We’re depended on to educate those with additional needs, says ISA chair

As Labour Against Private Schools campaigns to close independent schools, the chair of the ISA raises questions about what will happen to students who need more support

The chair of the Independent Schools Association has said he is concerned about what will happen to children with additional needs if independent schools were to close.

Matthew Adshead, who is also headteacher at Old Vicarage School, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 alongside Labour activist Holly Rigby. Rigby discussed the Labour Against Private Schools campaign, which seeks to integrate all private schools into the state sector.

“The parents at our school spend £8,500, often working double shifts, to be able to choose to send their child to independent school, possibly because their children aren’t fit or happy to be in a mainstream situation,” Adshead said.

“Some of the children that we teach may have nervous dispositions, others need specific help. It’s not always the super elite. Are there funds available for those children? I don’t think they would be covered. Local authorities are very dependent on us educating those with additional needs.”

Some of the children that we teach may have nervous dispositions, others need specific help. It’s not always the super elite

He also had concerns about what would happen to members of staff. While Rigby said talk of job losses in the independent sector was “scaremongering”, she also said she couldn’t say whether these teachers would be paid the same if moved to the state sector.

“We have over 30 members of staff – some of them teachers, teaching assistants, training to become teachers, cooks and maintenance crew – I’d like to know where they were going because we really care about the staff in our school,” said Adshead.

Part of the focus of the Labour campaign appears to be on Eton, with the Twitter handle @AbolishEton.

Adshead said: “One of the frustrations for folk like me who are in the independent sector is that we seem to get lumped together with these enormous schools when in actual fact, Derby is an area of low social mobility. I’ve got very hard-working parents and staff.”


Have an opinion on the Labour Against Private Schools campaign? Get in touch at jo.golding@wildfirecomms.co.uk