Absolutely. It represents 80 per cent. of children who are educated in the independent sector. The independent sector has very good management. Despite educating only 7 per cent. of children in this country, rising to about 12 per cent. at sixth form, it achieves 62.8 per cent. of all A grades in A-level physics. There are similar figures for biology and chemistry. As Christine Ryan, the Chief Inspector of the Independent Schools Inspectorate, said in her evidence to this Committee on 24 January 2008,
“None of the schools that we inspected were found to have unsatisfactory leadership and management.”——[Official Report, Education and Skills Public Bill Committee, 24 January 2008; c. 92, Q215.]
The Independent Schools Inspectorate is a very demanding and high quality inspectorate. It is itself inspected by Ofsted, which found all its inspections to be of high quality.
The maintained sector, by contrast, has been heavily criticised by Ofsted, which complains that 49 per cent. of secondary schools are not good enough, to use the words of the Government. Why the Government, therefore, feel it necessary to legislate on standards of management and leadership in the independent sector is baffling, unless it is in some way intended to homogenise their leadership or to extend state control into the way they manage their schools.
As the Independent Schools Council says in its detailed written response to the consultation document:
“Of a sample of 412”- independent
“schools inspected since January 2006, leadership was judged to be excellent in 19%. of schools, good in 64%. and satisfactory in 17%. In no school was leadership considered unsatisfactory.”