‘Anti-privatised education’ Brighton schools chief criticised for sending daughter to Roedean

Posted On 12 Jul 2019 at 10:41 am

Labour schools chief Nick Childs has been criticised for sending his daughter to Roedean while speaking out against “privatising” schools and academies.

Councillor Childs sends one of his daughters to Roedean and another to a state school in Brighton.

He has campaigned against a proposal to turn Moulsecoomb Primary School into an academy, with support from his Labour colleagues as well as local Greens and Tories.

The proposal followed an inspection by the official watchdog Ofsted which rated the school as inadequate – a verdict disputed locally.

And Councillor Childs has slammed the Conservative government over its academies programme for having a “privatisation fetish”.

This morning (Friday 12 July) Councillor Childs hit back at Mail Online – the Daily Mail’s website – for publishing the story about his daughter attending Roedean, described as the most expensive girls school in the country. He said that he would “take no moral lectures” from the Mail.

Councillor Childs said: “One of my children currently attends a local independent school.

“My children like all children are entitled to their privacy and these rights are protected in law.

“I will not say anything more on this matter other than to say that these decisions should be made by parents and carers taking into consideration each child’s unique skills, abilities and needs.

“My own family’s decisions are made on this basis and are not up for public debate.

“My views on the privatisation of publicly owned state schools through the academisation of publicly owned schools remain clear and should not be confused with my family’s personal decisions.”

Councillor Nick Childs

Councillor Childs, who was elected to Brighton and Hove City Council in May, was described by the Mail as a Corbynite. He chairs the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, is also the deputy leader of the council and works for the National Education Union which represents teachers.

He took to Twitter this morning to respond to the story, saying: “For the record I do not oppose independent schools. Happy to be held to account, but on my actual record, decisions and actions not on misinformation.”

Green councillor Sue Shanks, a former chair of the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, also took to Twitter to paraphrase the Labour slogan, “For the many not the few.”

She tweeted: “Education for the few and not the many then.”

Conservative leader Steve Bell said: “Parents are welcome to choose what’s best for their children and Roedean has an excellent reputation.

“As Conservative councillors, my colleagues and I are determined to ensure the highest possible standards in our local state schools to give every child the best possible start in life.

“We have many good schools and we support the widely shared ambition for them to become outstanding schools.

“We certainly don’t have a fixation about academies and we supported Councillor Childs’ call for another look at Moulsecoomb.

“As Conservatives, we respect the views of parents who believe that Ofsted might reach a different judgment if it returned to the school in the near future.”

Tomorrow (Saturday 13 July) a “March for Moulsecoomb”, has been organised to protest against the academy proposal. Campaigners are due to meet at the school at 9.30am for a 10am start.

Earlier today Labour Against Private Schools, known on Twitter as @AbolishEton, welcomed the support of Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, whose constituency includes Roedean and Brighton College.

Mr Russell-Moyle was quoted as saying: “I’m delighted to support this exciting new campaign to ensure that the Labour Party challenges the structural inequality of private schools, which continue to benefit the few and threaten the long-term prosperity of the many.

“For centuries now private schools have provided an elitist fast-track escalator to powerful networks, internships and employment opportunities that are just not available to the many.

“They are an anachronism that cannot be allowed to stand in the way of our country’s progress any longer.”

  1. Rolivan Reply

    Another one of the do as I say not do as I do set.Perhaps she received a Scholarship?

  2. SamC Reply

    Hypocrite of the highest order. His peers saw through him a long time ago. “My own family’s decisions are made on this basis and are not up for public debate” Sorry Nick, welcome to public life your family decisions ARE up for debate.

  3. K.Fayers Reply

    Typical, I can afford it, do as I want, you do as I preach.

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Not quite on-topic but in the Thirties that fine composer and writer Lord Berners wrote a privately-circulated novel wittily named The Girls of Radcliff Hall on which he depcited himself and such friends as Cecil Beaton as female pupils at the eponymous School. Beaton, however, was not amused and tried to have it destroyed. He was foiled, for an edition was eventually published about twenty years ago. Even scarcer is P.Y. Betts’s French Polish, set in a Swiss finishing school – and was followed by a very successful second book a mere six decades later. Meanwhile, Philip Larkin’s girls-school novels have gone out of print.


    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Further to this, I now find that the Libraries here have ditched the Larkin collection, which is out of print and fetching high prices.


  5. Darren Barnett Reply

    Academies and public schools aren’t the same thing at all. Compelling state schools to be run by a business (an academy) doesn’t make them private! In many cases (but not all) it often makes them much worse as the schools get asset stripped to increase the profits of the CEO’s.

    Sending one child to public school (Roedean) and one to a state school normally means one child may have SEN and can’t cope with the state sector (or one child is much brighter so they can cope better in a state school)…

    That being said Labour politicians supporting public schools by paying the fees does seem to be counter to the basic idea of access for all…

  6. Valerie Reply

    I have no issue with long established Independent schools. It is surely the deference to Public School educated ‘toffs’ that offend not the education. I see no real conflict if interests here & agree that businesses run as academies are poison

  7. Jayne Reply

    If you hold public office for a party championing anti privatisation and excellent state education, clearly to send your own child to an independent school is inconsistent with the ethos and values of your party.

    Surely public office demands leading by example to uphold integrity and trust. I think it a shame for Mr Childs and his daughter that the case has been highlighted in such a public manner however I am surprised that Mr Childs does not feel his actions (what he does) and his views (what he says) may be perceived as somewhat incompatible. I hope the Labour led council will review this case.

  8. PG Reply

    As local Labour Party member, I find this state of affairs disappointing.

    I generally don’t feel the need to judge individuals based on how they choose to educate their children since as a parent, I understand wanting to give your kids the best education possible.

    I would argue however that by standing for public office on a platform of educational equality and opposing privatisation and academies, one is clearly and quite obviously leaving themselves open to criticism should they then enroll their children in an expensive private school.

    I don’t begrudge him or his child a private education (remember that the child’s) opinion on where to go to school should matter as well) but I do feel that this makes him incompatible with a role as chair of the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee.

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