Since the last issue of Independent Education Today, a lot has changed. For instance, we have a new prime minister. An Old Etonian prime minister – the 20th in Britain’s history. The question of whether this is appropriate has been widely discussed, even before Johnson got to Number 10.
The issue being debated is the dominance of private school alumni in high-profile positions. To stop this, a campaign called Labour Against Private Schools, with its Twitter handle Abolish Eton, has been created. As the debate raged on, independent schools across the UK spoke out.
“I think the problem is we’re equating independent schools with Eton,” said Sue Hincks, president of the Girls’ Schools Association (page 12). There is a huge range of independent schools in the UK and many of them are taking steps to widen their access (including Eton, which launched the Orwell Award bursary this year to fund places for boys from less privileged backgrounds).
Schools like James Allen’s Girls’ School are making bursary provision a top priority, with 16–20% of its pupils currently on large bursaries. Headteacher Sally-Anne Huang said: “Our major priority is to keep our bursary provision as high as we possibly can.” Read more in our school spotlight article on page 54.
Forming partnerships with the state sector is a crucial step. Schools Together, which highlights the projects and partnerships which currently exist between independent schools and maintained schools or community groups, currently shows 4,201 projects in action.
I’d encourage all independent schools to take a look and think about how they can get involved. Share your stories on Twitter using the hashtag #schoolstogether.
I hope you enjoy the issue.
Editor, Independent Education Today