Friday, 8 October 2010

Letter in the TES October 8th

The letter

The letter in full...

I was amused to read the article 'Top public schools claim state staff fail to inspire'. Yes, you have to admire the chutzpah and bare-faced cheek, then there is the total inability to engage with their own history.

Inability to inspire? Maybe we could start with two centuries of the rote learning of dead languages. Then there was the 'games cult' where pupils would spend hours and hours playing cricket. After the Boer War public schools created their Combined Cadet Forces producing the officer material that uncritically led their men to the slaughter of the First World War.

As for targets and league tables let's not forget the prep schools that relentlessly pressure young children with mock exams and revision over three or four years for the Common Entrance Exam.

As Martin Weiner explained in 'English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit' the public schools obsession with classics and games had a deleterious effect on other subjects like science,games and technology – right through to the latter part of the twentieth century.

As for extra-curricula activities when one is paying £28,000 for one's Eton education, then doubtless one can expect some excellent after school clubs.

The public school tradition? Philistinism, anti-intellectualism and the games cult.

1 comment:

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