The Telegraph is reporting that a former Conservative chancellor has said British people must learn to be “proud” of the country’s private schools…
Lord Lamont, who served as chancellor in Sir John Major’s government, said that he is “surprised” that British people are so critical about the private education sector.
He described schools such as Eton, which was attended by David Cameron and Boris Johnson, as “great national assets”.
Lord Lamont attended Loretto school in Scotland, an independent boarding and day school, which was also attended by Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor.
“I’m always surprised that people are so critical of private education in this country,” Lord Lamont said.
“It seems to me that so many foreigners want to come here and want to use the private sector for education is something we should be proud of.”
Senior politicians have in recent months criticised the dominance of a privately educated elite in the “upper echelons” of British public life.
Sir John last year said it was “truly shocking” that “every single sphere of British influence” is dominated by men and women who went to private school or who are from the “affluent middle class”.
And Michael Gove, the former education secretary, in March said that the number of Etonians in Mr Cameron’s inner circle is “ridiculous”.
Mr Gove, the adopted son of an Aberdeen fish processor, said that a similar concentration of privilege running the country does not exist in “any other developed economy”.
Mr Cameron and a number of his most trusted aides went to Eton.
However, Lord Lamont said that people should refrain from having “any envy” about private schools in Britain.
He said: “I certainly did not go to the same school as David Cameron, but I regard the school David Cameron went to as being a great national asset.
“It’s something of which we should be proud. I don’t think we should have any envy about that. The fact I didn’t go there doesn’t mean it isn’t a very, very good school and I applaud the fact it exists.”…
Is it possible to be proud of the quality of private education in this country while still having concerns about the impact this has on the disproportionate influence of those who went through the system? Or should we just value it in its own right? What do you think? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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