THE headmaster of an independent school in Taunton says he wants to remain true to the mantra that 'an outstanding education is a privilege, but it isn't just for the privileged'.

Lee Glaser is committed to offering financial support to parents of children who would otherwise be unable to afford attending Taunton School”.

Mr Glaser was speaking at a time of political uncertainty over Brexit and Labour's plans to abolish private schools.

Under an assisted places scheme, there are currently 90 students at the school whose parents can get up to 80 per cent off the full fees of around £19,000 a year for day students and £37,000 for boarders. The children enter the school at Year 7 or 9 and the fees are means tested.

And the fees for 20 sixth form day students are paid for by wealthy patrons, many Old Tauntonians wanting to show their appreciation for the education they received.

"Taunton School isn't just for privileged people," said Mr Glaser.

"We're recruiting students on assisted places. The amount their parents pay is means tested.

"We want children who are aspirational and who are going to take advantage of the type of education we provide.

"We've always been a school based on philanthropy and it's important for youngsters to fit in without feeling any different.

"It's all confidential. Children on assisted places who wouldn't normally be here without support will be sitting next to children from wealthy backgrounds unaware of that.

"They both have a positive effect on each other.

"We're delighted with the way it's gone, they way the students have fitted in and benefitted.

"It's great to hear from parents how much of a difference it's made. They say their children have blossomed and flourished.

"We're very fortunate to be able to offer a lot of opportunities and we're proud of what we do."

Mr Glaser wants to encourage people to visit to discover how "down-to-earth" life is at Taunton.

He said: "We want to get people ambitious for their children. We want to bring down the misconception about the independent sector."

Mr Glaser is unhappy at Labour plans to do away with independent schools.

He said: "They want an outstanding education for every child, but I can't see how destroying excellence will bring equality.

"We're fortunate in Taunton that the state sector schools are outstanding. Aiming to improve education across the country is where we should be."

The impact of Britain leaving the EU could impact on the international school at Taunton, which has around 120 students from 40 different countries.

Mr Glaser said: "Our global outlook is very strong, but the difficulty with Brexit is the uncertainty.

"The concern with prospective parents is whether we are in or out - the sooner we get on with it, that's better for us all."