Leo Winkley letter to the Independent: charitable status

In a letter to The Independent, 26/11/14, HMC member, Leo Winkley, Headmaster of St Peter's School in York airs his frustrations at Tristram Hunt's lack of awareness of the extensive partnership work that goes on in independent schools.

Tristram Hunt is trying to fix the wrong thing (“Head of Hunt’s old school accuses him of ‘offensive bigotry’ ”, 26 November). The needs of the 93 per cent of the children in England whose parents do not pay for their schooling are not best served by going after the 7 per cent in independent schools whose parents do.

While he is right to urge more and more partnership working, he is wrong to underplay how much good cross-sector work is already going on. In adopting this combative mode, he is in danger of repeating the mistakes of so many before him, and turning the conversation on improving education into a slanging match. The best way to encourage independent schools to share is to engage them in positive dialogue, rather than issuing threats and ultimatums.

Leo Winkley
Head Master, St Peter’s School, York