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Tails and boaters aren't the whole story

Whenever newspapers print stories about the independent sector, they routinely accompany the text with photographs of pupils, usually boys, in tails, with buttonholes and boaters, as TES did in its 14 October edition (pages 3 and 12).

There are 2,600 independent schools in the UK. Schools like Eton and Harrow are far from representative of the sector as a whole. Focusing on the stereotypical presentation of independent schools risks feeding possible prejudice and promoting false assumptions about such schools.

This does not help the drive for partnership, about which many of us in both sectors are passionate.

Jill Berry, Former headteacher (Dame Alice Harpur School in Bedford), Newark, Nottinghamshire.

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