Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating and in-depth analysis of how the independent schools sector has transformed itself in a single generation
Independent schools have always attracted controversy. Many in society take issue with the high level of privilege they enjoy. Yet in recent years, what was formerly a scarcely regulated field with sharply varying standards has seen a revolution in methods and results. Independent schools now exert an extraordinary reach and influence upon Britain’s professional and political elites. The fact that many of these schools are wealthy and privileged goes without saying; less understood is the vastly superior level of education they now offer. In The New Meritocracy, Mark Peel examines how independent schools have benefited from competition, and raised their game in manifold ways. He is also candid about the new problems facing these schools, from the sad decline of sportsmanship on the field (arising from a "win-at-all-cost" attitude that has migrated across from professional sport) to the issue of mental health problems resulting from high pressures placed on students. In this remarkably thoroughly researched analysis of an under-examined topic, Mark Peel offers a multi-faceted portrait of the state of the sector over the last 30 years. He evaluates its many considerable strengths, its future challenges, and shows how what was once seen as an outdated wing of the Establishment has transformed itself into a formidable engine of modern education.
About the Author
Mark Peel attended Harrow School and Edinburgh University before teaching History and Politics at Fettes private school in Scotland for more than 25 years. Besides contributing to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he is the author of eight books on cricket, politics, and independent schools, including England Expects: A Life of Ken Barrington, which won the 1993 Cricket Society Literary Award.