Eton and Harrow use their contacts to help state pupils with careers advice
15th October 2019
Elite private schools including Eton and Harrow have pledged to open their contact books to help state school pupils get ahead in the world of work.
More than 60 head teachers affiliated with the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), an association of independent schools, have pledged to ask alumni, parents, staff and other contacts to give careers talks to pupils from state schools.
The private school heads are throwing their weight behind ‘I Am #InspiringTheFuture’ - a national campaign which is being run by the charity Education and Employers.
Mike Buchanan, the executive director of HMC, said: “Our schools are rich with resources, and our members spend their lives building young people’s futures. It is what motivates them as teachers and heads.
“So they are ready and willing to help provide the calibre of speakers who can make a real difference to the lives of millions of children around the country.”
‘Abolish Eton’ may be a snappy slogan but implementing it would be costly and drawn-out
The Labour party conference last month voted to integrate private schools into the state sector and redistribute their assets. The slogan of the campaign? Abolish Eton.
The mechanics would be worked out if and when Labour is in government. Outright expropriation is not on the agenda, it insists. But if there is compensation for an asset grab, how would it be calculated? Labour has suggested the cost of water nationalisation would be less than £15bn — the book value of the 15 English water companies. Lex has estimated that compensation for National Grid’s UK assets might be just £1bn more. A similar value looks plausible for the assets of independent schools. One guide to their value is that it would cost nearly £19bn to replace them — £10.7bn for the land and £7.9bn in building costs — according to a study by Oxford Economics for the Independent Schools Council. But that used residential land prices. Without planning permission to change their use, existing private schools might not be worth so much.
A Labour government might opt to ratchet up costs or tax endowments until independent schools had to switch to the state system to survive. Whatever the approach taken, the legal arguments will be epic. Schools, fighting for their lives, will defend themselves fiercely. “Abolish Eton” is a snappy slogan. Implementing it would be scrappy, costly and drawn-out.