This has been going on now for months, possibly even a year, and I have never known a child be so determined to be something so… obscure at the age of 5. He’s determined to learn about geology, dinosaurs and what this child hasn’t taught himself about dinosaurs you could put on a pin head. He just knows so much!
I decided to google a bit more about how one becomes a palaeontologist, after all, it’s not your every day to day career now is it. In order to become a palaeontologist you have to have a strong focus in science and maths, field experience, biology, geology and higher maths from a university that specialises in the sciences and then you have to find a university in the world that offers masters in palaeontology… once you’ve done all that? You’re looking at becoming a professor.
All achievable, sure but I can’t help but wonder how much more achievable; how much of a head start Toby would have if he were in the private school system.
Hear me out before you gasp.
Our school is phenomenal, the teachers are amazing and the children are all super happy however there are things that having had both a state and private education I can say for certain. Firstly, state education levels are very different to those in private education. Elitism in this country (and indeed around the world, I knew so many girls from Asia and Mexico in my time at The Mount Preparatory School) means that you can indeed buy your child a better education. It’s a simple fact. When I was at The Mount in year 7, I was learning biology, physics, chemistry as separate subjects, yet when I had to leave that school system because my mum couldn’t afford it any longer, I was placed in (what was at the time) one of the best state schools in the area and they learnt “science” until year 10, only then being told there was a difference between the three branches that I had known. I later discovered that my year 7 tuition in science was a match for the state systems year 9. It’s a depressing thought isn’t it? Our state schools are so bogged down with government standards that I genuinely think our curriculums are lacking.
It wasn’t even science. At The Mount I learnt German, French, Spanish and Latin from 11. Admittedly I already knew a lot of French because I’d been doing it from the age of 4 in private junior school. That isn’t a requirement in most junior schools. At The Mount, they took 3 extra GCSEs to my equivalent. THREE. There were no SATs at Year 9 level, you had equivalent exams but no pressure to jump through a hoop that basically meant nothing other than to tick a government box.
I mentioned a second thing. The doors that seem to become unlocked, swing open like you’ve just whispered Alohamora under your breath, all because you say or put that elitist school on your resume for college, university and then that job. It’s not something that *should* happen, the leg up because your education was paid for, but I can tell you from personal experience that is does happen. Often. In my own personal experience I can see a marked change in the way that people treat me when I say that I went to The Mount vs I went to Norton College. I went to both, neither should count for more than the other because ultimately both comes up with GCSE results and both comes up with an education level that you can use to go to college, yet the difference is there, in all it’s shining glory.
If I sent my son to an elite school, a private school where his education is (in my experience) going to be to a higher standard than that of the current curriculum in state schools, and could afford him that door opening ability… should I?
Well there is a question. A part of me screams YES! Another part of me isn’t so sure. Should this level of elitism be there? Should the current curriculum not be in line with the higher level of some private schools and the snobbery surrounding it all be banished?
I don’t have the answers to that, I really don’t.