About Local Schools Network

Fiona Millar, Francis Gilbert, Melissa Benn and Henry Stewart are the founders of Local Schools Network. We believe that:

  1. Every child has a right to go to an excellent local state school, enabling every child to achieve their full potential.
  2. Every state school should have a fair admissions procedure.
  3. Every local school should be responsive to their parents and pupils’ needs and wishes and be accountable to the local community.
  4. That local schools in difficulties should be supported to improve, not attacked and  demoralised.

We know that like us, millions of other parents, pupils, staff and members of the general public support their local school. They know it is a vehicle for high achievement and a force for collective good, often drawing disparate communities together through the common goal of educating their children. Yet too often local state schools get a bad press for no other reason than people are ignorant of their achievements and potential. That is why we have decided to set up the Local Schools Network in order to promote local state schools in the UK. This website aims to correct the myths and lies that are spread about local state schools. We aim to promote the cause of local state schools by celebrating their achievements, informing the public about key issues surrounding them, campaigning for further improvements and answering questions that people may have about them. This website is also a good way for groups, families and individuals around the country to keep in touch.  


Melissa Benn attended Holland Park comprehensive and the London School of Economics where she graduated with a first in history.  She has a long record of campaigning for high quality... Read more
Francis Gilbert is a parent, teacher and author. Having sent his son to a private school when he was five years old, Gilbert saw first hand the harmful effects of the private system. He discovered the teaching was poor and his son, Theo, was being... Read more
Henry Stewart is Chair of Governors of Stoke Newington School in Hackney. His three children are in local state schools. He is passionate about comprehensive education and in combining the highest standards of teaching and learning with enabling a... Read more
Fiona Millar is a writer and journalist specialising in education and parenting issues. She was educated in London and graduated from UCL in 1979. She started her career on the Mirror Group’s graduate training scheme in Devon in 1980, then worked on... Read more