"Many, many parents from deprived areas, including what is generally called the dependency classes, are essentially not particularly interested in any form of academic education. Their interests are directed towards pop culture, sports."Today that award goes to Richard Walden, chairman of the Independent Schools Association.
He wins it because, according to the Daily Telegraph:
The state education system is producing a generation of "amoral" children who fail to understand the difference between right and wrong, according to a leading private school headmaster.Walden does have something important and sensible to say about state schools being forced to concentrate too much on their place in the league tables. But there are plenty of examination mills in the private sector too, so it is foolish in the extreme to reduce this debate to one of state vs private education.
What lies behind his remarks, besides simple snobbery, is hard cash. Outside the South-East of England, many private schools are struggling. Parents are short of money and the state sector, with its academies and free schools, is looking more attractive to them these days.
Which is probably why you will find this in the Telegraph report:
He also calls on the Government to provide taxpayer-funded places at private schools to address a shortage of provision in the state education system, particularly for primary-age pupils.
This would provide a less "risky" alternative to the creation of new free schools - state institutions run independently of local council control - following a series of high-profile failures in recent months, he suggests.
"I do not believe it is necessary for government to pour millions into trying to establish new schools in many areas where there are already good independent schools," he says. "A new school is risky: it takes time to develop the ethos you want and initially it may not work.
"If politicians would take courage and channel funds into placing pupils at already well-established independent schools, they would know in advance the likely outcomes for the pupils."So how do you persuade the struggling upper middle classes to keep paying school fees? Easy. You try to spread the idea that all state schools turn our amoral children, that's how.