The value of money


Society is becoming ever more polarised and parents can find themselves criticised for choosing a private school for their child. Matthew Smith looks at why independent education is seen as buying 'privilege'.

We live in a society which is ever more polarised. Perhaps it is hardly surprising when the same society fails to provide equality of opportunity for everyone. Who could have failed to notice the persistent references by the media to the school attended by Boris Johnson, both during and after his leadership campaign. I don't recall the same loud clamour of incredulous voices when Tony Blair was elected leader of the Labour Party, having attended a similarly prestigious school.

But, of course, it's got nothing to do with school and everything to do with notions of privilege. At the Labour Party conference, a group will petition for the abolition of independent schools – they would like them closed and absorbed into the state sector. In a letter to The Times, they justified their position on the basis that 'class segregation of schools is a burning injustice that must end'. I don't think this has anything to do with 'class' (whatever that means in 2019) but everything to do with money.

The campaign is nothing new. What is new is the climate in which this motion is being proposed. There is, of course, more than just a small leap from proposal through to the abolition of private schools. Labour would need to win the next general election and many a manifesto pledge gets forgotten when more pressing issues demand the attention of an incoming administration. Independent school parents don't need to start to panic yet.

Matthew Smith is the Editor of Attain.