All outstanding schools have a duty to help those failing, not only the independents

In a letter to The Times (24/6/13), Charlotte Vere, Executive Director of the Girls’ Schools Association responds to the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw’s speech at the Times Festival of Education, in which he suggested that children sent to private schools risk growing up “marooned on an island of privilege”

Sir, Sir Michael Wilshaw (report, June 22) has criticised the independent sector for not doing more to help failing state schools. There are 1,223 independent schools and more than 25,000 state schools, and 90 per cent of independent schools already work with the state sector. With the best will in the world the independent sector can be no more than a part of the solution.

The answer lies in broader engagement. The government should relaunch the Department for Education’s programme to map partnership-working among schools. From this data, priority areas and schools could be identified and independent schools, state grammars and indeed all outstanding schools could be called upon to help.

Blindly lashing out at a small but valuable part of our education landscape is counterproductive. The goal must be to encourage all outstanding schools, from the independent sector and beyond, into partnerships where there is most need.

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