Ironically, the report by the LSE also said that “parental attendance at a private or grammar school” had a significant impact on a child’s destiny over and above the influence of academic attainment. Would those be the same grammar schools that offered bright poor kids a chance to acquire serious learning and “polish”, but which were closed down because they were deemed unfair and divisive? Thus leaving bright poor kids with no chance in hell of acquiring the social premium paid for by the parents of Tim Nice-But-Dim.
Conley Thompson, the seven-year-old from Barnsley, whose body was discovered on a building site
Having kicked away the one sure ladder out of poverty, reformers now have the cheek to complain that middle-class parents won’t let their below-average offspring fall down the rungs to make way for cleverer, less privileged peers. As if. You have to work with the grain of human nature, not against it.
Besides, background is not always destiny. The majority of contestants in Child Genius are not the hothoused scions of hereditary privilege; they are offspring of poor immigrants. David’s parents moved here from China to give their moon-faced boy the best possible chance; Julian’s came from Romania; budding scientist Neha’s from India. Jasamrit’s father, Santokh, encourages him to believe he is good enough for Eton. Adorable 12-year-old Giovanni is driven on to greatness by Italian Matteo, his live-wire electrician dad. All show a passionate belief in education and a hunger for success, which is practically extinct in our indigenous working class.
Sure, we may flinch as the child geniuses are put through their unnatural paces. But super-nurturing, ambitious parents who want the very best for their kid, be they genius or dunce, aren’t the problem, are they?