editor Freddy Gray Drawings John Jensen
Supplied free with the 10 March 2012 edition of The Spectator www.spectator.co.uk
The Spectator (1828) Ltd, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, Tel: 020 7961 0200, Fax: 020 7961 0250. For advertising queries, email: paul.bentley@ spectator.co.uk
Sporting schools Will Heaven
Common Entrance Anthony Seldon and Peter Boyle
US universities Patrick Allitt
The cadet force Will Gore
Children in care Harry Phibbs
Choosing a place James Delingpole
Town and country Laura Hyde and Roland Martin
Alexander Chancellor 22
A guide to the best-performing schools 24 A guide to Easter revision courses 28 Edinburgh schools J.R.H. McEwen 30 Too much science Ysenda Maxtone Graham 32
IN ASSOCIATION WITH BREWIN DOLPHIN | 10 march 2012 | guide toindependent schols