Ofsted chief criticises independent schools’ lack of help for state schools

The Guardian is reporting that Sir Michael WIlshaw has called for independent schools to lose their charitable status unless they volunteer to run state academies.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of Ofsted, said: “I get quite angry when I hear independent school heads saying ‘inequality is getting worse, we’ve got to do something’ and wringing their hands. Well, we know that. So get stuck in and sponsor an academy.”

Speaking at a conference on social mobility on Wednesday, Wilshaw added: “I think they should lose their tax subsidies and the reliefs they get from the Charity Commission unless they sponsor an academy and show that they really mean what they say.”

Asked about the partnerships and scholarships that private schools currently offer, Wilshaw derided them as a sop. He said: “It’s a way of meeting the demands of the Charity Commission and not much else.”

“I say this, really, in a sense of moral outrage, that they are opening up all these independent schools in Dubai and the Middle East and elsewhere – sucking in more of our teachers, who aren’t going to Derby or Northampton or Grimsby or Hull, but going off to an independent school sponsored by the big public schools over here.

“It’s a sense of moral outrage that they not doing enough for our own poor children.”

…But Wilshaw’s comments were rejected as “utter nonsense” by John Claughton, headteacher of King Edward’s school, Birmingham, who was present at the conference…

More at: Ofsted chief criticises independent schools’ lack of help for state schools


Strong words from Sir Michael but is he fair in his criticism of the independent scetor?

And what do you think of the suggestion that they should lose their charitable status if they do not sponsor a state academy?

Would it, ultimately, help reduce social mobility?

Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…


Should private schools lose their tax breaks if they fail to sponsor a state academy?

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Categories: Academies and Private Schools.


  1. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove Schools do not need this help just up to date training rather than the nonsense and misdirection they get

  2. TW

    What would private schools know about running normal schools that actually have to deal with the real problems that private generally schools keep well away from?  Buffoon.

  3. Nairb1

    Typical Wilshaw comment with the built in assumption that private schools are superior to state schools and have something valuable to offer.

  4. Sponsorship of the few academies sponsored by private schools hasn’t been a total success.  Dulwich College dropped out of sponsoring Isle of Sheppey.   Woodard Academies Trust, part of the Woodard independent schools group, has had a turbulent time with its academies  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/01/two-heads-quit-academies-sponsored-by-trust-with-no-good-schools-and-which-received-dfe-warning-letter  Ofsted monitoring of WAT-sponsored Littlehampton Academy in December 2015 found WAT support was having ‘little impact’.   The London Academy of Excellence, a highly-selective sixth-form college sponsored by Eton, has been accused of culling Year 12 pupils who were deemed after a year not to be ‘Russell Group ready’.   Two free schools set up by Seckford Foundation linked to independent Woodbridge School were judged by Ofsted to be Good but their first GCSE results were poor (this was despite Seckford’s claim during the free school proposal period that the schools were needed to challenge low performance in Suffolk).
    What the state sector does not need is support like this.

  5. Nairb1 It’s a familiar refrain, unfortunately, supported by Lord Adonis with his remarks about state schools needing private schools’ ‘DNA’ and the Sutton Trust’s assumption that bright disadvantaged pupils would be more likely to get up the social ladder if they were given scholarships to private schools.  This myth is punctured in the book I co-authored with Melissa Benn: ‘The Truth About our Schools:  20% discount allowed to Schools Improvement Net readers via this link http://schoolsimprovement.net/guest-post-the-truth-about-our-schools-in-eight-myths/.  (Yes, I know, this is an unashamed plug).

  6. Nairb1

    I’ll support that plug … it’s a terrific read and really punches holes in the ‘facts’ were presented with on a daily basis by government, Ofsted and the media.

  7. F62Forbes

    SchoolsImprove Independent schools are only interested in perpetuating the educational advantages for its fee payers.

  8. AynieLR

    SchoolsImprove why should they? Not their raison d’etre. They exist for the rich who want an exclusive education AWAY from the poor!

  9. SachaLG

    SchoolsImprove It’s patchy here. One has been SUPER helpful in lending resources & offering opportunities 4 local children 2 perform.

  10. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove How would this help? Academy sheen is wearing off and private schools running state academies has been a massive flop

Let us know what you think...