The BBC is reporting that a leading head has claimed private schools are being used as “lazy shorthand for the social ills of our country”…
“It is time to stop scapegoating and start celebrating our schools,” Richard Harman told the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.
Private schools are part of the solution to poor social mobility, said Mr Harman.
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said a small elite still dominated top jobs in the UK.
“It is welcome that the private school sector wants to build more partnerships with state schools.
“Breaking down the Berlin Wall between private and state schools is one way of making Britain a socially mobile country. We are a long way from that today, especially at the top of society”, commented commission chairman Alan Milburn.
Mr Harman, headmaster of Uppingham School and chairman of the HMC, listed the achievements of independent schools and rejected attempts to “hector”, “lecture” and “control” them.
“We are not a laboratory for social engineering,” Mr Harman said.
“When it comes to social mobility we are part of the solution, not the root of the problem.”
More than one in three pupils at HMC schools “are on some form of financial assistance” and between them HMC schools spend £365m a year on fee assistance schemes, he said.
“We want and intend to do more and the impact will be huge if this attitude is reciprocated by government and its unelected officials. We live in hope,” Mr Harman said.
Mr Harman said Britain should take “collective pride” that it has “created some of the very best schools in the world”.
They are a crucial academic resource, he said, sending pupils to the best universities who will “give back to society and the economy throughout their working lives”.
In his speech, Mr Harman attacked the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw and a recent report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission which said top jobs in the UK are disproportionately held by people educated at private schools…
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