I cannot recall a week in which Britain’s private schools have received better PR. The Labour party has pledged to scrap them because of the huge advantages they confer on their pupils — including ‘lifelong networks for the powerful’, according to Owen Jones. Presumably that’s a reference to Jeremy Corbyn, who, thanks to his private school background, has risen to the top of the Labour party in spite of getting two Es at A-level.
Laura Parker, the national coordinator for Momentum, welcomed Labour’s new policy on the grounds that ‘every child deserves a world-class education, not only those who are able to pay for it’. In other words, only private schools are able to provide a ‘world-class education’. No wonder Shami Chakrabarti, Labour’s shadow attorney-general, spends £21,246 a year on sending her son to Dulwich College.
All nonsense, of course. Since 2010, the attainment gap between private schools and state schools has shrunk considerably. This year, the percentage of A-levels taken by private school pupils that were marked A or A fell to 45.7 per cent, down from 52 per cent a decade ago. And the very best state schools are now getting better results than the best independent schools. The highest-performing sixth-form this year was King’s Maths School, a free school in Lambeth, where more than 90 per cent of students got A or A across all subjects and 25 per cent secured places at Oxford or Cambridge. (To read more, click here.)