Sending children to private schools like Eton is a waste of time because academic success is written in the genes meaning youngsters would do just as well at the local comprehensive, a leading scientist has claimed. The Telegraph reports.
Robert Plomin, Professor of Behavioural Genetic at King’s College London, said he and his team had spent decades trying to unpick how much of achievement in education was down to nature or nurture.
He concluded that 50 per cent of academic success is due to genes, but they are yet to discover what accounts for the other half. What they do now know, however, is it is not due to schooling or upbringing.
Although selective schools like Eton achieve higher grades, it is the selection process itself which accounts for the difference, and that same cohort would achieve the same marks if sent to a state school, Prof Plomin argues.
Speaking at The Hay Festival, he said: “Do differences in the quality of school make a difference in outcomes like GCSE scores or getting into universities?
“There’s a correlation there – kids who go to selective schools have a GCSE score that is one full grade higher than kids who go to comprehensive schools.
“But if you correct for what the schools selected on, there’s no difference in GCSE scores. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you select the very best kids academically, yes they go on and do well. But have you added value? The answer is no.
‘So why send your kids to Eton? Don’t. If all you’re doing it for is educational achievement. Schools matter, kids have got to learn all this stuff. But do they make a difference? The answer is no.”
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