Elite Private Schools 'Are Waste of Money'

Daily Mail (London), August 11, 2011 | Go to article overview

Elite Private Schools 'Are Waste of Money'


Byline: Sandra Murphy

PARENTS who fork out as much as [euro]20,000 a year on private education are wasting their money, a study has found.

It revealed that many state schools are providing better education than their elite feepaying counterparts. The international report compared the performance of public and private schools in the 2000 OECD survey of 15 year olds in maths.

It found state schools actually delivered better results when all factors, including the selective enrolment policies of some fee-paying schools, were considered.

Researcher Professor Danny Pfeffermann, of Southampton University, and Victoria Landsman, of the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, in the U.S. Professor Pfeffermann said: 'Our analysis shows that although the average score of pupils in the sample from private schools is significantly higher, the picture is reversed once the effect of school selection is accounted for properly.' The OECD tested Irish teenagers in maths, literacy and science to compile its worldwide rankings. Ireland was ranked as 'average' in maths in surveys in 2000 and 2009.

Jackie O'Callaghan, spokesman for the National Parents' Council, said the results proved intelligence could not be bought, adding: 'It doesn't matter how much you pay - if the child doesn't put in the effort, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference.

'There are pupils who have spades of talent but couldn't give a flying damn. Then there are average ones who know what points they need to get for college, they work their rear end off to get them and that is what it is all about.' Although private schooling was once a status symbol, Mrs O'Callaghan said this is no longer the reality: 'The snobbery element is much more prevalent in Dublin than elsewhere. …

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