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Cheltenham Ladies' College Principal made to feel "slightly immoral"

Poor Mrs Tuck, who has felt victimized and "beaten up" - article from This is Gloucester. She couldn't really be quite as awful as this interview presents as being, could she? I advocate banning private schools altogether.

Outgoing Cheltenham Ladies College principal Vicky Tuck says she was made to feel "slightly immoral" for running a fee paying school.

Mrs Tuck, principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College for 14 years, said: "I won't miss the problem of us having to defend ourselves.

"Many of us in the independent sector work very hard and feel at times we have to apologise for what we're doing."

Mrs Tuck, 57, is now set to become director-general of the International School in Geneva.

On sabbatical in Brazil where she is studying education, she told The Times: 'There are things about England and British education that are quite irksome - you have constantly to defend independent education.

"You feel beaten up.

"All these things like arguments over visas for foreign students, the vetting-and-barring scheme for people wanting to work in schools. Over time, collectively, it becomes quite tiresome. Mrs Tuck said her new job was the only one that could have taken her away from Cheltenham, where she will remain head until next summer.

This will give the boarding school, which charges up to £31,000 a year in fees, time to find a replacement - the 11th head in its 156-year history.

Although lured away from Britain rather than wanting to escape, Mrs Tuck said she would not miss resentful attitudes in this country.

And asked if she felt the previous Government had been hostile towards independent schools, she said: 'At times, definitely.'

She went on to mention the Charity Commission's investigation into whether private schools should do more to merit their charitable status.

This left some schools fearing they could lose valuable tax breaks if they did not spend more on bursaries, which in some cases would need to be subsidised by fees paid by other parents.

A former head of the Girls' Schools Association, Mrs Tuck said it would be 'pure joy' to be speaking French and English and added that the lack of linguists in Britain was a 'pity'.

"In all the places I've visited there's a tremendous keenness to learn English, and that is just making it easier for British people not to learn other languages,' she said.

"The English are going to find it harder and harder if they had an introverted view of the world.'

In her new position Mrs Tuck will take charge of 4,000 pupils and hundreds of staff across three campuses, at the bilingual school that created the International Baccalaureate.

She will be the school's first female director-general.

Mrs Tuck said she was thrilled by the challenge of moving to Switzerland but had also been very happy and fulfilled at Cheltenham.


Toby said…
It's been said before, but if the new Government want to save money they could get a few quid by removing the tax-breaks that private schools enjoy.

Like you, I'd like to see private schools banned altogether, but this might be hard to do politically. Removing tax breaks would be a step in the right direction.
John said…

you are right. Whilst we are at it we should ban private tutors as well.
Toby said…
David Miliband is arguing for tax-breaks to be removed. Pity they didn't manage to do it in 13 years of Labour Government.
Stephen, what do you make of the proposals to let parents set up their own schools?
Stephen Law said…
Disapprove. Money for new schools comes out of budget of the rest. Places will be largely taken by middle classes. So effectively it helps middle class kids at the expense of the rest. Standard Tory stuff of course. Will make for yet greater inequalities.

It's also unfair that these state-funded schools are freed to teach what they want how they want, but those that don't go independent are straightjacketed with stifling, beaurocratic bullshit. Rather than say "Hey, want to be free of all this crap we dump on you? Start you own school, with state funds taken from the others, and all the crap stops!" Why not just stop dumping the crap?!

The underlying message is investment fund managers and PR execs can be trusted to run schools well, but educational professionals can't - the latter must be micro-managed.

My guess is this is merely phase 1. Phase 2 will be a voucher system, and the introduction of the option of these schools charging top up fees.
John said…

what is your take on home education?
Stephen Law said…
Depends on a lot of things, of course. Home ed by cult members is obviously not something I'd favour.
Anonymous said…
Money for new schools comes out of budget of the rest.

I thought that the money followed the child. That seems fair. Schools only lose money if they lose children, so they have less need of it.

Places will be largely taken by middle classes.

That remains to be seen.

those that don't go independent are straightjacketed with stifling, beaurocratic bullshit.

This sort of thing increased under the Labour government, and Michael Gove has said that this is the sort of thing he wants to roll back.

The underlying message is investment fund managers and PR execs can be trusted to run schools well, but educational professionals can't

I didn't think the intention was get get these sorts running schools, rather it is supposed to be parents and teachers who mainly take up the offer.

My guess is this is merely phase 1. Phase 2 will be a voucher system, and the introduction of the option of these schools charging top up fees.

Is this based on anything? Nothing that i've heard Gove say suggests this. Infact, I get the impression he'd be opposed to this sort of thing.
georgesdelatour said…
There are two attitudes - let's call one "inheritance tax at 100%", and the other "all must have prizes". They aren't logically connected. But on most forums I visit, the advocates of the former tend to assume the latter. This is a problem.

Logically, someone could oppose the fee-paying, or even the non-fee paying ability to opt out of the state system, but favour a ruthless state system of talent based selection and streaming, amounting to the almost total segregation of high and low IQ children. As far as I understand it, this was the education system Lenin believed in and argued for passionately in his writings, and which the former USSR attempted to operate. It certainly helped the USSR cultivate armies of brilliant scientists, chess players, gymnasts and ballet dancers.

As for the second attitude, it could be achieved without abolishing private schools. We could simply declare a uniform national level of educational attainment for everyone. If a child reaches it at 12 her education automatically stops at 12. Anyone attempting to educate her beyond that level should go to prison. If another child fails to reach it at 18, she stays in school, if necessary till she's 40. In essence this is a more enlightened, non-violent version of the Khmer Rouge education policy. They famously shot people for being able to read and write or speak foreign languages; probably the most extreme form of educational "levelling" ever attempted (I am not implying anyone on this thread would support such an education policy).
Hugo said…
Literacy rates are lower than 100 years ago. This is obviously caused by state education.

The existence of private schools are one of the few things forcing state schools to maintain their standards. If private education is banned, standards will descend into the gutter. There will be no escape routes from state schools available for exceptional people.
Toby said…
Literacy rates are lower than 100 years ago. This is obviously caused by state education.

Can't find any hard historical data, but I find it hard to believe that literacy rates have declined since 1910 - when the school leaving age was 12.

I'm pretty sure literacy rates have gone up and this is obviously caused by state education.
They famously photo men and women for having the ability to read and write or articulate unfamiliar languages; one of the most intense form of educational "levelling" actually tried out (I am not implying any person with this line would support this kind of education and learning insurance policy)

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