Melissa Benn

The question of private schools

Posted on: June 9, 2012

Last month I attended a fascinating discussion about the Finnish school system by Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons, an account of how Finland created one of the most successful school systems in the world. In this brief extract from Pasi’s talk, he explains how, in order to create a high quality universal system, the Finns had, first, to abolish private and selective education, which created an unacceptable gap in achievement. This then prompted me to ask a question……… read on.

1 Response to "The question of private schools"

I have very great sympathy with this view. But the point about Finland (setting aside the huge differences between Finish & British society) is that it has integrated different pedagogical philosophies into the “maintained sector”. I have some interest in Montessori, Steiner, Froebel school systems. In spite of Gove’s promises (something close to the promise of a netted herring that it’ll not to be smoked!) I see little or no sign of this any more than previous governments allowing schools to prove themselves in their own terms (& to the satisfaction of parents & young people). If you consign “private” schools (& many operate charitably – often to far greater extent than most people know) to the dust-bin of history under present conditions, you end up with a narrow-track system carrying vehicles doctored by incompetent politicians who know next to nothing about the realities of education than they about engine maintenance. They base their interference on what (they think) worked for them & the sagacious idiocy of papers like the Mail. There has to be some REAL space for innovation & alternative models

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