ITV are to take headteachers and pupils from state and private schools and have them swap places to sample life and learning on the other side of the ‘education divide’.
The two part Current Affairs series aims to look beyond the headlines that bluntly compare the academic performance and future prospects of children in the private and public sectors. A Very Public Education will see the headteacher and a small group of Year 9 and 10 pupils from one state secondary school and one private, boarding secondary school swapping places to spend a week immersed in the school life of the other.
“The experiences of the most important people in education – pupils and teachers – are at the heart of this series, which aims to provide an opportunity to gain and share their valuable perspectives on a vital and hugely controversial issue: the division between its public and private sectors.” – Michael Jermey, Director of News and Current Affairs
By filming the experiences and reactions of the individuals involved and those around them in each school, the series aims to provide an insight into some of the key differences between the two sectors at a time when education is a political battlefield and the broad perception is of a gulf in standards between them. With more than a third of the current cabinet having emerged from fee-paying schools and regular reports about state school pupils falling behind their privately-educated counterparts in landing places at the best universities and the best jobs, the programmes will set out to explore the social, economic and educational challenges and differences that face both groups. But, over the two episodes, it will also seek to highlight shared experiences to see what they can potentially learn from each other.
The two schools involved are The Bemrose School, in Derby and Warminster School, in Wiltshire. Both schools are mixed gender and the pupils taking part in the swap are drawn from pupils aged 13-15 from Years 9 and 10.