REGARDING the letter about private schools and education policy (Bury Times September 26). You make some valid points so let me clarify my own position.

Education is a passion of mine and I’ve been fortunate to work on the Education Select Committee in my first two years as your MP. You’re right that I had a mixed education, including time at both state and independent schools, a privilege I didn’t choose but which was afforded to me due to my father’s role in the Church of England — he is a Bishop. A privilege few are afforded. And one such reason I choose the politics of inclusion and equality over exclusion and inequality but also support individual freedom and shared responsibility.

There is something of a mismatch between the Labour conference policy and the media coverage of it. To be clear, there will be no asset stripping from or closure of private schools and this is not something I would support. What I do support is the removal of taxpayer money subsidising business rate relief and charitable status for private schools which is in effect the public subsidising a private organisation.

My position is that every child matters and we need a plan for every child. Something I have seen firsthand has not been the case over the last nine years with the fragmentation of our school system, an explosion in school exclusions, the struggle for SEND support many parents face and additional funding for free schools and grammar schools while mainstream schools have faced a real terms cut of eight per cent according to the IFS and we have schools like Tottington High School and Derby High in Bury North in dire need of rebuilding or refurbishment continue to be ignored despite representations I’ve made to this government on the state they’re in.

I have visited and spoken at both the boys and girls schools at Bury Grammar in my time as an MP and I value the work they do, as I have told them personally. I also appreciate the magnificent staff that work there and in all Bury’s schools. When visiting, I was particularly struck by the extra-curriculum work they provide their students and in time, I hope we’ll have a government that invests properly in our schools and restores childhood experiences at all schools as this too cannot be saved only for those seven per cent attending private schools.

So my focus and efforts are on demanding more for our state schools so that every child in Bury and across the country has access to a world-class education and the ability to go on to the further and higher education or career of their choice and not to have this choice limited by the school they went to and a lack of opportunity.

I hope this addresses your concerns and makes clear my position.

James Frith MP

Member of Parliament for Bury North