“Poor Us” Say Private Schools

The union of private schools’ head teachers has said the Government shouldn’t tell universities to “discriminate against” privately educated students.

fees government offa Oxford private school tuition fees

The head of the union of private schools attacked the Government for telling unis to discriminate against privately educated kids yesterday.

Philip Cottam, chairman of the Society of Headmasters and Headmistresses of Independent Schools, said unis shouldn’t be asked to “repair the problem of 18 years of upbringing and education” by “discriminating against” privately educated students.

He said the number of kids failing to achieve their potential was a “blot” on society, but argued that making lower grade offers to state school students was like trying to improve an aeroplane “after the plane has already crashed.”

Speaking at the society’s annual conference yesterday, Cottam also criticised the decline of the grammar schools, saying they helped poorer children to achieve their potential.

Private schools currently educate just 7% of children but privately-educated students make up more than 40% of those at Oxford and Cambridge. Numbers are expected to fall as the Government wants to impose targets for access for all unis who want to charge £9 000 fees.

Earlier this week, that policy hit a stumbling block after it emerged that OFFA, The Office For Fair Access, didn’t have the power to impose targets on unis. The Gov had to delay the publication of their much-touted ‘Student Charter’ and are now scrambling to push through legislation to empower OFFA.

Cottam condemned the general state of Britain’s education system, saying it’s increasingly expected to “provide the answer to all the social ills of society, with the result that it is in danger of resembling a branch of psychotherapy.”