8th May 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
'Greening's comments about Eton show how misunderstood our independent schools are'
Nobody – not the teachers, pupils, or parents – benefits from the continuous sniping against independent schools by politicians, writes David James, deputy head (academic) at Bryanston School in Dorset
Justine Greening has joined a growing list of former Conservative secretaries of state who seem to have a grudge against independent schools. Greening is reported to have said that employers should offer a job opportunity to a candidate from an under-performing school before an Old Etonian with the same grades.
Greening’s argument chooses to ignore the 1,137 partnerships that now exist between state and private schools, sharing everything from academic expertise to sport, drama and music facilities. Those independent schools – such as Westminster and Wellington – which sponsor academies also share teachers, as well as classrooms. The divide that is seen to exist in certain parts of the media, as well as in cross-party gatherings in Westminster, is simply no longer recognised by thousands of students, their families, and the schools they attend. These partnerships are mutually rewarding, benefiting all, with independent schools pooling ideas with their colleagues in the state sector.
Independent schools have long become accustomed to being the whipping boys (or girls) of various politicians who seek to promulgate outdated ideas about social hierarchies for reasons of political expediency.
For every Eton, or Harrow, there are many small, fee-paying schools populated with hard-working teachers doing their very best for their students. And many of those schools serve parents who are making considerable sacrifices to send their children to study there. In this sector, fees can vary from under £2,000 per term to over £11,000. To simply represent the sector through the prism of one high-profile school is to reduce a complex, and very human, set of stories to a single, self-serving narrative.
Until we move beyond this peculiarly British, and rather sclerotic relationship with class and education, and see the real picture, our schools, in both sectors, will continue to be misrepresented and misunderstood. All our children, regardless of backgrounds, deserve better than that.
Private schools giant Cognita picks banks for £2bn sale
One of Britain's biggest privately owned education groups has picked banks to lead a £2bn auction amid booming investor appetite for the sector.
Sky News has learnt that the owners of Cognita, which operates 40 schools across the UK and dozens more overseas, has asked Goldman Sachs and Barclays to oversee a sale of the company later this year.
The auction is expected to generate huge returns to KKR and EMK Capital, the two private equity backers of Cognita.
Two rival education companies - Nord Anglia Education and GEMS Education - are reported to be among the potentially interested bidders at a time of accelerating interesting consolidation across the industry.
Cognita's portfolio includes the Southbank International School in Kensington, Hong Kong's Stamford American School, and schools in Brazil, Chile, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam.
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