Independent Education: exclusive or inclusive?

Posted: 7th June, 2016. Topics:

This morning, my daily Independent School Council email summarising the key sector news popped up on my email, and the first story I read with my morning brew and dog treats was about 12 Heads of leading Independent Sector defending our education from that old chestnut ….. an education for the privileged only!

Click here to read all about it!

I blogged a few weeks ago on how the majority of our media seems to have it in for our sector at every opportunity it has.

I agree with the Heads of the letter who state that the sector is committed to accessibility. I wrote in the afore-mentioned blog that Independent Schools support almost 40,000 children through means tested bursaries which costs £300 million annually. Additionally, schools offer their premises and facilities for local schools to use for free. For example, Abbotsholme offers free visits to our farm every lambing season for local primary school pupils to enjoy.

The Independent Sector offers a great education for 7% of the country’s children. And yes, for the most part, you have to be able to afford to send your children to these schools to obtain this education. The last time I looked the UK was not trying to be the next Animal Farm (although I am sure dogs would rule!).

It is interesting that only the UK seems to suffer from this issue. Other countries have private schools, but from what I can gather, rising to the top and being able to afford to send your child to the best schools is to be celebrated. People celebrate success and achievement in these countries. In the UK, even though the sector has a mix of ‘Tim nice but Dim’s’ and ‘Considerably richer than You’ types, as well as parents who work incredibly hard – something two or three jobs – to ensure their child gets the best education – the perception is of a privileged sector through and through. Some people work hard just to pay for their child’s education, some people can afford that and nice cars and holidays, and some people cannot. This is just life.

I think we have to ignore people who blast the sector, or do it down, and continue to provide an outstanding education.

On a side note, I was looking for images to represent both sides. It was easy to find images for the ‘privileged’ camp with bowler hats and silver spoons, but every time we came up with a picture idea for the ‘under-privileged’ camp we felt it discriminatory and patronising. There is certainly no level playing field with these two words and if you type ‘under-privileged kids’ into Google it brings up children in the third world!

Hirch – the dog that blogs!

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