By Ben Cohen
I was sent to a private school in South London, mostly because the state schools I was eligible for in my area were far too dangerous for my parent's liking. Most families didn't have my option, and their kids were subject to overcrowded classrooms, routine muggings and substandard education. Being robbed at school was fairly standard, and many of my friends simply got used to it. The levels of fear they were used to would be shocking to most people in most cities, and the sad thing was, we all thought it was normal. I suffered my fair share of fear and intimidation growing up in South London, but I'm convinced a great deal of my confidence comes from growing up in a school system that sheltered me from the reality most kids in my area lived in.
While I don't believe private schools are the answer, experimentation with different ideas and programs is. An interesting scheme in Brixton (and area I lived next to) is being tested, and it offers a ray of light to some kids who otherwise, wouldn't have a chance. From the Guardian:
A south London
primary is planning to set up a boarding school in the home counties to
remove pupils from the "violent" streets of Brixton once they become
Durand primary school, in Lambeth, is applying to
become an "all-through" academy teaching children from three to 19, but
from the age of 13 pupils will be transported to a new senior school
built on the site of an old private school outside London, from Monday
to Friday every week.
Jim Davies, the chairman of governors,
said: "We'd take these Brixton children to an entirely different
environment. You see the stories about stabbings – they are all within
half a mile of here."
Last week government research revealed that
8.5% of 16-year-old boys had carried knives to protect themselves, with
disproportionately high levels in the capital and other urban areas.