Little did we think when we decided to send our children to a private school that we would be subjecting them to Cultural Revolution-type selection under which they would be punished for being "cosmopolitan elements" rather than "good proletarians."
The joke, in our case, is that both parents are "good" proletarians (as if such nonsense matters). We were the first members of our respective working-class families to go to university. So we could have saved ourselves the biggest single expenditure of our lives, sent them to the local comp and watched them waltz (given their native talents) into Oxbridge on the basis of their exemplary class origins.
That would not have affected our decision. A good education is not a merit badge or a step to some career; it is an important end in itself. We know from direct, bitter experience that it could not have been guaranteed at the sort of State schools my wife and I attended (and in which she later had the misfortune to teach).
As it turns out, an additional benefit of educating them privately is that they can now learn about the all-important role of victim status in British society. Such status may sometimes (as in this example) provide short-term benefits. However, the moral debilitation involved in laying claim to it will always outweigh the advantages. The debased British educational Establishment is now unwittingly offering my children this lesson.
Frankly, I am more concerned at present about the Principal of their school. At a meeting for Lower Sixth parents' last weekend she managed to make the two following statements, within seconds of each other, without apparent embarrassment;
"Despite what you read in the papers there is no discrimination. However, it is true that your children may face more demanding entry requirements."
Logically, only one of these statements can be true. It seems she has learned doublethink, a key skill in British education.
From statistics provided by her assistant, it seems the school maintains a higher than average success rate in obtaining offers from all universities except Edinburgh, which now openly discriminates on ethnic grounds. Presumably, if it were not for less demanding entry requirements for State school pupils, that rate would be even higher. Our children will find themselves at University alongside students who did not (by the standards applied to them) deserve their places. Yet another free lesson in life from the British State.
Recruitement to universities on a social, rather than academic, basis must inevitably debase the educational currency.