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 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.”
Education For the few and not the many then
— sue shanks (@ShanksSue) 12 July 2019
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.”
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.
— Councillor Nick Childs (@NickCouncillor) July 12, 2019
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.
“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.”
— Labour Against Private Schools (@AbolishEton) 12 July 2019
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.”