Headteacher of Stowe school Anthony Wallersteiner has likened privately educated people to a persecuted Jewish minority.
The rise of populists and polemicists has created a micro-industry in bashing private schools.
Some of the criticisms echo the conspiratorial language of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was relatively easy for Hitler and his henchmen to suggest that the Jewish minority was over-represented in key professions: medicine, law, teaching and the creative industries.
Wallersteiner, who’s school charges £12,000 per term, added that parents felt that aiming to bring in more state school pupils to Oxbridge was “social engineering”.
“Accused of dominating the top jobs”
Privately educated pupils in the UK are also being accused of dominating the top jobs and stifling social mobility … it is all too facile to stereotype groups and ignore the fact that lawyers, doctors, writers and politicians are individuals.
But it’s not an ‘accusation’, it’s a fact. Only 7% of the UK population attend private schools. Yet figures from 2016 show the percentage of people working in top professions who received this privileged education is much higher:
And around 39% of students who attend Oxbridge went to private school.
The real ‘social engineering’
On social media, people called out Wallersteiner and the private school parents:
Someone commented below that it’s funny how private schools aren’t considered social engineering, but slightly more state school pupils making it to Oxbridge is. https://t.co/uyWQ1GyKBP
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) May 11, 2019
Buying education is buying privilege, jumping the queue. Private school children aren’t more intelligent than those comprehensively educated & not more deserving of Oxbridge places, even if fee-paying system promotes that view. My priority is preserving the comprehensive system. pic.twitter.com/ngCGLrTozq
— Laura Pidcock MP (@LauraPidcockMP) May 11, 2019
Repeat after me: Oxbridge admissions STILL disproportionately favours white, privately-educated students. That's the quota that needs to be looked at.
— Priyamvada Gopal (@PriyamvadaGopal) May 11, 2019
Comparing Oxbridge admitting fewer private school students to the treatment of Jewish people by Hitler is mindbogglingly offensive pic.twitter.com/K6hibYBGK8
— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) May 10, 2019
Wallersteiner says we shouldn’t ‘bash’ private schools. Yet the whole point of private education is to prevent social mobility and keep power in the hands of elite families. This private system only takes away resources from state schools. We should, therefore, go further than ‘bashing’ them. Private schools should be abolished and the quality of universal education increased. Merit, not your parent’s income, should determine how far you go.
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