Ofsted chief says private schools are 'marooned on an island of privilege'
Sir Michael Wilshaw tells parents and teachers that schools must to more to help the less fortunate
Parents who pay for their children to go to private schools could be leaving them "marooned on an island of privilege that does not reach out to the mainland", the head of Ofsted has said.
Speaking at the Sunday Times Festival of Education, Sir Michael Wilshaw called for independent schools to do much more in partnership with local state schools, saying they had a "moral obligation" to bring an end to their "splendid isolation".
He praised the apparently few schools, like Eton and Wellington, that have sponsored an academy or free school, but said that most others had refused the Government's suggestion to do so.
Sir Michael picked out individual educators for criticism, asking why Repton School in Derbyshire had set up a boarding school in Dubai when children living 20 minutes away only have a 50/50 chance of getting into a successful primary school.
The comments follow on from a particularly poor set of recent Ofsted reports into the performance of comprehensive schools, and he said that: "A fundamentally unequal society is no good or any of us in the long term."
Saying he was "issuing a direct challenge to independent school heads", Sir Michael offered a list of ways more privileged schools could help their counterparts.
Private schools should invite the brighter children from state schools to attend their science lessons, he said, as well as provide them extra tuition and interview coaching at top universities.
He recommended they also help train teachers for comprehensive schools, and encourage staff to become governors in the state system.
He said: "And to those who say, 'parents pay £30,000 a year for the privilege', I'd ask if they really want their children marooned on an island of privilege that does not reach out to the mainland?"
He added that: "The conferment of privilege should not denote exclusivity, but an implied duty to help the wider community."
The comments have sparked anger from the private school sector. Charlotte Vere, executive director of the Girls' Schools Association, tweeted: "So disappointed Wilshaw hasn't a clue about independent-state partnerships. 90 per cent of independent schools involved. Don't attack, collaborate."
And Matthew Burgess, the general secretary of the Independent Schools Council, said Sir Michael had "treated the audience to a headline-grabbing speech", but seemed to be "unaware of basic facts".
"Sir Michael appears disappointingly out of touch with the breadth and depth of participation activity between the sectors," he said.
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Was a Russian-made missile really parked in this quiet square?
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
£130 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Are you an inspirational, ent...
£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Maths Teacher required for ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education and recruitin...
£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Group: Being the UK market leader, Ran...