Writer Alan Bennett blasts private education system
The author and playwright Alan Bennett has criticised the private education system, which he claims educates students based on their social situation rather than on their ability.
Mr Bennett made the claim in a speech delivered to an audience at Cambridge University. Mr Bennett himself experienced a grammar school education in Leeds; after passing a scholarship history exam, he was offered a place at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge. One of his most famous plays, The History Boys, follows a group of gifted grammar-school boys being prepared to sit entrance exams for Oxbridge.
In his speech, Mr Bennett said: ‘Private education is not fair. Those who provide it know it. Those who pay for it know it. Those who have to sacrifice in order to purchase it know it. And those who receive it know it, or should. And if their education ends without it dawning on them, then that education has been wasted.’
The 80-year-old stated that he did not want the private education system to be destroyed but to be gradually reformed, starting with the bringing together of sixth forms from both state and public schools. He also claimed that private education was not Christian in that it made students, who deserved a level playing field, unequal.
Mr Bennett went to Exeter College in Oxford, where he joined the Oxford Revue and teamed up with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook in Beyond the Fringe.
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