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Thursday, 16 January 2020

British Schools in Hot Weather (DRAFT/UNFINISHED) performance 25/26th Jan 2020 Maxxi Museum


Good evening, everyone

I read a lot of the newspapers and the first thing I notice is all types of schools are noted as a disaster; free schools, grammar schools, academies, comprehensives, faith schools-so all types of schools including private schools are considered a disaster.

This leads me to believe we in a world of HYPERBOLIC STATEMENTS.

Now I was brought up in a council estate in south London, I went to a private school as a result of a direct grant.

This means, if you pass an exam the local authorities pay your admission fee.

Many private schools are like this, they are not a disaster they are a national asset and I will go on to explain why. 

In many cases, private education is compensating for what is not offered by the state, and as noted many of these private schools are subsidized by the state. 

Now, British private schools are regarded as being some of the best schools in the world. When I was head of Eton, not too longer ago, I couldn't tell you the amount of times my PA would come knocking on my door (knock knock knock) and came saying:’ HEADMASTER…HEADMASTER….’
‘yes yes,’ I would usher her. ‘someone is on the phone from somewhere like the... MAURITIUS.’ 

An island known for its beaches, its lagoons and its reefs. Not its British schools. These phone conversations usually involve asking to set up a school elsewhere abroad. I must say, very tempting, and whilst I was headmaster I set up several schools abroad.

I set up 2 in China and one in Thailand and it is a fact that every head of every private school will have had such a request every month for the past several years because our schools are so admired. I was asked by the Chinese government to set up a school in Hong Kong, not but 4 months ago.

This school was to be set to the model of a traditional British private school. Maybe British schools, in this instance are more suited to a Communist country.

I don’t know but what I do know is that there are pupils walking around in another country with straw hats and blue blazers, jolly and fresh and if you asked them would they consider these schools, private schools, as a disaster they would not understand what you mean.

They would not even understand the question itself.

Every year 10’s of thousands of children fly from country to country despite the distance, despite the cost, despite the privation of a these BRITISH boarding schools— because they consider these schools better than the ones in their own country.

Are we to turn into the schools that represent us internationally as some kind of joke, some kind of ridicule.

I think not.

It is widely believed, and especially in political circles, that education plays a quite crucial part in these social mobility.

Successive governments, committed to increasing mobility, have regarded education as means to end.

From free secondary education through to comprehensive secondary education, to expansion  in the 1960s and 1990s?

Not too far away is the doyen of social class mobility in Britain, John Goldthrope. I’ve read his work and he is absolutely emphatic on what determines social mobility in Britain.

Sociologists tend to discuss the role of education in social mobility in terms of what is called the ‘OED triangle’: that is, the triangle of associations between origins, education, and destinations.

We are here, talking about the role of education in inter-generational social mobility.

We are talking about fathers, sons, mothers and daughters. We are talking about where you are born and to what you are born into, having a direct relationship to your education and therefore your later life.

Insofar as any theoretical context has existed for research into the pattern and evolution of relations within the OED triangle, it has been that provided by the functionalist theory of industrial, or post-industrial, societies.

The rising demand for qualified personnel will require the expansion of educational systems and their progressive reform aimed at creating a greater equality of educational opportunity, so that all available human resources can be utilised as effectively as possible.

I can't possible go into the micro and macro complexity of the OED triangle here, but what I will say and will note on is how this data is transformed and is itself transforming. Now it is standard poetic practice to curse the protos heuretes-the person responsible for any substantial breakthrough.

Yes! we are talking about scientific breakthroughs and education.

Origin-Education-Destination.

Social mobility and its success will depend however, and as ever, on freedom, openness and pluralism. The lifeblood of this fair nation. If only they had never invented the ship, then Jason would never have sailed to Colchis and all sorts of disasters would never have happened, yet here we are and oh!

How we have changed and transformed since then.

The human frame would not withstand the very speeds attained by Stephenson's rocket, now our understanding of the natural world is being transformed by genome sequencing.

And it is a deep human instinct to be wary of any kind of technical progress, for it is this that will alter the current status quo.

Smarter children and smarter cities, all pullulating with sensors, joined together by interconnectivity by the internet of things, bollards communing invisibly with lamp posts.

So there is always a parking space for your electric car, so no bin goes unemptied, no street unswept and the urban environment is antiseptic as a Zurich pharmacy.

Data is the crude oil of the modern economy. We don't know who should own these new oil fields. We don't always know who should have the right or titles to these resources. Can these algorithms really be trusted with our lives and hopes? It is yet to manifest, in truth.

Origin-Education-Destination.

That we truly understand, or can begin to understand is the emerging markets that come with contemporary education.

Britain is leading in these fields, we know this by the very statistics.

By the numbers alone!

We are leading in the tech-industry also. Will nanotechnology help us to beat disease, or will it leave tiny robots to replicate in the crevices of our cells?

I do not know the answer to these questions.

What I do know and what we can attest to is how private schooling has directed droves of minds to the most competitive sectors in not only this country but all over the world.

The very idea that we would diminish our inventions, seem ludicrous!

Do we wish to stand in the way of the British companies working to use 3D printing to make an engine capable of blasting a rocket into space.

Or stand in the way of multiple African countries, now capable of accessing bank accounts and transferring money using a simple app; they can buy solar energy and leap in once transaction from no electricity to green power. The global impact of British institutions is recognized.

To impede such progress, is to advert the progress forward.

We know we are going to succeed not on ideology but simply what works!

An engine is in approach, take care ladies and gentlemen!