Is banning private schools a workable solution?(287 Posts)
Whenever the conversation turns to bias in favour of privately educated people there are always voices that shouts out - ban private schools!
Is this a badly thought out knee jerk reaction or am I missing something?
IMO if private schools were to be banned the following would happen.
a) the rich would educate their kids abroad. Aged 18 those kids will be back to grab those coveted uni places and, on graduating, the top jobs. So no change there.
b) some will choose to buy up the properties around the highly regarded state schools. Thus driving up prices and nudging aside your untutored DC which is what is happening in parts of London
c) Some will take the fees saved and hire tutors in order to give their dcs an advantage.
d) x thousands of kids will rejoin the state system thus busting an already over stretched system. Tax increases for everybody to pay for the extra resources and if you thought that it was hard getting into your over subscribed comp at the moment ......
As I said above, is banning private schools a badly thought out solution or am I missing something?
If private schools were banned, then more people than just those privately educating would leave the country full stop as it would mean we were not living in a free society anymore.
What exactly would be banned? Any education not provided by the state? Would the law be applied to the provider of education (making it illegal to offer to educate outside a state system) , or to those attempting to pay for tuition?
I do not see how you could legislate for all education to be provided by the state in a manner which is compatible with basic liberties or indeed our obligations under the ECHR. What some people argue for in the alternative is the removal of charitable status, which has certain tax consequences. It would have certain other consequences too, of course, many of them unintended.
Why would you ban private education?
What else would you ban?
What is good about a totalitarian society?
Remove charitable tax status, tax it as a perk when companies pay for it and make children of armed forces go to state boarding schools rather than private. Fees would have to go up which would stop many middle class families who can only just afford fees using them. this would make many schools uneconomic as numbers drop and many would close. It would become more socially acceptable to send kids to state school as choice became restricted.
Another problem is that those who say they want to ban private schools tend to back pedal when confronted with the consequences of their "logic". So when you tell them that making it compulsory for all children to be educated in state provision would mean that this place, for example would have to close:
they wibble frantically and say no, no, we don;t mean those places. What they actually mean is that the prviate schools attended by people they don;t like should close. And you can't draft law on that basis.
Its never going to happen so why discuss it.
To be honest the charitable status exemption is a bit of a red herring - some private schools are stuck with charitable status simply because once you are set up as a charitable trust (pretty much the only legal structure which was open to the first schools in the country) it is practically impossible to shake off your charitable status. And school fees are already taxed as a perk when they are provided by an employer.
Anyway usually the voices that shout out "ban private schools" are ignored because they haven't really thought through the issues that well.
You cannot just "remove" charitable status. There is both law and regulation concerning what must happen if a charity is to close. Essentially, the charitable assets must be sold off (land, buildings, equipment) and proceeds given to another charity of similar aims. So it would mean closure, and great expense to th state sector.
Even if it could be just removed, it would make no real difference to the fees (a VAT exempt item, like university fees). Most schools consider the charitable status makes little difference to their finances, and would probably gladly shed it if there were a legal means to do so without closure.
No-people need choice and if they choose to spend their money on education that is up to them.
I know some MNers would love to ban Private Education.
I'm not one of them.
Not a snowball's chance in hell of that ever happening!
Thank goodness. Don't the people proposing it ever think through what the actual consequenes would be.
I would home ed my kids instead. Will you also be banning private health insurance in this great plan? .... Sadly I won't be able to self diagnose....
I must confess to posting quickly while cooking, that's interesting to know EdithW.
I don't think they should be banned but I do think they should be restricted in some ways, a drop in numbers of pupils by a few percent would make a difference I think.
No is the answer
a labour government looked into it in the 50s and decided it wasn't possible to do it without also getting rid of e.g. schools for the blind.
Why discuss it? Well, I was hoping that someone who favours banning private schools would come on here and explain to me the logic behind the 'solution'.
There is no significant public pressure to get rid of private schools but if the politicians were so inclined they could, as mentioned up thread, remove the charity status and do other stuff to make the cost prohibitive.
My reasoning for this is that I have noticed a big difference between Scotland ,with around 4% (with the exception of Edinburgh), and England with around 7% (more at sixth form).
There are about 600,000 privately educated children in the UK. A conservative estimate for the per capita state school funding is £5,000. So the cost of funding the additional pupils is about £3bn per year. Typically you see the figure of 7% of children are privately educated. I think it may be a struggle to fund these additional state school places.
I just read the posts about the difficulty involved in actually removing the charity status. That is good to hear (a small part of me thought that it might happen)
As life in general becomes more expensive and grandparents can no longer afford to help fund grandchildren's school fees (or babysit, since they'll be working themselves into their 70s and looking after their own decrepit parents), the percentage of children being privately educated will probably go down, anyway - leaving private education for the 1% instead of the 7%... I doubt state education will improve at the same time, though, because nobody likes paying for what they receive from the state, whether in tax or by any other means...
I think it's a good idea. I don't see why private schools couldn't be made into state schools, especially now there are so many different forms of state school. They could all be turned into academies tomorrow All they would have to do is stop discriminating against those whose parents can't pay. In combination with keeping great existing state schools great and improving rubbish state schools this would be a fab move. I would like to see schools that offer education only to those who can pay outlawed under equality legislation. Bring it on!
Also, as Free Schools (that set their own curriculum, opening hours, term dates etc) now exist, what would stop the parents of pupils at these former fee-paying schools banding together, getting funding for a Free School, hiring back the same staff, and enjoying their school that is essentially the same but now funded by the tax-payer in full?
I agree with those who have said that you can't easily remove charitible status.
When a charity is wound up, its assets have to be sold. Most independent schools' assets are restricted covenants - they can't be sold for anything other than education. It's a catch-22.
Typically, independent schools spend more than 20% of income on charitible activities, which they would happily shed if they have to.
There are a number of categories of charitible activities, of which providing education is one. If you remove education from the list, would you keep everything else, such as rescuing kittens or preserving Morris dancing?
Is it right to ignore our country's heritage and the part "public" schools have played? (extend that argument to C of E schools while we are at it).
Above all, I would ask those who want to ban private education why they would want to ban something that is good and for which there is ample demand for hard-working, tax-paying, citizens of this great land.
sminkopinko - how would you suggest these new academies are funded if all they have to do is "stop discriminating against those whose parents can't pay"? They'd need some kind of funding stream in order to survive presumably
Or you could view free schools and academies as the further privatisation of all education in all but name. Soon they'll fund all schools, including Eton, with a certain amount of taxpayer's money, but allow top up fees for schools which choose to charge it, to allow extra add-ons, like fabulous playing fields and boarding accommodation, and you'll have a whole range of different levels of private provision, depending on how much extra the parents of children in the school can afford to pay... with the worst schools being those with parents who can't afford to top up at all, who will only get £5,000 per year per pupil regardless of inflation. Doesn't sound that great to me.
If people can tell me what I can do with my after-tax income, can I have a say on what they do with benefits/tax credits?
Luncheon vouchers, anyone? Thought not.
I'm not in favour of banning private schools although I loathe the concept with a passion. I think it is an unworkable and unrealistic proposal.
I am very much in favour of giving better funding to state schools though and definitely changing the grammar
I really wish private schools didn't exist. I'm not sure whether or not it would be feasible to ban them, or whether that would ultimately be a good thing. But I do think society would be better without them.
It's not workable... Market forces would prevail still, like you say, property, tutoring, overseas education. It's ill thought out, money will always generally give more choice.
Why would society be better without them?
Why do people use them (and even more people aspire to use them), if they are bad for society?
Don't forget private schools alleviate a massive burden on the state. The government can't afford to educate the population based on taxes alone, unless you all want to pay more for education rather than allowing it to be a choice.
NaturallyGullible: in a word, they are divisive.
They are not bad for society. They contribute massively towards the econly and research, plus nhs and law etc. There should be more scholarships though for bright children and state primary schools really need to buck their ideas up. Early education is critical, not in terms of knowledge but inciting a willingness to learn and better yourself.
Football is divisive, religion is divisive, IQ is divisive, disability is divisive, money is divisive, gender and race are divisive. Human beings are divisive? Part and parcel of the human condition? Work with it... Can't irradiate it. Simplistic viewpoint.
Mintyy- equally estates of social housing and enclaves of expensive housing are devisive, but people don't seem to complain about that. I don't know what the answer is (other than pure communism) - people with more money will always have an advantage in society.
Humans are all evolved to compete - they are diverse and divisive?
x-post there- please don't think we're ganging up on you!
Sorry, just trying to explain my point.
People are not simplistic? Very complex? So how can a simplistic solution work? Ignoring so many facets of human nature.
While we are banning private schools for being 'devisive', we might as well ban private housing, private transport and any thing private and just rely on state. infact lets all become clones. That will definitely be workable.
Top up fees would not be allowed.
Charitable trust monies and alumni donations (if any) can continue to benefit the new (wider) intake of ex-private schools. The state will take up any slack.
Yes, there would still be inequality and people playing the system but the fundamental, absolute explicit wrongness of giving a better education to those who can pay than we give to those who cannot would be gone. And that would be great.
You don't need to explain your point to me. I was giving a simplistic answer to someone else.
I don't see how they are divisive. The students don't view them any differently to any other schools.
Senior school students are focussed on their GCSEs and A-levels, just like students at maintained schools.
I don't really think they are on each others' radar screens as far as schooling is concerned.
When they come together in the wider community (church, scouts/guides, neighbours) they get on pretty well.
I think that banning private schools would damage the ecomony. The freedom that private schools enjoy (far more than free schools) is the freedom to innovate. Schools like Steiner or Summerhill offer an alternative education.
I am in favour of people having choice and banning private schools would take away choice.
There are issues with some private schools not furfilling their charitable duties. I can understand that private school parents may well angry of with state school kids getting the benefit of the facilities that they have paid for. However some private schools do manage their charitable responsiblies well.
Many state school parents have confidence in their choice of schooling for their children. I believe that state education supplemented with extra curricular activites and possibly tutoring is the best start in life.
The reason humans are so successful in many areas is because we are complex not simple. If you banned private education, people would adapt in another way to get what they deem to be a satisfactory education for their goals.
I don.t agree with them. I believe that a suitable education should be provided for your child now matter how much/or not money you have. I think that if the people who have the power have no choice BUT state schools, someone might start thinking about improving it. I am not innocent to think that everyone with money won't move next door to the GOOD state schools though.
I think there shoukd be a luxury tax on private schools/health etc.
So, Sminko, you acknowledge that private schools give a better education.
Why on earth would you want to abolish something that is good? I am bewildered.
The state and charity are not sufficient to take up the "slack"
Luxury tax? How will that help?
Star and also private transport, private housing, private feeding (on anyone not on benefit. The state should just adopt us all!!
Summerhill would be allowed to continue. So would Steiner. Choice would be there still. They would just have to offer education free at the point of access and stop discriminating against those whose parents are unable to pay. It would benefit the schools to have a wider intake, imo.
This is going to make me horrifically unpopular, but here goes. If you were to tot up the number of convicted prisoners in any country, and divide them up into those who were privately educated and those who were not, and calculate the cost to the state of having caught, convicted and jailed each relevant population - you would have a graphic illustration of the burden is placed on the state by each group.
A luxury tax would be crazy as it would inevitably mean an outflowing of money from the treasury.
I firmly believe that any taxation of private school income should be accompanied by benefits and tax credits being paid using Luncheon Vouchers. Discuss.
So we give tax incentives to wacko schools, but not straight-up ones? Crazy!
This would become compulsory.
I think this could be a viable model for "banning" private schools. Keeps the freedom of schools to run themselves and run on innovative lines if they want, keeps choice in the system. But stops the wrongness of pay to learn.
It is certainly true that if you close one loophole, another one opens up! If we could get the balance right between giving people freedom to behave as they choose and expecting a modicum of consideration towards others and a certain amount of self-restraint, we would be... not living in this country, or any other one I know. People are inclined towards being grossly self-centred and self-justifying, particularly if they are given all the freedom in the world. But to take away all freedom just encourages tyrants to mess everything up and create a reign of terror.
Not a tax on the school's income, but on the fee/price from the purchaser.
The state shoukd not adopt us, we shoukd adopt the state, and pay for it to deliver effective and efficient services that are good enough for ALL to use.
Luxury taxes can pay for some of this.
OK, ready to be flamed..... My son goes to private school. State primary failed him in a big way. I prefer to pay for the type of education he needs. He does not fit 'in the box', it is working for him. As I see it we chose to privately educate him, therefore relieving the state... we still pay (an enormous amount of tax) so why whould we be penalised?? Surely this is a benefit for others trying to get into the 'good' state schools in my area.... SUPER competitive area.... my son is average
Private schools are inequitable. Many offer wonderful opportunities. Of course they do. These opportunities should be open to all. They would therefore not be abolished. Rather their doors would become open to all.
I don't want to pay for all and sundry to use my schools' faculties and facilities.
I think 40% tax is a big enough contribution.
Actually, for one of my DC's schools, probably every state school in the country is better equipped. Leave us alone! I am already paying for state school places I am not using. Is at not enough in itself?
The best opportunities are not open to all though... And never will be. Opportunity by definition means "lucky chance" and "favourable circumstances". Implying not everyone gets them.
It's true, I pay for a state place and a private place... So I'm actually paying for another child to be educated. How is that a bad thing?
If you ban private school or even remove their charitable staus you will just drive up the cost of private tutors to get kids into grammar schools at 11+ or drive up house prices around good schools.
In the end, the market for education will still work the same way as before.
The rich will pay (for a house or a tutor) and those who cant pay will go to less good schools as the better schools fill up with relatively wealthy people - just like it is now.
Don't break the part that seems to work before fixing the parts that don't. The country needs well-educated people.
I do think that schools - and other organisations such as churches - should only have partial charitable status in proportion to how much of their turnover goes on truly charitable activities.
Private education or private health gives different options. I pay for ds to have guitar lessons because I see music as important. Should that be banned. I am sure that someone will bleat that its unfair. Prehaps its unfair that dd gets to do gymnastics. Should Polish children be banned from attending saturday morning Polish school?
My children's state school is fab. It has a good range of extra curricular activites and the children are happy. I think the teachers find it hard to cater for 30 children in a class with such a wide range of ablity. There are children who would have been in special school ten years ago and some really gifted children. I don't feel there is any need for ds's school to buck their ideas up. I would like to see new academies being sponsored by outstanding state schools.
Prehaps one of the best things the present governant has done is to introduce free schools. Its a pity that more private schools (ie. Steiner schools) have not taken up free school status. I am sure that in ten years time the educational landscape of the UK will be more varied.
I would like real specialist free schools that nuture talented children. Ie. choiristers, ballet dancers, musicans, sports academies, prehaps football. (No academic selection)
So Star maybe there should be no wage/salary earner, we all work and put all we are entitled to in one pot to be used by the state? Thank God for choice!! I would hate to live in a world where envy drives decision making.
If all private pupils returned to state ed, the problems will still exist because the problem with the state ed is not its name nor is it to do with the buildings/facilities... but everything to do with attitudes of most parents, their children and some state teachers
Good point. Would those who want to ban private education also ban private healthcare?
We should also ban private housing and allocated housing too according to family size. Its unfair that I have 3 children but live in a 3 bed terraced and my neighbour opposite lives in a 6 bed detached house with just 1 child!!!!
FestiveFrollockingFrenzy - you do not pay for anyone's state place. There is no charity case out there thanking their lucky stars that you exist. You just pay taxes which go towards all sorts of things. Some of those things you benefit from more than others. If you didn't pay any tax, you would be bothered by and directly charged for all the irritations the state currently clears up and sorts out for you. If the general population were largely completely uneducated, because the state didn't pay for anyone's education, you would find your life pretty shit, just like everyone else would. But if you want to go back to the squalor of life before the state got involved in any meaningful way in anything, feel free to move to Africa, or stop pretending you personally are directly paying for a place in a state school that you aren't using, it just makes you sound petty and selfish.
I'm surprised that in the past the Labour party failed to ban private education, as they've managed to make other radical changes such as the House of Lords and force the ban on hunting through by using the Parliament act - where there's a will there's a way.
Maybe their hearts weren't really in it as some of them actually used these private schools for their children.
What do you know about Africa rabbit? aside from the slumdog reports on BBC and CNN?
Adding a luxury tax or making parents pay VAT on tuition would only price out the middle class people on the edges of being able to afford tuition. The all of those parents who have no problems paying the tuition and then some, they would not bat an eyelid. All this will do is make competition into the best of the state sector even more tough. Someone on another thread was wondering when the competition for places to get into superselective grammars (and many not superselective ones) go through the roof, a relatively recent phenomenon. I believe it would be at the time when tuition at privates started to steeply increase (the tuition at the pre-prep my elder DS went to more than doubled in 6 years - not unusual in our part of London), pricing many middle class people out.
Divisions would only get worse in this system with a selection of the uber-wealthy and international rich populating the best private schools in this country and making them unaffordable to all but that top 1-2%. The schools which would fold would not be the ones which the Sutton Trust show are disproportionately represented at Oxbridge or in positions of power, just the lower ranked private schools.
It is true that by not sending their children to state schools those parents who educate privately are reducing the UK education bill by about £3bn a year. While FestiveFrollockingFrenzy doesn't personally sponsor another child's school place, the savings are real.
I know I don't want to live on a continent where the degree of inequality between the richest and the poorest that you find in Africa exists. What can you tell me about it, iyatoda? Am I wrong to believe in the existence of this inequality?
Seriously, that's ridiculous. I agree with the state but I also agree with choice, and yes I do Pay for a state place which I don't use. Get over it.
My suggestion is not that private schools are banned in the sense that they are smashed to the ground and blown to smithereens, all their headteachers, teachers and the parents who use them up against the wall, last fag and machine gunned to bloody bits. No indeed. I think excellent private schools have lots of offer just as excellent state schools do and they should remain in place operating exactly as they do currently. Except they should be required to stop charging fees. (All your children could remain exactly where they are and you can continue paying fees if it makes you happy- It would not make pragmatic sense for this to apply retrospectively. I would introduce it gradually for all new students from Sept 2013- eg the new reception and year 7 intakes.)
Banning private school would also mean banning schools like the bilingual one which my younger son goes to. It would also ban the Lycée Francais as it is only partially subsidised by the French Government - the rest is charged. May other Foreign Language schools (The Swedish School, the German school) would also be forced to close. For what purpose?
Rabbit, that ideology is completely unrealistic. Compromise is required.
But what proportion of those parents reducing the UK education bill are actually stretching their finances so fine that they will subsequently be relying on the state to help them in their old age?
Sminko, the best private schools are excellent because they are outside the meddling control of government. Take this away, and watch what makes them excellent gradually fade away.
I'm sorry but I haven't hear any convincing augments for banning private schools... Oh maybe that's why they have always existed and will always exist, along with private health care.
In your world, Sminko, could my DD be in classes of 12 - 16?
And could they get 18 - 20 weeks holiday a year?
The state helps everyone in old age...and not very well?
FestiveFrollockingFrenzy - not sure what you're talking about. What ideology? What compromise?
Rabbit, exactly, we are coming from different viewpoints.
SminkoPinko - where are you going to find the funding for those schools from? Bear in mind that not only would you need to cover the typical funding of £5k per year per pupil that a state school place costs, but you will need to cover the balance up to to say £10k per year to cover the costs of the facilities which tend to be better but also more costly to maintain than those in state schools. I am assuming that increases in class size can reduce costs by about £2k per year per pupil, as currently private fees are more like £12k per pupil.
What will you do with the army of unqualified teachers in the private sector, they can't work in state schools?
I'm not sure I've set out any ideology? I haven't said I would ban private schools - merely pointed out I think the way we are headed, most people won't be able to afford them, anyway, so reducing the number using them from 7% to 1%.
Rabbit there are about 57 countries in Africa, most have inequalities that do exist but this is not the will of the people. The discussions that they have there (thinking of just the country I am familiar with and not the entire continent) regarding education is far different from the type of ones we have here.
or 16-19 k per year in the case of my DS's school.
How would you fund it's world class facilities like the multi-million pound DT centre? Purchase equipment like the million pound gene slicer purchased for one group's A level project?
I've also objected to the claim that private school fee payers are funding other peoples' state education, as though their tax bill specifies this miraculous gift as being theirs...
The top tax payers contribute most to the government purse... It's a fact... Not a slight.
iyatoda - what do you mean by not the will of the people? I'm 100% sure you're right that the will of the majority of the people in Africa is not to live with the inequalities they suffer, but I don't get the impression that the will of all the leaders is sufficiently strong to do something serious about it - not if recent publicity about the leader of South Africa is anything to go by.
Rabbitstew - they aren't funding others state education, but they are not taking a state place which saves tax payer money. Will you accept that?
But who are the top tax payers? Not necessarily the most genuinely wealthy, if some of them, apparently, only pay 1% tax... If I ever do choose to opt out of state education and pay for my children to go to private schools, which I might well do, I will not choose to justify it by saying it's OK, I'm doing someone a favour by funding a school place I'm not using.
Look the elephant in the room here is that state education has been deteriorating for the last 30 years since the introduction of comprehensives. And it's a terrible thing, because the excellent grammar system meant that the majority of kids ended up in secondary moderns and that was wrong, wrong, wrong. But what has happened is that the comps are more like the sec mods than the grammar schools when it should have been the other way around.
Every child should have access to a free and universally good, high quality education, whether it is an academically weighted one that ends with university, or a more nuturing, practical and vocational one that doesn't. They should be on offer at the same school. At the moment, a fraction of schools achieve this.
It's got sod all to do with the tiny minority of private schools.
There was a lot of social mobility because of the grammar schools. Things levelled out quite a lot.
I assure you, if an absolutely excellent state education was on offer, this would continue more and more instead of stagnating as it currently seems to be.
I'm not saying selective grammar - I'm saying grammar quality/ethos for ALL, amended to include the less academically able, preparing them for the world of work or whatever. But also engaging them and giving them a decent, memorable, quality school experience. Lots of literature! Lots of sport! Lots of science and languages!.
Name me the country (anywhere in the world) that does not have private (fee paying) schools?
Rabbit I mean the electorates not the ruling class. Yes we only hear about such stories here (The Mbeki debacle) so I don't blame you.
Anyway carry on with your debate.
Most countries have private schools running alongside state schools, but the UK seems to be unique in the way private schooling is associated with wealth/social class and also higher academic standards. In Japan, for example, even state-run high schools charge fees; getting into high school is competitive, and the most prestigious schools are actually
I would rather the tax payer were willing to pay for everyone to be adequately educated, rather than breathing a sigh of relief that that's a few less people to bother about - because they don't allow for those people left to get MORE money spent on them per pupil, they just reduce the amount spent on education altogether. Perhaps if we worked out how many children there actually are in the country to be educated and allocated a certain amount/year to each child, but when a child opted out of the state and went private instead, kept their allocation to be used specifically for those who were left in state education and thus redistributed it amongst those who were left, then I would thank the private school fee payer, but not otherwise.
Agree wild strawberry
Rabbit, wake up... We can't afford it... We are up shit creak. Lovely idea but not feasible... Unless the country gets really rich and I should think that will be through contribution from people who already have wealth or good education. It's a catch 22.
the UK seems to be unique in the way private schooling is associated with wealth/social class
so the preppies from the USA
or the Chinese communists sending their kids overseas to school (often under pseudonyms)
do not count?
Or the Indian and African mimics of boarding schools?
The UK is by no means alone or unique
I didn't say we should afford anything, Festive???... I just said I'm not thanking people who pay private school fees unless and until their opting out of state education doesn't actually result in less money going to state education.
Plus the current government are not keen on redistribution of wealth, prefer to abuse their power and make themselves richer.
(sorry, pressed send too soon) the most prestigious high schools are actually state ones - the competition to get (and consequently the perceived higher academic standards) matter far more than how much you pay in fees.
Playing devil's advocate here, I think if grammar schools were reintroduced more widely in the UK, people would probably desert private schools in droves. But most people who oppose private schools also seem to oppose grammar schools or selection. The comprehensive system is somehow seen as the only answer - but other countries manage to incorporate more variety and choice into their education systems without creating the huge social divisions that exist n the UK.
Why don't we look at better-functioning education systems in other countries and see what might work best, rather than just getting angry at places like Eton?
TBH, rabbit, I would rather the money the council/LEA saves by not educating my children went to dementia care rather than education. But we don't have hypothecated taxes.
The UK started it - everywhere else mimics what we sold to the world along with our Empire. Even to the extent of sending their kids over here to get a bit of it.
Great post strawberry. Ethos for ALL is definitely key here.
I didn't understand your last post rabbit? It doesn't reduce the amount allocated any more than otherwise?
Rabbitstew - yes, I see your point, the savings on state spending don't stay in education, but if you assume that government income won't change if you ban state schools then banning state schools will require further state expenditure on education and that money has to come from somewhere. I think that in terms of the original question, banning private schools isn't workable as we just don't have the extra £3bn available to state educate those pupils.
TalkinPeace2 - those are countries which do not have a decent education system, just like us (with the possible exception of China I think).
In places like Japan, Europe, Canada, Australia etc, the most prestigious schools are state schools.
NaturallyGullible - exactly. You cannot argue that opting out of state education is doing users of state education a favour, because we don't have hypothecated taxes. You don't know who you are doing a favour - you are just paying a tax bill which gets divvied up in unknown ways by faceless people.
Festive - what is your non-seasonal posting name?
Geelong was not State last time I looked
nor are the finishing schools in Switzerland
nor are the semi private ones in France like the one Bonsoir is currently applying for
not are schools like Andover and Exeter and the Hill in the USA
private, elite schools are everywhere
Although I do agree you will always get a minority who want private schooling for their children for reasons of social snobbery alone. I do not care about that - let them do it.
It's not Xenia
Festive - my point is, if fewer people use state education, it just means less money is spent on state education, not that all of a sudden, there is more money to spend on less people. In other words, it doesn't benefit state education that less money is being spent on it, it just makes the taxpayer think his or her money is going further than it actually is.
We haven't crossed paths rabbit
I don't know all the individual schools talkinpeace2 just mentioned, but I think in other countries there is a different between socially elite (very expensive) schools and academically elite schools. In the UK, with a few exceptions, they are the same thing. I definitely agree that academic excellence should not be reserved for those who can pay for it; that is the way it mostly works in the UK at the moment, but it doesn't have to be.
Ok, its not Xenia. Would you be prepared to pm me another clue?
If festive was Xenia, she would have told rabbit and the others to work hard in their next life so that they could afford private schools rather than trying hard to close them.
We don't know each other, sorry if I remind you of someone unsavoury
To put it another way, Festive - you are doing no-one but yourself a favour to have so much spare income to be able to put into school fees. You could clearly afford to pay more tax or give more money away to charities which do not directly benefit your children, so don't claim you are doing anyone but your own children a favour by choosing private education.
What do you mean we don't know each other? I only know one mumsnetter in rl.
ie it's best just to stick with the argument that it's your money and you want to spend it as you see fit, rather than trying to take any kind of moral high ground.
Fine rabbit. Personally I think I am contributing significantly more than some towards tax and therefore the social welfare of others but that's just my view
Rabbitstew - leaving the high ground alone, the state cannot afford to educate the 7% of pupils who currently attend private schools without tax increases or cuts in other areas, therefore banning them is not workable.
I am not taking moral high ground at all. I'm merely stating the facts of the situation which all have an influence on whether banning private schools would be workable or not. I'm a factual person more than of the moral persuasion
I am really not understanding your argument on this at all, rabbit.
I was going to say that we all accept the basic premise that all children are entitled to an education. In fact, we are legally obliged as parents to secure one. Hence the state provides one. If you do not in fact take up this entitlement there is clearly a chunk of resource there which you are not using, despite being entitled to it.
To put the problem another way, if every privately educating parent in the country decides to use state provision, there will clearly be increased expenditure on state education required.
how can you comment on the uniqueness of the UKs private school system with no knowledge of how elite schools work in other countries?
look those schools up and you will see my point - they are where diplomats and politicians and the uber rich send their children - just like the UKs public schools
True Karlos. When I moved DS from state to private, another boy took his place immediately!!
See I don't get this tax thing. I pay a shitload of tax and I don't think I am paying for someone else's education or healthcare. It's not like I voluntarily and benevolently give away my dosh to others in need. It's a tax. It gets used for those things amongst others like the road infastructure and the ridiculous defence budget, but really, other than wincing sometimes at how much gets taken away, I don't give it a second thought.
I know not everyone is the same - my DH for one actually
I know our family contributes significantly more than some towards tax, too. So what? We have more money to contribute in the first place. I am happy for that money to go towards the education of others. Other things I'm not so happy about, but I would not choose to be mean about the education of young people - I would want state provision to be good enough for my children, otherwise I wouldn't consider it good enough for anyone else's children, either.
State schools in some areas are already under massive pressure from recent increases in the birth rate - here in Surrey, for example, where a lot of children are privately educated. if Surrey state schools had to absorb all of these children the wheels would come off immediately - they're barely on as it is (hence my rejection of the Surrey state offering).
Karlos - with the recession, more parents are wanting to use state education. It's a very foolish state which relies on 7% of parents being able to afford private school fees at a time like this. Why do you think some private schools are opting to become academies?
Banning private schools would also Ben The Roysl Ballet School, Elmhurst School of Dance & Cheethams School if Music.
Children at those schools are selected for exceptional talent and in many cases fees are means tested.
State education is 'good' people profess that all the time on MN the problem is that one mans good is another person's crap (as was in my case).
NO Country in the world has successfully banned private schools.
So really its a pretty pointless conversation.
It's inane planning that has resulted in such a tight squeeze on school places.
The state might not be relying on 7% staying in private schools, but may be relying on 6% staying in private schools and couldn't afford a total ban.
The conversation isn't really about banning private schools, though, since I haven't seen anyone post on here who thinks it is actually feasible. It is about whether private schools are a good thing, though, or whether it is a virtuous thing to pay for your children to go to private school rather than take up a state school place.
"It's a very foolish state which relies on 7% of parents being able to afford private school fees at a time like this. " Precisely why I don't entrust it with the education of my children.
See this is a very interesting debate for me. Both my DDs go to one and I work in one, and yet ideologically I am against the idea of private, fee paying schools. Weird huh.
I grew up in Canada where you went to your local state primary around the corner, and so did all your friends, and you all lived really close together. Then you went to your local state secondary, slightly larger and slightly further afield, but still in your community. And it was fine.
I have given a lot of thought to this issue, mostly to come to terms with my own apparent hypocrisy. So here is my...
Hearts' Theory of Private Education in Britain
Back in the middle ages, hardly anyone went to school. Then the church started educating their clergy, and slowly the landed gentry started educating their sons, and I don't think it was until the Industrial Revolution and the ideal of Victorian charity and cohesive society that universal education became a goal or requirement of society. This means that here, in Britain, there has only ever been a two-pronged approach, with the upper classes and clergy taking care of their own education and the state only seeing it as their responsibility to educate those outside of these groups. It has only been in the last 120 years or so that people of all levels of society feel entitled to (and deserve) schooling, and look to the state to provide it.
In relatively young countries like Canada and the US, this dichotomy never existed in the first place. The government has always seen universal education as its responsibility, because educated citizens were needed to help build those countries. And so the state education sector flourished, because no one saw it as anyone else's responsibility.
This is turning into a novel.
I have absolutely no problem with anyone choosing to privately educate their DC. So long as their DC don't then nudge my DC out of a university place despite being no more, highly possibly less intelligent than mine but having had all the advantages of small classes, spoon-feeding and top of the range facilities at their private, socially, academically and financially selective schools.
Your DC's privately obtained A* should be considered the equivalent of my DC's B at a 'sink' comp or SM.
Once universities only take 7% of privately educated DC in keeping with the national average.
Hearts 36% of Australian DC are privately educated....
the title of the thread is
"Is banning private schools a workable solution"
is it NOT another effing private / state thread - as those are just a waste of electricity and internet bandwidth
Really Littentree! I had no idea!
LittenTree - you do know that the universities matching the state and privately educated % like that doesn't make sense don't you? There is some difference in their intakes. I am not saying that there isn't room for significant improvement.
What is this with people who are obsessed with the OP? Do you never view threads as a conversation?! Conversations move on... or they do when people start to claim that they are doing others a favour by educating their children privately. Besides which, in what way is a thread about banning private schools not a thread about private/state??? How can you discuss banning private schools without referring to state schools???!!!!!!
Damn, might need to rethink my theory.
I know there are many more private schools in Toronto now than when I grew up. In the 70's it was unheard of. The only reason you would get sent to private school is if you were a troubled teen or had behaviour problems!
"Your DC's privately obtained A* should be considered the equivalent of my DC's B at a 'sink' comp or SM."
but the trouble is, you see, that it isn't. The higher grade represents a child who has been better prepared for the demands of a university education; however their innate levels of ability compared to start with. Universities aren't in the business of remedial teaching for those who have been hobbled by the inadequacies of the state system.
as per the maths I posted on another thread ....
the appropriate proportion for Russell Group universities will be around 25% - when its there, I will be reassured that opportunities are equal ... honest
Rabbitstew - the OP asked some very specific and interesting questions. What is the point in reverting to the type of thread that the OP mentioned he/she had seen being discussed before?
KarlosK - I sympathise with your viewpoint on the foolish state...
breatheslowly - in what way are the questions interesting when nobody is seriously advocating the banning of private schools?
then let the thread die rather than diverting it into a whirlpool
Sorry, I feel duty bound to comment when people claim they are doing the country a favour by choosing private education. I am fine with people saying they have the money and that's how they chose to spend it, because that is honest and true, and I have no problem with people saying the state alternatives near them are appalling, or that they have lost faith with the state providing a good education, but I have a problem with people saying they are doing others a favour by educating their children privately.
People do advocate it, but never with a full model for how it would work. And given that no one has popped up on this thread with "let me outline how it could work..." and then successfully defended against the problems raised, it does seem unworkable. There have been some suggestions of private schools turning into academies, but the funding issue has not been answered.
I believe in freedom of education, the more diverse the offer of schools the better, as all kids are different.
A lt of people who want to close or banprivate schools want to do so as " it is nt fair", ie the private schools are better.
If that is the case, then that should be a reason to make state schools better, not closing down private schools.
I like the fact that private schools raise the standard. In Winchester you can see a notable effect, with two excellent state comprehensives and a top notch sixth form college ( state) which is so good people do not bother to send their kids to a private sixth form.
We should aim to improve the state system by looking at what works inprivate schools ( slitly smaller classes, more focus on behaviour, subject teachers, more structure, higher expectations of pupils' ability ) and ditch the frills ( fancy grounds, gardens, fancy buildings, fancy uniforms, a certain " status").
No frills private schools, that charge tiny (ish) fees, now there is a market I reckon.
Your DC's privately obtained A* should be considered the equivalent of my DC's B at a 'sink' comp or SM."
Nah! LittenTree My state educated son is doing well. He doesn't need sob stories or to be treated softly. He knows that the internet in the form of BBC bitesize, Khan Academy, YouTube can teach him.
I expect that he will get into a good uni on his own merit. Life is what you make of it.
There is definitely a monetary benefit to the tax pot in sending a child to private school. Where that benefit goes can't be determined as money is fungible. It may be enabling other services to be provided or keeping tax rates down. You are right that it is not the motivation for people to send their children to private school and people should not expect gratitude for it any more than I expect a thank you letter each month for my PAYE or council tax.
Winchester town is a dire example of private schools raising standards - as hardly any of those boys come from Winchester, it being a boarding school, and boys only.
Not many kids move to and from Winchester College / Peter Symonds / Kings / Westage.
Central London has lots of private schools.
Show me the non selective state schools there that have been pulled up by the competition.
''Most countries have private schools running alongside state schools, but the UK seems to be unique in the way private schooling is associated with wealth/social class and also higher academic standards''
Just to add another country to the list given previously, certainly in Russia there is a growing number of private schools, both local and international. In Russia, private education generally has much higher standards and is solely for the rich and well-connected.
No, I certainly don't expect gratitude for tiny amounts of undefined benefit accorded to others as an unintended consequence of huge, direct benefits to myself.
Equally, I think it is fair to acknowledge that we can't afford to ban private schools.
Sorry, don't get what you mean, taliknpeace?
I mean to say that Winchester College' fame may have set a high bar for the other schools you mentioned. Kings for example are very proud to compete with private schools in terms of sports and academic results. They measure themselves against the local private schoos, and terfore aim high. That is the influence I meant of having good private schools nearby.
Though the truth is probably more complex and has to do with the whole area being a bit of a bubble, in socio economic terms.
Wouldn't it be great if Free schools become such a success that private becomes obsolete.
Winchester Colleges's results have absolutely no impact at all on the results of the state schools in the town
Kings measure themselves against KES, HCS, Swithuns etc - ie the schools with whom they are comparable
and PSCs catchment is 50 miles across ....
if competition from good fee paying schools was a factor, then London (Westminster, St Pauls, NLCS, City of London, GDSTs etc etc etc) should have the best state schools in the country.
And Free schools are JUST a disaster waiting to happen.
What is disastrous about free schools? ( not being deliberately obtise, just maybe a bit optimistic by nature)
Free schools don't sound like a solution to me. Lots of them are religious. Discrimination based on faith in state schools is hardly going to lead to a more equal society.
As if there weren't already enough faith schools - way out of proportion to the churchgoing population. Their discriminatory admissions policies were what led us to send DD to a private primary.
Private schools are far more prominent in this country than elsewhere. Eg we have German friends. They don't go through all the angst about whether they can afford private school - very few people even think of sending their children to private school. Nor do they seem to get too badly hung up over whether their child gets into the top tier of state school or not. In many countries private schools are surely a tiny percentage, geared either at the special needs child or at the super-rich. In this country they are used by a substantial minority and aspired to by others, specifically to get their child ahead (generally).
NB it is now recognised that state school educated children tend to cope better at university, because they have been less spoon-fed. This is used to justify requiring slightly lower grades of state school applicants.
Dromedary, think it's state school pupils with high grades at A-level that do v well at university (like me ), not state pupils vs private as a whole group.
Do they have as many faith schools in germany?
Dromedary - do you have any evidence or references to support that? I don't mean this in an unpleasant way, just that I would be curious to see it.
@Dromesday - Private school kids are spoonfed unlike state school kids? I be interested to hear the source of this conclusion.
My DC typically spends about 2 hours each evening preparing for his lessons. This homework is then used as the basis for class room discussions. This model is similar to the tutorial system used by universities to teach their undergrads.
So you can perhaps understand my amusement when I read your spoon feeding comment.
I don't have the reference - sorry - but from memory was told this by someone who specialises in the recruitment of school leavers to universities. I think it's fairly well known research. Yes, I think it does apply to those who do well enough to go to university. To get a B grade from a sink school is a fantastic achievement. To get an A* grade from a good private school is no great shakes.
I've done a quick search, and here is the link:
According to this a university student who was at state school and has the same grades as a student who was at private or grammar is likely to do better at university, because the private etc student was stretched to their full potential at school, and the state school student wasn't, and has untapped potential that can now be tapped.
Not quite what I'd remembered, but now you have it.
Wouldent banning them mean increase in home education?
A lot parents here forced into private as
no school place
school offered 2 dire in educational standards/cxhild safety
hard to get to miles away from home.
Surly rather than ban state should work with them?
But hard when state has to follow nc and private does not.
I havent been private, or send dd private
but have freinds who do and its considere all round education with competative sports, music , trips, clubs.
for working parents hours are more child freindly than state.
The issue here is the patchyness of state provision
not banning private schools.
If the issue is patchiness of state provision, then what is causing that???? And does it have any link to the most proactive parents being able, proactively, to avoid the state options rather than do something very proactive to make them improve?
Maybe if more proactive people went into Local Government and education services...
Hearts - I am still fascinated by your ideological opposition to private schools yet you teach in one and your children go to one.
Don't worry though, many Labour Politicians and Guardian readers have the same dilemma.
tell that to people of bristol
Bristol comes 107th out of 150 local authorities in a league table of secondary schools throughout the country produced by the Government's education watchdog. This compares with Bath & North East Somerset schools, which ranks 16th and where 90 per cent of pupils are most likely to attend good or outstanding schools.
In primaries, Bristol comes 136th out of 152, with only 58 per cent of pupils attending schools rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.
South Gloucestershire comes 30th with 78 per cent, B&NES is ranked 35th with 77 per cent and North Somerset comes 116th with 62 per cent.
combined with serious shortage of primary places.
its no wonder the private schools do so well.
I dont know how you standaradise as each lea runs its on area with vastly different results.
bristol has silly amount of academies now too.The only ones tnat do well are the ones who did well before converting.
If the issue is patchiness of state provision, then what is causing that???? And does it have any link to the most proactive parents being able, proactively, to avoid the state options rather than do something very proactive to make them improve?
Sooo! The patchy/sorry state of state provision is actually the fault of the 7% private schooling parents........ we are the missing link! If we returned...^prodigal children that we are^, everything wrong in the state sector will be fixed! Wao, i didn't realise we had such power
I agree with your point about how a grade B from a sink school is equal to an A from a selective school.
But I do disagree with the spoonfed comment. As I said above, DC's school uses a teaching model similar to that found at universities. Hardly spoon feeding.
Having said that, DC will be taught how to take the Oxbridge aptitude test, how to handle the interview, what 'boxes' to tick cb-wise etc In that respect, yes they will be spoonfed.
People keep holding up examples of 'dim' private school boys at Oxbridge like there are no 'dim' state school kids there [rolls eyes]. There are lots of people out there who peak at A levels and come out with a Third. Lots of people who are academically clever but lacking in common sense. It's not unique to privately educated students.
The 7% figure s irrelevant. You need to look at numbers of children getting high grades in three academic A levels if you are comparing entry to university (if interested in the university end of things). 33% of those getting AAA are not in the state sector.
Here are some interesting stats I think.
Success rates by school type almost the same for grammar and independent.
I don't know what the answer is, but perhaps some detailed and up to date facts will help....or perhaps will spoil the fun.
The trouble is, dromedary, that other studies by Cambridge university have shown that degree outcomes are strongly correlated to A level UMS score achieved and that the type of school (state, private or grammar) it was achieved at doesn't matter (ie the opposite of what your study found). It may be that the Cambridge research only applies to top universities due to some ceiling effects, but you do have to be careful with statistics.
Proactive parents avoid poorer schools by all sorts of methods without going private- making sure they are in catchment for a good school, attending the right church enough times, making sure they're prepared for 11+.
Politicians seem to favour the second of those three.
Link to the Cambridge findings here
Given the same examination record at point of admission, students from the state and independent sectors have been equally likely to perform well in Cambridge
What magical powers do people think I and the Sisterhood of Pushy Parents possess?
I mean, according to some people, if we pushy parents were made to return to the non-selective fold everything would be fine at their school.
The HM and his/her team will fear us and consequently offer a better service. Failing teachers will be driven out. The other kids will now have academic kids as role models and consequently discover a love of learning.
Is this what people seriously think is going to happen?
I would imagine that if private schools were abolished, the existing parents would promptly set up a Free school and carry on with the same teachers and ethos but with a lovely chunk of state funding. Entry criteria would doubtless have siblings at the top and then they'd find some other way to screen the input
It's not what happened at my school APMF or at dh's.
Dh was told not to aspire to the career he is now successfully working in as kids from his area don't do that they go to work in a pot bank instead
I ended up buying my own textbooks (only possible if you have money & parents that care) and self taught myself to fill-in huge gaps in the gcse syllabus.
I dont understand why so many ideologically people hate private schools.
The fact a child goes to a private school does no harm at all to a child in a state school. It takes no resources away from the child in the state school if my children go private.
What is the real reason people object to private schools?
Its illogical. Its like objecting to people who drive cars because you cant afford one and have to go on the bus.
I dont have a car though but my DSs go to private school. I may be the only parent in the UK in that cateogory.
Its human nature, Beta. People tend to be envious. A few people (I'm not meaning anyone on this thread) may also have a subtext of guilt if they've not done their utmost to enable their child to have the best education possible for them.
I once asked a foreign born Muslim why they hated the west so much. His reply was that they don't. It is just that that the media concentrate on the angry voices. Your average Muslim's primarily concern is feeding his family and marrying off the daughters as opposed to US support of Israel policies in Gaza.
Same with the anti private school voices. They aren't representative of the general population. The mums at our primary school for example thought that the local school was good enough for their kids. They didn't feel that their kids were getting an inferior education to mine so why would they resent the private schools?
Morebeta: A big part of the issue is that people with money can buy a good education. That good education is likely to lead onto a good job with good pay and all that that pay can buy, including a good education for the next generation. So wealthy lifestyles, which many people would like for their children, are handed down within the same families, rather than being earned by natural endowment and hard work. There are only so many well paid jobs (also interesting, etc jobs) to go round, and they are largely "bagged" by the rich families, on and on and on. The question is, is it morally and should it be legally acceptable for parents to buy these lifestyles for their children, or should all children be given a chance to gain those lifestyles, on their own merits?
Yes, it is possible to earn decent money even if you have been to a rubbish school. But the odds are stacked against you. So lots of children are born almost predetermined to a poorer life.
Some people think that doing something to level the playing field would be a good idea.
In other countries the playing field is genuinely far more level, and there is far less of a sense of social class. Those countries are arguably happier places. Eg northern Europe.
I love the way private school parents credit themselves (personally, it would seem) for saving the taxpayer £3billion, but don't credit themselves with any other kind of power . Perhaps if they didn't credit themselves so roundly for saving the taxpayer money, they wouldn't be so widely considered to be the walking on water types who might actually have the nouse to improve state education, if they weren't too busy avoiding the sorts of jobs that actually make a difference to peoples' lives but don't pay enough for the school fees (and yes, that is tongue in cheek and designed to annoy... ).
It's a shame private school parents are so pathetic they can't make any kind of difference to their local schools. I wonder whether all the people involved in setting up chains of free schools and academies have children in the state sector?
If I don't spend on DD's education by sending her to a private school, then I will probably save up the money for a deposit on a house for her. I would also have the facility to pay for a private tutor if there were problems with the teaching in her school and would definitely do that if needed. My own education will hopefully also allow me to help her with her school work. Banning private school can't ban the advantage that having better off parents gives. It will just move it to other areas of their life.
It really is a free for all out there, these days...
breatheslowly - but that's the whole point. Where is it acceptable to have an advantage and where should one try to level the playing field a bit (being aware it will never actually be level)? If people believe, as most do, that education is fundamentally important to giving someone the chance to better themselves, rather than be artificially shoved into a better position, but spending the money on a house is merely considered a means of making your life instantly more comfortable and less stressful, then education has to be prioritised as one of the areas that some serious levelling is required.
rabbit there's no sensible place to draw the line, so better to have no line, but use other support mechanisms to help the disadvantaged to break the cycle.
I think that the term "levelling" is unfortunate as it implies that some levelling down is acceptable.
I really don't see how leaving it to the lottery of natural ability is any better than the current unequal system.
While I am not (yet) and may not be a private school parent. I have put effort into improving the state sector both by teaching in it and by being a school governor. Does that mean that I am allowed to send my children to private school? I might want to at some point, if I decide that the school available to DD doesn't meet her needs. I would happily work to improve a local state school but I would not be happy to commit to DD's education in a poor one as improvements might come too late and I would feel that I had sacrificed her opportunities on the altar of ideology.
Tall poppy syndrome at it's most bitter
Dromedary - you seem to be saying state schools deliver a bad education and private schools a good education. Hence it is unfair that people with money can buy the good education and that leads on to good jobs and so on.
You seem to be confirming what many people think. Many state schools deliver a bad education.
Surely the solution is make state schools better not get rid of good private schools?
I hasten to add that there are bad private schools although they tend to shut down quite quickly. There are also go dprivate schools which is relfecte din exponentially rising house prices and tiny catchment areas or aggressive selection and tutoring.
Good eductaion is what everyone wants and a lot of people 'buy it' one way or another eithe rvia fees, tutoring or buying expensive houses in catchment areas. We would have to ban market forces and prevent people moving house to make all education 'equal'.
@gelo - regards your comment about drawing the line, I totally agree. No matter where you draw the line some one will think that it is unfair.
A number of MNetters, who are against selective education because it is inequitable, are proud of the fact that they went to a bog standard comp and still ended up at Oxbridge.
The flip side of that is it is they who are now the 'privileged few' to someone who can't get a job at a blue chip company because they are redbrick and not Oxbridge.
It's 'funny' how some people rage against the inequalities of secondary education yet fully embrace the mother of all inequalities that is Oxbridge.
@rabbit - why is it pathetic for private school parents to say that they can't make a difference at a school? What are you saying about the non private school parents at that school? Are you saying that they are too dim to involve themselves in their children's school lives and that they need me to tell their teachers to stimulate their children?
Why don't we have calls for people who use private healthcare to give up on it and get involved in managing their local NHS hospital?
Morebeta - there are some bad private schools and many good state schools. For the purpose of talking about the essentials of the argument I took the example of a sink state school against an academically good private school. If you have the money, and are ambitious for your children in terms of their future lifestyle options, you can buy a very good education with access to a good university place (assuming they have basic intelligence and capacity to work). You can also buy access to good networking opportunities for them.
Improving state schools would reduce the number of children in private schools. But the state will never provide an Eton education for every child, and some parents will pay for that even if there is a good state school nearby.
As I have said, this state / private divide is far far less of an issue in many other countries. But it is a big issue here and it would of course be far harder to back-track than to do without private schools if it were possible to start from scratch.
I don't agree that children from a certain social/financial class having close to a guarantee of getting the good jobs is as fair as those who have natural aptitude and a hard work ethos getting those jobs. It is demoralising for individuals and for society as a whole for large sections of society to feel written off from birth. It also means that the people who would be best at those good jobs are not doing them.
I'm not a private health user but even if I were, why do part of the population expect the other part to fight their fight for them? If you think that your schools are crap then do something about it yourself. Why go on about removing my right to chose an education for my DCs so that I can come to your school and make it better for you and your children?
Dromedary - I agree with everything you said.
That is why I want a grammar school in every town so the 25% of most academic kids can go to an unashamedly academic school. It had its faults but at least when we had grammar schools some kids from poorer backgrounds got a chance by passing 11+.
Social mobility has gone down in this country since we got rid of grammar schools in most LEAs. Now even grammar schools are increasingly the preserve of the well off.
If we had a gramamr in every town I am sure the local private schools would be a lot less popular.
Is it just some mums netters want private school banned? I have never heard anyone say that before?
Most of our friends have all supported our decision, some would love to be in our position, (we dont have rich grandparents) but others are very happy With what the local schools offer.
We are not providing anyone with a favour and we don't credit ourselves with the decision we have made.
For those against private education, what are you doing to make your school better?
Morebeta was wondering if someone was going to pick me up on that!
I believe in universal education the same way I believe in universal suffrage, universal health care, abortion rights, gun control and so on.
It's so easy to have ideals when it is not your own children on the line. If there were a half decent state primary in our part of London, they would probably be there.
Having said that, some of our independent schools are amongst the best in the world and it would be a shame to lose that.
It seems to me that a substantial proportion of those against private education are actually teachers in comprehensives, Electricblanket . So I can see what they are doing.
As for me, besides actually, personally, doing an awful lot in relation to my children's school, I have said why I don't particularly like private education (ie that I do view it as something which dampens down the pressure on state education to improve), but I have also said that I would use it if I felt the need, so in reality am not far off the views and actions of people like APMF and breatheslowly - I just object to peoples' justifications along the lines of it not doing any harm to anyone else, or that they are actually benefiting everyone by doing it, or that they have no power whatsoever to improve state education, the latter or which may be true on an individual basis, but since it is widely stated that privately educated people have access to good contacts, etc, it seems a bit hypocritical to then turn around and say but they actually have no power to improve anything at all for anyone but themselves, despite the benefits of their private education. A bit more naked honesty would be good - like that offered by APMF! Even if unpalatable, it at least comes across as sincere. If you are privately educated and privately educate your children, the fact is, you don't have much interest in or understanding of state education and don't know or care about any effect you may have on it, because it doesn't touch you directly.
Thanks rabbit .... I think
What contacts do you think I have? Most of us are quite ordinary. We could save oodles by sending our DCs to our local good but not fantastic comp and instead tutor them at home, take them to various externalvclubs and stuff but we rather pay the school to do that. Somehow you have concluded that we are all dynamic Margaret Thatcher types, ready to hand bag the failing teacher and to give an earful to our MP when he pops over for dinner.
I have much less of a problem with fee paying schools than I do with selective (by religion, face fitting or academic) state funded schools.
I went to selective fee paying. My kids are at state. They are getting a better education than I did.
Sorry, APMF, I haven't concluded you are all that type (and you weren't privately educated, anyway ). I'm just noting the irony of the fact that contacts and the ability to gain positions of power are frequently put forward as advantages for privately educated people, yet when privately educated people are really needed to use these advantages to benefit anyone other than themselves they seem to be a bit thin on the ground . (Even when they become MPs?!... no, I don't mean that, really... or not most of the time?....).
If you are going to ban private schools, what are you going to put in place as an alternative to provide my DCs with a sufficient education? Along with all the other military children away at boarding schools so that they can have a stable educational environment
there are state boarding schools
frankly as there is no country in the world that has banned people using private schools
its all utterly academic.
talkin I know there are state ones, but I chose a school close to my parents so the DC had someone who could be there quickly in an emergency. Believe me if I had the state boarding option I would, it would save me a fortune in fees.
I just wondered how the idealist who think I am buying an unfair advantage, where I feel I am just buying a level playing field (we are at a cheap non academic school, paying for stability not results), would do with my DC.
I think when us lot of oldies go on about the past things were diffrenet then.
There were not as many unis.
not as many universities
not as much competition.
Im not sure I belive in free good state education.
As every well performing school in our area has a rather expensive postcode so only affluent middleclass can buy themselves into those schools anyway.
Maybe rural uk has better options but big cities like london, bristol,birmingham have real issues with schools ,tiny catchements, pupils getting injured or stabbed, people not getting any school place.
The real issue is social mobility has decreased.
we live in global world so competing against well educated people from europe and other countries .
I would say easier 20years ago for someone who went to bad school with well supportive parents and working hard managed to do well could same be said today when gcses/alevel graded devalued, lot private schools opting for interanational bacc, when the cost of university is so very high.
we have to face the fact todays kids have much less advantage than we had.
If they cant afford to go higher education then its even harder to get well paid job work way up.
So many unemployed graduates.
most need to do further masters and get right work experience.
private school aims to get best highest grades.
networking and ability to communicate well in interveiws.
lots extra curricular stuff whch can help them get noticed.
If I had the money I would go private.
I think some people do try improve schools but improving takes time and a few bad years can affect childs education.
Can you really blame parents for not wanting to put their childs education on the line and take a gamble for greater good.
If they can afford it then its up to them how they spend their money.
@rabbit - Very few of us, when presented with an escape route, will choose to stand and fight, particularly when we have no personal stake in the outcome. It's just human nature as opposed to a unfeeling MC thing.
driventodrink - you are talking to nobody, since nobody is actually suggesting the banning of all private schools. In fact, to ban private schools when nobody is agreed on what state education should be like would really be daft. You can't discuss the future of private schools without considering the future of state schools.
On social mobility - do we have less social mobility than we did in the Victorian era and before? And if not, then when was this golden age of social mobility? Surely not in the time when social mobility was necessary because of the huge numbers of people killed off by stupid wars and a change in the type of labour that was required? Surely not at a time when the number of opportunities for non-manual work went up exponentially and before the numbers required for this type of work then went down again with the increase in technology?... How much was social mobility related to this and how much to grammar schools? If we had gone straight to comprehensive education, rather than state grammar schools, but with fast streams for brighter pupils within those schools, would any diminishing in social mobility have been down to snobbery, or a genuinely inferior education (after all, state grammar school boys and girls were looked down on when these schools were set up, even if they did get into positions previously occupied by public schoolboys, so I can imagine state school boys who hadn't even gone to more exclusive state schools would have been looked down on even more in those days... it's only since grammar schools were largely abolished that the rose tinted spectacles have come out and people have started to view grammar schools as practically a private education)? Do we actually have any verifiable answers to any of this, or does everyone just speculate on the impact of policies of the past and the reasons behind them???
You're right there, APMF. Some people will stand firm for longer, but only a tiny minority ever fight to the death, particularly when the death concerned is their children's future prospects rather than their own! Maybe a few childless idealists are what we require!
(erase reference to "stupid" wars and replace with "world" wars, given that I do not wish to discuss the actions which led to world wars 1 and 2 and which particular activities leading to the sadly inevitable were stupid and which weren't!...).
The idealists did away with GSs nationally, thinking that it will solve the inequality issue. The well off kid went of to private school while the bright but poor kid went to the comp.
Today various studies have shown that the top universities are disproportionately biased towards GSs and Indies.
Sorry but I'm not placing much hope on the idealists getting the job done.
The bias at top universities is only about 10% towards private schools and dropping fast.
Statistically there should be about 25% private and grammar school kids at the RG unis.
Currently its around 35% and 45% at Oxbridge.
Not something I'm worrying about by the time my kids get there.
PS there are some VERY rich kids at DCs comp .....
.... re the need for childless idealists comment, idealists with no stake in the subject can talk out of their arses and make decisions safe in the knowledge that it doesn't impact them or those they love. So no thanks.
There are no private schools (as the UK knows them) in Belgium - there are International schools which are fee paying, and a few other exceptions. The Royal Family send their kids to state schools here.
Interesting TP2, do you know if your statistics adjust for the introduction of university fees?
Where are they sourced from by the way? A link to the research would be useful.
charley - the figures are a very rough amalgam of the dfee stats - so no, they cannot take into account tuition fees as those have not impacted backwards onto gcse's yet.
as I posted on another thread .....
I'll round from 7% to 10% as it makes the maths easier
1000 children hit school ....
100 go private 100 go state selective 800 go state non selective
they all sit GCSEs
after GCSE's statistically 30% kids leave education - and chances are they will all come from the non selective schools
so we now have 100 private 100 selective 500 non selective
after A levels, statistically another 1/3 leave full time education (they may do training courses but will not consider degrees)
again chances are they will not mostly come from the selective and private schools, so an approximation of the students applying for degrees would be
80 private 80 selective 140 non selective
then in degree choices, the kids aiming for RG degrees will be the upper third of that lot - and by definition, the selective school kids will be in the upper half of state, leaving
27 private 40 selective and 33 non selective
ie 27% from private schools at top universities, with not a hint of discrimination, just the likelihood of career choices
round back down from 10% to 7% and you end up with a quarter ....
which actually would be a significant improvement both for our children and the country.
TalkinPeace - you are missing the factor that a significant proportion of independent schools are as selective as grammar schools.
where in my maths do I miss that part?
and actually out here in the sticks, nope, a good half of the private schools are not selective beyond wallet size.
You have taken 33% of those pupils in both the state and private sector who will be applying for university as RG potential. However while the state sector on average has a "comprehensive intake" the private sector does not. If 50% of independent schools are not selective, this does not make their intake the equivalent of a secondary modern with the top creamed off to selective independents, they are far more likely to be fairly comprehensive in their intake. While this is partly taken account of by your retention rates in remaining in education, I would contend that private schools have a higher proportion of the most able pupils.
And I agree with you that in the sticks (where I am too) 50% is about the proportion, which I think is a significant proportion and ignores the skew of more independent schools being in cities (especially London) with a high proportion being selective in cities.
33 from the state schools out of an 800 starting figure .....
27 from private out of 100 starting
40 from grammars out of 100 starting
tallies with the dfee stats that I have downloaded to my PC
Rabbit stew - lots of interesting points you make there which I shall mull over. Nought wrong with calling world wars 'stupid'.
Talkinpeace - re. the very rich kids at your dc's school:
Public schools are sometimes given substantial donations by grateful alumni or parents - a few years back Eton was given a vast sum of money to go towards bursaries and scholarships by an old boy who had been there on a full scholarship and wanted to repay the school for what he'd got out of his time there.
Anyway, do the parents of these rich children ever give donations to your dc's school - if, that is, the state allows this?
The bit I dispute is that of the top 10% of children, 25% go to private schools and 75% go to state schools. I also disagree that of the top 10% of children 40% go to grammar schools as the areas with grammar school provision are limited, with a lot of areas only having comprehensives.
TP2, oh, not quite what I was expecting in terms of a methodology.
I think the impact of the introduction of university tuition fees is likely to be very significant on the make-up of students (in relation to school background).
In particular, the impact on state non-selective is unfortunately likely to be very negative. These children will largely be from families where paying for school fees is simply not an option, and the prospect of paying fees of £9k p.a. plus living costs will seem very frightening and more than a little off-putting. I suspect that a significant proportion of these children, who would previously have gone on to university, will instead look at other avenues for further education, for example the training programmes for 18 year olds offered by the big-4 firms. I expect that these sorts of training programmes will become increasingly common.
State-selective schools, in my opinion, are disproportionately attended by children from middle-income families. The fees are still likely to have an effect but much less I should think, as the parents and children are likely to come to the conclusion that the upside, or reward, is worth the risk of bearing all the costs, but possibly not being able to find significantly rewarding employment at the end of all their hard work. These parents are also more likely to be in a position to provide some degree of financial assistance to their children.
Private school children, I would imagine will be largely unaffected, as it is simply just another few years of school fees.
Therefore, I actually think that the proportion of children from state non-selective schools at university is going to decrease, rather than increase, in the future.
Charley it will be interesting to see the effect of the increase in university fees. I think it will not hit the poorest families as you suggest but those who earn just above the cut off point. Many students this year from low income families have an increased maintenance grant/ national scholarship programme (a sensible idea) but also many too have a fee waiver (IMO not a sensible idea as they all graduate with the same degree and none of it is paid up front.) So they are the students that have the most income. It is those in the middle that will suffer.
There is no reason that all these children should therefore come from non selective state school/comprehensives. As I have said I think it is the middle group of earners that will be hit and their DCs can come from a variety of schools.
the dfee data is there for anybody to download and data mine....
maybe now the schools are academies they will set up alumni programmes
and the prospect of paying fees of £9k p.a
but they won't - that is not how the fees work - they are a graduate tax
If you ban private education on the basis that it is unfair, faith schools need to go too.
sminko...who on earth do you think 'the state' is....it's US 'taking up the slack'...6 or 7% of all children is not 'slack' but if a frig of a load of money which we as a country cannot afford, through taxes or otherwise. I also very much doubt if any charitable donations/alumni donations would continue as they generally are very much aiming at the institution, not the kids attending it (IYSWIM)
TP2, at some point, the fees will have to be paid for when earnings are high enough. I think the idea of getting into that much debt when that young is probably quite frightening.
I'm not sure I would refer to repaying student loans as a graduate tax - I think the government have now moved on from the idea of a tax on graduates to fund higher education.
TalkinPeace - please link to the data you have used.
I think if we look at future university applications
long courses like
will be predomiantly private school pupils as the sheer amount of debt 50k least on fees not including living for 5-7years.
I use those examples as high earners.
investment banks seem to favour graduates with least a masters and like computing and mathamatics bot quite academic subjects.
to go into doctors or vets you would need all the sciences , top grades and even then no guarantees..
The usa higher education system has so many scholarships and wealthy people donating money. Thier ivy league remind me of our private schools. All the wealth gets passed to an even more privaliged few
Im not even sure any private school gets top jobs.
There are the top jobs from high profile schools.
Plenty of people really scrimp to pay school fees, I imagine that many of them will now be weighing up whether to send their children to private school or save up for university.
University fees are repayable in the same way as student loans : as a proportion of income over a certain amount for a certain number of years.
NO parent has to find the money up front.
People who never earn a lot will never have to pay it back.
Its a tax.
The USA system moved to loans years ago, government holding of student debt is around one trillion dollars ( $1,000,000,000,000)
University fees are the least of a student's worries as TP says they are repaid once the graduate earns a certain amount. The problem is the living costs and that's when it can make a major difference to whether an individual goes to university or not. This is because what the government assumes parents can afford to contribute might not be the same as what they can actually afford. This will affect students at all types of schools.
Yes, I stated that above, fees plus living costs add up to a significant amount across three years let alone five or seven for medical and architecture degrees etc.
I didn't say that it had to be paid up front, I said that it would have to be repaid once earnings were high enough. I think around £20k at the moment.
It is not a tax, it is the repayment of a loan. Quite different things.
But its a loan whose repayability is dependent on income, not the balance of the loan.
Name another loan that automatically gets written off after 35 years
or that never becomes due if your earnings are low
interestingly on living costs, Oxford is one of the cheapest - because college rooms include holiday storage
Does anyone else worry though that future govts will change the status of student loans? eg it will become another opportunity to raise money for the exchequer, like pension funds?
I, myself went to a terrible state school. I won't say I was educated there because they taught me nothing nor gave a shit. I was told to leave at 16 and go be a hairdresser or something similar. My brother left with one o'level and he now has a first class degree in maths, a masters in something else and has a very good job. I went to Uni and have done well for myself DESPITE my school, not because if it. There were some kids at my school who did really well, probably because their mum and dad never let them out and they were bullied at school for being studious. Some went to Oxford or Cambridge, some are now Doctors etc, but they are a very, very small percentage. Many went straight from failing their O'levels to the dole queue. I doubt now, 30 years later it has improved. I know nothing about the arts, I can't play an instrument, I never played a team sport and I do not have that many qualifications. At school I remember anyone taking an interest was shot down and bullied. I remember being chased home countless times by girls who attended our nice school from our neighbouring town, one of the roughest towns in Britain. It was only when both me and my brother left that we realised that it was up to us to better ourselves and that the school had actually created a negative environment where we were made to think that the boundaries of our town and it's employment opportunities where it.
Now, my children both go to a private, international school abroad. They have a fantastic education. It's not even about the stuff they learn, it is the positive attitude that I cannot get over. The attitude of "yes you can". I've already enrolled them in a good private school in the UK and that is my priority over everything else. I don't do it because I want them to have a top job. I know plenty of go getters with one o'level and know that success is earn't most often by people with a bit between their teeth. I do it because I want them to have a life long love of learning and a well rounded education and for me it is the process, the amount of time they will spend in this environment in total, not the end result, that I am interested in.
You are barking at the wrong people when you blame people who send their kids private. Why have grammar schools been closed down anyway? Is it because it gives an unfair advantage to others? The government needs to increase investment into state schools and needs to bring grammar schools back. Evening out the level playing field by eliminating a better education (grammar or a good private) is not the way to go. If it is then the UK would end up like Singapore where most managers and people with a skill are imported as foreign talent and all the locals do the low level jobs and junior management. Someone has to do those jobs and we need good educational institutions to develop those people NOW.
I can't see how bringing grammar schools back helps as it just improves things for a small minority and over three quarters are left with worse when the top have been creamed off! Parents with very bright DCs are not the only people to pay for education- those with the slightly above average, the average and the below average want the very best too! If you bring grammar schools back you definitely need the choice if private schools.
December - I thought Singapore had an excellent education system and comes out near the top of the league tables?
I know Singapore has a lot of expats living there, I used to work for a form that had a Singapore office with a mix of locals and expats but that was because were a global firm and there simply was not physically enough skilled people to fil all the top level jobs there.
Singapore is above UK in the league tables on education.
People always roll out Finland and Singapore as the best.
The truth about Singapore is that the nation's population is not expanding fast enough. At best it's remaining stagnant if not actually shrinking. Educated Singaporeans particularly the female species delay marriages in order to hold on to their careers; many of them remaining spinsters thereafter for 2 reasons: (a) they would have passed their sell-by date when the time comes to swap career for family, (b) they would not marry a younger man or someone who is less qualified academically. The 'suitable' ones are all married by then.
This issue is giving the government a major headache - one of its own making. A few decades ago the government was actually penalising families for having more than 2 kids. Now it cannot reverse its own blunder fast enough! They actually have social clubs sponsored by the government to encourage unmarried Singaporeans to meet! I've never heard of any governmental match-making anywhere in the world!
The solution (they think) is to import foreigners, especially skilled ones, to run the economy and man other top jobs but that in itself is giving rise to new problems amongst the locals who complain bitterly that the foreigners do not fit into their culture and worse, are taking over their jobs.
Singapore ARE 'importing' foreigners. They are called Hong Kong Chinese
I have no knowledge of other industries but a lot of the senior managers in the finance companies are HKCs even when its a domestic bank as opposed to foreign owned.
I spent 1999-2002 and 2003-2006 working as a HR Director in 2 leading companies in Asia. My remit was to replace the outgoing managers and bring in new managers during aggressive growth. I had to go to operations and tell the no.2's that we wanted them to be promoted and go head up a new operation and that a new person/ someone below them would take over their job. With these promotions came more money. Nearly every Singaporean approached refused the promotion and didn't want to move position, causing bottle necks. As a result we had no choice but to import talent and as the pp mentioned, not without a lot of moaning and griping about foreigners. Many of them are happy to make junior or mid management and then coast. They do not want the grief. Believe it or not but foreign companies would rather have a local boss as they want their operating costs as low as possible. Asia is a cash cow for them, but they still want to squeeze every cent out of it they can. An expat comes with a higher salary, medical for all their family, schooling and flight backs. So there is a gap at the top. My comparison with the uk is not about education, I am just pointing out that this can happen here too, for different reasons. I can already see in my young children's class, many children from different countries whose parents attitude to educAtion is completely different to ours. Fast forward 20 years and it's them we need to worry about, not fighting amongst ourselves.
The HKC regard Singaporeans in the same way as Americans regard their Canadian neighbours ie too nice and polite and not as ambitious or as ruthless as them. This is another reason why the HKCs get a lot of the top jobs. (I worked there for a while so I am not generalizing based on a 24hr stop over )
If you ban private schools then you must also make home education illegal.
Either all children must be educated in state establishments or there must be choice.
APMF, I agree that HK Chinese are awesome.
That's just your interpretation, wordfactory. It is quite possible to word legislation so as to make home education permissible and private education illegal. After all, legislation in this country is not based on logic.
What is awesome? There's not much about the modern world I find awesome - just lots of technology-obsessed, self-centred power freaks with no interpersonal skills.
But with my lawyer's hat on rabbit how could that be workable?
What would be the defininition of each?
I made the point earlier that if you ban private education on the basis of it being unfair/discriminating on the basis of wealth, you have to ban schools that discriminate on the basis of faith. Those are equally unfair.
Of course it would be possible to word any legislation to leave certain education options open but would that be any fairer than the current situation?
wordfactory - I think there is a UN rule that the state can't have a monopoly on education which is maybe why Labour governments have been unable to ban private education. (Though I'm not sure how the UN would enforce their rule).
Freedom of education is a constitutional, legal concept that has been included in the European Convention of Human Rights, which the UK has signed and ratified. As part of International Law, this rightcan not be over ruled by any national legislation. So no government could make national laws that infringe this right.
Article 2 of this covenant gives parents the right to have their children educated in accordance with their religious and other views.
Therefore, in countries like the UK we can have Catholic schools, Muslim schools, Steiner and Montessori schools, prep schools and SEN schools, and the government could not stop it if they wanted to.
I believe this to be a good thing.
( polishes up ancient law degree)
Presumably the government could take steps to reduce the influence of the Church of England in taxpayer funded state school education though? If it wanted to.
My understanding is that Home Education is illegal in Germany...or have I dreamed that?
yes its illegal in germany to home ed.
If the state wants to take control of education, it pretty much can, à la française, by keeping a stranglehold on curriculum and examinations and teachers etc. But it's a bad idea - standards go down and down and down...
Oh yes, the ECHR which the government hates so much.
Does not matter if they hate it, it is part of British law!
For as long as it's part of British law - for as long as pressure is put on the UK government to follow it. Have they decided on the votes for prisoners thing, yet?
rabbit the current administration have never had anyplans to remove choice in education, whether we are singned up to international law or not.
The Labour government did have plans...but the Badman Review didn't go how they wanted it to .
wordfactory - I'm well aware the current government have no such plans - they are, after all, making education a free for all at the moment (whilst simultaneously dictating the exam system and when times tables should be taught - some clever way of persuading all schools to become Academies or set up as free schools so as to avoid increasingly ridiculous levels of interference whilst simultaneously claiming interference is being reduced?).
I was merely making the point that laws change, opinions change, politics changes, and conventions are interpreted in many ways by many different countries, or even roundly ignored by some, if they think they can withstand the political pressure/get away with it/convince others their interpretation is acceptable. So pah to the ECHR.
The whole idea of banning private education comes from the notion that 'one size fits all' is the only system of fairness. This is a fallacy. The existence of private education relieves the burden on the state of having to educate ALL children. Can you imagine if ALL children in this country had to go to state schools? The system would collapse. The children who would fare worst are the average, because the G&T club would get their special priviledges, and the SEN would get their rightly needed support. So the ones who are managed as a group, instead of according to their individual needs, are the 'classroom middle class'. Much better to have a system where those who can afford it can take their children elsewhere, and relieve the state of their part of that burden.
Forgive me if I'm revisiting old ground, but haven't read all 280 earlier messages. Thanks!
Not to mention that all the council tax paid by parents who send their children to private schools is actually still being used to fund the LEA. They are effectively paying twice (although admittedly a fraction of the cost of their independent school fees).
Join the discussion
Please login first.