Chris King, Chair of HMC and Headmaster of Leicester Grammar School said:
“Sir Michael Wilshaw’s assessment of independent schools does not bear scrutiny. When politics is taken away, the simple facts show a very different picture.
“Independent schools do not rely on DfE budgets to educate pupils and take very little public money. In addition we take very seriously our role in widening access, including more full bursaries than ever before. The sector spends £1 million a day on fee remittance, and 99.7% of HMC schools are involved in partnerships with maintained schools and the community. Just one school, King Edward’s School in Birmingham, has spent £10m on Assisted Places in the last six years, and works with 192 junior schools. Many other school do similar work; this is hardly tokenism.
“Some independent schools already successfully sponsor academies but not all independent schools have the resources, expertise or personnel to do so. Overseas independent schools take hardly any teachers from the state sector, which is their choice.
“Perhaps it would be more productive to focus together on ways to continually improve state education, which many independent schools are already doing through successful and unsung partnerships. This simplistic, adversarial approach does not help anyone, least of all pupils.”