For many years, The Spectator has cheered on the Conservative party’s plans to reform Britain’s state education system. As our country hurtles down the international league tables, it is clear that something must be done to fix our schools. We can no longer compete with countries that once regarded us a role model.
And what has inspired us in our campaign, and preserved our faith in Britain’s potential, is the enduring excellence of so many of our independent schools. For all the talk of national decline, our private schools are the envy of the world, much as they were in Victorian times.
Independence fosters diversity, and independent schools tend to have their own character and charm. In consequence, however, choosing the school which best suits your child can be a bewildering process. This supplement, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, aims to make it a little easier.
In these pages we discuss the advantages of boarding, the merits of alternative exams and what to look out for on school open days. We have also put together a list of the highest-performing private schools, as well as a guide to the best bursaries and scholarships on offer. We recognise, of course, that the benefits of independent education are not simply academic. There’s plenty fun and games, too. Former England batsman Ed Smith selects his favourite school cricket grounds, while elsewhere we extol the merits of the little-known sport of fives.
We hope that parents, grandparents, and perhaps even children, will find this supplement both useful and entertaining.