20 January 2008

The shame of a closet collectivist

"Private schools prevent social mixing" — £125,000-a-year headmaster

Private school headmasters who stir up resentment and promote left wing ideology should resign, the headmaster of Wallingford College has said.

Dr Selby Anson, recipient of a £125,000-a-year remuneration package, claimed that people like him were fuelling left wing ideology by putting out propaganda which undermined other private schools.

He said all private school headmasters who pumped out collectivist ideology should follow his lead and resign forthwith. Hosting a conference at his Oxfordshire school last week, Dr Anson said illiberal elitists like him were "detached from reality, thereby perpetuating the false ideology which has so dogged education and national life in Britain since the Second World War."

On earlier occasions, Anson — who has been described as belonging to a 'lunatic fringe' — had made provocative comments such as the following.

"It isn't right any longer for our schools to cream off the best pupils, the best teachers, the best facilities, the best results and the best university places. Our privileged pupils completely avoid experience of state comprehensive schools, and it is well known that familiarity with the grim side of life is an important component of happiness training."

"We need to develop the social and spiritual side of our pupils. For clever children, exposure to the horrors of comprehensives is extremely useful and edifying. For the less clever, exposure to clever children and experiencing the pleasure of bullying them provides balance for later experiences of having to service their cars or empty their dustbins."

"Independent schools claim they offer bursaries to those of lesser means (fortunately the state no longer subsidises such bursaries). However, these pluck children out of their social milieu, when it is well known that bright children greatly benefit from being exposed to differently abled children, and from being taken down a peg or two."

Dr Anson, who has written hagiographies of various politicians, had also accused the government of encouraging 'apartheid' between the intelligent and the less intelligent, and argued that it was no longer tenable to retain 20th century ‘meritocratic’ thinking. He is alleged to have described meritocracy as "a cruel system which forces the less able to fall down the social scale".

Parents who feel they scrimped and saved to pay private school fees, so that their children could avoid being damaged by the state system, were furious with Dr Anson and have demanded he step down from his role. Dr Anson has now admitted that he feels "ashamed", and that he has failed in his duty of care towards parents and pupils. An annoucement of his resignation is expected shortly.

Apologies to: The Daily Mail