Leader: Education’s Berlin Wall

New Statesman
The boys of Eton College stand as headmaster Tony Little arrives for morning assembly. Photo: Getty.

This week, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, joins our debate on the dominance of the privately educated in public life and the correlation between poverty and educational failure. (Thank you to all readers who have contributed excellent letters on the subject; our postbag continues to overflow.) In a bold article, starting on page 25, he declares that our “segregated” education system is “perpetuating inequality and holding our nation back … From the England cricket team to the comment pages of the Guardian, the Baftas to the BBC, the privately educated – and wealthy – dominate. Access to the best universities and the most powerful seats around boardroom tables, influence in our media and office in our politics are allocated disproportionately to the privately educated children of already wealthy parents.” These are good words and true. Mr Gove then explains why he believes the “Berlin Wall” between private and state in education is beginning to crumble.

Meanwhile, our shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt has announced that, if Labour wins power in 2015, he hopes to introduce “behaviour experts” into schools to stop children misbehaving.