2 Oct '14

News Privilege: thats the only area where private schools excel | Lola Okolosie

Sorry Lady Morgan, but on social mobility and academic progress the independent sector has nothing to teach state schoolsIt seems that David Cameron managed to find time to take a few pointers from notable speakers over in Wales the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference is hosting its own small gathering of the (largely) male, pale and stale. In his comical conference speech on Wednesday, Cameron travelled some well-worn terrain regarding education. Arguing that emulating the independent sector was the only real solution to social mobility, he sounded an awful lot like representatives of those very institutions. Take for example, Richard Harman, headmaster of Uppingham School and chairman of the HMC who announced this week that breaking down the Berlin Wall between private and state schools is one way of making Britain socially mobile. Righto. Another might be to ensure that 7% of the population who attended independent schools do not go on to dominate our judiciary, media and political class. Harman asked that private schools celebrate their contribution and that everyone else should stop scapegoating independent schools for our social ills- a euphemism if ever there was one for Britains woeful lack of social mobility. The HMC, an association of leaders from the countrys 243 independent schools, has attempted to shake things up a little. This year they invited former Ofsted chief and Labour peer, Lady Sally Morgan to address them. This should have been an opportunity to put forward a progressive stance on private education in the UK, sadly, what it turned into was a rehashing of a long held misconception: that the private sector is inherently better. A sentiment that is galling particularly when in 2010, research conducted by the OECD found that in the UK, once socio-economic background is factored, state schools do better than the independent sector. Continue reading...

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