MY child’s quintessentially English choir school seems intent on its own destruction through zealous enforcement of globally-determined diktats.
When I suggested that the school’s ‘over and above’ Covid-related actions could deter parents from sending their children as boarders, I was told that there would not be much national impetus to protect boarding schools as these are frequented by ‘the privileged’.
This comment came from a key member of the teaching staff who is also Head of Music. In other words, someone who, from a vocational and a financial perspective, ought to care whether or not the school exists. The choir, and the school which was set up in its service, have been established for centuries, and are important both locally and to those in far-flung places who cherish England and are sustained by the fact that the buildings, and their traditions, still exist.
The question, as I pointed out at the time, is how or whether these institutions will stand up for themselves. ‘We must stand up for what we believe in,’ I said. Of course, the teacher didn’t reply, and hasn’t actually said they believe in any of it: private schools, boarding houses, or hundreds of years of choral tradition. I just thought that someone in their position probably would. Silly me.
As a parent who goes without everything else so that I can pay the school fees, I would attest that, if anything, these hitherto key institutions are expediting their own decline.
They’re falling for, and perpetuating, the Marxist myth that private schools exist primarily so that the rich can pay for their children to obtain an unfair advantage over their poorer counterparts.
I can demonstrate that this is untrue. People choose private schools to uphold their family tradition, just as others choose state schools for ideological reasons.
I chose this path for my child, because the school’s specialist area is not covered in the state system. It also depends upon consistent attendance, over long hours, by pupils and staff, assisted by the boarding house, which enables choristers from further away to train for many months, throughout the years, from the age of eight.
In addition, I value the traditional education I received myself, and felt that I should put a similar effort into the future of my own child.
A choristership is five years of studious dedication, a mission involving the entire family, not just the child. The structure and organisation which supports this is necessarily set up and maintained by the daily dedication of all involved to prioritise the choir for which it was set up.
This is, naturally, not too compatible with our new prevailing culture that supports short-notice, long-duration sick leave for those who are not ill, and gives inordinate priority to being at the vanguard of a national ‘public health’ policy that’s founded on flawed scientific studies and censored academic and public discourse.
Private education is a choice I can barely afford, and my entire family goes without many things in order to scrape together the fees. This is as valid a choice as would be the decision to update a house’s interior, to buy a new car, have holidays or a second home; all things that many families do without fear of sniping from the wings. No ‘unfair advantage’ is perceived in those who drive a new car. Mine is about 15 years old.
I used to worry whether the car would survive until the end of my school fee commitment. Now, I think it might outlast the school.