Guerrillamum's Blog

Toby you are so wrong! Bullying is not just in state schools
October 18, 2010, 11:57 am
Filed under: Education and the new government | Tags: , , ,

Yet another example of Toby Young twisting a story to meet his own ends. Bullying is not ‘an appalling indictment of the English state education system’. In fact if you look in the media you will see stories of bullying in private schools as well. One such private school that comes to mind had to have a change of Head when it was found that there was no effective policy in place to deal with bullying. Bullying can happen anywhere and private schools are certainly no better than state schools at its prevention. However, state schools are actually required to have an anti bullying policy in place, and I have yet to hear of a Head of a state school who had to leave their post simply because they did not have clear processes for dealing with bullying.

You disappoint me Toby; you have called for schools to reinstate classic literature in their curricula, being clearly well read yourself. Your vision for your Free School is more than a little reminiscent of ‘Biggles’ and ‘PG Wodehouse’. Surely you must have read ‘Tom Brown’s School Days’ too?

6 Comments so far
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You’ve misunderstood my argument. It wasn’t the presence of bullying at Tom Daley’s school that was so alarming. I agree, bullying is a feature of all schools, state and private alike. It was the fact that Tom Daley was bullied because he’d been selected for Team GB at the 2008 Olympics that was disturbing. Is it false to claim that a 14-year-old Olympic athlete is more likely to be bullied as a direct result of his success at a state school, with its all must win prizes ethos, than at a private school? I don’t think it is. Regardless, that’s the argument you should engage with, not the straw man you’ve attacked here.

Comment by Toby Young

Dear Mr Young

Thank you for your reply. Although it may be easier for you to assume I don’t understand your argument, I do understand it, but I happen to think you are wrong. As a person who was educated in the state sector and has children who are also being educated in the state sector, I certainly have no problem with schools that try to help children to achieve through a school ethos of positive reinforcement – if this is what you mean when you say that ‘everyone must have prizes’. I do not know if Tom Daley was bullied in the state system because he won a prize or medal, or not but I do know of a number of children who got bullied simply because they were different. This is why bullying happens, and it is wrong anywhere. It happens both in the state education and private systems. Yes, Tom Daley was in the state education system when he was bullied but I really don’t think we can say, as you do in your article, this is an indictment on the whole state system. This is why I disagree with you and think you are wrong to say the things you did.

I also think that Ms Birbalsingh’s experiences after choosing to speak at the Conservative conference cannot really be compared to Tom Daley’s bullying experiences. Nor do I feel it fair to attack the state system to make private education or dare I say it, free schools (which I am certain will also have their own bullying issues to deal with) look more appealing. This is what I think about what you said, it is not about ‘straw men’.

I appreciate your reply it is wonderful to have other peoples’ views represented on this blog.

Ellen Power

Comment by guerrillamum

You beat me to it with Tom Brown. Our literature has depended on the fag system in public schools surely!

Comment by JFB57

Thanks, Julia!

Comment by guerrillamum

All bullying is terrible- wherever it happens- and all schools experience bullying,it’s one of the nastier sides of human nature. Any school that says it has eradicated bullying completly is burying its head in the sand. It’s how they deal with the bullying that sets them apart, not whether theya re private or state. Nobody should be bullied for being different- whether that’s being an elite athlete, being gay, being religious, being intelligent, being a geek- whatever your difference is.

Comment by citizenr

Citizenr, I couldn’t agree more.


Comment by guerrillamum

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