I don’t think that there has ever been a time when society is as divided as it is now . Women versus men. Black people versus white. Rich versus poor. Right v left. North v South. Two sports stories caught my attention this weekend which reflected this division from opposite sides of the social spectrum. One was work that high profile black footballers Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling were doing to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, using their names and money to improve the life chances of others. The other story was was from a different perspective, the abuse Patrick Bamford receives from fellow professional footballers for simply having a public school education.
Within the education sector the gulf between independent and state schools has widened considerably during 2020 despite public school head teachers proclamations to put community support at the heart of their school strategic plans. Not for a minute do I question the absolute sincerity of such announcements ; those running our independent schools are motivated by much more than pupil recruitment , exam performances and Tatler awards. They realise that building meaningful community programmes will instil values in pupils that will last a lifetime and help build a better less divisive society. They also know with 100% certainty that lack of integration and support for those beyond the hallowed School grounds will mean being perpetually defined as bastions of wealth and perpetrators of privilege and inequality. Institutions which have no place in a fairer, diverse and more inclusive society.
Partnerships between state and independent schools have been running for many years driven in the main by the enthusiasm of head teachers. Heather McKissack at Kings College School was a truly inspirational figure , setting up partnerships with eight local state schools helping academically gifted young children achieve their potential whatever their circumstances. Heather saw partnerships as a means of encouraging social mobility ,and the HMCK Charity set up to continue her work is doing an excellent job having embarked on its very first fundraising campaign.
Sadly however social mobility has shown signs of slowing down considerably because of coronavirus and we need more head teachers from both sectors to work much collaboratively in the world of fundraising to ensure that every child, regardless of background , privilege or circumstances should be able to achieve their potential. I call on all head teachers and trustees to share fundraising knowledge and resources in a way which makes a real difference. If we don’t and state sector continues with the well intended but ultimately low level fundraising from a patchwork of raffle ticket and cake sales the education gulf between sectors will widen still further and we will be left with just the rhetoric.
I call on all head teachers and trustees to share fundraising knowledge in a way that makes a real difference