POINT ONE: Elite universitys create an elite class who have great influence over how we are ruled.
My understanding is that a degree from Oxford or Cambridge is more likely to get you a job than one from Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol etc. Therefore, top jobs in positions of power (or positions from which you can progress to power) are going to go to Oxbridge graduates. Although there are obviously exceptions, it makes logical sense that there are going to be a significant amount of Oxbridgers in positions of power.
By positions of power, I suppose I mean things like polititians, but I also mean people in the buisness world. I admit that I'm ignorant about the workings of things like this, but I assume that they employ people who work up through the ranks to eventually be on boards, be major shareholders, executives and things like that. Top of the heierarchy of the company, people whose decisions affect things.
Let's take the Murdoch corporation as an example. A job there will have loads of applicants, so the company can pick and choose and, given that a 1st from Oxford in Buisness is better than a 1st from Sussex in Buisness, Oxbridge people will get the job. Hence Oxbridge people being in power. In power in the Murdoch corporation means having a degree of influence over what the British population think, since thinking is controlled in part at least by the media.
All these people will know each other. There will be a network of powerful people who know each other from Oxford / Cambridge university. You went to Cambridge, and now your son wants a job - you speak to an old friend who is powerful within the Murdoch corpoatation. You went to Bognor Regis Uni, and now your son wants a job - there is none waiting within such an organisation.
(Please bear with me)
OK, that doesn't sound so bad. The most intelligent/hard working are in positions of power. Here is my second attempt at a point.
POINT TWO: IT IS NOT THE MOST INTELLIGENT WHO ARE ABLE TO GET IN TO OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE.
I'm fairly sure about this. I am not saying it is possible to be completely thick and get into these unis. It isn't. Getting AAA, or AAAA, or AAAAA at A-Level is bloody hard. However, your chances of doing so are relative to your wealth.
If you go to a rubbish, low achieving sixth form / college (which tend to be found in poorer areas, yes?) it will be harder to achieve excellent grades due to quality of teaching, resources, etc. Actually, scratch that. These will play a part, but it will be harder to achieve grades if your college is that which places the emphesis on educating you rather than training you for exams.
If you go to a private school, you will be exam trained to perfection. I know, I have a girlfreind at one. That is what these places are for.
Getting tired now, please poke holes in my argument, that is why I have bothered to type it out. It needs clarification, I know, but this is the jist of it.
Ta for reading.
> The problem is: with exams, you can be trained to a mark scheme - the
> better you are trained to do this, the better grades you are able to
> achieve with a limited knowledge of a subject. Whereas if you are not
> exam trained to the same degree, you can have a greater knowledge of
> a subject than someone who has been exam trained and get worse grades
> than them. It can get to the stage where you are tested on your
> ability to pass exams rather than what you know.
> It's relevant to private schools because: more resources, more
> ability to exam train.
But the questions in exams are different every year, so the student has to be able to answer questions on anything on the syllabus of the subject.
You can't teach to a "mark scheme" because the mark scheme is what examiners use when "marking" the paper strangely enough, and these are created along with the papers.
If what you actually mean is that they are taught precisely to the Syllabus with a heavy dose of exam technique on top....isn't that what schools are supposed to do...?
> Maybe you mean learning how to answer questions on a subject rather
> than learning the subject? Surely though being able to answer
> questions on a subject shows that you know the subject, and,
> therefor, have learned it.
> Maybe you mean teaching exam technique? Well that's just common
> If you're talking about teaching to the exam syllabus, then all
> schools do this, private or state, it's part of the National
> Curriculum and must be observed. Private Schools tend to attract more
> experienced teachers, who know the answers to questions which aren't
> in their teacher's guide. This usually means that a Private education
> gives you a wider basis of knowledge, as your teachers are more
> knowledgeable ontheir subject.
> I don't really see what the problem is.
The problem is: with exams, you can be trained to a mark scheme - the better you are trained to do this, the better grades you are able to achieve with a limited knowledge of a subject. Whereas if you are not exam trained to the same degree, you can have a greater knowledge of a subject than someone who has been exam trained and get worse grades than them. It can get to the stage where you are tested on your ability to pass exams rather than what you know.
It's relevant to private schools because: more resources, more ability to exam train.
> Exams are a test of application of knowledge - why learn something if
> you can't apply it?
Maybe you mean teaching exam technique? Well that's just common sense.
If you're talking about teaching to the exam syllabus, then all schools do this, private or state, it's part of the National Curriculum and must be observed. Private Schools tend to attract more experienced teachers, who know the answers to questions which aren't in their teacher's guide. This usually means that a Private education gives you a wider basis of knowledge, as your teachers are more knowledgeable ontheir subject.
I don't really see what the problem is.
Exams are a test of application of knowledge - why learn something if you can't apply it?
> I understand what you mean by "exam trained", and it's just
> better teaching, - you are better prepared to pass the exam, mainly
> because you are taught the subject in greater depth and have a better
> understanding of it, so are more equipped to answer any questions
> that you come accross.
Exam training is not better teaching. My best teachers have been the ones that as far from exam training as possible.
Private Schools also have scholarships for the very brightest students, so money isn't an issue if you're really THAT clever. If you actually look at league tables, it's not all private schools. Obviously there are a lot, but a lot of state schools do just as well.
As I've said, the only real reason for this is that private schools have a standard that you must be above - so they're not going to have very many students who get below a C, because they just won't be allowed to be in the school.
Private schools are usually going to be better because they have more money, and so they can afford the best of everything, whereas state schools have to settle for what they are given. Whether that's fair or not is another matter, but generally in life, the more money you have the better things you can buy.
> Well, business is an over-rated degree, but it's not like a first
> from Oxford is easy to get.
Nor is a first from Sussex (I suppose).
Clazon: I've been thinking about this a lot, and I don't think there's much problem with Oxbridge, but a serious one with private schools. That's pretty much my conclusion for the moment.
> As for Private Schools teaching more towards passing exams, that is
> wholly untrue. State schools tend to stick strictly to the curriculum
> and just teach the exam syllabus, which is teaching to pass exams.
> Private Schools offer a lot more in the way of teaching around a
> subject, mainly because they have the time and the resources to do
Speaking from my experiance: I'm at Henley College, and because it is such a wealthy area there are a fair few from private schools. Of the few I know, they seem better exam trained. Sorry I can't be more definate than that, but I havn't exactly researched it or anything.
What I do know quite well is my girlfriends experiance. She's been state educated since primary school, but she screwed up her AS-Levels, so her parents paid for her to go to a bloody expensive private school. She says they're much more exam trained there.
> The reason that Private Schools tend to have the best candidates is
> because they only take the best candidates in the first place, so
> they're naturally only going to have the best students, who do
They have the best cantidates that can afford it. I think that's a pretty important distinction to make. Again, refering to my girlfriend and the others I know, I know people who are cleverer than them who would have absolutely no chance of ever going to a private school.
> I know there are many exceptions, but the truth it, state schools can
> be just as good and a lot of the time better than Private Schools,
> but only if they're run well and funded adequately, which a lot of
> them aren't.
I'm guessing that, on average, they arn't though? Going by exam results, and the fact that people do pay ridiculous amounts to go to private schools?