A leading geneticist has told parents they don’t need to send their children to top schools like Eton – because genetics has already determined how well they will do in academics.
Robert Plomin, a professor of behavioural genetics at King’s College London, said prestigious schools ‘don’t add anything’ to children’s grades.
Speaking at the Hay Festival, he said that a child’s success is pre-determined by their genes, and ‘nature’ plays a much larger part in our lives than ‘nurture’ or external environmental factors.
When asked why a parent would spend money sending their child to Eton, he replied: ‘The reason why education is universal is literacy and numeracy are innate – children need to learn to read. We’re talking about what makes them different. So the issue is do differences in the quality of school make a difference in outcomes like GCSE scores or getting into universities?
‘There’s a correlation there – kids who go to selective schools have a GCSE score that is one full grade higher than kids who go to comprehensive schools. That’s a correlation though and correlations don’t necessarily imply causation and in this case they don’t.
‘But achievement itself – they [Eton] don’t add anything. Schools matter – kids have got to learn all this stuff. But do they make a difference? The answer is no.’
Eton, which costs £42,500 a year in tuition fees, has seen the likes of David Cameron, Eddie Redmayne and Boris Johnson grace their halls.
Prince Harry and Prince William also attended the college. But Professor Plomin argues they would have achieved the same grades if they had gone to a public school.