Private schools morally offensive?

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Tim Hands, master of Magdalen College at Oxford University, has said that increasingly, British parents are being made to feel guilty about sending their offspring to private, independent institutions. “Expenditure on the purchase of a car, holiday or house is moral; expenditure on the education of the child is not,” he said.

Speaking at the recent annual Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ (HMC) meeting in London, Hands reminded school heads of a speech given by then-prime minister Tony Blair in 2005.

Blair said at the time that parents should do everything in their power to improve their children’s access to quality schooling, including moving to better areas and using private tutors.

“We are [now] asked to believe that our schools induce a new kind of social leprosy, with one politician recently arguing that attendance at an independent school was ‘seriously disabling’,” said Hands, making reference to a speech made by Lord Adonis, who served as a schools minister under the last Labour government, and said publicly that it can be “seriously disabling for students going to exclusive feepaying schools that they see so little of society while they are at those schools”.

Hands was applauded by HMC delegates when he said: “Our schools are not marooned on islands of privilege; they are instead preventing our island from being marooned. It is not our schools that are splendidly isolated, but our politicians. The story of the last 50 years is the intrusion of government and the disappearance of the child.”

Category: Autumn 2014

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