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Independent schools' 'gilded cages' are rattled

It was, perhaps, inevitable that Martin Stephen's mild insider critique ("Independents must turn Time Lord or die", Comment, 15 February) would draw a knee-jerk reaction from the usual suspects ("Independents are just what the Doctor ordered", Letters, 22 February). But there are two sides to this coin. With rising public anger directed at celebrity and corporate tax dodgers, who could seriously defend the super-rich avoiding VAT on #163;30,000 annual fees for their privileged offspring's gold-plated education? On the other hand, enhancing opportunity for the disadvantaged and driving educational innovation for the benefit of all is a genuine charitable purpose that deserves public support. The real scandal is that the former are getting away with hiding behind the latter.

Alan Parker, Educational charity trustee and former director of education, Croydon.

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