Brighton Council deputy leader Nick Childs, who speaks of his ‘socialist vision’ for the city’s schools, sends his daughter to a £40,000-a-year private school
An arch-Corbynite city councillor in charge of schools policy who rails against privatisation sends his daughter to the most expensive private girls’ school in the country, MailOnline can reveal.
Councillor Nick Childs, the deputy leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, has a daughter who attends £40,000-a-year Roedean school in Sussex.
The school boasts its own golf course, swimming pool, theatre, and chapel – and even has a private tunnel to the beach.
Cllr Childs was elected in May as part of a slate of candidates approved by the city’s active Momentum campaign group, and his Twitter feed is a constant stream of retweets from Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and far-left pressure groups – including many messages contesting accusations of anti-Semitism in the party.
He is a prominent opponent of plans to force a failing local primary school rated inadequate by Ofsted into an academy, which would pave the way for the school to accept private finance, and take it out of local authority control.
On Twitter he has slammed what he calls a ‘fetish for privatisation’ at the Department for Education, called schools watchdog Ofsted ‘an enforcement agent of neoliberalism’ and spoken of his ‘socialist vision’ for education in the city.
Just last week Cllr Childs, who chairs the Children Young People and Schools committee in charge of education in the city of 300,000 people, tweeted: ‘Privatisation fetish won’t provide our children with good education. Our city will.’
Yet when it comes to his own family, Cllr Childs has chosen to send his daughter to one of the most expensive and exclusive private girls’ schools in the country: £40,000-a-year Roedean School.
The Labour councillor sends his daughter to £40,000-a-year Roedean girls’ school (pictured) on the outskirts of Brighton, which has its own golf course
Set on a clifftop, Roedean has its own private tunnel to the beach for its students to enjoy
The 130-year-old selective educational establishment is set in 118-acre grounds in Sussex
The 130-year-old establishment is set in towering buildings and expansive 118-acre grounds on a clifftop overlooking the sea a mile outside of Brighton.
It boats dance studios, music classrooms, a 320-seat theatre, a heated indoor swimming pool, a golf course, a private tunnel to the beach, a farm and a chapel, as well as a range of workshops, studios, laboratories and sports pitches.
The fees per term range from £5,670 for a Year 7 day girl, to £13,305 for a full boarder in years 10 through 13.
In a list of independent school fees for 2015/2016, Roedean was found to have the 12th-highest school fees in the country, below schools including Eton Harrow and Westminister and with nearby Brighton College topping the list. But all 11 dearer schools are either boys-only or co-educational making Roedean the most expensive girls’ school in the country.
Councillor Childs told MailOnline: ‘One of my children currently attends a local independent school.
‘My children like all children are entitled to their privacy … 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.’
Cllr Childs said last week that privatisation ‘won’t provide our children with good education’
The fervent Jeremy Corbyn supporter, who was first elected this May, speaks of having a ‘socialist vision’ for education in Brighton and Hove – for other people’s children
In one of his tweets he claimed the DfE has a ‘fetish with high stakes testing and privatisation’. His daughter’s private school boasts ‘girls achieve excellent results in public examinations’
He believes watchdog Ofsted is an ‘enforcement agent of [a] neo liberal education system’
Mr Childs, who is employed as a senior official of the National Education Union, was first elected to the council this May as one of a slate of Left-wing candidates endorsed by the city’s active Momentum campaign group.
Following the elections, centre-Left Labour council leader Dan Yates stepped down to be replaced by Corbyn supporter Nancy Platts, with Nick Childs one of her two deputies.
Cllr Childs is currently attempting to fight an order from the Department of Education to force a failing primary school in the deprived Moulsecoomb area to become an academy.
Moulsecoomb Primary School has been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
He told the Brighton and Hove News: ‘We are fundamentally opposed to this attempt by the regional schools commissioner to tell the people of Brighton and Hove that we must hand over our community school to become a private academy company without local accountability.’
He also supports anti-privatisation demonstrations and pickets at other Brighton schools.
Cllr Childs opposes turning schools into academies, including Peacehaven Community School (pictured) and Moulsecoomb Primary which is being forced to become an academy after being rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted
He is not the first Labour politician to find themselves in the spotlight over their choice of children’s school.
His fellow-Corbynite, shadow home secretary Dianne Abbott, was pilloried by many including some in her own party when it emerged she had sent her sons to an expensive London independent school after years of railing against private education.
She later called her decision ‘indefensible’.
Labour politicians Dianne Abbott (l) and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti (r) have also come under fire for sending their children to fee-paying schools after a lifetime of speaking against private education
Shami Chakrabarti, the former human rights campaigner who recently became a Labour peer, is a a dedicated opponent of ‘segregation’ in education, but was discovered to be sending her own son to Dulwich College, the smart £18,000-a-year (£27,000 for boarders) private school in South-East London.
And the deputy leader of Scottish Labour Anas Sarwar, who has often spoken about his commitment to social justice, was criticised by SNP opponents when it emerged he was sending his son to Glasgow’s £8234-a-year Hutchesons’ Grammar.