Why staff enjoy the private life

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Dr David James has obviously had difficulty understanding the Independent Schools Council census ("Ten pupils in a class? Not in my school," TES, June 2). This is a standard reference document for the sector - produced every year for the past 25 years - and its purpose is to give authoritative facts and figures in a series of statistical tables.

What Dr James has done is to take figures from the census; say they are making claims which are not made and then say that these claims, manufactured by him, are wrong. That is a cheap trick.

Equally cheap is his claim that financial assistance provided by schools is "tokenistic". As Dr James notes, 24 per cent of pupils receive financial assistance from their schools. At an average of pound;2,300 per pupil this cannot fairly be described as 'tokenistic'. The pound;286 million in assistance from schools is nearly three times the value of the fiscal advantages the sector derives from its charitable status, a fact Dr James overlooks.

It is true that our teachers work hard and effectively. That is because they enjoy the achievement-oriented working environment, together with longer holidays and more opportunities for specialisation. Trapped? Hardly.

Sam Freedman

Head of statistical research

Independent Schools Council

St Vincent House

30 Orange St

London WC2

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