Letter to the Telegraph: Independent schools already help state pupils

SIR – As the headmaster of Ashford School, I am delighted that Anna Turley, the shadow charities minister, has recognised the quality of the education she received here. A sense of social responsibility is one of the virtues we seek to inculcate in our pupils.

As a scholar here, she will have benefited from the support of parents who subsidised her fees. She now wants to force independent schools into partnerships with state schools, but many such activities are already taking place. We provide a rehearsal home to Kent Music, sponsor the Kent Creative Arts Awards, run a combined cadet force with our sister state school and open our sports facilities to community groups. This is very common across the independent school sector.

Mike Buchanan
Chair Elect, Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference

SIR – You report on the Labour Party’s desire to force independent schools into collaboration with the state sector.

Independent schools have never done more to work with state schools and become more accessible by offering means-tested assisted places.

Instead of telling independent schools off, it would be far better if both major political parties worked with independent schools to make this world-class education available to more bright pupils. Forty years ago, that is what the direct grant system did. It’s a shame that education is now engaged in such a sterile dispute.

John Claughton
Chief Master, King Edward’s School Birmingham

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