The attack on Private Schools is ‘unfair’

The attack on Private Schools is ‘unfair’

Keir Starmer’s attack on private schools is not only unfair but hypocritical because his school went private while he was there – and he stayed on.

He benefited from a private education.

And there are others on Labour’s benches who sent their children to private schools but now want to deny that opportunity to others.

Diane Abbott is the stand-out hypocrite in this.

But there are better reasons – other than Labour’s class war hypocrisy – as to why attacking private schools is wrong-headed.

And I speak as someone whose parents could never have afforded school fees.

But those parents who do pay for their children to be privately educated also pay tax. They pay for a place in the public sector but never use it.

They are putting in and not taking out.

Abolishing the charitable status of private schools will add 20 per cent onto fees because VAT will be payable.

The ignorant assumption from many is that all private schools are like Eton or Harrow and the parents who send their children to them are hugely wealthy.

In fact, most private schools are nothing like the well-known public schools, and they attract middle-class parents who forgo other things to send their children to them.

It is a sacrifice. They scrimp and save to give their children the best education they can.

The added costs of VAT will mean many parents will have to suddenly send their children to state schools – putting massive pressure on the state system.

The apparent savings made through tax hikes will in fact turn out to be very minimal in the end and will probably raise next to nothing.

Furthermore, Labour’s plans will probably lead to private schools closing, meaning even more children are likely to require state education.

All private schools fund free scholarships and bursary places, giving opportunities to children who would not otherwise have them.

Many places are also partially funded through discounts and money-off fees. This policy will be largely curtailed if Labour’s plans are implemented.

Why shouldn’t hard-working middle-class parents have choices?

There are only two countries in the world that don’t have private schools – North Korea and Cuba.

Do we really want to attack private institutions in this way and head in their direction?

I hear people talking about Scandinavia as some sort of socialist-style model we should adopt.

Well, all Scandinavian countries have independent schools and in fact, in Denmark, they have been growing in number.

Finland doesn’t have fee-paying schools because the government pays the fees of its independent school students.

It is not true to say it has no private schools per se. Around 45 years ago Finland legislated against parents having to pay for education.

People should also be careful about saying the Finnish model has led to one the best education systems in the world – not necessarily true!

In recent PISA rankings, Finland has declined.

The reasons for this appear to be its slavish dedication to progressive educational approaches that were implemented back in the 90s and early 2000s.

Asian countries are leading the way and they have a far more traditional approach to education. They have regular testing, rigorous curriculums and more accountability.

Life is not fair – we should try and make it fairer, but that doesn’t necessarily happen by attacking things that are already good.

We need enterprise and creativity in our society and those that set up and run private schools are being inventive and creative.

It is true that more Conservative MPs went to private schools than Labour ones.

But about one-seventh of Labour MPs were educated privately.

Keir Starmer attended Reigate Grammar and it became fee-paying two years after he started.

Luckily for him, his parents never paid any fees because the LEA stepped in and paid them.

His former buddy Corbyn whom he tried to help into Number 10, but who he now describes as ‘disgraced’, attended a preparatory school followed by a grammar school.

It’s a case of do as I say rather than do as I do.

Starmer’s attack is more ideological than sensible or pragmatic.

It sounds good to attack privilege but it really comes out of the playbook of Marxism and the politics of envy.

We live in a capitalistic and not a socialist state. Where will he stop if he gains power?

He supported Corbyn for the whole time he was the leader and never once disagreed with him.

He joined in with standing ovations at Labour Party conferences.

I think he believes many things that Corbyn believed and here is the danger.

Our society will become less free and aspirational under him as Prime Minister. People should be warned.

He is not what he seems. Starmer is feeling strident at the moment and people should realise that this is dangerous.

Be careful what you wish for – you may get a lot of other things you didn’t wish for; Corbynism dressed up to look like something else.

Rather than pulling all children down to the lowest level – the Labour way – we should be pushing children up to the highest standards.

We should look to private schools as something to aspire to, not something to destroy out of a sense of envy.