The following is an excerpt of an article by Hattie Faulkner, Policy Lead at Young Blue Northeners. This features in our fifth print issue, available from the 15th September.
Find out how to get your own copy of the issue here.
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The modern state school system was introduced in stages roughly a century ago in the UK, and has meant that everyone in society, rich or poor, has had access to free basic education up until the age of eighteen. With the media and politicians on the left quick to a stir up a frenzy about how financially strained the current education system is, I ask why they oppose a very logical solution – the encouragement of private education.
There is a pot of money designated to paying for schools in the UK, and this money is finite. In essence, the more children we have in independent schools, the fewer we have in the state system. Fewer children sharing the same pot of money means more money spent per child in state schools. This means that people who truly need to rely on the state system – those who cannot afford to send their child to private school – will have access to more resources than they otherwise would have had and will receive a better education as a result.
It’s easy to use the politics of envy to dismiss independent schools with the excuse that they are counterproductive to social mobility, but the prevalence of generous scholarship funds neutralises this argument.
Bolton School in Greater Manchester, for example, grants bursaries worth £2.5 million each year, with one in five pupils having their full fees waived. That’s almost five-hundred pupils each year being given access to a world-class education they otherwise would not have been able to receive. Even our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, benefitted from these schemes – himself being a King’s Scholar at Eton College.
If independent schools were to be abolished, it would result straight away in an extra 618,000 pupils being reliant on the state system. This, combined with the 420,000 extra places predicted to be needed in the next decade, would put unprecedented strain on an already struggling system.
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Read the rest of this article in the print issue, information on which can be found HERE.
Photo by Matt Brown on Flickr.