This week we have seen Nick Clegg follow the education secretary, Michael Grove, not only bemoaning the dominance of former private school children in British media, politics, judiciary, business, medical schools and the arts but also begin to speak about plans to break the grip of private schools on the establishment.
Some years ago when I was faced with decisions over secondary education for my daughter. A former health minister (not Alan Milburn) told me I should just support my local secondary school, only by supporting them would we change them. I have to say that with my local secondary school with only 23% of children at the time getting A-C grades GCSE I decided I couldn’t sacrifice my daughter’s future to a principle.
So my daughter went to a private school. Now immersed in university life I do not regret the decision. My daughter is very vocal about how all should be given the opportunity of a good education not just those who can work out how or afford to get it.
If Nick Clegg is going to make his latest political announcement more than a head line, hoping to convince the electorate that he hasn’t completely sold out, I would recommend he listens to Alan Milburn who I know would have listened to many and thoughtfully reflected on those factors which contribute to social mobility which is more likely to be lack of opportunity not just in education but to health, housing, employment to name but a few. Changing social structure requires a cross government initiative and history shows that is often where government struggles. So let’s hope Nick Clegg grips the establsihment and enables people to work to gether for the greater good.