Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who says part of his role in government is to make society fairer, refused to rule out sending his three sons to private, fee-paying high schools.
Clegg was asked about his plans for his children’s education after Prime Minister David Cameron, once a pupil at Eton, Britain’s most famous fee-paying school for boys, said Jan. 18 he will send his eldest daughter Nancy to a state-run high school, citing improvements in London’s educational record.
Clegg was also privately educated at London’s Westminster School, yards from Parliament. His children with his Spanish wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez are called Antonio, Alberto and Miguel. Antonio, the eldest, will start high school this fall.
“My own view is we can, if it works out, we will send him to a good state school,” Clegg told LBC radio today, refusing to rule out sending his son to a fee-paying institution. “Like all parents sending their children for secondary school in London there is huge competition for places.”
In class-conscious Britain, the decision whether to send children to a fee-paying school is politically charged. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was criticized by some lawmakers when he was in office for sending his three eldest children to a state-funded school that selected applicants for entry.
Clegg said he doesn’t want to make a political issue out of the education of his children. “I want the best for my child,” he said.
During the first of his weekly radio phone-in sessions on Jan. 10, Clegg emphasized that he entered a coalition with Cameron to fix Britain’s economy. The Liberal Democrats argue that they temper Cameron’s Tories’ cuts to public services that would have hit the poorest the hardest.
“I’m actually immensely proud that facing one of the biggest economic crises that this government has seen in a generation, possibly in the post-war period, the Liberal Democrats took a big collective and brave decision to say right, we’re going to step up to the plate, we’re going to work in a coalition because no one won the general election and we’re going to try and fix this mess, and we’re going to try to fix this mess while also trying to make society fairer,” Clegg said Jan. 10.