Private-school leader: 'The middle classes are being ignored'

Chair of the Independent Schools Council says that focus on disadvantaged pupils means the middle classes are overlooked

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So much attention is being given to disadvantaged pupils that their middle-class counterparts are being ignored, an independent school leader has said.

Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council, said: "Of course, one is right to think about the bottom 13 per cent of pupils [who receive free school meals] but the 30 million people in our country who are middle class are largely ignored by commentators,” he said. 

“Being middle class, which used to be a virtue, is now regarded as a sin.”


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Mr Lenon was addressing independent school leaders, gathered at Brighton College for a one-day education conference. They had previously heard from Lord Agnew, the minister with responsibility for independent schools, who suggested that state teachers should be more grateful for their pensions

Mr Lenon said that many of the most outspoken critics of independent schools were “virtue-signallers”, who believed that individuals should be dependent on the state. 

He added that many of these commentators suggested that abolishing private schools would combat inequality among pupils. 

“White working-class boys won’t be helped a jot by the abolition of private schools,” he said. “They will be helped by a system that pays teachers more to work in struggling areas.”

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