Since graduating, I have followed my parents in working exclusively within state education, although unlike them I don't do the really difficult and important job of teaching. Every day I believe more and more (and from a high start-point) in the tremendous value of what the college I work at does, and of the wider system.
For many students across the UK, the start of a new year marks the height of mock GCSE season. This is an important time for young people. Their mock exam results are designed to give them some indication of how much they have learned in school and whether they are likely to achieve their predicted grades in the summer...
We shouldn't demolish the private schools. Although some people out there probably want to see their alma maters razed, it would be a waste of good architecture. They just need to be forced into the wider education system like stuffing into a reluctant turkey. It might be a messy job, but the end result, a richer society, is worth it.
As a scholarship student, I take issue with the fact that many regard independent schools like mine as elitist intuitions, reserved only for the privileged few. Although it might be fair to say that there a cluster of independent schools that are openly elitist, in my experience to say all schools are the same is a sweeping generalisation.
Summer learning loss is a well-known phenomenon in many schools. So much so that from 2015, the government is planning to introduce measures to give every state school the power to set their own term times - a freedom currently available to free schools and academies. The change could see a four week summer holiday introduced in many schools, with a longer gap between other terms.