23 September 2019
Sue Hincks, president of the Girls’ Schools Association, comments on the vote at the Labour Party Conference (22 September 2019) to abolish independent schools.
Sue Hincks, Girls’ Schools Association president, said:
“Abolishing independent schools will do nothing to improve our country’s education system. This is an ideologically driven move which challenges parents’ basic right to make choices about how their children are educated and as such would be in direct contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“It ignores the fact that recent polling data shows that more than a third of British adults believe increased funding for state schools is the key priority to improving social mobility. It conveniently ignores the inequalities that exist within the state sector, where someone who can afford to buy an expensive house can effectively buy a place at a top state school. And it ignores the fact that tearing down excellent schools will not magically improve the overall quality of our nation’s education and would, in fact, put more, not less, pressure on the state sector.
“Abolishing the independent school sector will have an impact on every family with school-aged children. The state sector will have to assimilate more children. Class sizes will rise, and further financial strain will be placed on budgets which are already squeezed. Under the current system, independent schools contribute almost £14billion to UK GDP each year and save the taxpayer £3.5billion per year by educating children at no cost to the taxpayer. Currently, there are thousands of state and independent school partnerships, and a large number of children who attend independent schools are only able to do so because they are in receipt of means-tested bursary funds.
“Throughout the UK, state and independent schools are working fruitfully together for the good of children in a whole range of local initiatives. Instead of destroying an entire sector, we must seize the momentum of these grass roots partnerships between schools and teachers in order to improve education for all children.”