Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, revealed over the weekend, that he would like to see the state sector being modelled more on private schools.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Gove said his wish was for state sector to become so improved that eventually most would not consider sending their children to private school.
“The key thing is: are children from disadvantaged backgrounds and children from non-privileged backgrounds getting a fair chance? No. Clearly,” he said. So if he’d stayed at Education would he have abolished private schools? “I would have hoped we would have been able to make sending your children to a private school, as it is in Europe, an increasingly eccentric choice.” Got rid of them by stealth? “Well, yes.”
He then went on to recall that while he held the Education position he had considered ending tax perks enjoyed by independent schools, but admitted now that “there are ways in which independent schools are proving that they can do more to help the state sector, and that’s a good thing.” Some of these ‘ways’ include mentoring, extra curricular activities, and offering the use of their exceptional facilities to local state schools.
As our mothers always told us ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’!
In fact, private schools save the taxpayer more than £3.5 billion a year by educating more than half-a-million pupils, according to a report published by the Independent Schools Council. The report also found that private schools contribute £13.7 billion to the UK economy, generating £4.1 billion in tax revenues and supporting more than 300,000 jobs.
The ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon said: “While it is widely understood that independent schools provide a high quality, well-rounded education, it is hugely important to also acknowledge the significant contribution they make to the UK economy.”
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