Dr William Richardson, General Secretary of the Headmasters" and Headmistresses' Conference which represents leading independent schools said:
"It is surprising to read Lord Lucas' views given pupil numbers are at record levels in independent schools. This has come about through our schools setting themselves ever higher ambitions and families wanting to be part of this success.
“At the same time, he is correct to say that, overall, state schools have also never been better. In particular, the expectations of parents and pupils across the country have been transformed over the past two generations.
“However, the real challenge for all those fortunate to be part of a strong school is to support their colleagues who work in the most challenging educational circumstances. Nearly all HMC schools work in partnership with state schools to support teaching, share facilities and assist with university preparation in order to spread opportunity among students as widely as possible."