Private schooling: Then and now

David Bullard writes on the effects of the wokaine epidemic in our elite schools


On 20th September 1966 my parents packed me off to boarding school. At the time I wasn’t quite sure what I had done to deserve being deprived of my nice comfortable bedroom at home only to be sent off to sleep in a chilly dormitory with 18 other boys but my father seemed to think it was a good idea.

One of the quirks of the British educational system is that fee paying schools that are not part of the state system are known as ‘public schools’ because that’s precisely what they are not. It’s a sort of English in-joke I imagine.

My father could just have easily sent me to the local secondary modern or comprehensive school which would have saved him a fortune and allowed him to upgrade his car from a Ford Zephyr to a Rover 2000 at the very least.

Possibly even a Mark II Jaguar with a decent sized engine. But he had this post war bee in his bonnet about providing a decent education for his children and sending them into the world well prepared and since the state education system was in a mess at the time under a Labour government he felt the only decent alternative was to stump up for a fee paying public school.

Since there were no public schools in the immediate vicinity the only alternative was a boarding school about an hour and a half’s drive from home. But first I had to go to what was called a ‘preparatory school’ until the age of 13 to be prepped for my common entrance exam, without which I would never get into a public school and would have ended up on life’s scrapheap, going to the local secondary modern, getting teenage girls pregnant and dealing in drugs before embarking on a career of stocking shelves at Tesco. At least, I think that was the usual pattern of events.

My ‘prep school’ was a day school in Banstead, Surrey and was a pleasant double decker bus-ride from home. In those days we were allowed to travel on public transport without our parents worrying about ageing perverts abducting us and leading as astray.

The other major benefit of the bus ride was that the girls from Greenacre school nearby also caught the same bus and since the horrors of ‘non-binary gender fluidity’ were still a few decades away we could indulge in mutual guilt free flirting.

I took my common entrance exam and to my parent’s great relief got a pass mark sufficient to get me into a public school that boasted a few war heroes as old boys along with a novelist, a high court judge and an editor of a Fleet Street newspaper. The school was set in magnificent grounds on the South Downs of Sussex and had a reputation as a great sports school with a pretty decent academic record; although it didn’t shoot the lights out.

The school also proved a very popular choice with foreign students some of whom would abruptly end their English education as their fathers were deposed in a coup back home.

There are those who look back fondly on their school days and others who shudder at the memory. I’m firmly with the former camp and once I got used to boarding school life and the absence of home comforts I had a great time participating in school plays, joining the debating society and opting for clean indoor sports like squash and fencing.

The main benefit of being a member of the fencing team was that we could play girls schools; something the muddy rugger buggers never managed to do.

However, the best thing about a public school education was the quality of the teaching. The fee-paying schools tended to attract the top teachers with extra perks such as a house within the school campus.

Many of the state schools, with the exception of the dwindling number of grammar schools, had virtually become day care centres for juvenile delinquents with teachers barely able to keep control let alone prepare their charges for an exam pass.

The public schools, on the other hand, felt an obligation to fee paying parents to stimulate their pupil’s thirst for knowledge and offer all sorts of opportunities outside the school curriculum.

For example, I would never have developed a love for TS Eliot’s Four Quartets had a particularly wonderful English master not given me his copy and suggested I try it to see if I liked it. Neither would I have discovered William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and subsequently developed a love of oratorios.

Another English master brought Shakespeare alive for me, and my history teacher veered off the main topic often enough to put what could have been dull events into an historical context. Debate and disagreement between pupils and staff was always encouraged with the simple rule that it had to be courteous from both sides.

One of the principal advantages of receiving a privileged education at a fee paying school was that the system produced people who had good manners, even if they weren’t spectacularly bright.

How things have changed. The obligation to fee paying parents to provide a well-rounded education and to stimulate pupil’s imaginations seems to have been dumped completely. Instead we now have the so called ‘elite’ schools concentrating on this weird religion called ‘Critical Race Theory’ which seeks to destroy and decolonise traditional learning (the sort of things that might prove useful in later life) and to drive a wedge between white and black pupils.

White pupils are now indoctrinated and encouraged to question their parent’s privilege based, as it is, on the exploitation of the black majority. This is despite the fact that those same white parents are stumping up in excess of R200 000 p.a. for the privilege of hearing their own kids tell them how disgusting they are. Go figure.

Getting teacher into big trouble seems to be one of the main attractions of the new system at ‘elite’ schools though. It’s now fairly common to receive anonymous complaints from pupils against predominantly white teachers alleging all sorts of things although racism is one of the firm favourites.

There are those who have questioned how you can possibly take an anonymous accusations seriously but as one whimpering white school principal allegedly pointed out, “why would the little darlings lie?” Why indeed. Well, it’s very simple. If I could have got one of my least favourite teachers sacked and thrown out of his rent free school house I would have given it my very serious consideration if I didn’t have to identify myself.

The question is, what are the predominantly white school governing bodies doing about this? Do they honestly think that this is good for business and that parents will be queuing up to get their kids into a school with no discipline and an evident high teacher turnover.

Or are they so lily livered that they are prepared to hand the whole situation over to highly dubious diversity consultants in the hope that their virtue signalling will excise them of their responsibilities? When did head teachers and school governors become so frightened of bullying parents? It’s supposed to be the other way round.

This almost certainly can’t end well but since I have no skin in the game with children to educate I can afford to sit back and have a good laugh at the folly. All the utter Wokist nonsense of the pretentious choice of gender and personal pronouns and the wild accusations of trans-phobia against teachers together with the dismissal of colonial constructs such as the law of gravity make for hilarious reading.

One thing I would suggest though is to stop protecting the troublemakers by not revealing their identities. After all, they are quite happy to publicly humiliate their unfortunate victims. Maybe check their surnames and you could find that the little darlings come from a family of well known troublemakers and that the rich rewards of state capture might, just possibly, be paying the school fees. After all, the best way to destroy the system is from within as the ANC have so ably demonstrated over the past 28 years.