It’s time we knew the real difference between state and private school

The other half don’t have it that much better

For a lot of state school students there’s a certain amount of mystery that surrounds private schools. You’ll be able to spot a private school boy from a mile off on the way home from school. He’d be standing there in all his glory – shirt and tie, hair perfectly coiffed. For all you know, he’s just finished gorging on a 5-course meal of champagne and caviar.

You’d probably have loved to stand in his overindulged shoes, just for the day. Just to see what it was like. Well look no further – from someone who’s personally experienced both, I’m here to debunk some of the myths surrounding both private schools and state schools.

Kids will be arseholes wherever you go

Tarquin, Hugo, Sixtus, (is that last one even a real name ?) etc. These are just some of the typical names that we associate with those students who are privileged enough to study at Private schools. However, in truth, not all private school students have names that make them sound like offspring of Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Indeed, preconceptions about Private school students are often influenced by popular, yet questionable stereotypes – Matt Lacey’s ‘Gap Yah’ sketch springs to mind…rah.

Honestly, I knew just as many down-to-earth ‘Tom Dick and Harry’s’ at Private school as I did at State school. Of course there’s an element of truth to all stereotypes: you’re bound to meet the odd conceited arsehole, but isn’t this true of anywhere ?

You get more shiny badges at private school 

Unsurprisingly (and perhaps disappointingly depending on what you’re into) Bullingdon-style socials involving deceased animals and ‘private parts of anatomy,’ are few and far between. Nevertheless, there is a prevalent difference in the social atmosphere between the state and the private system – it is often easy to become a ‘big fish in a small pond’ at private school.

This becomes quite apparent from a young age. At primary school, Children can often be seen parading through the corridors with an array of dazzling badges attached to their blazer, making them look like some kind of distinguished veteran officer in the Royal Navy. These ‘accolades’ range from anything between ‘Head boy’ and ‘School Council’ to ‘Chief feeder of class goldfish.’

Alternatively, from my experience, State schools place less of an emphasis on competition because at the end of the day, everyone is a winner…even the little chubby kid that got lapped three times at sports day.

The difference in education isn’t that deep

The jury is still out on whether you receive a ‘better’ education at private school in comparison to state school. Of course, class sizes tend to be much smaller in the private sector, often meaning that more time can be invested in those students that either particularly struggle or excel.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t actually mean you’ll receive a higher quality of teaching – statistically, there’s merely less of a chance of there being any attractive people in your class to distract you from your work. Similarly, children at private school often have access to a range of more ‘exclusive’ (synonym for useless) ¬†subjects such as Ancient Latin and Greek. This is often sold as a positive, but it won’t help you order strawberry ice-cream when you’re at a European Holiday resort.

Private school uniform is dire

Unless your fashion preferences are unsightly tartan patterns that make you look like you’ve originated from the Scottish Highlands, the state system would have to win this one hands down.

The Final Verdict

So, what’s the final verdict ? Should you rue your luck for the fact that you never had the opportunity to fraternise with the ‘Made in Chelsea’ cast ? Or, was your ‘salt of the earth’ state school actually much more fun?

From someone who has been privileged (synonym for spoilt) enough to have sampled a taste of both worlds, all I can do is leave you with one, rather unsatisfying answer – I loved both experiences. The truth is, if you’re hard working, good-humoured and outgoing, you’ll probably thrive wherever you go, regardless of how much money mummy and daddy have in their bank account.

 

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University of Warwick