Heads ac­cused of be­trayal over ‘sex­ist’ club

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Camilla Turner

HEAD teach­ers at some of the UK’S top schools have been ac­cused of be­tray­ing their col­leagues by re­main­ing as mem­bers of a “sex­ist” gen­tle­man’s club.

Last year the Head­mas­ters’ and Head­mistresses’ Con­fer­ence (HMC) – rep­re­sent­ing Eton, Har­row and 290 other pub­lic schools – sev­ered ties with the East In­dia Club over its un­equal treat­ment of women.

But de­spite the split, some head teach­ers de­cided to stay on as hon­orary mem­bers of the all-male Lon­don club.

Both male and fe­male HMC heads can be hon­orary mem­bers, but only men can be full mem­bers.

“It is al­most shame­ful now in HMC to stay [at the East In­dia Club],” a source told The Daily Tele­graph.

Stephen Le­hec, the head of the £18,000-a-year co-ed­u­ca­tional Kingston Gram­mar School in south-west Lon­don, said he was “de­lighted” about the split. “I am sur­prised that any­one would hang on to their mem­ber­ship,” he said.

It prompted a dis­cus­sion at the East In­dia Club’s an­nual meet­ing, with one mem­ber sug­gest­ing that a “con­ver­sa­tion” should be­gin about fe­male mem­ber­ship.

Ac­cord­ing to min­utes of the dis­cus­sion, seen by The Daily Tele­graph, the club’s chair­man said that it was “full” and added it was “likely” that ad­mit­ting women would lead to a spate of res­ig­na­tions.

Alex Bray, the East In­dia Club sec­re­tary, con­firmed that “some mem­bers of HMC, both male and fe­male, re­main hon­orary mem­bers”. He added: “With re­gard to the HMC, it is not for this club to com­ment on its poli­cies, but I would point out that many mem­bers of the HMC are heads of sin­gle-sex schools.”

A spokesman for the HMC said: “There is no in­sti­tu­tional re­la­tion­ship be­tween HMC and the East In­dia Club, and hasn’t been for a year”.

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