Education secretary Gavin Williamson says Eton should accept girls

‘Eton should take girls’: Education secretary Gavin Williamson says he would be ‘very much in favour’ of top public school taking ‘step forward’ by accepting female pupils

  • Gavin Williamson said accepting girls would be ‘step forward’ for Eton College 
  • The prestigious public school has been boys only since its founding in 1440 
  • Williamson’s comments come amid a ‘woke’ row at the school involving teachers
  • English master Will Knowland was sacked over planned lesson on gender roles 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has called on Eton to admit girls for the first time, saying he would be ‘very much in favour’ of the move. 

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Williamson said it would be a good ‘step forward’ if the boys-only public school, attended by the sons of the elite and well-connected, began accepting female pupils. 

The minister’s comments come amid an ongoing row at the Berkshire college after the sacking of English master Will Knowland for a lesson he planned to give boys on gender roles. 

Mr Knowland planned to tell boys at the prestigious public school that ‘nobody wants to watch films’ about transgender characters and women had always had the right to vote.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says that Eton College should begin accepting female pupils

He was unable to deliver the lecture as part of a class on critical thinking due to the pandemic, but the pre-recorded talk, called the Patriarchy Paradox, was posted on his personal YouTube channel.

Mr Knowland says he was sacked by Head Master Simon Henderson over the contents of the talk and his refusal to comply with the ‘censorious’ instruction to delete the video.

Education secretary Mr Williamson refused to be drawn on the row, saying: ‘As you well know this is an ongoing disciplinary procedure and I don’t think when it’s a disciplinary procedure it’s something that an education secretary should [get involved in].

‘I’m a great believer in freedom of speech, a great believer in political impartiality in schools, but I’m very much focused on making sure we deliver the very best education for all those in state schools, where I’m firmly responsible.’

But he also said: ‘I’d be very much in favour of Eton taking girls, I think it’d be a good step forward.’

Eton is one of just four boarding senior schools that are boys only, with the others being Harrow, Radley, and Winchester. 

Others have become mixed since their founding with Shrewsbury, in 2015, the last to do so.  

Last night, an Eton theology teacher resigned and attacked the ‘progressive ideology’ that he feels pupils are being ‘indoctrinated’ with at the elite school.

Dr Luke Martin has resigned from his role as head of ‘perspectives’ classes after his colleague Will Knowland was sacked over a controversial lecture on gender roles intended for one of these lessons.

The theology teacher accused Head Master Simon Henderson of presiding over an atmosphere of ‘religious fundamentalism’, where deviations can lead to mockery or ‘formal discipline’.


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