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Roland Martin - Issue #13

All the world's a school?

Roland Martin

March 1 · Issue #13 · View online
Headmaster - City of London Freemen's school; Chief Officer - City of London - '...write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing' Benjamin Franklin

All the world’s a school?

Here they go again ...
Oh the media … once more pushing schisms.
Half of Britain's best actors privately educated - Telegraph
Yet, it does stand to sense that more privately educated pupils will go on to careers in acting simply because of demographics. It’s a risky business, acting, indeed any life as a performer - it doesn’t guarantee a steady income, and you might not make it. So how are you going to afford to live? Eddie Redmayne himself (featured) would tell you he was able to pursue a career as an actor because of his privilege to have parents living in London supporting him, providing a roof over his head,  while he jobbed his way around castings and auditions in the city. That sort of fact is a big difference; young adults from affluent backgrounds have a background that allows them the freedom to pursue their dreams. It’s not necessarily their schooling. It just happens that the parents with the income to support those budding thespians often have the income to budget for school fees. Obviously, I generalise, but you take the point.
I’ve already written about the city schools’ combined concert; I’ve already marvelled in blog form about the energy and passion from our state-educated siblings. It would, yes, be wonderful to see talented boys and girls from financially challenged backgrounds being afforded the same opportunities as the Eddies, the Kates (Winslet, Redroofs), the Daniels (Day-Lewis, Bedales), the Chiwetels (Ejiofor, Dulwich) and the Andrews (Garfield, Freemen’s). But the world isn’t, sadly, carved up equally.
So once again, we call for more opportunity for children who don’t automatically get to study in independent schools - and yes, the longer school days, the extra-curricular provisions, the ethos in general, mean that there’s perhaps more scope to put on a play in independent schools - more assistance for them to attend schools like ours. Essentially, I’m talking about bringing back the assisted place again. Such a move wouldn’t necessarily give aspiring actors the backing to go off and do what Eddie and co did, but it’s a step in the right direction.
The Sutton Trust
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust reports that ‘your chances of reaching the top in so many areas of British life are very much greater if you went to an independent school … as well as academic achievement an independent education tends to develop essential skills such as confidence, articulacy and team work which are vital to career success. The key to improving social mobility at the top is to open up independent schools to all pupils based on merit not money … as well as support for highly able students in state schools.’ It’s an ideal I’d stick my neck out for, and most of my school leader colleagues would, too.

Two more years?
Private school gives pupils a boost worth two extra years of education, research shows | Education | The Guardian
Rebecca Allen suggests that this report ‘is this just telling us that families who spend a lot of money on private schools value education highly … I’m sure they have the social and economic capital to support their children in the home to a greater extent than many typical children at state schools.’ Which brings me back to my earlier point about demographics. The Chairman of the HMC pinned his colours to the mast this week, urging the government to form a collaborative committee to bring together state and independent excellence; let the independents show the states how to do it, he argued, let us share.  While I think there is much that the States could show the Independents too, I do feel that collaboration is the key.
I consider my position to be blessed: my school is part of a group whose members wants to affect this change in our own network; the City of London family of schools is already looking in to what we can do for mutual benefit with total support from the powers in the Guildhall. The future - governed from the Square Mile - seems lime-light bright.

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