‘Margaret Thatcher mining crisis’ will occur if Labour abolishes private schools, headmaster of Rugby School says
9th October 2019
Peter Green, head of one of the oldest private schools in the country, warned the proposals would “decimate” communities as thousands of staff in the independent sector would lose their jobs.
His parallel with the divisive political events of the 1980s – which prompted widespread strikes and led to mass unemployment – has been described as offensive and “grotesque”.
Mr Green was speaking after delegates at the Labour Party conference voted in favour of integrating all private schools into the state sector if they win the next general election.
Headteachers in the independent school sector are now reaching out to MPs, parents in local communities, state school teachers and union leaders to rally support for fee-paying schools.
He said: “We would have a Margaret Thatcher mining crisis in so many areas of the UK if they decided to get rid of us. It would decimate communities and you would have the reverse multiplier.”
Shutting the elite boarding school, which was founded in 1567, would “ruin” Rugby town, he added.
“Rugby town will lose its biggest employer which provides more than £30m directly to the town every year. We employ over 600 support staff – that is not including the teachers,” Mr Green said.
Private school could help state school students with uni applications after admissions shake-up, head says
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has indicated he is open-minded to moving to "post-qualification applications" (PQA), where students apply to university once they have their A-levels.
However, concerns have been raised that state schools would lack the capacity during the summer holidays to give advice to their students on where they should apply.
Chris Ramsey, the headmaster of Whitgift School in Croydon, south London, has floated the idea that better resourced private schools could step in to offer advice.
Mr Ramsey, who chairs the universities committee of HMC, an association of private school heads said: “I’m in favour of PQA myself personally. I think a lot of heads are.”
He went on: “One of the arguments against it is the capacity in [state] maintained schools to give advice in a very concentrated summer period.”
“Independent schools tend to have more capacity, are better resourced.
“So I always thought one potentially positive outcome would be doing that information guidance in the summer as local cooperatives of all schools, which is something I think the independent sector would be very happy to lead on.”