Private schools

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They were established to aid social mobility. Now they hold it back, and things are getting worse. It’s time for Britain’s public schools to be opened up for all, argues ‘Posh Boy’s author Robert Verkaik England’s peculiar private education system, arranged around the model of the public school, has been selling privilege and power to the highest bidder for hundreds of years. But this was not how the public schools started out. The first, Winchester College, was founded 600 years ago in the reign of Richard II, one year after the Peasants’ Revolt, and was intended as a Medieval institution of social mobility, lifting up the lowly to the government of England. The schools were soon hijacked by the aristocracy and wealthy industrialists of Georgian and Victorian Britain. The schools that followed helped build the biggest empire the world has ever known and educated some of our greatest leaders, from William Gladstone to Winston Churchill.

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