Will commentators with their obsessions about exclusivity ever wake up to reality?

This week’s blog is written not by myself, other than this introduction. Lord Lexden is both a personal friend and one of our school, and of both our association and the Independent Sector as a whole. Below is his letter, published in the Spectator yesterday, which really needs no further explanation nor amplification. Take away, Lord Lexden…

Sir: Those who write about independent education rarely manage to stray beyond the 200-odd establishments they love to pillory as public schools, an antiquated term long since abandoned by all save their critics. This is perhaps because they have usually been educated at such places, or have taught in them. Alex Renton, like the books he reviews, presents a caricature of independent schools as a whole by repeating well-worn charges against the well-publicised few with their ‘faux-Gothic spires’ (‘Old school ties can’t last forever’, 2 February).

The Independent Schools Council has some 1,300 members, varying in size from 50 to 1,700 pupils. Few possess lavishly equipped theatres or vast playing fields. Just 68 have top-class athletic tracks. Most of them stand at the heart of the local communities from which their students mainly come, and work closely with their neighbouring state schools which often share their (usually limited) facilities. Half of them are non-selective. Fees vary greatly, with an average gap of some £2,000 per term between schools in the north and south of the country. More than a third of families pay reduced fees. Parents are well aware that diversity and openness are the independent sector’s most striking characteristics today. Will commentators with their obsessions about exclusivity ever wake up to reality?

Alistair Lexden
General Secretary, Independent Schools Council 1997-2004
House of Lords, London SW1

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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1 Response to Will commentators with their obsessions about exclusivity ever wake up to reality?

  1. Esme Bates says:

    The level of scaffolding, multi-sensory learning and wealth of extra-curricular excellence is second-to none at CC. The single-sex model works but as we are in a time where gender and sexuality are more fluid one wonders how many private schools will become co-educational and what the benefits and disadvantages to this would be. Both parents work today in order to buy property, thus fees can steer parents away from bespoke/private education. Private schools can generate income evenings and weekends through adult education and events. This will surely secure their survival. A few turrets , moats and gargoyles offer a striking backdrop.

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