Chris King, Chairman of HMC and Headmaster of Leicester Grammar School said:
"It is surprising to read Lord Lucas's views given numbers of pupils are at record levels in independent schools.
"The facts speak for themselves. HMC schools have a global reputation for offering an excellent holistic education; nationally nearly a third of pupils received A or A*s at GCSE compared with just 7% in state schools.
"At the same time our schools provide unrivalled co-curricular opportunities which help guide our pupils and launch them into a very wide range of successful careers.
"Lord Lucas himself has acknowledged that independent schools are also improving and innovating all the time. This is good news for parents as everyone wants to see all pupils receive the best education possible.
"To that end HMC schools play an important part in widening opportunity in state schools. 99.7% of our schools are in partnership with state schools, offering teaching resource, facilities and assistance with university applications. Nationally, 35% of all HMC school pupils receive assistance with their fees.
"At the same time the economy plays a strong role in parental choice and HMC schools are working hard to keep fees as low as possible, especially in less prosperous areas. This variety of choice combined with consistency of quality is another key strength of the independent sector."