Tuesday 29/01/2013 16:11
Category: Education

8 Replies


Why it's not acceptable for politicians to send their children to private schools.

Editor Rant image


1.       Education is a basic right that we are all entitled to.

2.       Access to education should not be related to an ability to pay.

3.       The quality of education provided should be the same for all, regardless of wealth or status.

If the quality of education provided by your local state school is, in your view, not acceptable for your children, why should it be acceptable for mine? Instead of ignoring/bypassing the problem by paying for your children to go to private schools, do something about the quality of education for all of us - as a politician you have the power to make a real difference. Stop playing politics with our education system and stop blaming state schools for everything. The vast majority of state schools provide an excellent, broad education, and prepare children well for the real world. The simplistic measures used to judge 'outstanding' schools take little real account of the cohort of students themselves, or their family backgrounds, but just assume low scores on simplistic measures mean the schools are no good. Ah, or is that the point - you actually don't want your children mixing with the broad spectrum of children and families that make up the majority of the population and make this country such a rich and diverse place to live?

If your local school isn't as good as it should be, do something about it!

Conversation View

For 7  

I couldn't agree more. It would hopefully help to break the Eton club up as well. Do you think the same should apply to private health care?
Yes, absolutely. The same principles apply to health care and, like education, I would never pay for private health care. Paying for these private services deprives the main state services of resources and ultimately damages them.
Much better to focus resources and energy on improving the services for everyone, not making profits for private companies.
While politicians may not have complete power over local schools, they do have the power to properly fund schools, to ensure they are adequately staffed, to use sensible measures that take account of catchment areas/student context, to develop a sensible and appropriate curriculum, etc i.e. they can make a HUGE difference. Also, if they are not happy with their own local school, they should do what I did and become a Governor and try to make a real difference - the BIG SOCIETY IN ACTION!
I fully agree that politicians, as representatives of the general population, should show faith in state education by sending their children to state schools. State schools with only very meagre resources can still inspire students to do great things. A politician or indeed journalists like Polly Toynbee who stinks of rank hypocrisy could choose to send their children to local state schools. I would rather a politician took the prospective fees that were going to be spent on their individual children at private schools, and donated it either to the state school their child attend or other schools in the local area. That way they diffuse better education for multiple children as opposed to just their own. That being said my rough grasp of economics indicates that parents who send their children to private schools or who use private healthcare, are not denying resources to the state. They are instead net contributors since neither their health nor their children are costing the taxpayer anything whilst they provide tax regardless.
Hi James, I agree totally with ALMOST everything you say! Where I disagree is that most private schools in the UK are registered charities and as such get very substantial tax breaks i.e. they are subsidised by the taxpayer!
Hello editor (I apologise for all my posts not having pleasantries at the beginning). Indeed private schools are charities, yet the income with which fees are paid for is subject to taxation as is the general wage of any parent sending their children to a private school. Parents who send their children to fee paying schools do thus still contribute to state education with tax contributions. In some respects I like the pedigree and history of public schools, though I often loathe the products of public education. That being said I do know of pleasant sorts who have harked from private schools. I take personal issue however with the inequality of the education system. King's School Macclesfield has listed sports which includes rowing and sailing. Furthmore it includes subjects like Latin and philosophy. Down the road from my own Leek High School was a two mile long flat lake where the Staffordshire rowing club practices - why didn't we participate? As an arts student at PhD level, mixing often with privately educated students I feel bereft of these more arcane elements of cultural and linguistic history since my comprehensive school neglected to teach them.
It does indeed seem to be the case that many of the parents paying for private schooling do so because they want the variety of choices they offer. Given these parents pay fees out of taxed income they seem right to express their anger when accused of taking taxpayers money by virtue of the charitable status held by private schools. This is expressed by Alison Willott (The Independent, 29 January 2013) who chose private schooling for her children: “….We paid school fees out of taxed income; 12 per cent of our taxes are spent on state secondary education, and we got not a penny's worth out of that”. Ms Willott is wrong however in saying she gets nothing from state schools as pointed out by Peter Metcalfe (The Independent, 6 February 2013) when he comments that “Whether for good or ill, the quality of their lives depends upon the education received by the 93 per cent of children in the state system”. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/an-open-letter-to-nick-clegg-on-the-matter-of-his-children-possibly-being-educated-privately-8468906.html; http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-hs2-speeds-the-wrong-way-8471864.html;http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-richard-iii-legislator-and-killer-8482310.html

 1 Against

I'm going to go out on a whim and suggest that it is right that private schools be allowed, so long as it is not at the detriment of state schools. Since places like Eton aren't state funded then I believe this is the case. You are correct in saying that access to education should not be related to ability to pay, but this statement only implies "State education should be available for all, regardless of area or income, and should be as good as it can possibly be". While I actually don't like private education, as I feel that everyone should be getting the same quality of education, I still defend the right to private education. I feel that it is less acceptable to ban private education and insist that everyone send their children to state schools. On the specific issue of politicians not sending their children to local comps, well I agree it's bloody hypocritical, but I can see why they'd do it. Politicans don't, in fact, have complete power over local schools. Sure they can change the system, provide more money to schools in general, but they can't change that specific school.