Schools - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:26 pm on 12th September 2016.

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Photo of Lord Naseby Lord Naseby Conservative 4:26 pm, 12th September 2016

This is about English schools. Does my noble friend recognise that the phrase “schools that work for everyone” applies to the majority of independent schools? I declare an interest, having been chairman of the governors of Bedford School, under the Harpur Trust, which runs three secondary schools in which well over 200 pupils receive substantial bursaries. The trust is the main financial promoter of the Bedford Academy. All the schools make their facilities available in different ways. My own school makes its planetarium available to every primary school in Bedfordshire. Against that sort of background, I have to say to my noble friend that it is not helpful to read in the papers of a quote, allegedly from the Prime Minister, that independent schools are “divorced from normal life”. They are not. Furthermore, does my noble friend recognise that every parent who goes to an independent school has already paid the cost of state education through the community charge? People who come to the independent sector make great sacrifices and come from all classes. They believe in good education and they are prepared to pay for it.