Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Independent schools 'could fuel social divides'

Private schools risk “perpetuating social divides” by failing to support struggling state comprehensives, according to a leading independent school headmaster.

Anthony Seldon, head of Wellington College, Berkshire, says the fee-paying sector has a “moral duty” to help run state schools in deprived areas.

In comments that put him on a collision course with many other independent school heads, he also criticises opponents of the Government’s academies programme.

Dr Seldon says claims that fee-paying schools should resist from sponsoring academies were “evasive and disingenuous”, adding that the perceived practical difficulties associated with the scheme have been “much exaggerated”.

Ministers have repeatedly appealed to leading independent schools to set up and run academies – taxpayer-funded state schools free of local council control.

Around 30 independent schools including Wellington, Sevenoaks, Dulwich, Marlborough, Malvern, Winchester, Uppingham and Oundle already support the scheme. more