Maria Hutchings on state schools – fair game

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Thornden school - Some rights served by anguskirkUnfortunately, the hot house atmosphere of a by-election campaign means that any controversial comments by candidates get magnified a thousand times.

Let’s be frank, Maria Hutchings has a record of bringing her children into the public domain.

Like anyone, she has the right to decide where her children are schooled.

But she went one crucial step further and said that it was “impossible” for her “gifted” son to be educated in state schools in Eastleigh, alluding to her child’s ambition to be a surgeon.

That is a view which is perfectly valid and proper for political debate.

It would be unbelievable if such a comment, in a hotly contested by-election, were not picked up on.

And it is perfectly valid to point out that Eastleigh has excellent schools, as certified by Ofsted, and that Mike Thornton’s daughter was state educated in Eastleigh and is studying medicine at Imperial College, one of the foremost scientific colleges in the country.

And, yes, it is valid to criticise Nick Clegg if he sends his son to a private school. But, note, Nick Clegg has at no time taken a swipe at state schools.

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