Christ’s Hospital warmly welcomed author Robert Verkaik to the School on 1 October to give a talk to senior pupils and staff.
Robert is an author and journalist specialising in education. He writes for the Guardian, Independent, i newspaper, Observer, Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times. In his most recent book and title of his lecture at CH, “Posh Boys: How English Public Schools Ruin Britain”, Robert tells the story of how we became a nation obsessed with elite education that continues to stack the odds against fairness and progress, and the cultural forces it has unleashed upon us all.
Pupils and staff filled the lecture theatre at Christ’s Hospital to overflowing, as all were keen to hear Robert’s views on education, the public school system and a country “being led by the elite”.
His talk was factual and informative, full of historic detail and statistical evidence, as well as his experiences of growing up, and told the fascinating narrative of a how the education system in Britain has evolved through time. The audience learnt of challenges to bring down the private education system, of a system originally intended to educate the most underprivileged and how today In Britain, the government, judiciary and military are all led by the privately educated. He talked of a society increasingly divided and the gap between rich and poor being greater than ever before.
His talk was followed by a lively Q&A session with CH pupils keen to challenge some of his views and to put forward their own ideas on the problems around education, society and the class system, plus issues which might arise by closing independent schools.
Robert ended the evening by outlining how, through meaningful reform, we can finally make society fairer for all. He urged Christ’s Hospital to be more vocal about its ethos, its charitable mission and its 75% bursary places offered to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and to join the discussion on Private School Policy Reform.