In his Chairman's address to the HMC conference in St Andrew's, Ken Durham, Headmaster of UCS London, outlined what makes UK Independent Schools the best in the world - and there's a clue in the name - Independence. Unfortunately "independence" is a term that has been devalued by those in the DfE who band it around and use the term far too loosely, applying it inappropriately to schools in the Maintained sector. As Ken Durham pointed out, there are three key aspects to true independence, which simply do not apply to those schools:
"Let us remember what true Independence means. We in the private sector have total independence over the curriculum in our schools, over the finance of our schools and over admission to our schools. It is those three freedoms that make us special. It is those three freedoms that give us the opportunity to achieve the excellence that we do. They expose us to great risk as well. No Government will bail us out. We stand or fall by the quality of our educational vision and the vigour with which we bring it off."
HMC Conference St Andrew's Excellence Not Privilege