Problems with our private schools: privilege and preferentiality

Authors of Engines of Privilege: Britain’s Private School Problem Francis Green and David Kynaston engaged in a passionate discussion on unfairness and inefficiency in the education system, with deputy headteacher Rajvi Glasbook Griffiths and teacher and author Alex Beard.

Kynaston spoke on the private and state divide, labelling it “a grotesquely unlevel playing field”. Class is so deeply entrenched, and although it’s “given us some great sitcoms”, he said, we need to move "from exclusivity to social diversity".

Francis said there is an “enormous cliff of inequality” between private and state schooling, and voiced the idea that the system may benefit from partial integration, or taxations on school fees. “It would hit them, but private schools would still be there”.

However, Glasbook Griffiths argued that it is the inequality that exists amongst state schools that is “a much bigger concern”. The deputy headteacher and organiser of Literature Caerleon also highlighted that curriculums are “really thin on the ground”, although there is “a tiny glimmer of hope in Wales”.

Author of Natural Born Learners Alex Beard, who travelled to six continents to explore the future of learning, argued education should be “a shared endeavour” between children, teachers, parents and governments. He asked “what do we want to stand for as a country?”

If you’re interested in education please also see Event 283 at 10am on Friday 30 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.

L-R: Francis Green, Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths, Rosie Boycott, Alex Beard, David Kynaston

Picture by: Chris Athanasiou