Academic elite fights isolation

12th March 1999 at 00:00
PARENTS with children at private schools have formed an association - and already the list of board members reads like a page from Who's Who.

The Independent Schools Parents' Association will have on its advisory board Richard Dawkins, professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford University, and Professor Roger Scruton, the writer and philosopher. Others are Susan Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, Heather Ashton, emeritus professor of psycopharmacology at Newcastle University and John Rae, the former headmaster of Westminster school.

Founder Caroline Noortman said the association has already attracted several hundred members. Many, she said, had complained they felt isolated due to lack of communication with the school their children attended and lack of information about what went on in other schools.

The ISPA will publish a magazine covering key education and youth issues which will conduct surveys and campaigns. The association will also provide parents with publications on drugs and sex education, and offer them the chance to keep up to date on youth issues through conferences, lectures and seminars.

Mrs Noortman, who has three children at independent schools, is director of the London Lecture Group, which organises conferences on social issues.

She said: "Parents are increasingly seeing themselves as clients who make a huge financial investment and are perhaps becoming just a little bit more critical. The gratitude factor is wearing a tiny bit thin."

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