Sitting down in a library and writing down something in a southern state school sounds pretty bland. If only I had won the lottery or had famous relatives or a rich dead grandmother who could have sent me to private school. Then perhaps my expression would have expanded beyond terms like “something” and repeating verbs such as “down” Though maybe I was designed to go to State School, after all what does “going private” actually offer?
Yes, you probably have infinite more amounts of money, wealth and opportunities than me. Your classmates whom most likely have titles like “Lady Vanessa Forrester-Fletchwood the 3rd” whom demand the best. In contrast I sit next to Joe Bloggs of Park Road; hiding in a class of anonymity amongst my fellow peers. None of us have inherited our way through life, gained scholarships or have “moots” every semester. Instead we get a quick shout-out in assembly, an occasional applause but certainly no scholarships or merits or whatever.
Whether I actually care is another matter, but it points out that by “going private” certainly everything is made a meal out of. From irrelevant, over-sized portraits of famous owners on the walls of the canteen hall to the stained single glazed windows of ours is quite a contrast. Though perhaps it’s good to live around everything that is embellished right down to the smallest but sweetest cherry.
However when it comes to teaching there is no substitute for getting students, into well-performing universities who are perhaps of “average ability”. After all I go to a State School surely there is less pressure on me to perform academically? I am not “advised” to do activities just because it looks good on my Personal Statement. Though Active Listening may be stretching it a bit, Creative Writing certainly brings out the pleasure of missing Monday lunchtime.
It is activities such as these that have morphed R.G.S. into a school that can only be described as a state-come-private school. Gate-crashing countless league tables (The Sutton Trust Report), management conferences and any other high-art occasions they have distant relations with. Yearly sporting fixtures with Wellington, Eton, Wycombe Abbey? have proven we can mix with the best. However truthfully isn’t it just so we can establish good communication and marvel at their own superior facilities? Is it not just a reflection of what could have been for the optimistic few?
In a recent Independent article headmaster Roy Page was only too quick to highlight our inferior surroundings. Most importantly his study has only just been decorated and has, until now, overlooked the decaying nature of the common room. I guess it’s aptly described as “common” not as “student recreational quarters” like what it’s probably called in private schools.
If only I had gone to a private school. I could have told you the first sentence has qualities of sibilance, has transitive verbs and is in the simple continuous. If only this article was written in anger could I have been more cynical. Perhaps instead I am fuelled with jealousy and that maybe, just maybe, I am still optimistic for these last terms coming!
By Joel Girling