Adam Pettitt letter to the Times: Taking a ‘muddle-headed swipe’ at independent schools won’t end social apartheid

In a letter to The Times, 22/09/14, HMC member, Adam Pettitt, Head Master, Highgate School responds to Janice Turner's opinion piece about independent schools sharing facilities with the state sector. 

Sir, Janice Turner (Opinion, Sept 20) cites Sir Michael Wilshaw’s discredited chastising of public schools for offering no more than crumbs from our tables.​ She does not ask whose decision it was to sell off the playing fields that used to grace so many state schools.

British society is unfair, and the state should be investing so that there is no yawning gap of provision between good private and state schools, and the rest. However, the Treasury is broke and anyone who can help has to do so, public schools and philanthropists included. What, though, of Premier League football clubs and multinational companies? I am sure they would get involved if they were allowed to devise a curriculum that met their own needs.

I don’t doubt that Janice Turner and others care just as deeply as I do about the unfairness in life chances for London’s children. But taking a muddle-headed swipe at public schools won’t end social apartheid, particularly when they can (and should) be part of the solution, and when the causes run much deeper.

Adam Pettitt

Head Master, Highgate School

Read the letter © The Times (subscription may be required)