Independent schools are not to blame for social segregation, the leader of an organisation representing more than 1,200 schools in the sector has said.
Julie Robinson, general secretary of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), also criticised what she described as an "anti-privilege mood", saying this was unhelpful to schools trying to work together to improve education.
She told Tes that tackling the “lazy caricature” of independent schools as “old-fashioned and full of one type of child” was a challenge for the ISC.
“We’ve got some small schools that share the local academy’s swimming pool because they don’t have one – it works both ways,” she said.
Former education secretary Justine Greening recently suggested that employers should discriminate against old Etonians in favour of job candidates with the same grades from under-performing schools.
But, in an interview with Tes, Ms Robinson said: “School type is not a proxy for social advantage."
She pointed to Sutton Trust research showing that social segregation exists in many comprehensives.
Ms Robinson, who went to a Sussex comprehensive, added that some parents “spend more on their house [to get into the catchment area of an ‘outstanding’ state school] than they would on fees at some of the schools".
She said: "That’s the segregation, [it’s] not caused by our little sector, so it’s a shame".
Ms Robinson was speaking to Tes before the Department for Education announced it was dropping plans to remove tax breaks from independent schools that failed to work with state schools.
This is an edited version of an article in the 18 May edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article here. To subscribe, click here. This week's Tes magazine is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here.