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#3543 - 06/16/00 01:12 PM public schools
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
I've always been puzzled as to why "public" (i.e., open to all and paid for by the taxpaying public) schools are called "private" schools in England (but never enough to look it up). Would someone be kind enough to 'splain it to me?


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#3544 - 06/16/00 03:06 PM Re: public schools
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I have long wondered this also.


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#3545 - 06/17/00 03:39 AM Re: public schools
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I have long wondered this also.

I have only just noticed that you were implying that public schools in the UK were state schools. This is not the case. I have often wondered though why some private schools are called public schools.


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#3546 - 06/18/00 10:45 AM Re: public schools
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
so I says to myself, "tsuwm, you *could look it up"... well, as luck would have it, this one isn't as simple as it looks; I've found three(3) general themes for 'public school';

1. an endowed secondary boarding school in Great Britain offering a classical curriculum and preparation for the universities or public service [M-W]

2. In England the term was originally applied to the grammar schools endowed for the use of the lay public; it has come to be used for the famous endowed preparatory schools that now charge tuition, e.g., Cheltenham, Eton, Rugby, Westminster, and Winchester. [encyclopedia.com]

3. a posh {it's very weird how these threads tangle} private school (Eton, Harlow, etc.) [British Slang Glossary]

...so I guess I'm sure I still really just don't know.

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#3547 - 06/18/00 01:46 PM Re: public schools
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Tsuu-wums,
Thanks for the effort.
'Brick, surely you know?
I have a secret weapon I'll try. Hope it works.


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#3548 - 06/18/00 02:14 PM Re: public schools
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I'm glad you were able to look it up.

There are a number of ways in which schools are funded in the UK. Either people pay themselves or the state pays. We tend to call schools which are funded by the state "State Schools" but never "Public Schools" as I believe is the case in the USA. There are a few grey areas in between, church schools in England and Wales are sometimes Voluntary Aided which means that the state pays some proportion and the church diocese pays some proportion. A school, attended by my children, was funded for 100% of the running costs but only 85% of the building costs - I'm sure there are other formulae. Some schools are known as “Independent Schools” or "Private Schools" where, like in many parts of the world the parents (or anyone else who can be persuaded) have to pay. Some schools have sums of money invested as endowments which help to fund the schools.

Within the independent or private school sector there is a subset of schools known as public schools. This is where your definition comes in useful because I would not like to say which schools consider themselves to be “Public Schools” and which are not. Almost certainly Eton (did you see Prince William in his tail coat?) and Harrow but also lots of others are called Public Schools. I suspect the reason is not just that they are the bastions of privilege. They are also historically some of the oldest schools, especially since in days gone by, poor children went up chimneys to earn their living and didn't get a chance to go to school. Therefore I think that the definition that they were the schools that opened their education to the public is correct.

I notice that the Independent Schools Information Service http://www.isis.org.uk/ is uses the term "so-called public schools", implying that it is a distinction they would prefer to see abolished.

I suppose the nearest term in common use in the US would be "Ivy League" Universities like Yale and Harvard compared the University of Western Smallesville.

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#3549 - 06/18/00 04:28 PM Re: public schools
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
There is a reference to the founding of the Public Schools in the following article.

http://www.educationunlimited.co.uk/specialreports/educationincrisis/story/0,5500,144359,00.html


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#3550 - 06/19/00 03:07 AM Re: public schools
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> 'Brick, surely you know?
I have a secret weapon I'll try. Hope it works.

Sorry, 'tis all Greek to me. We have Public, private and state schools here and they are organised similarly to the ways which have been described above (The UK and Ireland have very similar structures in society) and I have been long aware of this paradoxical naming of schools but I have never found out how it came to be.


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