SIR – Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, betrays a limited view of the solutions to issues of social mobility in proposing that independent schools should sponsor academies or else lose their tax breaks.
While the evidence that academies raise standards is still patchy, one undoubted way that independent schools contribute is through awarding means-tested bursaries. Earlier this week I attended a conference given by SpringBoard, a national charity dedicated to finding places in independent boarding schools for underprivileged children. At that meeting, three beneficiaries of bursaries spoke convincingly and powerfully of the transformational opportunity they had been given and how they had made the most of it.
Independent schools are committed to widening access out of the belief that the education they provide changes lives.
Headmaster, Durham School