Don’t equate all independent schools with Eton, says GSA president

The president of the GSA has defended independent schools in a Sky News debate

The president of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) has defended independent schools in a Sky News’ All Out Politics debate about whether Labour’s private school ban idea is feasible.

Sue Hincks, who is also the head of Bolton School Girls’ Division, spoke up for independent schools and answered questions about whether another Etonian prime minister was appropriate.

“I think the problem is we’re equating independent schools with Eton. Eton is one example of an independent school. Schools like mine in Bolton don’t have the same clientele that they have at Eton,” Hincks said.

“Our students do very well when they leave but we’re not a proxy for some sort of elite society. My school gives away £2.5m a year in bursaries so one in five of my children would be a pupil premium child in another school.

“I think we have to be careful about how we frame this debate. Independent schools are much greater than just Eton. One of reasons why the top jobs are taken by these people who went to independent schools was because back in the day they were direct grant schools, so they were maybe being funded by the government.

I think we have to be careful about how we frame this debate. Independent schools are much greater than just Eton

“What independent schools want to do is open up the debate to say how can we be part of the solution. We’re not the problem, there’s lots we can do. We can work in partnership with state schools, which the majority of us are now doing, and we can offer bursaries.

“We know that we deliver great character education, we know we’re academically very successful and there’s more we can do to engage in the debate.”

Ryan Shorthouse, director of Bright Blue, said private schools should not be banned but suggested changes like charging VAT on the fees that private school parents pay and making it mandatory for schools that want charitable status to participate in school linking programmes.


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