Labour and Independent Schools

Responding to articles in the media on Labour's attacks on independent schools, HMC Executive Director Mike Buchanan said:

“The Labour campaign to effectively destroy independent schools is not only a fundamental attack on parental choice, but it would rip apart the fabric of education in this country. It is based on wrong assumptions and dodgy maths and will damage state schools.

“Independent schools have played a vital role in the education system for generations and they are recognised around the world as beacons of excellence. We want to see all pupils getting the same opportunities by pushing up standards everywhere, not by destroying some of the best.

"Any attempt to abolish these schools will not only prove disruptive, divisive and difficult, but ultimately would harm rather than help state-funded schools.

"The taxpayer will be landed with a massive bill to build new schools and teach many thousands of children currently being educated at no cost to the state. Labour’s claims that the large sums required could be raised by the confiscation and redistribution of assets just don’t add up.

“To create a level-playing field, Labour would also have to ban middle-class parents from tutoring their children or buying homes near the best schools.

"Instead let’s work together to genuinely improve social mobility through our thousands of partnerships and collaborations with the state sector. Independent schools are already spending hundreds of millions a year on life-changing free or heavily discounted places for children from under-privileged backgrounds, including children who are looked after.

^Nearly a third of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at Oxford University, for example, come via independent schools and our sponsored academies are doing ground-breaking work getting pupils into other top universities.

“In this period of uncertainty, it would be a huge shame if this ideological issue became a distraction from the far bigger challenges facing education today. The focus should be on pupils, not politics."