I go to a private school. No, not Hogwarts, though it seemed that much when I moved there in 2011 for 6th form. I’d previously attended a fairly decent comprehensive school between the age of 11 and 16, managing to achieve a decent set of GCSE results. When my parents suggested going to a private school for 6th form my mind was at battle between both excitement and apprehension. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My friends from the comprehensive school gave me a bit of direction calling me ‘Posh boy’, however I was sure it wasn’t going to be ‘that posh’.
Now, ‘posh’ is defined as an adjective meaning ‘elegant or stylishly luxurious’ and my first day at private school seemed to give me the impression that it was just that; It had it’s own swimming pool, a chapel more impressive than the one in my local village, Huge playing fields suited for both cricket and rugby and a recently built dining hall that I can imagine could hold thousands of people. I was a bit dazed to say the least. Going to school on Saturday mornings & homework now being referred to as ‘prep’ were only a handful of examples that also made the transition between comprehensive school culture and private school culture all the more challenging.
I’m now currently on my Easter break ready to embark on my final term (‘Trinity Term’ as the private schools would say) at private school & quite honestly I can say it has been the most rewarding two years of my life so far. No disrespect to the great teachers at my comprehensive but the quality of teaching at my private school truly is something unique & overall I’m now in, what I believe a much better position to further my education. I can only be thankful to my parents for rewarding me with me with such an experience. PS why has this turned into an Oscar-esque speech? I do apologize.
Anyway (And here’s the main point of this post), positives a-side, there’s a culture that takes place not only at my private school, but others all across the country that essentially sets the elite pupils from ‘the rest’. The process? Scholarships. Now, i’m all for slightly discounted fees for students who are evidently going to get A*A*A* when it comes to results day & for sportsmen/women who represent at county or national level, but there is a line. I’m going to use an example from my own school that clearly highlights my disgruntlement; A young man who plays Rugby at, what I believe is county level was, at the beginning of this year, given a 90% scholarship. This meant he only had to pay 10% fees. At the time I presumed he must have been a future England hopeful & in fact, i’m led to believe that he could have been. However, an injury meant he was out for an entire year & possibly longer. Regardless, his 90% scholarship continued whilst ‘the rest’ are forced to pay 100% fees. My frustration was elevated to new levels of outrage when the school introduced ‘Scholars boards’ at the entrance of the school, with each pupil in their respective field; music, drama, art, sport and academia highlighted on the boards in gold writing (It ‘had’ to be gold didn’t it?).
As a representative of ‘the rest’ I can’t begin to express how demoralizing a board stating all those who are superior to you actually is. I enjoy music, in fact it’d be a dream to be able to pursue a career in music, however, when there’s a board with all the people who are essentially ‘better than you’ at music, it’s hardly a call for inspiration.
There’s more I could say on the matter however, if, by any chance, my school did happen to stumble across this post, the headteacher might not be too pleased, so I think I’ll just leave it there!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading & I hope I haven’t given you too much of a headache!
• Bowmer •