Experts respond to the action against private schools movement
20th September 2019
The Times view on the assault against independent schools: Educating Labour
One of the few things on which both critics and champions of independent schools can agree is that they are excellent places of learning. If they were not, then few would begrudge parents who often spend tens of thousands a year, freeing up well over half a million state-funded school places in the process. Those attacking their existence thus need to acknowledge that the targets of their ire are a staggering British success story, which they wish to destroy for ideological reasons.
It is right that private schools should continue to do more, and in some cases far more, to contribute to their communities. Politicians should value them as a resource, representing potential that could be further unlocked for the benefit of all. To pillage and damage them would be short-sighted. To destroy them would be vandalism.
Labour's war on private schools is an attack on aspiration
Labour has declared war on independent education. But the “Abolish Eton” group, which shadow chancellor John McDonnell has thrown his weight behind, is not only seeking to close every private school in the country (rather than solely Eton, as its name suggests). It also wants to abolish the freedom of parents to choose the school their child is educated in, contrary to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Most of all, it seeks to punish parents for being aspirational, despite the clear evidence that lack of aspiration is what condemns so many schools, and children, to mediocrity.
Why abolishing private schools is ethically dubious
If Labour adopts a plan to close private schools, it would be disruptive to pupils and teachers – and do nothing for social mobility, warns Geoff Barton for TES.