Opening up entry to top schools

Patrick Derham, Head Master of Rugby School writes to the Independent, 08/10/12 in response to Richard Garner's article "It's time to open private schools to all". 

Sir Peter Lampl’s vision of “open access” independent schools which admit pupils based on their academic ability is a worthy one, and could complement existing attempts to combat the elitism which Richard Garner so deplores (“It’s time to open private schools to all”, 8 October).

Here at my school, Rugby, our outreach programme – The Arnold Foundation – is providing fully funded places to pupils from deprived areas with the potential to benefit from boarding but no means to pay fees. We are close to our goal of having 10 per cent of pupils supported by bursaries, and are now joining forces with other members of the sector to form a national bursary foundation that will place a large number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds at state and independent boarding schools across the country.

A patchwork of initiatives – bursaries, open access and sponsored academies – is the surest way of breaking down barriers within our education system.

Patrick Derham

Head Master, Rugby School

Click here to read the letter © Independent