One In The Eye For The Sutton Trust's Open-Access Ideas

Richard Garner | The Independent | November 7, 2012

Something approaching a frisson of horror appears to strike our politicians at the very thought of debating selection openly. I was trying for three days last week to get a squeak out of both the Department for Education and the Labour opposition over what they thought about the education charity Sutton Trust's founder Sir Peter Lampl's plans for "open access" independent schools, ie, where pupils are selected on merit rather than ability to pay.

Eventually, the Department for Education came back with a statement on Friday evening saying: "Our priority is to transform the state education system so that all children are able to access a good quality of education, regardless of their background."

Sounds like one in the eye for Sir Peter's scheme – although it is a stance I respect. My support for Sir Peter's scheme – declared last month – was predicated on the fact that nothing else had been that sucessful in closing the gap between rich(er) and poor students during the past 30 years...