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The New Meritocracy

By Mark Peel

This is the story of how Britain’s independent schools were transformed in a generation.

In Britain, independent schools have always attracted controversy. Many take issue with the high level of privilege they are perceived to enjoy. But in recent years, the sector has undergone a revolution, turning outdated institutions with sharply varying standards into meritocratic powerhouses.

In The New Meritocracy: A History of UK Independent Schools 1979–2020, Mark Peel explores the changes that have taken place in this sector, its many considerable strengths and the challenges it may face in the future, as the gap between this and the state sector continues to grow. It offers not only a comprehensive recent history of private schooling but also many lessons for the future, and merits a place on the bookshelves of professional educators and anyone with an interest in education and British social history.

‘A timely and important assessment of the role private schools now play in public life in Britain … Essential reading for anyone interested in the development of education in Britain today’ – Magnus Linklater, The Times

‘A definitive account of the contemporary independent schools, both in their educational context and in the wider psyche of the nation’ – D.R. Thorpe, leading political biographer

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