5/5/07 - Private schools stay out of reach (£)
Sir, There may indeed be record numbers at independent schools (report, May 4) but, as you also note, they still amount to no more than 7 per cent of all pupils, a proportion that has remained unchanged for decades.
Opinion polls consistently show that more than half of all families would send their children to independent schools if they could afford the fees. But independent schools have shown no interest in exploring ways of making their high standards available much more widely; for instance, by going out to win substantial business sponsorship so that places could be offered on a wide scale at affordable fees.
They have merely tinkered with scholarships and bursaries in response to pressure over their charitable status.
All in all the Blair years have been a time of missed opportunity for independent schools. There should be far more of them, and they should by now have created the close partnership with maintained schools, which Tony Blair said in 1997 was one of his chief ambitions.
General Secretary Independent Schools Council, 1997-2004