Independents are just what the Doctor ordered

22nd February 2013 at 00:00

Martin Stephen's diatribe against not-for-profit independent schools appeared last Friday ("Independents must turn Time Lord or die", 15 February). His claims of disunity and disarray provoked some amusement among us, but did not take up much time in our monthly meeting. More important matters were on the agenda. The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference initiative to improve the quality and professionalism of exam assessment and marking; plans to assist the Charity Commission to produce more tailored toolkits for school trustees; the impact of staff ratios and qualifications in early years settings: all these items are standard fare for our organisations as we focus on improving the UK's educational landscape for all.

Stephen's amnesia should not be confused with sector apathy or poverty of vision. The forging of new curricula and qualifications and the adoption of the IGCSE and International Baccalaureate; the promotion of a global brand of world-class education with economic and cultural benefits for UK plc; the development of the first free sixth-form state school supported by multiple not-for-profit independent schools: one doesn't have to think very hard to come up with examples of innovation.

"Independent schools like Doctor Who"? Stephen doesn't offer a prescription for the ills he diagnoses - but as he is the UK's representative of an overseas for-profit schools group, here is one doctor with a particular interest in the patient's demise.

Matthew Burgess, general secretary, ISC; William Richardson, general secretary, HMC; Charlotte Vere, executive director, GSA; Neil Roskilly, chief executive, ISA; David Hanson, chief executive, IAPS; Peter Bodkin, general secretary, Society of Heads; Stuart Westley, general secretary, AGBIS; Mike Lower, general secretary, ISBA; Colin Bell, executive director, Corbis.

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