FOUR Bolton Labour councillors have backed the abolition of private schools and bringing them into the state system.

They are among more than 200 to sign a letter hitting back at an Independent Schools Council warning that such a move would place an 'unbearable burden' on headteachers' budgets.

The four Bolton councillors are Bilkis Ismail (Crompton), David Evans (Little Lever and Darcy Lever), Martin McMulkin (Crompton) and Susan Haworth (Harper Green).

The letter from the ISC, which represents more 1,300 private schools, says: "Independent schools provide excellence, capacity and innovation in our education system. Abolishing them would fail to improve provision for state pupils. The state sector would face higher costs and bigger class sizes.

"Abolishing independent schools would place an unbearable burden on local education budgets."

The Labour councillors' letter The Times newspaper says: "Class segregation of schools is a burning injustice that must end.

"There would be no job losses, as private school staff would transfer to the state sector. New school places would not be needed because the assets of private schools would be managed by local authorities."

"Unless we break up the old boys’ network that hoards power and privilege, educational inequality will continue."

Cllr Haworth said: “I have been persuaded over a number of years that, to reduce inequality in Britain, children’s lives need to be focussed on.

"We need to organise everything we can to provide as much equality of opportunity as we can for each and every child to have a chance of a good life.

"That is why I wanted to sign to say the ISC's wholesale resistance to schools' integration is wrong.”