The Deputy Prime Minister was reminded on the Andrew Marr programme how he
previously said the gap in educational standards between private and state
schools is “corrosive for our society and damaging to our economy”.

He replied: “I accept that it’s a dilemma for anyone in public life,
particularly in politics: how do you balance that with the fact Miriam and I
have small children?

“The approach Miriam and I took right from the outset was to keep our children
completely out of politics. We never put them in front of the camera or to
make them or their education a political football.

“I hope people would respect that our instinct, Miriam and mine, our instinct
is like any parent, to do the best for… I mean I totally accept that when we
make a decision that’ll be subject to public commentary, criticism and so
on.

“But I hope in the meantime we want to protect the privacy of an 11-year-old
boy and make the decision that we as parents think is best for our son.”

His comments come just days after Prime Minister David Cameron said he
remained “committed” to sending his eldest daughter Nancy to a state school
as in London “there’s a real improvement taking place”.

Mr Clegg’s comments came after the headmaster of the state secondary school
closest to the Cleggs’ family home in Putney complained that he had failed
to visit it.

Last week Mr Clegg told a radio station that said would send his son to a
private school if he failed to find a place in a good comprehensive near his
home.

He said: “If it works out to send them to a good state [secondary] we will do
so but, like all parents sending their children to secondary school in
London, as you know there is huge competition for places.”

Mark Phillips, the principal of Ark Putney academy, said on Sunday that he
believed parents in the area had no need to pay for their children’s
education.

Mr Phillips told The Observer newspaper that said that his school in Putney,
south-west London, could provide an “exceptional” education for any child
who bought into its values and ethos.

The headmaster said that unless Mr Clegg had visited “under cover”, he had not
been to the academy, previously known as Elliott school.

If Mr Clegg snubs Ark Putney it might embarrass him because the chairman of
the Ark academy chain is Paul Marshall, one of the Liberal Democrats’
biggest donors.

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said: “When a decision is made it will made a matter
of public record, but Nick and Miriam are currently considering a number of
schools for their eldest boy and no decision has been made.”

I am ready for criticism over private school decision for my son, says Nick Clegg – Telegraph.co.uk
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