Ben Fogle calls on schools to nurture pupils' confidence


State schools are ruining their pupils' future success by failing to help them build confidence, according to adventurer Ben Fogle.

The TV presenter advocates an education system where confidence and personality are nurtured, as he said state schools currently "betray" children by focusing too much on exams and academic achievement.

Fogle, 42, told the Sunday Times: "(Confidence) is the single most important attribute any child can have. I truly wish there were classes to focus on it.

"With confidence comes personality. With personality comes a form of charm, wit and wisdom. These can camouflage any shortcomings in the academic stakes. Boost the country's confidence levels and we will solve so many of Britain's ills."

Fogle, who boarded at Bryanston School in Dorset from the age of 13, attributes his success to private education, claiming he was written off after failing his common entrance exams.

He said: "I arrived at Bryanston stripped of the last vestiges of my confidence and it was the school that slowly began to rebuild the slightly broken pieces.

"They reiterated that pure academic returns were not the priority. They let me be me, not some computer program to splurge results... My 13 years of life until then had been dominated by an asphyxiating lack of self-confidence."

Fogle, whose former school now has annual fees of more than £30,000, stressed confidence is not determined by class but argued that state education fails to encourage development.

He said: "Confidence is not born of wealth and privilege. It is something earned and something learnt. It opens doors and opportunity way beyond that of exams and degrees. For me it is the most valuable commodity and worthy of eye-wateringly high school fees...

"We teach in classrooms where children are crammed with information to regurgitate in government-set exams to tick a box. It's nonsense.

"Good private schools have a much more open-minded approach to education. They offer enough extracurricular activities, from volunteering and outdoor pursuits to sport and drama. All of these help build that confidence that is crucial."