‘It’s been quite hard’, says head of Roedean as she quits

The Argus: Roedean headmistress Frances King criticised British 'hostility to public schools' as she stepped down from her role Roedean headmistress Frances King criticised British 'hostility to public schools' as she stepped down from her role

The headmistress of Roedean School has taken aim at the nation’s “hostility towards public schools” as she quits her top job.

After five years at the helm of the leading independent girls’ school, Frances King is leaving Sussex to run a college in Switzerland.

She said it has been “quite hard work” given the hostile climate towards independent schools.

But headteachers at other prestigious public schools in the county have questioned her comments.

Mrs King told a national newspaper: “In the UK the independent sector has gone through quite a bruising time and I can’t see that changing.

“The Government cannot afford to be supportive.

“The media, when it likes to, commends what the independent schools are doing but more likely is looking at the wider context of national provision for education and it is quite hard work to continue to be always on the negative side of public opinions.

“We are putting our heart, soul and effort into this provision.

“We are making sure we have got a good amount of money put into bursaries and, as much as we can afford in our situation, we are trying to ensure we are widening access.”

But, she added, it was “hard work” feeling that independent schooling is not something the nation approved of.

Wonderful years

The former head of Heathfield School for Girls in Ascot will leave in the summer to become the director of Collège Alpin Beau Soleil.

She told The Argus: “I have had a wonderful five years at Roedean and shall leave the UK with many very fond memories of the colleagues - and students - I have worked with here. Together we put our heart and soul into offering high-quality education which is a meaningful preparation for life.

“However, education is a global commodity and I am excited to be moving to an environment where I can participate in a wider educational debate.”

Mrs King’s concerns were not echoed by other independent schools in Sussex.

'Hostile attitude'

Headteacher of Lancing College Jonathan Gillespie said: “I don’t agree with that as a position in terms of my experience of leading an independent school.

“If there is a hostile attitude it’s not born out in terms of interest in places - demand for places in my school and many others is very high.”

Mark Beard, deputy headmaster of Brighton College, added applications for places at their school are at an all time high.

He said: “The huge interest in boarding places, particularly from families across the South East, at Brighton College has led to the building of an additional boarding house to accommodate demand.

“Independent schools that demonstrate they are a part of society rather than apart from it, that have strong pastoral care and that celebrate diversity will always be in demand.”

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Comments (5)

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4:49pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Considering the physical prominence Roedean has on the coast, it always surprised me how little contact the school and its students had with the wider community.
Perhaps if the head had brought the school and community closer together barriers between private and state could be broken down.
Instead, tell kids that when the going gets tough jump ship.
Considering the physical prominence Roedean has on the coast, it always surprised me how little contact the school and its students had with the wider community. Perhaps if the head had brought the school and community closer together barriers between private and state could be broken down. Instead, tell kids that when the going gets tough jump ship. Maxwell's Ghost

9:21pm Tue 29 Jan 13

HJarrs says...

The people churned out by Roedean were, I thought, accurately described in a paper today as part of a "ruling caste".

Is there any wonder that there is hostility to a private school system that purposefully seperates the vast majority from the children from the most powerful and privileged.

The country is being run by the products of the country's "finest" private schools and universities and they have led the country to disaster in the city and form the majority of an out-of-touch, devisive, regressive and appalling government. They seem hell bent on a return to the class system with no way forward for the rest of us.
The people churned out by Roedean were, I thought, accurately described in a paper today as part of a "ruling caste". Is there any wonder that there is hostility to a private school system that purposefully seperates the vast majority from the children from the most powerful and privileged. The country is being run by the products of the country's "finest" private schools and universities and they have led the country to disaster in the city and form the majority of an out-of-touch, devisive, regressive and appalling government. They seem hell bent on a return to the class system with no way forward for the rest of us. HJarrs

11:52pm Tue 29 Jan 13

longman says...

I am not impressed with this school at all. I know someone who applied for a job as one of the bank staff as a House Assistant. They didnt even bother to acknowledge the application, despite my friend having had years of experience working with children and being completely right for the job. She has checked the school website and they are still advertising, no experience necessary! Either they want staff or they dont. The least they could do is offer an interview to my friend. As for private schools, there are some good ones around! btw, just because parents send their kids to private schools, doesnt mean they are well off. Also, there are deprived kids at private schools, there are many degrees of deprivation, its not always lack of money. You can have all the money in the world but you can still be deprived of parental love, which is as devastating as not having much money!
I am not impressed with this school at all. I know someone who applied for a job as one of the bank staff as a House Assistant. They didnt even bother to acknowledge the application, despite my friend having had years of experience working with children and being completely right for the job. She has checked the school website and they are still advertising, no experience necessary! Either they want staff or they dont. The least they could do is offer an interview to my friend. As for private schools, there are some good ones around! btw, just because parents send their kids to private schools, doesnt mean they are well off. Also, there are deprived kids at private schools, there are many degrees of deprivation, its not always lack of money. You can have all the money in the world but you can still be deprived of parental love, which is as devastating as not having much money! longman

7:42am Wed 30 Jan 13

HJarrs says...

longman wrote:
I am not impressed with this school at all. I know someone who applied for a job as one of the bank staff as a House Assistant. They didnt even bother to acknowledge the application, despite my friend having had years of experience working with children and being completely right for the job. She has checked the school website and they are still advertising, no experience necessary! Either they want staff or they dont. The least they could do is offer an interview to my friend. As for private schools, there are some good ones around! btw, just because parents send their kids to private schools, doesnt mean they are well off. Also, there are deprived kids at private schools, there are many degrees of deprivation, its not always lack of money. You can have all the money in the world but you can still be deprived of parental love, which is as devastating as not having much money!
You are not wrong on the lack of parental love; poorer people neglect their kids, wealthier ones dump them in boarding school!

You are correct that private schools do cream off the most able pupils from a range of backgrounds. Though I always struggle to understand those that scrimp and save and do without to spend up to £200000 (from 3 to 18), to provide an education that might (or might not!) boost grades by a slight amount.
[quote][p][bold]longman[/bold] wrote: I am not impressed with this school at all. I know someone who applied for a job as one of the bank staff as a House Assistant. They didnt even bother to acknowledge the application, despite my friend having had years of experience working with children and being completely right for the job. She has checked the school website and they are still advertising, no experience necessary! Either they want staff or they dont. The least they could do is offer an interview to my friend. As for private schools, there are some good ones around! btw, just because parents send their kids to private schools, doesnt mean they are well off. Also, there are deprived kids at private schools, there are many degrees of deprivation, its not always lack of money. You can have all the money in the world but you can still be deprived of parental love, which is as devastating as not having much money![/p][/quote]You are not wrong on the lack of parental love; poorer people neglect their kids, wealthier ones dump them in boarding school! You are correct that private schools do cream off the most able pupils from a range of backgrounds. Though I always struggle to understand those that scrimp and save and do without to spend up to £200000 (from 3 to 18), to provide an education that might (or might not!) boost grades by a slight amount. HJarrs

8:16pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Sir Prised says...

Of course there is antaganism towards private schools. They cream off the best and leave the State to struggle with the slow-learners, hence why they provide such a disproportionate number of university entrants. In a fair system ANY very able child would be able to fulfill their potential but that clearly isn't the case. Gove's Free schools are also a recipe for disaster, increasing disparity and disfunction across society. Tragic waste of opportunity.
Of course there is antaganism towards private schools. They cream off the best and leave the State to struggle with the slow-learners, hence why they provide such a disproportionate number of university entrants. In a fair system ANY very able child would be able to fulfill their potential but that clearly isn't the case. Gove's Free schools are also a recipe for disaster, increasing disparity and disfunction across society. Tragic waste of opportunity. Sir Prised

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