How private schools ‘give pupils skills to succeed’ while state sector ‘is obsessed with league tables’

The Mail is reporting comments from Sir Anthony Seldon in which he suggested high-flying professions are dominated by people who went to public schools because they provide the ‘soft skills’ that many state schools ignore.

Former head of Wellington College Sir Anthony Seldon said independent schools nurture the teamwork, leadership and character traits which are vital for success in the professional world.

He warned that by contrast, state schools focus too much on league tables and deliver an education which is ‘narrow, dull and repetitive’.

…Sir Anthony, who is now vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, delivered his damning verdict in a speech to the Council for Independent Education.

Sir Anthony said: ‘For years now, our policymakers have become so drunk on imbibing exam tonic that they have come to believe league tables are all education is.’ He added: ‘The 21st-century workplace does not just need those who excel at memory and exam skills that computers can do far better, but rather those who have human and entrepreneurial skills that children at state schools are rarely taught and many will never learn.

‘The whole focus of the national state system remains irredeemably 20th century and dangerously lopsided. It is not surprising that students from independent schools continue to dominate so many of the major positions in national life…’

More at: How private schools ‘give pupils skills to succeed’ while state sector ‘is obsessed with league tables’  

 

This is not the first time Sir Anthony has touched on this theme but how do you react to these comments?

Does he make valid points about the priorities in state schools and could things be different?

Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Private Schools.

Comments

  1. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove Private schools enmeshed in testing, reporting and ‘Learning Styles’. Becoming as teacher unfriendly as everywhere else.

  2. murielwickenden

    hood1960 jackjoh01219520 Private schools are left to get on with educating State schools R victims of constant meddling by Parliament!

  3. Seldon is right: there is an excessive emphasis on exam results which risks the neglect of important skills.  The OECD warned about this in 2011 but the Govt ignored the warning and increased the high stakes nature of tests.
    But this doesn’t just affect the state sector as Seldon says.  Just last week the Independent Schools Council was trumpeting about research that ‘proved’ private schools were better than state schools in, wait for it, GCSE results.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2016/02/no-private-schools-do-not-result-in-two-years-extra-progress
    And if Seldon isn’t concerned about GCSE results, why did the head of Wellington Academy, the state school sponsored by Wellington College, have to leave immediately after low GCSE results in 2013?  And who was ‘parachuted in’ to turn the Academy around?  None other than Anthony Seldon.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/09/head-of-sponsored-academy-falls-on-his-sword-after-poor-gcse-results-is-this-fair

  4. According to the article, Seldon attacked those who “‘denigrate’ private schools for producing high-flying graduates.”   But the high-flying graduates are more likely to be from state schools: pupils from state schools outperform their equally qualified peers from independent schools at university; at Oxford and Cambridge there is no difference between the degrees earned by private or state pupils.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2016/02/the-jury-is-still-out-on-whether-going-to-private-schools-enhance-academic-achievements-say-researchers

  5. cia262

    SchoolsImprove Absolutely right. Private schools better at holistic teaching. State school focus is targets and bureaucracy.

  6. TW

    cia262 SchoolsImprove  Not necessarily ‘better’, just more able to overtly do so as they are not continually slagged off by government, press, Ofsted and other bigoted and ignorant people.

  7. SachaLG

    SchoolsImprove Rubbish! Work in state sector and am obsessed with skills 2 succeed. #resilience #dreams #highselfesteem #rigour #excellence

  8. F62Forbes

    SchoolsImprove Skills they develop is to make connections within the upper class establishment to ensure they will never be unemployed.

  9. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove What Seldon knows about state schools could be written on a postage stamp with room to spare. Loves a headline that bloke

  10. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove He has a point about league table obsession mind but state schools have little choice in that

  11. kazjohnson

    SachaLG SchoolsImprove many of or teachers are amazing. It’s the top brass I complain about. Teachers need support not constant whipping

  12. PompeyDog

    SchoolsImprove is it ‘irredeemably 20th century’ though? And what would Sir Anthony know about it? I think he should offer his expertise…

  13. Chris Eagle

    So the reason privately-schooled people do better professionally is their “soft skills”. Here was me thinking it was parental wealth and old boys’ networks smoothing their career path through internships and the like.

  14. Chris Eagle

    So the reason privately-schooled people do better professionally is their “soft skills”. Here was me thinking it was parental wealth and old boys’ networks smoothing their career path through internships and the like.

  15. AynieLR

    SchoolsImprove doubt any state school chooses to remain in C20th. Responsibility w/ backward looking govt& Ofsted.

  16. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove How I wish we could focus on the soft skills and ignore league tables. But educationgovuk and Ofstednews won’t let us.

Let us know what you think...