Private school parents in the UK think they are ‘buying’ success for their children

At the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) annual conference in Liverpool, the president of ATL, Dr Mary Bousted, shared how there was a growing “sense of entitlement” among private school parents. Rising fees at independent schools mean that parents increasingly believed that they had effectively “bought” their children success, good grades, and a place at a top university, and expected the school to “deliver” this.

Helen Porter, an independent school teacher shared that: “Parents and students make it very clear to us that they expect the grades they paid for, and that means that we have to do extra revision sessions at lunchtimes, after school and even in the holidays.”

Dr Bousted stressed that these “sense of entitlement” and expectations from parents and students result in heavy workload for teachers. In addition, the sense that parents also have a role to play in their child’s education, and the fact that the child has to have the aptitude and ability to academically excel, gets lost in the equation. The important life lessons to be learned, one of which is hard work produces good results, is also side-lined.

Reading this article and Dr Bousted’s views, brings to mind Singapore’s stance that there should not be a “sense of entitlement” when it comes to independent or autonomous schools. The Government believes that all schools are good schools, because each school has its own unique strength. What every school can do is to provide the best holistic environment to maximise each student’s potential. What happens after, largely depends on the individual student’s aptitude and attitude – you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

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