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Engines of Privilege : Britain's Private School Problem
Bloomsbury Publishing

Engines of Privilege : Britain's Private School Problem

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Engines of Privilege
Author(s): David Kynaston, Francis Green

Britain's private, fee-paying schools are institutions where children from affluent families have their privileges further entrenched through a high-quality, richly resourced education. There is an irrefutable link between private schools and life's gilded path: private school to top university to top career. Engines of Privilege contends that, in a society that mouths the virtues of equality of opportunity, of fairness and of social cohesion, the educational apartheid separating private schools from our state schools deploys our national educational resources unfairly and inefficiently; blocks social mobility; reproduces privilege down the generations; and underpins a damaging democratic deficit in our society.

Intrinsic to any vision of the future of Britain has to be the nature of our educational system. Yet the quality of conversation on the issue of private education remains surprisingly sterile, patchy and highly subjective.

Francis Green and David Kynaston carefully examine options for change, while drawing on the valuable lessons of history. Accessible, evidence-based and inclusive, Engines of Privilege aims to kick-start a long overdue national debate. Clear, vigorous prose is combined with forensic analysis to powerful effect, illuminating the painful contrast between the importance of private schools in British society and the near-absence of serious, policy-shaping debate.


Thoroughly researched and written with such calm authority, yet makes you want to scream with righteous indignation” —John O'Farrell

“Their tone is calm and evidence-based, not agitpropThey have made up my mind. I now feel clear not just that change is urgently needed, but that options for change are more varied, imaginative and realistic than I'd dared imagine” —Maggie Fergusson, Tablet

Fascinating ” —Alex Renton, Spectator

'[A] powerful attack on private schools as engines of privilegea forensic examination of what the authors call “Britain's private school problem” … They start strong … leaving you in no doubt about the path from private schooling to the elite … This book does a fine job of explaining and damning Britain's private school problem” —Hugo Rifkind, The Times

A passionate attack on private schools … Kynaston's flair for anecdotes shines through ... Fascinating ” —Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Timely” —Guardian

“The historical background to our arguments over state and private education today is the most intriguing part of Engines of Privilege ... imbued with Kynaston's fascination with the arguments and mores of post-war Britain” —Anne McElvoy, Evening Standard

“Francis Green and David Kynaston say loud and clear that Britain's private schools are a social problem … This book provides warnings and lessons of what doesn't work and ideas of what policies could work to dismantle these 'engines of privilege'” —Socialist Worker

“A fresh dissection of what [Kynaston and Green] deem "Britain's private school problem" ... We can expect the manifesto-writers at the next general election to pass magpie-like over these chapters” —Financial Times

“[A] forensic and damning examination of ... "Britain's private school problem"” —The Week

“David Kynaston is one of the great chroniclers of our modern story ... Every paragraph contains some glittering nugget” —Praise for David Kynaston's 'Modernity Britain', Sunday Times

“An exemplary narrative history, with the archives plundered judiciously and plenty of focus on people and their quirks … Fascinating” —Praise for 'Till Time's Last Sand', The Times

“This is the work of a scholar with a gift for illuminating every square inch of each enormous canvas he chooses to paint … Kynaston brings characters large and small to life” —Praise for 'Till Time's Last Sand', Literary Review

“A historian of peerless sensitivity and curiosity about the lives of individuals” —Praise for 'Modernity Britain', Financial Times

ISBN:  9781526601261