Debate Magazine

We Own Land (near a Good State School)! Labour Wants to Give Us Money!

Posted on the 15 November 2019 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

Labour wants to ban private schools. Well, not all private schools, nurseries, private tutors, and universities will still be able to charge fees, but most of them and all of those that are misleadingly called "public" schools, and especially Eton, yes, most especially Eton.
Quite apart from the fact that the main reason for doing this appears to be based on a fallacy (the same wealthy, privately educated families keep hold of the top jobs down the generations, not because they are privately educated, but because they are descended from the elite), such a measure would fail to convert what is effectively a privately collected tax, i.e. school fees, into a publicly collected one. Much is made of "redistributing", actually confiscating, the private schools' assets, but the income derived from these forms only a tiny proportion of private schools' income, mostly because the rich schools are a very small minority of private schools, and the vast majority of the extra £3.6Bn needed to educate the 615,000 pupils currently educated by the private sector would have to come out of the state education budget.
Where would the £10.5Bn currently spent by parents each year on school fees go? The most likely answer is into higher land prices near good state schools, as parents move to be in their catchment areas. The inevitable result of such "edugentrification" would be that poorer families would be gradually priced out of these catchment areas and the "good" state schools would become publicly funded versions of the private schools they replaced. Indeed, with some plans for the abolition of private schools proposing the subsuming of the private schools into the state sector, together with all their facilities, the new upper tier state schools could be exactly the same schools as the current private schools. The only difference would be that the billions that went to fund education under the old system would go to fund higher land prices under the new.

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