'The Berlin Wall Manifesto' to reduce the divide between state & private schools

(125 Posts)
AmberTheCat Tue 04-Mar-14 10:46:36

This has arisen out of a series of recent articles in the New Statesman, picking up on various politicians' claims to want to break down the 'Berlin Wall' between state & private education.

What do we think?

1. Require private schools to sponsor at least one academy, and/or work in partnership with an academy provider, giving access to facilities and staff.

2. Allow private schools to convert to state school status through the Free Schools & Academies Programme.

3. Make private school charitable status conditional on freely offering 25% of places via random lottery to the most vulnerable children. No academic selection allowed.

4. Weaken the link between private schools and top universities by providing the highest GCSE scorer in each state school the opportunity to take a guaranteed interview at their choice of Cambridge, Durham or Oxford.

5. Disclosure of private schools’ accounts to give full details of bursaries, charitable activities and their impact.

6. Agree to take part in a Cross-Party Commission dedicated to finding the most practical way to fully implement these policies.

How about focussing attention on improving state schools rather than concentrating on schools that educate a small proportion of the population?

If the private school has charitable status then it can't be removed without a change in the law. I suspect many private schools might have given it up if they could. Additionally, their accounts are already available on the Charity Commissions website.

How many state secondaries are there? How many interviews would that mean?

Retropear Tue 04-Mar-14 11:40:28

What about the non vulnerable state kids,do they not get free private places?

Re interviews at uni until state schools push the public speaking like private schools do I'm not sure what a guaranteed interview will do.

No more charitable status for private schools and no more private entries for state grammars.

Also how about the number of Russell group uni places being divided into state/private according to the percentage of private/state secondary pupils.

bebanjo Tue 04-Mar-14 12:03:57

But everyone keeps telling me state schools are great, great teachers great oppertunitys. Is this not so?

Retropear Tue 04-Mar-14 12:12:00

They vary and sadly a private education guarantees you a leg up in life regardless of ability.

givemeaclue Tue 04-Mar-14 12:24:59

Wrt number 2, I know 2 private schools that have converted to state schools, this is already allowed?

givemeaclue Tue 04-Mar-14 12:27:41

Wrt to number 3, how would vulnerable children be defined? How would the cost of this be met?

givemeaclue Tue 04-Mar-14 12:31:32

Wrt to number 4, why those unis? What if they are not the best unis for child's chosen subject?

LaVolcan Tue 04-Mar-14 12:37:33

I don't think that a private education always guarantees you a leg up: thinking here of a few people who have gone to so-so private schools and have been no more successful in adult life than anyone else.

In a couple of cases the sense of entitlement that the school engendered has been a decided disadvantage. (Thinking particularly here of an ex-boyfriend who spent the early part of his adult life drifting from job to job - the rest of the world hadn't been told they owed him a living.)

reddidi Tue 04-Mar-14 12:40:20

1. I think that there are many practical details to this (what is the sanction if they don't comply? What is to stop schools from nominally doing this but not actually giving the sponsored school the support it needs? Who is going to monitor that and who is going to pay for the monitoring? ...), I am not saying that they cannot be solved but I suspect that any solution will be very unattractive and not meet the overall aim. This also assumes that every independent school has facilities and staff that would be of benefit to an academy (not all independent schools are brilliant, and some brilliant schools serve specific needs or are very small) and that there is an academy nearby that can, and wants to, benefit.

2. There is nothing to stop them doing this now (by sponsoring a new academy or free school and transferring existing staff and students to it). It would have to be non-selective of course.

3. What benefit do you think a cohort of 20 mixed ability students will get from being in the same year group as 60 students achieving 90% A*/A at GCSE? What happens to the bursaries schools currently offer - does it make sense to remove the opportunity to go to an independent school from an economically disadvantaged child who has been selected because they are able to benefit from the academic/musical/sporting opportunities offered to give it to another one who won't? What about the fact that the most vulnerable children are likely to receive less support at home and independent schools have little experience or perhaps even ability to cope with this?

4. I can't think that this would achieve very much, Oxbridge admissions already look at performance of a candidate relative to his school. But as there are only about 3,200 secondary schools and this probably represents 10% of the number interviewed for places at these three institutions (plucked that out of the sky, do correct if you want to do the research) I can't see anyone dying in a ditch opposing it on any grounds other than it is a silly headline-grabbing idea.

5. I think increased disclosure would be a good thing, this is true of charities generally. The Charities Commission is not often praised for its work, and the Education Funding Agency has been set up to require enhanced regulation and disclosure for academy and free schools. Perhaps the HMC, ISA, ISBA (?et al.) should look at a voluntary code of best practice for disclosures in annual reports to lessen the perceived need for increased regulation?

6. I am sure there would be no shortage of independent schools heads willing to put themselves forward for this. I can think of one anyway grin.

meditrina Tue 04-Mar-14 12:41:46

1. No. Some of course have already chosen to do so. But compulsion would not necessarily lead to improvements as there is no reason to expect all would be able to do so well.

2. Already exists.

3. No, firstly because the Charity Commission has ruled that provision of bursaries is neither necessary nor sufficient in assessing if a school which is also a charity is meeting it's registered aims. And secondly because it is unaffordable (the tax break is worth only about £200 per pupil per term, so costs is disproportionate).

4. Pointless. No pupil should be forced to list a university not of their choice.

5. Already exists.

6. Disagree there is a need as I disagree with the premise that any of the previous 5 points are desirable.

Dalliance Tue 04-Mar-14 12:45:33

The issue is the best (top 20) private schools are outstripping the best state schools academically and in terms of Oxbridge ..this is an embarassment to the education policy makers and leads to disgruntlement of the masses...but instead of demanding improvements to the state sector and investing to emulate the best things in the private sector, the aim seems to be to constantly attack privates and demand unis like Oxbridge lower the bar for state school entrants ...but you wholly ignore the issue at hand ...which is the level of teaching or aspirations in state schools. The fact is, policies to abolish charitable status will just lead to increase in private fees...those in the squeezed middle who scrimp and save to send their children private will be increasingly priced out ..the rich won't be affected at all.

lainiekazan Tue 04-Mar-14 12:49:45

4. reasonable idea, but what about the size of school? It would have to be in proportion to no. of pupils. Also in ds's comprehensive I would hazard a guess that the top 100 pupils may well be brighter than the top pupil at a certain comp down the road.

Also agree with retropear that the interview is often not a state school pupil's strongest suit.

Dalliance Tue 04-Mar-14 12:56:43

ans if you really want to emulate the best privates then allow for superselection at state not just on a one off test but on head's reports, interview and extended testing ...that way you will get an academically elite, and then heavily fund that school like the best privates and draw the best teachers from the best unis and prepare those elite chosen children to Oxbridge....but somehow I don't think OP will like that either ...but that is what the best privates do in order to do so well.

AmberTheCat Tue 04-Mar-14 12:59:43

Re. point no. 1, from the discussions I've read about this I don't think the manifesto authors mean to suggest that private schools are necessarily better than state schools, but that they do, on the whole, have better facilities. So the suggestion isn't that private schools should be taking over state schools, or even necessarily sharing pedagogical insights with them, but rather opening up their facilities for use by other schools.

Dalliance Tue 04-Mar-14 12:59:47

or you could just demand that Oxbridge brings down its standards for entry when it comes to state applicants .....

reddidi Tue 04-Mar-14 13:20:02

Charitable Status is a red herring. If it were removed, school charities would simply restructure with a non-charitable subsidiary operating the school and making no profit. This would add some administration costs and remove whatever charity regulation there is that applies to the school.

If you really want to punish people who choose to pay for their children to be educated in independent schools, and betray the wishes of charitable benefactors to provide funds for education by diverting 20% of them to the treasury purse, lobby for the removal of the VAT exemption for the provision of under-18 education [ducks]. Just don't believe anyone who says that the additional taxation will be hypothecated for education (or that it would make much difference anyway: if you take 20% of the cost of education of 10% of children and give it to the other 90% it might pay for an extra lesson a week).

meditrina Tue 04-Mar-14 13:24:32

The VAT rules are set by EU. I wouldn't pin hopes on achieving change for that (and would be slightly worried about opening up the question at all, as the current exemption is the same one that makes university fees exempt, and if you start fiddling with part, all might be altered irrespective of UK lobbying position).

reddidi Tue 04-Mar-14 13:30:02

What facilities do independent schools have that you think could help raise attainment in maintained schools?

reddidi Tue 04-Mar-14 13:42:10

The VAT rules are set by EU.
Indeed (well not all VAT rules, but the exemption covering young persons' education is).

I'm not saying it would be easy or even possible, and it would IMHO absolutely be undesireable. Just tossing a bone out there to separate the wolves of envy from the sheep of good intent (WTF?).

LaVolcan Tue 04-Mar-14 13:43:30

What pedagogical insights would a teacher from say Eton have, which would be relevant to the country's worse performing school?

elastamum Tue 04-Mar-14 13:43:53

I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Why not focus your attention on campaigning for improving state education rather than continually trying to dismantle the independant sector? Taking potshots at the private sector just diverts attention from the real problem which is that state education in some parts of the country is failing large numbers of children.

I get the feeling with these threads that some mumsnetters feel the is it their PFB who might benefit from a free private school place if one could be made available, so unduly focus on this rather than the wider educational issues. They slate the private sector, but I suspect many would soon keep quiet if little Harry or Harriet could have a free place

The private sector simply isnt big enough to solve the problems of state education and quite frankly it isnt their job to do so. That's what the government is there for. But they would rather focus your attention on the private sector than on their failure to deliver good state education for all hmm

meditrina Tue 04-Mar-14 13:45:18

I think I'd like to have a sheep of good intent - a restful sounding pet smile

AmberTheCat Tue 04-Mar-14 14:20:45

And just to make it clear, I didn't write this manifesto! I have sympathy with its aims, and think some of the suggestions are interesting, but they aren't my proposals. I'm genuinely interested in people's thoughts on whether they would work.

grovel Tue 04-Mar-14 14:34:19

They are tinkering proposals which won't help the vast majority.

Dalliance Tue 04-Mar-14 14:45:26

So much of these threads are complaining about the small 7% in private...or the small x% in grammar ....they take the focus away from the real issues for the issues in the much larger majority that are in state - teaching has become de-professionalized over the years (so not necessarily attracting best and brightest graduates) and aspirations in state sectors and among certain parts of the population are low. The best indie schools can attract the best teachers from the best unis. The state schools need to do more of that.

Also, the mistake is that somehow all the general school population is to be judged on one measure - academic, and pretending that all are suitable for uni or are judged a failure under that system is wrong.

As for what Eton show to state - why take that to extremes - in asking what does Eton have to show the worse performing school? Why not say ...what does deluxe form of training or teaching beyond the curriculum for Oxbridge does child gets at a school at Westminster or an Eton involve and try to apply some of that for the state grammar classes and top of top sets at a leafy comp who may also be aspiring to the same?

But as soon as you say that then you get complaints about elitism in state sector - the best (in terms of academic) indie schools are that good though because they are shamelessly elitist in their selection.

Dalliance Tue 04-Mar-14 14:56:17

And how does 4 make any sense at all?...so the highest scorer at one state school may be lower than the highest five GCSE scorers at the next state school, four of which won't get a guaranteed interview. If they can't cope with the standard set by a course ...then it doesn't matter if they are highest in their year ...and surely Oxbridge is the best judge of who can cope best ...the record number of applications means the bar is being set higher and higher of course with additional barriers like STEP for maths at Cambridge and so it should be - they want the best who can cope with the pace...and keep their standing as top world class universities.

HavantGuard Tue 04-Mar-14 15:08:32


elastamum Tue 04-Mar-14 15:31:48

To answer your question: These proposals are a carefully crafted political 'look over there!' to distract you from the real issue that sucessive governements are failing large numbers of children re education.

and it appears to be working sad

Dalliance Tue 04-Mar-14 15:36:35

exactly elastamum...divide and conquer

TalkinPeace Tue 04-Mar-14 17:55:17

its London centric bilge written by Tory Boys who have never darkened the door of a rural Comp

motown3000 Tue 04-Mar-14 18:01:41

I like the ideas apart from point 3 ( Expect the Gods! of Mumsnet to despatch me to Coventry). The lack of Academic selection proposed the 25% of places should go free of charge to the most Academic , in effect restarting the Assisted Places Scheme.

lionheart Wed 05-Mar-14 17:17:57

I don't think they have thought it through. No 4 is just nonsense. Why those three universities? Why GCSE scores?

LauraBridges Wed 05-Mar-14 17:20:05

Privatise state education and give every parent a £5k a year voucher to spend and top up at any school of their choice.

TalkinPeace Wed 05-Mar-14 17:38:38

Privatise state education and give every parent a £5k a year voucher to spend and top up at any school of their choice.

Most parents will still only be able to afford to send their kids to the local school
and the rich already top up

think beyond the North Circular.

grovel Wed 05-Mar-14 18:08:21

Eton are sponsoring a state day/boarding school. They think they can advise/help with boarding issues. They will also be sharing their playing fields. Children from the state school will attend some of the lectures at Eton by outside speakers (and vice versa).

Seems eminently sensible to me.

From Eton's website:

Holyport College is a new, non-selective co-educational state secondary school with a Christian ethos, which will open in September 2014. It will be a mainstream 11-19 school for day pupils from the local area and for boarding pupils from local families and from further afield. 45% of the pupils will be boarders, who will come from a wide range of backgrounds but with specific provision being made for looked-after children, children on the edge of care and those from armed forces families. By 2018 there will be 500 pupils, of whom 225 will be boarders. The school will be modelled on an independent boarding school with pupils divided into houses and doing homework at school even if they are day pupils.

Eton's involvement in the period up to September 2014 is focused on ensuring the school opens on time and within the budget set by the Department for Education. A number of senior staff from Eton have been appointed as Governors of Holyport and, as well as lending their expertise to Holyport, it is hoped that some of Eton's ethos is reflected in its operations. Walter Boyle, Deputy Head of Wymondham College (the leading state boarding school in Norfolk) has been recruited as the first Head Master for Holyport and will start in January 2014. In the lead up to the school's opening he will be based in Eton.

Eton's educational sponsorship of Holyport College is intended as a way of sharing its pastoral experience and educational ethos to make a long-term contribution to its local community. Once the school opens we looks forward to sharing a number of our facilities and activities and developing educational initiatives for the benefit of pupils both here and at Holyport.

Holyport College has been established under the Government’s Free Schools programme and will be funded by the Department for Education. Construction work has started at the site. For more specific information about Holyport please visit: www.holyportcollege.org.uk.

wordfactory Wed 05-Mar-14 19:38:29

I don't mind if priavte schools wish tio sponsor a state school, but I wouldn't want to see them have to do it.

Some are small and already stretched...

I also don't mind if private schools wish to offer more bursary places to the most vulnerable. However, I'd question how helpful it would be for someone of low/average intelligence to be parachuted into a highly selective school.

Could work in mixed ability better, I think.

I really wouldn't want to see Oxbridge et al being forced to take on quotas. This will only drive down standards and possibly lead to them going private.

What I'd really rather see is more action to improve state schools, especially those that are doing very badly.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:04:03

I find it mostly patch-work and patronising. The notion that of giving a few poor kids places/ sponsor state schools is feeding into the notion that private's best, which is firing the whole divide isn't it?! Personally I would be offended if our state schools were sponsored by private. The only way to solve this is to properly level the playing field (or as close as you can) and just ban all private education. I'm not advocating revolution, just basic common sense.

LauraBridges Thu 06-Mar-14 11:07:10

You can't ban private schools. Also very few of us use them so they are not really the issue. If the sate system is bad then it should copy the private system not sit there jealously throwing stones at something which works very well. If it were banned to pay fees parents would just educate abroad or at home.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 11:29:30

has anybody apart from you LauraBridges proposed banning private schools?

What needs banning are segregated state funded schools (by 11+, god or gonads) : you want any of that segregation, you pay for it.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 11:31:56

ah, sorry, saw that smee is in the cloud cuckoo land of banning stuff

in countries that ban choice in schools, the rich send their kids overseas to school (Kim Jong Un in Switzerland, the Chinese politburo to the US and UK)
so the rich give even LESS of a shit about the schooling in their home country
bad thing

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:47:49

Laura, most of us do use the state system and personally I think a lot of it is very good. Not saying private schools don't do things well too, but there's good and bad in both isn't there?

Talking, yep you're right I am happily in cloud cuckoo land, but wouldn't it be fairer if there weren't any private schools? After all that's what the whole Berlin Wall thing's about, so levelling the difference. I know it's never going to happen but just felt someone ought to say how daft this discussion really is. As long as Private schools exist it will never be fair.

Just on your point about parents sending their kids abroad, well yay for that. If that's what they want to do I'm all for it. Clearly I like cloud cuckoo land, but it doesn't hurt to be idealistic sometimes. grin

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 11:51:41

but wouldn't it be fairer if there weren't any private schools
has the lack of private schools made Russia a fair society ?
Or China?
Or North Korea?

Find me the country that has no private schools and a fair society.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:59:47

Talkin not having private schools is hardly going to turn the UK into a closed state ruled by a dictator. That a mighty strange way of arguing for keeping them!

The fact is that whatever you do human nature is such that some will opt out. So the rich may well send their kids abroad, but fewer would if the state schools here were fantastic. Getting rid of all private education wouldn't turn us into North Korea though..!

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 11:59:59

smee.....are you going to ban private tutoring too (not sure how you police that) ....or home educating...or boarding....or middle class people sending their children off in the holidays to maths camp, or science camp or language camps? i.e. anything which you perceive may give a less even playing field as you see it.

It seems silly to advocate abolishing private schools because they are they give an unfair advantage in your view (in other words you must think they are superior to state) ...all you are saying is let's bring the standards of schooling down for those who can afford private rather than bringing state up...also not all private schools are more academic of course, - some less so than state, but what parents are often paying for is choice....(though when it comes to highly academic schools that is obviously highly competitive at selection stage - another reason those schools do so well) - choosing the right school for their child may be based on having acres of green space, large emphasis on particular sports or music or drama ...and what is wrong with paying for that if you want to opt out of state?

Abolish this and that sounds very totalitarian ...just because all do not have the choice you want no-one else to have choice at all. I don't know any free country in the world that has abolished private education...there are other wealthy countries where private is far less prevalent but that is because the state system is generally very good...and that is where you should focus on.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 12:04:49

I mention those countries, because Communist Countries abolished private schools.
Ex communist countries generally re allowed them.
Non communist countries, to my knowledge, have never banned them
for the exact reasons nibs mentions

find me a democratic / semi democratic country that has banned private schools but has a more equal education system than the UK

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:25:42

The thought of not allowing people to spend their Tax Paid earnings how they like makes me shudder . The first rule of democracy is that you are entitled to spend you "legally Earned Money in any legal way.

Soveryupset Thu 06-Mar-14 12:25:55

I agree. For very many of us private has been the very last resort when the state school available has failed a particular child or when the local options were very substandard.

I often laugh when I hear about politicians sending children to "state schools" as I am 100% sure they would never go near our catchment secondary with its a-c gcse's below national average and 0% to Oxbridge, combined with barbed wire decorating the school gates!!

Soveryupset Thu 06-Mar-14 12:26:52

ps I meant I agree with Talkinpeace about the fact that emphasis should be about improving all state schools.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:28:01

People who want to abolish private and like to use "us and them" Berlin wall metaphors may want to open their minds a bit and consider other Western European models rarely discussed by our politicians...like France which subsidizes privates making them more accessible, or Denmark which also does this for example...see link:


motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:31:28

I've got a "Great Idea" it will even everything up.. "I think all Examinations should be Banned" , that way nobody has got a unfair advantage through the Inheritance of being more Intelligent than someone else.

domoarigato Thu 06-Mar-14 12:32:21

People who go after private schools are just jealous and upset that they can't send their own kids there. I went to a private school and I see the need for them. However I won't be able to sadly send my children to private school.. ..but I am not bitter and wanting the abolition of such schools because if you can afford it, then good on you.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:33:09

perhaps not many Danes go private is because they invest so much a country in state (taken from above TES article) :


Early years: Compulsory education does not start until age seven, but Danes enjoy unrivalled access to state-funded, pre-school education and childcare. Parents can send their offspring to day nurseries from the age of six months until they are three and to kindergarten from three until six.

Primary and lower secondary: Although formal education does not begin until seven, 98 per cent of Danish children start at six, spending their first year in a pre-school class. They then do nine years of compulsory education, usually keeping the same class teacher through the primary years and often beyond. Most attend public schools or folkeskoler, run by the local authority, though one in eight attend publicly-funded private schools, called friskoler. Pupils can leave at 16, but can stay on for a year of specialised study.

Examinations and testing: Testing in Danish schools is common but is used to check pupils' progress, and results are rarely published. Most 16-year-olds take a school-leaving exam at the end of the 9th grade (in Danish, maths and English, physics/chemistry, plus German or French) with the option of sitting an advanced leaving exam in the 10th grade. Sitting the exam is optional, but in future schools will publish results.

Class sizes and conditions: The average number of pupils per class is 18 in local authority schools and 15 in private schools. Pupil-teacher ratios are even lower, with local authority schools enjoying ratios of 10:1 and private schools 11:1. A typical teacher works a 42-hour week during term-time and works for 200 days a year. This is likely to include teaching 23 lessons a week, 40 weeks a year.

Post-compulsory education: More than nine out of 10 pupils stay in education or training after 16. Sixty per cent take job-related courses, lasting between one and four years at privately-run commercial and technical colleges, which are state-funded. One in three pursues academic or general vocational courses, lasting two or three years, in public or private gymnasiums (upper secondary school) or in specialist business or technology colleges. Most of these (70 per cent) go on to higher education.

Cost: Denmark invests more public funds in education than any other country in the world. Comparative figures (OECD, 1998) show that it spent 6.8 per cent of its gross domestic product on education compared with Britain (4.7 per cent) and an international average for developed countries of 5 per cent.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:38:23

and why doesn't the Uk invest as much in education as other countries like Denmark do? Because the government chose to spend its money elsewhere like a cripplingly expensive war in Iraq...that's what you should be mad about smee, not the small 7% who elect private.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 12:38:45

Hi nibs, no I don't think private's superior - I'm sure there are some brilliant private schools, but equally there are some brilliant state ones too. I'm just trying to look at the bigger picture, as that's what this thread is about isn't it? So imo the elephant in the room is that there's a private system at all. The only way to bring the walls tumbling down is to get rid. I'm not totalitarian, just asking for democratic equality in education. So everyone gets a fair deal in that schools are good and the same for all. I have no idea how that would happen. I don't claim to be realistic, but sometimes feel it's worth someone just stating what seems more than obvious!

You're right of course human nature is such that people will always opt out, so tutor, summer camps, etc. All you can do is make things as even as possible. Aligning state with private to me isn't the way as it's avoiding the elephant in the room, so is piecemeal, but there is a lot to be said for no choice imo. That's totally fine by me if the schools are all good!

Just on fairness, where I live for example there's a banding system, so all kids in yr6 are banded A-D and all state schools have to take 25% of their intake from each band. That's fair to me and has made a massive difference as it means no one school can carve off all the bright kids. In other words, there are some quite simple things which we could do to make schools better and more equal. Some are obvious like investment/ better teacher training, but stopping the whole 'private is better' snobbery would help a lot too.

Talkin, I can't find you a country as I haven't a clue if there's such a place, but then again I wasn't claiming to be realistic only idealistic! Conversely though, surely you can't really be arguing that by banning private schools we'd turn into a communist state?!

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:43:09

no smee.... the elephant in the room is that there are not enough good states available to have schools that people think are fit for purpose ...and therefore those who can afford it (and some who hardly can afford it) feel compelled in some cases to go private despite already paying hefty taxes which contribute towards education.

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 12:47:08

"3. Make private school charitable status conditional on freely offering 25% of places via random lottery to the most vulnerable children. No academic selection allowed."

A mumsnetter once famously described the prospect of sending her child to a state school as "throwing him to the wolves"...............I can't begin to imagine the experience a euphemistically labelled "vulnerable" child would have at the average private!

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 12:47:36

If some parts of the state system are bad, why should looking to the private schools help to improve them? Not all private schools are like Eton - there are plenty of 'little private schools' around which are not especially good.

Why not look to see what the good state schools are doing, and especially those good schools which are working in disadvantaged areas, so can't be accused of having easy intakes?

One of our problems is that 'good' schools are often related to social class, and we are expecting too much of our schools if we are expecting them to iron out class differences.

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 12:48:36

"People who go after private schools are just jealous and upset that they can't send their own kids there."

Can we please have a moratorium on this particular canard?

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 12:50:33

domoarigato, am quite amused at the thought I'm secretly jealous. grin

Just anecdotal this, but my SIL is a product of private education and teaches in a v.good academic private school. When it came to her kids she was adamant they had to go to a fee paying school as in her opinion it was so much better than state. My brother went along with it and their kids have had an amazing education. Thing is though that it's in the private school sector's interest to self promote and make all those who work/ go through it feel that it's superior. After all if it's not why would you pay? Doesn't actually mean it is superior though. Perception is a huge sway in educational choices, mine included.

Stepping back though, honestly how can private education ever be fair? Can any of you having a go at me really say it is?

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 12:54:57

nibs, just seen your point on not enough good state schools. Don't think that's an elephant in the room, as mostly people slag off state and think it's nowhere near good enough. So yes I agree nowhere near enough good state schools, but that still doesn't justify private. Surely the best thing is to invest in every way in state. So more resources, better teachers, really valuing our schools.

Just as a case in point, what's happened in a few inner London boroughs in terms of driving up standards has been inspirational. There's so much more we can do without feeling we need to look at private education for leadership.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 12:55:18

stepping back though, honestly how can depriving more people (and children) of exercising an educational choice ever be fair? Because that is what you are advocating....

mirtzapine Thu 06-Mar-14 12:55:22

My opinion is that irrespective of state or private/independent is that it is class room size that is the critical factor.

independent schools have significantly smaller classroom numbers, which allows for more attention from teachers and TA to the children.

As an observation DC was at an independent school, the school, for some reason (I suspect economic), increased class room size from 13 y2 to 24 y3 (no increase in teaching staff). We saw a dramatic decrease in DC's education.

I have read of (although I cannot remember where) a comparison of socio-economic factors of the parents, comparing children at private to state shows that overall state school children of similarly placed socio-economic parents have higher attainment than that their private school peers.

Having said this, I do not dismiss that there is a certain echelon of private schools, that bring significant advantages to education and outside networks at secondary and sixth form levels. I will say, though, that there is a large middle ground of private schools, that do not give this. I state that from personal observation of peers who went through the private education system who have decreased in social mobility and socio-economic factors from their parents.

If a "berlin wall" does exist, it will be because of factors external to schooling, aspiration, attainment and encouragement, an understanding of embourgeoisement and social mobility all factor. I for one have worked with and socialised with men who have attended Eton, Harrow and Marlbrough. With each they were extremely surprised to discover that I went to a state school, that at the time would have been classed as Ofstead failing in a very "ghetto-ised" part of London in the 70's & 80's.

There is, of course, many other factors in play, independent schools, technically have more money for resources. Sadly, our taxation is squandered on idiotic semi-colonial wars of the US and NATO, tax breaks for big business and those flawed bank bail-outs (and other things), rather on the real treasure of this nation, which is its people and children. So if anything its a fiscal wall which is being built.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 13:03:42

nibs,nope am not advocating depriving people of choice - schools will never be even, but we can even the differences. Take where I live, so inner city. To try and make the system fairer they decided in my borough to do banding. So each school has to take 25% of their intake of kids from each ability band. That's really evened things up so one school can't stream off all the bright kids. It doesn't negate choice though, as each school still very much has it's own identity. You can't change that nor should you, but you can even things up in terms of making each school have the same raft of abilities and the same investment too.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:05:56

mirtzapine,,,what an intelligent post ...so much better than the private vs. state simply lobbing grenades over the wall at each other.

I think class size matters more in primary than senior myself...some of the top indies have class sizes of 24, whereas prep school classes seem to be much smaller - 15-18.

I also think there is decrease in social mobility in some privates...but that is often explained by the fact that children of those who may have worked hard for their wealth may not have to work so hard themselves and may tend to rest on their parental laurels. In fact, I am convinced some children are sent to (less academic) privates just to have a largely jolly nice time and play lost of sports and do lots of extra curriculars and make lots of similar friends...we all know those schools - they don't send many to Oxbridge but they do make good social networks.

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 13:08:31

nibs777 - you say there are not enough good states available which might be an acceptable mantra for those living in a Metropolitan bubble, but I doubt whether it can be said for the whole country.

And as for paying hefty taxes - we are not a country of high direct taxation and those who can afford to pay accountants to minimise their tax bill are the wealthy - not the rest of us on PAYE.

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 13:10:12

I think large swathes of the middle classes are on a downward trend, whether their DC attend state or private.

The middle is fast disappearing.

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 13:11:36

Give state school heads the "per capita" that private schools have- then maybe you could make some fair comparisons.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:12:09

"there are not enough good states available "...but surely that is the mantra of those who want to abolish private....? Because if there were, then why would you be so bothered about privates albeit they are only 7%?

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 13:14:39

lavolcan we pay fairly heft taxes, I think.

On some pounds I earn, the government keep more than I do!

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:15:09

martorana....you can't do that exactly ...so much of private fees these days are spent on amazing facilities....and that is also what parents pay through the nose for in some schools ....not every school can have an Olympic rowing lake funded buy the tax payer but you could invest more in smaller class sizes for a start

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 13:21:35

nibs777: I haven't made any comment on abolishing private schools so I am not quoting that as a mantra for their abolition.

I just get fed up with seeing this weary cliche that there aren't enough good state schools repeated when there are something like 3000 secondary schools and I don't know how many primary. For people to opine that the majority aren't good enough is nonsense: they are just not going to have a clue as to what most of them are like for a starter.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:23:30

i agree word factory....the governments have pandered to the global elite in openly encouraging them to buy up much of our best cities and benefitting them with non -dom tax status as well as centring
the capital around financial services and the pyramid has got much narrower near the top as a result ...i think the professional middle classes on PAYE are on a downward trend (even those in highest tax bracket) given the effect the influx of the global elite have had on house prices (so many being bought for investment or buy to let) meaning steep mortgages for all those wage slaves (professional or not) who don't have an inherited pile, and even more so for their children in the future.

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 13:24:42

wordfactory - hefty (income) taxes? Not compared with earlier decades and not compared with Scandinavia.

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 13:26:24

Well I pay 45% on a good tranche (was 50% last year), plus NI, plus I have no personal allowance...so that's a hefty whack, I think.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:27:52

yes but Scandinavians have a lot more to show for their taxes in terms of the healthcare and free education (often to all the way through university), working rights, house affordability and general economic well being of their population (of course they have less mass immigration and population issues than we do) .

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 13:33:44

All relative wordfactory. Recall George Harrison's 'Taxman' where there is 'one for you, nineteen for me'? This was not 100% true because it was only 90% on the top slice and The Beatles and others would have worked their way through the rate bands, so would still have been much more comfortable financially than the majority of us. None the less, most of us would admit that was a large tranche of money to be paying in tax.

(BTW didn't Paul McCartney send his children to state schools, but Stella McCartney is supposed to resent that, and sends her children private?)

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:00:17


the vast majority of those paying 45% PAYE (and more when NI is taken in) are not multi millionaire pop stars or footballers or bankers with clever tax planners but typically professionals who have worked many years to get up there and will be paying mortgages and in many cases school fees etc. ...so yes, I think seeing more than half your salary go in taxes and NI can be called a "hefty" contribution. Do you think a doctor who spent a lot of his youth working hard and being at the top academically to get into med school, then after hard slog at med school many hours spent for years as junior doctor working his/her way up shouldn't be entitled to be "more comfortable" when they finally make it as a consultant? ....there is usually a price to pay to get to the "privilege" of that 45% tax payer status and many people are not prepared to make the sacrifices of the long hours even if they have the talent...it's usually a trade off.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 14:15:30

Oh come off it Nibs, you don't see 'half your salary taken'. The 45% tax rate only applies/ kicks in on to the amount you earn over the threshold. Also, lots of people work incredibly hard just don't happen to have jobs which pay so well. Being 'comfortable' is something we all aspire to and of course hard work should be rewarded, but equally whatever happened to social conscience? Surely those with a bit more can afford to pay a bit more.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:28:29

no-one said they should not pay higher taxes or a "bit more" smee...but when you are taking about those who "happen to have jobs" that are more lucrative, it doesn't just happen that way ...you made your choice of career at some point ...the reason why a nurse does not get paid so much as a doctor i.e. because the bar to entry for the latter is higher academically and otherwise in terms of training ..so you pay more for a rarer commodity in our system ...you also get paid more in our system if you opt for a more capitalist profession than one where you are more likely to fulfil your social conscience ...anyway this is off thread but the point is if you have worked hard why shouldn't you be able to spend your money on your children's education rather than a bigger house say. You would take away that choice because only some can afford it, whereas i think it's the best way to spend your money and my social conscience tells me I should try and get my child the best education i can get him/her.

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 14:40:18

the reason why a nurse does not get paid so much as a doctor i.e. because the bar to entry for the latter is higher academically and otherwise in terms of training

I don't thinks it's as simple as that: it's that nursing is traditionally a female profession and predominantly female professions paid less.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:34:13

really you really believe that is it ? Nothing to do with the higher academics and training that doctors require? After all there are high numbers of female docs....

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:35:22

what I mean is both work long hours, but there is a reason one gets paid much more than the other ...

LaVolcan Thu 06-Mar-14 15:38:21

It's relatively recent though that there have been higher numbers of females admitted to medical schools. Up until at least a generation ago women tended to be pushed into nursing or allied professions rather than medicine itself.

Certain sectors of the banking industry are paid stupidly high salaries - is that to do with the higher academics and hours of training? I don't think so.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:57:11

banking ....no it's because the have chosen supremely capitalist jobs that are all about making money out of money (or let's say gambling with other people's money) and that is all....and they get paid absurdly large sums (agree not deserved) because the governments allows it and has promoted financial services above all else ....but it produces little of value in reality except material wealth for those who profit from it and i guess taxes and ripple down effects for luxury goods makers, and high brand car dealers and estate agents ..not so good for those who can no longer afford a home in London ...and no inherent value to betterment of society ....unlike a top research scientist, engineer or doctor.

slowcomputer Thu 06-Mar-14 16:46:15

Stepping back though, honestly how can private education ever be fair?

I was about 5 when my Mum taught me that life isn't fair. I'm sure that suddenly having an extra 7% of children to teach (because you've abolished the private schools that they go to) will make the state system's job much easier hmm

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 17:07:05

God, I hate that "life isn't fair, get used to it" attitude. Nothing would ever change if everyone thought like that!

LauraBridges Thu 06-Mar-14 17:35:05

You chnge things on an individual basis - you work hard at school and become that women who is on £300k and can afford school fees not by being unhappy that other women earn enough to fund them, though surely?

nibs is right about the sacrifices of thsoe of us who might pay 47% tax/NI and yes it can be on more of our money than not at the upper income levels, not just on the top £2k. There are not many women on mumsnet who have worked for 30 years full time with 2 week maternity leaves using their annual holiday as I have. There is a direct correlation between learning in and working hard years of slog and earning a lot for most higher earners, a price most mumsnetters are not prepared to pay.

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 18:58:10

"You chnge things on an individual basis - you work hard at school and become that women who is on £300k and can afford school fees not by being unhappy that other women earn enough to fund them, though surely?"

I'm no talking about changing things for yourself- I am talking about changing things for everyone. Oh and that stuff about using annual leave for your two weeks "maternity leave"? Are we supposed to applaud?

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 19:24:58

nope ...no-one is asking for applause...but the notion that some just "happen to have" lucrative careers is ridiculous..no happen to have about it, you plan for it and there is a price to pay usually for getting to that level...and then you can afford to send your kids private and hear from others how "life is not fair"

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 19:35:51

Not everyone earns their high salary. Some get it just because they 'went to the right school' or know the right people. Of course some do get there on merit, but then there's a lot of people who work incredibly hard and are still earning a pittance. Life is most definitely not fair for them.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 19:46:20

yes we agree on that, but if that is all you instil in your children...that life is not fair ..and there is no hope ...it is not going to get them anywhere ...some people are born with better brains ...but they may be outstripped by others with a better work ethic ...i honestly think if I could not afford private school today for my kid, I would still be able to steer him the right way just like many immigrant families do ...who don't dwell on the life is not fair approach....we have the wonder of internet today ....you can do Khan academy for free, watch science lectures online, do MIT courses, teach yourself to code, get free ebooks.... things that were just not accessible before to all...and being self taught like that will impress employers and universities and can go above and beyond anything they do at school ....if you really want to get ahead ...encourage children to do that at home ....instead of dwelling on the unfairness of the small 7% who go private ...many of whom are privileged not so much because they went to a fee paying school rather than a state one but because their parents are often well educated, well connected and monied in the first place and is is that that gives them a leg up more than anything else. Abolishing private schools won't change that.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 19:47:56

But back to the point.

There have always and will always be parents who want to segregate their children from others.
If they are rich enough, leave them to it.
Private schools get better exam results because they select massively.

Selective state schools ditto
If you abolished the covert selection in the state system and pumped resources into it, the average of children at private school would most likely stay stubbornly around 7%

If the rich want to pay again for education, leave them to it.
Its the hypocrites who want the state to fund pseudo private schools I cannot support.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 19:51:04

Another thing

My private, selective gels school in London had classes of 30 for most things, and 20 for anything optional.

Private school fees have risen at double the rate of inflation for the last 20 years.
Many of my friends who went private cannot afford such for their kids.
Other friends who boarded have dropped down to fee paying day or sate.
Only those getting the forces subsidy are still using boarding.

That is why the UKs boarding schools have lots of rich foreigners on roll : their original market has been priced out.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 19:53:17

and if you don't want your children to work really hard and earn a pittance then steer them towards a career (and plan for that, because they won't just fall into it generally), that does not earn a pittance. That is exactly what hard working children of many working class/lower middle class immigrant children are doing very successfully today. (Did you read the news yesterday about children who have English as a second language are outstripping many British children in terms of English bacc.)? They have a different mindset at home that is why ...no-one is telling them they are held back because there is 7% somewhere who go private...they are all aiming to be doctors and lawyers and accountants or the like...

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 20:08:36

What is going to happen to the 60% who are not University Educated or Entrepreneurial.. ?

Most of the remaining 60% will not afford to own their Home. , They will just earn enough money to pay the Rent on their Flat/ Room Electric/Gas, and Council Tax. If they are lucky maybe they will be able to afford a meal out once a month.

That is going to be the reality for most Kids leaving School today without being either Entrepreneurial or University Educated for a Career.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 20:15:28

You have a very narrow view of the economy if you think Degrees are the only way into good jobs.

Are you a politician?

A friend who has just bought a helicopter to go with the helipad at their house : not an A level between her and her husband.
He's a tradesman who got lucky.

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 20:21:46

Talkinpeace. I Have said the same thing about a lot of people I know on another thread the Wealthiest People I know don't have 1 A Level Between them but they are the fortunate few who are Entrepreneurial or got Lucky like winning the "Lottery".
The truth though is that your friend is "Entrepreneurial" and that is why He/She is in the Richest 0.1% of the Population.

Your Friend has not got a job, he owns is own Company.

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 20:24:27

His Company... Not Entrepreneurial or Educated So NO Hope for Me Im Afraid....

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 20:25:20

No, he does not own a company. He just got lucky on two deals and then closed his business.

there is no need for degrees to have a decent lifestyle
houses are not expensive in many areas
schools are good
transport costs are bearable
there are livings to be made for those with a work ethic but no entrepeneurship at all

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:03:34

Talkinpeace. Your friend if he was 16/17 Today would Probably taking A Levels and looking for a Degree course . Its just the way things are today ,even remotely bright people as 35-40% are University Bound these days not the Maximum 10% of 25- 30 years. The reality is even to be able to have the chance to use his "Brilliant" Deal Closing Ability requires A University Education

. A kid today will just not get the chance in twenty years time, your friend was able to build up a big company though his ability and no doubt though support of bank loans and overdrafts. ( Banks will not Lend to a non Educated person without Assets A dime) The same person with Guile and hard work will not be competing with 10% University or higher Educated people but 40% . It will be at least 4 Times Harder to get in to the position your friend found himself him ( without factoring that Banks will not Lend a Dime to a non Educated Person without Assets).

I have only just started posting but have been reading your posts for a while . I know you post statistics a lot and using your own Statistics the real Mean Wage in the United Kingdom is about £21- 23000 PA . If 35% of the population are University Educated another 5% have Entrepreneurial skills and they are challenging for £21-23000 PA. Jobs . What Wages are the rest looking at 12-15000 PA ? . This problem is not just going to face Working Class kids but many Middle class kids are going to be drawn in to the same situation with a Maximum earning potential of 12-15K PA.

You could just about survive on £250 A Week in A 1 bed Flat In Burnley on that ,currently the cheapest place to live in England. This is going to be the reality for many many kids leaving school.

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:04:54

Repeated Myself Sorry.....

bonvivant Thu 06-Mar-14 21:12:37

As someone who pays private school fees, I disagree. I already subsidise state schools by paying my taxes. The public sector gets enough of my money - it is just inefficient in how it uses that money.

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 21:27:49

Oh Lord, whilst we can all come up with anecdotal cases of people who have made millions without a decent education (I know someone who inherited soem dry cleaners and got bought out by Johnsons for 1.8 million) the reality is that most of us won't do that!

Most of us who are the highest earners will be either highly educated or highly business minded or most likely both.

Them's the facts.

Martorana Thu 06-Mar-14 21:27:58

I do think there is a misunderstanding about what people are saying is "not fair".

Peopl are not saying that it's not fair that some people can afford to go private and they can't. People wr saying that it is not fair that our society is organized in such a way that all the movers and shakers come from the 7% who are privately educated - regardless of brain or talent. And, incidentally mostly boys who are privately educated. Interestingly, th schools that pack the most punch are almost without exception, boys schools.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 21:31:53

he's a plumber
he never built a company

you need to think outside the box a LOT more

I have a client who is in his 20's uneducated but has just had a lucky break - no business empire, no employees - he'll do OK

University is an utter irrelevance for the trades

you also assume that all university educated people are making a good living : I've never seen stats to support that
FFS there are hundreds of SAHM graduates on MN

you got Soul.

wordfactory Thu 06-Mar-14 21:32:37

That is true martorana but there are also other minority clubs that pack a punch...Oxbridge being one.

motown3000 Thu 06-Mar-14 21:53:41

Talking . He isn't from "Fulham" is He.....

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 22:29:33

one of the richest people I personally know of was a plumber turned property developer ...then there are those two married teachers that created a multi million pound buy to let empire...but those days of building fortunes out of property when starting out with very little (and self certified mortgages) may be gone...I think you need money in teh first place to play that game now.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 22:35:24


"all the movers and shakers come from the 7% who are privately educated - regardless of brain or talent"

this is simply not true....many of them would have been movers and shakers because of inherited wealth or well connected or well educated parents irrespective of whether they go private or state...you will of course find more children of rich successful families at private because they can afford it of course. Some of them may be downwardly mobile though compared to their parents and will find their own children can't afford private or to buy nice houses.

nibs777 Thu 06-Mar-14 22:39:53

and to be honest, if you need a job and are not independently wealthy, having Eton on your CV is likely to turn as many future potential employers off as it does on these days.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 22:57:23

Love that last comment, nibs. Etonians often don't need to apply for jobs. Look at Cameron - he boasted about working his way up from the bottom, then it was revealed his first job was with Carlton - can't remember who though someone he knew/ was connected though apparently - oh and his starting salary was £70,000. I'm not saying that's true for all of them, but it's hardly somewhere that holds you back.

Broadly speaking surely we all agree there are inequalities? It's undeniably easier for some to get on than others isn't it? So yes we absolutely have to think outside the box. It's not just about me/ you/ our individual families it's about all kids, every single one. That's what this thread is about; how can we level that inequality and bring the walls tumbling down? So why not be bold and radical? How can it ever be equalised when there's a whole elitist separate system?

racmun Thu 06-Mar-14 23:07:54

If you can afford private school then you're paying plenty of tax already. At my son's school if fees went up 20% a lot of people would drop out.

Where would they then be schooled? The local schools are bursting at the seams- how would they cope with having to school all the children dropping out of the private sector.

There wouldn't be any extra money just less money for each child how would that help?

Also lots of people don't pay for private schools directly but buy a house in the right area at an inflated house or they find god. The only way to make the state system fair would be to have a lottery allocation.

For those willing the demise if private schools I think your efforts would be better spent improving the state sector

smee Fri 07-Mar-14 00:08:48

Fair points racmum, but then again Rome wasn't built in a day. There was no NHS until bold thinkers made it happen post the second world war. (yes I know the NHS co-exists with private healthcare, but am just talking of radical thought and what it can do).

Radical change takes vision and some big bold ideas. Implementing any of that's tricky, but it's at least worth thinking about.

LauraBridges Fri 07-Mar-14 07:04:29

nibs' comments are very wise. We tend to reap what we sow in life. Even those few who leave school with no qualifications but work very hard often make their own luck. All I want for my children (all in private schools (or were in private schools before university)) is that they make informed choices. That might be a choice to live on a beach or become a monk in Bhutan but it needs to be an informed choice. I have spent 30 years advising many many different companies and entrepreneurs. They certainly come from all backgrounds. Many fail. Hard work often pays off for them and they need to be reasonably bright to juggle all the balls.

The comments above that those who do "best" in the best jobs are from private schools but mostly male private schools is an interesting one. North London Collegiate for example where one of mine went to has some reasonably successful ex pupils, all girls but I accept that too many women from all kinds of schools drop out of work in their 30s, lean out and very often regret it which stops even privately educated girls getting on. Another issue is that there are still families where money is spent on the education of boys - Tatler had an article last year on it - the father was writing - send son to Eton but daughter can go to a posh comp as she'll only marry and breed so no point in bothering to spend money on the education of a daughter who will marry a man who will keep her for life (obviously not my view but still the view of some).

AmberTheCat Fri 07-Mar-14 10:34:28

We may reap what we sow, but some people have much more fertile soil than others into which to sow.

LauraBridges Fri 07-Mar-14 11:30:01

Indeed. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - look at Prince Harry's GCSE results for example.

LaVolcan Fri 07-Mar-14 12:10:14

Prince Harry's GCSE results do not seem to have held him back.

TalkinPeace Fri 07-Mar-14 12:15:26

DH was in a prep school recently where they are very worried about the effect Russian/Ukranian sanctions might have on their cashflow wink

racmun Fri 07-Mar-14 13:37:57

That's the point LoValcan even if you get rid of private schools it won't stop people pulling strings to get their children work experience etc through their connections.

We're not all born equal and the royal family is IMO the embodiment of privilege

LauraBridges Fri 07-Mar-14 17:25:56

Yes, but if Prince H were not a prince his GCSEs would make it harder even if he were well connected - no way would he have got to university (or not one that leads to good obs) or been able to qualify as a doctor or lawyer for example. It is not entirely a world of privilege where exams do not matter.

BananaChoccyPancake Sat 08-Mar-14 11:48:19

OP, I like the manifesto. I haven't read anyone else's comments (so sorry if I'm repeating), but here are mine:

- Make points 1, 5 and 6 a condition of charity status, not just number 3.

- Widen the scope of number 4, e.g. top 5 performers to choice of any Oxbridge/Russell Group uni. (Not sure why you picked out Durham in particular, and some Russell Group unis have higher status than Oxbridge in some departments - it depends on the subject). I would also include an option of a guaranteed interview for a Higher Apprenticeship scheme of choice, e.g. this one. They're the new gold standard apprenticeships and should be given equal status with more acdemic routes.

BananaChoccyPancake Sat 08-Mar-14 12:07:27

"*choice of any Oxbridge/Russell Group uni*"

In fact, any uni, because some non-Russell Group unis are "the best" for particular subjects.

anitasmall Sat 08-Mar-14 19:47:17

It is not entirely a world of privilege where exams do not matter???

ReallyTired Sat 08-Mar-14 21:03:01

1. Require private schools to sponsor at least one academy, and/or work in partnership with an academy provider, giving access to facilities and staff.

A lot depends on size and type of school of school. Prehaps very small private schools should team up so that they are not bancrupted. Also some private schools are such poor quality they have nothing to offer the state sector in expertise. I really don't want some weird fundermental christian private school sponsoring my daughter's failing school.

2. Allow private schools to convert to state school status through the Free Schools & Academies Programme.

That is already the case.

3. Make private school charitable status conditional on freely offering 25% of places via random lottery to the most vulnerable children. No academic selection allowed.

Unworkable. This would push the fees up so high as to bankcrupt the school.

4. Weaken the link between private schools and top universities by providing the highest GCSE scorer in each state school the opportunity to take a guaranteed interview at their choice of Cambridge, Durham or Oxford.


5. Disclosure of private schools’ accounts to give full details of bursaries, charitable activities and their impact.

Happens already

6. Agree to take part in a Cross-Party Commission dedicated to finding the most practical way to fully implement these policies.

Assuming that there would be any cross part, yet a lone private school for some of these looney policies. Private schools already have considerable influence on goverment policy.

I get the feeling the OP is anti private schools

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