No depth, no insight, no point

Attain, last term, ITV broadcast a documentary called School Swap - the Class Divide featuring Warminster School. HMC member Mark Mortimer, Headmaster of the leading independent school reflects on the programme's reaction and the lessons learned.

The teaching at Bemrose was good. I expected it to be. I am adamant that the crucial difference between state and independent lies not in the classroom but in what happens beyond its walls. In Derby, I wanted to find out what the staff there consider to be a 'complete and generous' education. Broadly our views were similar: the importance of, for example, music, drama, sports clubs and societies. Likewise an emphasis on service, self-control, curiosity, getting stuck-in, tenacity, and the idea that it's ok to fail sometimes and then try again.

Independent pupils do a pretty good job of developing character in their pupils. There is also a belief in the value of community (in which pupils must learn to contribute as well as take) and that the two fundamentally important attributes that schools should develop in their pupils are self-esteem and self-confidence. A lot of research makes a clear connection between the development of character, resilience and social mobility. All these attributes are hard to measure however, take time to acquire, and are often intangible. As a result, they don't often get the recognition, time and resources they need in the state sector.

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