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Another though about private school

(23 Posts)
Random89 Tue 01-Mar-16 13:08:26

Read lots of posts about the private school stops social mobility, and some people suggest to stop private school, cancell the charity status etc.

But I think from the other side, private school also save money for public. If all the private schools have been closed down, then govement has to find more money to fund more state school places. And for rich people, they can still move to good area for an outstanding state school.

Wouldn't it be nice to just give each student same amount of student fund, then parents can decide to use it on private school or state school. People can top up the fund to send their children to private school, or top up nothing to go to state school. So instead of 17% children go to private school, maybe 50% can go. And we can closed down some really bad secondary school.

happygardening Tue 01-Mar-16 14:10:24

An idea I believed proposed in the Tory manifesto when I think Michael Howard was the leader, I think the sum suggested was £1000pa not enough to enable the average family to access indepenent education but a little bit of a bung to those already paying.
According to the bit of googling I've just done the average schools gets approx £4700 per pupil (I'm assuming this is secondary education), the question is with fees at the very minimum coming in at 12k PA and many significantly more would that £4700 really open up independent education to Mr and Mrs Average and improve social mobility? I somehow doubt it but just create a bigger divide between the haves and have nots.
Secondly to administer this would likely create a whole raft of bureaucracy which also has to be funded.
The obvious answer is to improve state ed (I don't know how you do this). There will always be those who'll pay especially for the big name boarding schools but I personally believe that many Mr and Mrs MC who are currently paying wouldn't pay if they perceived their state school choices were decent.

PortobelloRoad Tue 01-Mar-16 15:26:17

And for rich people, they can still move to good area for an outstanding state school.

See it's that that I think shouldn't be allowed. Very wealthy people taking over an area is very damaging to social mobility, it forces people out and it's horrible. If you're rich (like properly rich) then people should go private before spending mega bucks on a house for a state school place. It infuriates me.

I agree with everything happygardening has said. £4700 doesn't scratch the surface. Even at non big brand schools. It wouldn't get anywhere near 50% in the private system.

redhat Tue 01-Mar-16 15:29:12

So you're actually proposing portobello that "rich people" should be forced to pay for private school hmm. When exactly does one become "like properly rich"?

howabout Tue 01-Mar-16 15:45:07

I think if 50% were going private then the top 7% would still be prepared to pay enough of a premium to make it unaffordable enough to keep their offspring away from the masses. A huge social divide would also open up between the bottom 50% and the rest.

PortobelloRoad Tue 01-Mar-16 15:46:54

That's not what I said at all if you re read it, stop projecting. By "properly rich", I mean millionaires/very very high earners. The focus should be staying in your area and the community trying to improve the school if you want to go state. Wealthy people can also hire tutors and lots of extra support if their child is at a less than excellent school.

We could have bought a house in the catchment for an excellent secondary, but that catchment has a very divided socioeconomic demographic, very rich, and very poor. I don't think it's fair that people can "buy their way in" to an excellent state school when there are children for whom private school will never be on the table who will suffer as a result when those parents can just go private.

That was our thinking with our kids anyway, many will disagree I'm sure. I'm origionally from a 3rd world country so maybe I don't feel the same level of entitlement that people here do when it comes to government provided services and I see it differently to most. Same reason we use predominantly private healthcare, we can afford too, so why clog up spaces for people who cant?

eyebrowse Tue 01-Mar-16 15:58:17

Everyone is paying private school fees. For example water bills are high because of the huge salaries of those at the top which they require because they are spending so many thousands per year on their children and grandchildren's school fees. Therefore the excuse that private school parents are paying double (taxes and school fees) does not wash.

I would like to know how much of e.g. my weekly supermarket shop, council tax bill, internet provider, car fuel, BBC licence fee, cost of theatre tickets etc is going towards private school fees and request that that money, rather than being paid into exorbitant salaries, is put into the state school system instead.

happygardening Tue 01-Mar-16 17:03:54

"Everyone is paying private school fees. For example water bills are high because of the huge salaries of those at the top which they require because they are spending so many thousands per year on their children and grandchildren's school fees."
eyebrowse my DH and many others we know works in the private sector so none of your water bill, weekly supermarket shop, council tax bill, internet provider, car fuel, BBC licence fee, cost of theatre tickets etc is paying his wages.
I have never once claimed that "we're paying double" and few parents I've met over the years who like us pay fees have ever said this
"The focus should be staying in your area and the community trying to improve the school if you want to go state."
Portabello how are you going to enforce this? The last time I looked we lived in a free society!
"Wealthy people can also hire tutors and lots of extra support if their child is at a less than excellent school."
Secondly the wealthy don't want to do this, ideally they want to send their DC's to school and not have to worry about all of this this is what many are paying for.
"enough to keep their offspring away from the masses."
This is a popular idea frequently peddled on MN and maybe you mix with a different sort of people than I do but I've never met a parent at an independent school who states that they are paying to keep their DC's away from the masses.

minifingerz Tue 01-Mar-16 17:05:50

"but I've never met a parent at an independent school who states that they are paying to keep their DC's away from the masses."

<snort> Like this is the sort of thing that people are going to say, or ever verbalise - even to themselves. hmm

happygardening Tue 01-Mar-16 17:13:03

minifingers of course few if any are going to sit around their picnic blankets at school open days and pat themselves on the back and say loudly "I'm so glad I'm sending Henry here it keeps him away from the masses" but in private with other like minded friends I'm sure if was a big motivating factor for stumping up large sums every term they'd be happy to say this. In my experience when in group of those paying fees and those not the parents who are paying are genuinely interested in state ed and the masses are never mentioned.

PortobelloRoad Tue 01-Mar-16 17:13:04

Well I'm a wealthy person, when my children were in the not great state school we happily paid for extra support, so did many other people. My older kids are at boarding school now and some parents still pay for extra support. What a silly blanket statement to make.

I didn't say about "enforcing" anything, it's just my opinion.

PortobelloRoad Tue 01-Mar-16 17:16:13

I have never heard anyone say they want to "keep their dc away from the masses". Private schools are nicer places to go, smaller class sizes, nicer grounds, more to do, more support, better bullying policies/control, there are a huge variety of reasons why people go private.

Don't jump to the conclusion that every private school parent is some mega snob, some are of course, just like many state school parents or homeschool parents or anything inbetween. Money does not = being a snob.

happygardening Tue 01-Mar-16 17:19:50

Portabello my DS is at boarding school precisely because I don't want pay for out of school extras or extra support we all have different motivations for paying but most I've know over the years are paying for boarding in particular because they believe they are getting whole package of extras etc not just an education in terms of passing exams. Of course some find that they still need to pay for extras.

Dapplegrey1 Tue 01-Mar-16 17:37:33

Eyebrowse - sorry, I don't understand why water bills are high because parents of privately educated children earn large salaries.

PortobelloRoad Tue 01-Mar-16 18:20:46

You're right, we all have our different motivations. Me and my friends are more of the wanting to have them in a nicer environment (countryside, small classes) and for them to have the "boarding experience", ambitious environment etc. I don't look at it as some all inclusive holiday type thing, if I have to pay extras I will, I don't, but I wouldn't be upset it I had to.

The ones I know who pay extra are paying for things like language lessons that the school don't offer or SN support etc, which is fair enough really.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 01-Mar-16 18:22:00

Completely agree with happygardening.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Tue 01-Mar-16 18:23:59

No, it wouldn't be 'nice'. It's like when there's 10% off an expensive brand: everybody who was going to buy it anyway gets a little discount, a couple of people who might have balked at full price might buy, and the majority will find it's just as far out of reach as ever it was. So, basically, a little freebie for the already fairly well off.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 01-Mar-16 19:05:46

On second thoughts, I could see an argument for using the saved state funding towards private bursaries. Not so privates can reduce their bursary pot, and not so the means testing criteria could be relaxed. But to spread the pot further.

So eg for arguments sake fees are 15k and the school has a 30k bursary pot that goes on 2 100% bursaries. If the state would usually pay 5k per head in that area, then that's a 10k saving for those 2 dc whose education they aren't paying for. And therefore a 3rd child with that 10k and their own 5k could also have a 100% bursary.

And if you kept it as only applicable to large bursaries, it would only be the dc who wouldn't otherwise attend private who would benefit, rather than those with already large incomes and therefore the ability to buy into private or good state catchment.

eyebrowse Tue 01-Mar-16 19:51:46

Lurked - We live in a country where only 7% of children go to private schools so bursaries will never be able to stretch to the number of children who could benefit from the nice environment , smaller class sizes etc

Plus the more motivated children who attend private the worse it is for the state sector (look at Edinburgh if you want evidence for this). Thus bursaries are on balance negative

Dapplegrey - private school fees fuel demand for huge salaries. If the salary is for a water company chief executive then we pay more for our water bills to contribute towards the salary

happy gardening - I strongly suspect your dh large salary does not grow in your garden. Either directly (e.g. via paying for goods in his shop or by paying taxes if he is e.g. a head teacher) or indirectly if he is say a banker ordinary people will be paying an extra few pounds here and there which will end up as his salary.

Noofly Tue 01-Mar-16 19:56:54

God, there's always someone raising the "not wanting to mix with the masses". hmm If I didn't want DC to mix with the masses, they wouldn't be doing local activities (swim club, art club etc), with their local friends, would they? I suppose there might be some parents who think that way, but I always think it's such an odd notion.

I wouldn't want to have to hire a tutor to supplement the local school. DS has one right now for Spanish because he's madly trying to catch up on 1.5 years as quickly as he can and it's pretty hard on top of a full school day and activities. I wouldn't want to be doing it for more than a term, certainly.

happygardening Tue 01-Mar-16 19:59:13

Isn't the point of paying taxes towards things like education and health (that's ultimately where the money comes from) is that we are all paying into a big pot for everyone regardless the of whether they use it or not.
I may not be useful not be taking up a place in a state school and I may technically be paying for its twice through my NI/tax contribution , but there will be people who for a variety in of reasons will not pay either of these and still get a free education/health care.
Secondly lurked would there be enough places in the independent sector for these pupils? Most schools have finite places. What about those who are currently oversubscribed, who heavily select? There's already an extensive tutoring business for the grammar 11+ if your suggested scheme came in would it only really benefit the MC's? What about the schools taking at 13+ let's face it these are the ones that most of the vitriol written on here is all about, "the privilege" old boys net work" "class division" etc frequently sited as reasons why independent schools should be abolished is not aimed at St Elsewhere but the big name primarily boarding schools or those with big names with matching day fees.
The solution IMO remains improve state ed.

happygardening Tue 01-Mar-16 20:16:15

eyebrowse nope my DH doesn't run a shop selling to those on low, average, a little above or even quite a lot above average incomes, he doesn't work in the public sector and he's not a banker. You're just going to have to trust me on this one, as I dont won't to completely out myself, not one penny of his salary comes from ordinary people paying an extra few pounds here and there.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 01-Mar-16 20:40:41

eye Course it wouldn't open up private to the other 93% who would also benefit. But a few more is better than none.

happy I don't think the places would be a problem. Afaik most schools have more eligible candidates than bursary pot. And the whole mc advantage wouldn't apply because they wouldn't meet the means tested criteria for a large bursary.

I do agree better state provision would be the ideal though.

Probably not a realistic idea. And possibly inspired by my annoyance that by refusing to provide a suitable education for my child, the state system is saving itself £x thousand a year on her education. And yet that money saved from the entire 7% isn't improving anything for anyone else.

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