‘Class segregation of schools is burning injustice’: Hundreds of councillors back campaign to abolish private schools

Eleanor Busby

Hundreds of councillors have backed a campaign to abolish elite private schools across the country.

The “class segregation of schools is a burning injustice” that must end, more than 250 Labour councillors from across England have said in a letter to The Sunday Times.

The councillors reject the claims from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) that integrating private schools into the state sector would mean an “unbearable burden” on council budgets.

“The claims are not only grossly inflated, but class segregation of schools is a burning injustice that must end,” the signatories say.

Grassroots campaign Labour Against Private Schools, which is using the Twitter handle @AbolishEton, was launched earlier this month to abolish Eton College and other private schools.

The lobby group, backed by MPs including former Labour leader Ed Miliband, is calling for Labour to pledge to integrate all private schools into the state sector in its next general election manifesto.

The signatories of the letter say they support the campaign, adding: “Unless we break up the old boys’ network that hoards power and privilege, educational inequality will continue.”

The activists deny jobs would be lost, saying teachers would be re-employed by the state.

Last week, Mike Buchanan, executive director of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents leading public schools, branded the campaign a “distraction”.

He added that the state would end up “picking up the cost” if private schools were “harmed”.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the ISC, has argued that “tearing down excellent schools” does not improve education, adding that many critics attended a private school or had sent their children to one.