Мне совершенно непонятно, как своего родного ребенка можно послать учиться в boarding school и видеть от силы пару раз в месяц, а то и реже?! А плюс ко всему знать, что дети там недоедают, даже зимой ходят в шортах, старшие школьники издеваются над младшими и т.д. и т.п. Некоторые говорят, что школьные годы закаляют дух и проч., но по-моему, они только калечат психику*. Поэтому, мне и было интересно узнать, что же думают по этому поводу сами англичане (ну или хотя бы один;) и я задала этот вопрос своему знакомому Кейну.
Кейн же, прежде чем ответить мне на мой вопрос, решил рассказать, что вообще собой представляет школьное образование в Великобритании. Я честно пыталась это перевести, в течение последних двух недель. Но, как известно, переводчик из меня никудышный, поэтому я решила опубликовать его рассказ без перевода. Все термины, типа, grammar school etc. легко находятся в словаре, поэтому, я думаю, вам не составит труда прочитать этот небольшой экскурс в британскую систему образования. Вполне вероятно, что Кейн не написал ничего того, что нельзя было бы найти в Википедии. Но его рассказ краткий и четкий, и благодаря ему я наконец-то уяснила, чем отличаются private schools от public schools.
State education in the UK consists of:
State “comprehensive” schools (in 95% of the country); and
A mix of state “grammar” and “secondary schools” (this system used to be all over the UK until the gradual introduction of comprehensive schools in the 1970s but it now remains in only 5% of the country).
Private education in the UK consists of:
Approx. 20 elite “public” schools (including Eton, Harrow, Westminster etc);
Approx. 200 further “public” schools (although these are usually grouped with the “private schools”; and
Approx. 2,000 independent or “private” schools.
All independent schools are able to set their own curriculum which usually focuses on more of a “classical” education rather than the more politically-driven, populist “national-curriculum” taught in all state schools.
Fees for public schools are approx. 2 million rubles per year. Fees for private schools are approx. 700,000 rubles per year. There are scholarships (usually for academia, music and sport) but they are very competitive and only rarely pay 100% of the fees.
93% of children go to state schools. 7% of children go to private schools. Approx. 50% of “Oxbridge” university students went to private schools.
Most people in the UK go to comprehensive schools which split the pupils in terms of ability but still keep all pupils under one roof. Independent schools / grammar schools have about 600 pupils. Most comprehensive schools have at least 2000 pupils.
I didn’t go to a private school, but I did go to a selective-state “grammar” school (Gymnasium?). If you are lucky enough to live in the right area, you take a test when you are 11 and, if you pass, they let you in. About 20% of 11 year olds pass.
Considering it was provided for free by the state, my education was good and certainly compared with the standard of many of the 2,000 independent schools. My school was founded in 1563 and had some nice old buildings, some pupils who boarded and a number of traditions usually associated with independent schools. We played rugby and hockey in the winter (not football) against mainly other grammar schools and independent schools in the area, attended church and had a (voluntary) “combined cadet force”.
However, there is little comparison between all the schools in the UK and the 20 “elite” public schools. These places really are spectacular in terms of their facilities and teachers. They own huge estates with chapels, Olympic-sized swimming pools, golf courses, rowing lakes, stables and, most importantly, the quality of the teachers is excellent. Most of the teachers at these schools will have studied their subject at Oxford or Cambridge or another top university to a very high standard. These schools also focus very much on coaching children to pass Oxbridge interviews, with great success.
So, if you have the money, it seems like an easy choice? No?
Actually, for me it’s not that simple. State education in the UK (particularly London) is generally accepted to be poor. So, one of the main reasons it is important to earn a good salary is to have the choice to send one’s children to private school if necessary. However, from my experience, privately educated people (particularly those from the “elite” public school pupils) are not necessarily how I would like my children to end up. As all the parents of the children at these schools are rich, unfortunately it often leads to a number of rather unpleasant character traits including arrogance, snobbery and a “sense of entitlement”. One of the best things about attending a Grammar school was that it was totally meritocratic and the pupils came from all sorts of backgrounds. Furthermore, to attend a top public school it is often necessary to “board” (live at the school) and whilst this might sound like Harry Potter, in my experience this can lead to a number of complexes and an inability to deal with “ordinary” people. If I have children, I do not want to delegate the responsibility of raising them to another person and only see them once every 6 weeks.
Having said that, there are, of course, huge benefits to attending an elite public school and some of my best friends who attended these schools have turned out to be well-connected, highly educated and still “well-adjusted” “balanced” people. They would, however, be the first to say that they are the exception rather than the rule.
I still haven’t decided on what’s best and I will make the decision at the time. At the moment it looks like being a day pupil at a grammar school or relatively inexpensive private school would be best but you never know.
Если вы все еще at a loss what Brititsh education is about, try this short video
*Кстати, у Роальда Даля есть ледянящий кровь рассказ об издевательствах над младшими учениками в одной из элитных школ (как раз недавно его читала, называется Galloping Foxley).
Также с недавних пор психологи говорят о public school syndrome. Психологи заметили, что у людей, закончивших частные школы, часто наблюдаются одни и те же расстройства психики и проблемы. Для прочтения этой и любой другой статьи в браузере, рекомендую вам установится в свой браузер Readlang (подробнее).