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Is banning private schools a workable solution?

(287 Posts)
APMF Tue 04-Dec-12 17:43:18

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?

dapplegrey Tue 04-Dec-12 21:12:52

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.

iyatoda Tue 04-Dec-12 21:15:05

What do you know about Africa rabbit? aside from the slumdog reports on BBC and CNN?

Mominatrix Tue 04-Dec-12 21:16:06


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.

breatheslowly Tue 04-Dec-12 21:16:28

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.

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:17:31

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?

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:18:08

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.

SminkoPinko Tue 04-Dec-12 21:18:56

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.)

Mominatrix Tue 04-Dec-12 21:19:36

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?

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:20:16

Rabbit, that ideology is completely unrealistic. Compromise is required.

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:20:37

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?

Mominatrix Tue 04-Dec-12 21:20:57

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.

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:22:01

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.

NaturallyGullible Tue 04-Dec-12 21:22:31

In your world, Sminko, could my DD be in classes of 12 - 16?

And could they get 18 - 20 weeks holiday a year?

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:22:53

The state helps everyone in old age...and not very well?

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:23:28

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy - not sure what you're talking about. What ideology? What compromise?

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:24:27

Rabbit, exactly, we are coming from different viewpoints.

breatheslowly Tue 04-Dec-12 21:24:36

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?

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:24:57

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%.

iyatoda Tue 04-Dec-12 21:26:10

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.

Mominatrix Tue 04-Dec-12 21:26:17

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?

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:26:46

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...

FestiveFrollockingFrenzy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:28:21

The top tax payers contribute most to the government purse... It's a fact... Not a slight.

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:29:12

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.

breatheslowly Tue 04-Dec-12 21:30:00

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?

rabbitstew Tue 04-Dec-12 21:33:51

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.

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