Ex Brighton College head wants rich to pay to send kids to popular schools

The Argus: Ex Brighton College head wants rich to pay to send kids to popular schools Ex Brighton College head wants rich to pay to send kids to popular schools

The former head of Brighton College has called on wealthy parents to pay up to £20,000 a year to send their children to the most popular state schools.

Dr Anthony Seldon, who was head from 1997 to 2006, also said private schools should be made to reserve a quarter of their places for children from the poorest families.

In a report for the Social Market Foundation think-tank, the nowmaster at Wellington College in Berkshire said the move was essential to close the “unfair” gap in achievement between the richest and poorest.


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The 60-year-old said: “We have to end this unfair farce whereby middle-class parents dominate the best schools, when they could afford to pay and even boast of their moral superiority in using the state system when all they are doing is squeezing out the poor from the best schools.”

Laying out his proposal Dr Seldon said families with a combined income of £80,000 should be charged if their child attends an oversubscribed school.

Those earning £200,000 a year would be forced to pay £20,000 a year for secondary schools and £15,000 for primary schools.

The amounts are equivalent to what it would cost at private schools.

He added it is only fair that if parents can afford to pay for better schooling, which they have secured by using their sharp elbows to monopolise the best schools, then they should be made to do so. He said: “Instead of estate agents and private tutors getting rich let’s put this money into the state system.

“The more parents earn the more they should pay”.

Explaining his fears in the report, he said the waste of talent was harming the country’s economic progress.

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The finger was largely pointed at wealthy parents who he said creamed the places at the best state schools by buying houses in the local catchment area and then paying for private tutoring to ensure their children passed the entry exam if required.

As part of his proposal he also said more private schools should sponsor state academies.

He concluded: “Britain will be in debt for many years to come. We should be looking for every possible source of extra funds to come into public services and state schooling is the last great bastion holding out against the principle of payment.”

Comments (14)

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8:35am Mon 20 Jan 14

Quiterie says...

Interesting idea, but probably unworkable in practice. It will never happen. Not least because it will be unpopular with middle class voters.

A better idea would be to remove the charitable status for fee-paying schools – an absurdity that must end.

It's ridiculous to make believe that these bastions of privilege and social segregation somehow serve the public good.

People instinctively know that it is wrong to give a £200 a year tax subsidy to wealthy parents who have made the choice to send their children to fee-paying schools. And yet strangely no Government seems to want to correct this anomaly.
Interesting idea, but probably unworkable in practice. It will never happen. Not least because it will be unpopular with middle class voters. A better idea would be to remove the charitable status for fee-paying schools – an absurdity that must end. It's ridiculous to make believe that these bastions of privilege and social segregation somehow serve the public good. People instinctively know that it is wrong to give a £200 a year tax subsidy to wealthy parents who have made the choice to send their children to fee-paying schools. And yet strangely no Government seems to want to correct this anomaly. Quiterie

8:43am Mon 20 Jan 14

Hove Actually says...

Start with all the Banks, Utility Companies, Google, E-bay and Amazon who all pay no or very little tax in this country and then pick on the tax payer who has ALREADY paid income tax on their money
Start with all the Banks, Utility Companies, Google, E-bay and Amazon who all pay no or very little tax in this country and then pick on the tax payer who has ALREADY paid income tax on their money Hove Actually

8:50am Mon 20 Jan 14

HJarrs says...

I thought it was a classic grab by the private sector. They can't attract many well off parents, so remove choice and force them into the private sector. Private education is exceptionally poor value for the odd improved grade, but then that's not what it's about is it!

The idea is also divide and rule, first pick off those at the top, then bit by bit come for the rest.
I thought it was a classic grab by the private sector. They can't attract many well off parents, so remove choice and force them into the private sector. Private education is exceptionally poor value for the odd improved grade, but then that's not what it's about is it! The idea is also divide and rule, first pick off those at the top, then bit by bit come for the rest. HJarrs

9:23am Mon 20 Jan 14

LongDistanceRunner2 says...

There are so many stories about Brighton College it is obvious that someone at the Argus has a connection and is interested in keeping the school's profile high. We don't hear about other schools so regularly.

Come on Argus, behave, or see me later.
There are so many stories about Brighton College it is obvious that someone at the Argus has a connection and is interested in keeping the school's profile high. We don't hear about other schools so regularly. Come on Argus, behave, or see me later. LongDistanceRunner2

9:33am Mon 20 Jan 14

Morpheus says...

LongDistanceRunner2 wrote:
There are so many stories about Brighton College it is obvious that someone at the Argus has a connection and is interested in keeping the school's profile high. We don't hear about other schools so regularly.

Come on Argus, behave, or see me later.
Rubbish. It was reported in the national papers yesterday.
[quote][p][bold]LongDistanceRunner2[/bold] wrote: There are so many stories about Brighton College it is obvious that someone at the Argus has a connection and is interested in keeping the school's profile high. We don't hear about other schools so regularly. Come on Argus, behave, or see me later.[/p][/quote]Rubbish. It was reported in the national papers yesterday. Morpheus

9:46am Mon 20 Jan 14

ThinkBrighton says...

This article has nothing to do with Brighton College, it is all about a little man with a gigantic ego who thinks that what he says is reality, which it is not,
you would know this if you had read any of his books, ignore him and he will go away.
This article has nothing to do with Brighton College, it is all about a little man with a gigantic ego who thinks that what he says is reality, which it is not, you would know this if you had read any of his books, ignore him and he will go away. ThinkBrighton

11:11am Mon 20 Jan 14

twigley says...

People who earn more pay more tax and therefore already contribute more to their and other children's education. They also continue to do so once their children no longer receive education. The idea that they pay extra for education goes against the whole notion of a state funded education system and is likely to make 'popular' state schools even more exclusive. The real issue is with local authority admission policies giving excessive priority to those who live nearest in wealthier areas. This is more relevant for primary age children but not for secondary where each school should have a mixed social range as a necessary part of their admissions criteria.
People who earn more pay more tax and therefore already contribute more to their and other children's education. They also continue to do so once their children no longer receive education. The idea that they pay extra for education goes against the whole notion of a state funded education system and is likely to make 'popular' state schools even more exclusive. The real issue is with local authority admission policies giving excessive priority to those who live nearest in wealthier areas. This is more relevant for primary age children but not for secondary where each school should have a mixed social range as a necessary part of their admissions criteria. twigley

12:22pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Amanda Smith-Yeates says...

Good shout...of course it is a workable subject...higher earners will always have to pay more in certain aspects of life ie : tax... or loose concessions poorer families are eligible for..at least this makes sense in our world of equality!!...gets my vote
Good shout...of course it is a workable subject...higher earners will always have to pay more in certain aspects of life ie : tax... or loose concessions poorer families are eligible for..at least this makes sense in our world of equality!!...gets my vote Amanda Smith-Yeates

12:26pm Mon 20 Jan 14

s&k says...

The bloke's a complete dunce. What a stupid argument. 3 out of 10.
The bloke's a complete dunce. What a stupid argument. 3 out of 10. s&k

1:49pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Fight_Back says...

I wonder how close to the 25% of places for the poor Anthony Seldon managed to achieve when he led Brighton College ? Oh ......
I wonder how close to the 25% of places for the poor Anthony Seldon managed to achieve when he led Brighton College ? Oh ...... Fight_Back

7:37pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Maxwell's Ghost says...

The best performing state schools are grammar schools where children get a private standard education in the state sector. Check out the exam results which are available online.
In counties where this scheme operates many parents pay up to £20,000 in home tutoring to get their kids to pass the 11/12 plus and some parents pay for their kids to live in B&Bs in the week to attend some of these fantastic schools.
There was the head of education of a London Borough where the state schools were so bad he got his children to sit the 11 plus in one of the Home Counties and they attended grammar schools.
Any child can sit an 11/12 plus in any county.
Sadly the standard of state school education where there is little selection is pretty bad and why many parents move out of B&H to Mid Sussex or send their kids to private school.
Young women do particularly well in private education with regards to confidence in preparation for the workplace.
The best performing state schools are grammar schools where children get a private standard education in the state sector. Check out the exam results which are available online. In counties where this scheme operates many parents pay up to £20,000 in home tutoring to get their kids to pass the 11/12 plus and some parents pay for their kids to live in B&Bs in the week to attend some of these fantastic schools. There was the head of education of a London Borough where the state schools were so bad he got his children to sit the 11 plus in one of the Home Counties and they attended grammar schools. Any child can sit an 11/12 plus in any county. Sadly the standard of state school education where there is little selection is pretty bad and why many parents move out of B&H to Mid Sussex or send their kids to private school. Young women do particularly well in private education with regards to confidence in preparation for the workplace. Maxwell's Ghost

9:10pm Mon 20 Jan 14

I'm H Jarrs and I can't stand cars! says...

HJ says that this shouldn't apply to the Greens as they are transforming the city. HJ's mum says that its about time the unemployed got out to work and paid their own way. It all a bit tense in the house at the moment
HJ says that this shouldn't apply to the Greens as they are transforming the city. HJ's mum says that its about time the unemployed got out to work and paid their own way. It all a bit tense in the house at the moment I'm H Jarrs and I can't stand cars!

9:32pm Mon 20 Jan 14

twigley says...

So, Maxwell's Ghost, the quality of education for the majority who would not pass the 11 plus doesn't matter? Grammar schools are "stuffed full" of middle-class children and do not improve the chances of poorer pupils, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said. Many grammar schools are not as successful as you imply - in NI for example - and in areas where there are grammar schools the quality of education overall is not better - so the standard of education where there is selection is also "pretty bad". Yes, standards need to improve but selection has never been the answer, just part of the problem.
So, Maxwell's Ghost, the quality of education for the majority who would not pass the 11 plus doesn't matter? Grammar schools are "stuffed full" of middle-class children and do not improve the chances of poorer pupils, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said. Many grammar schools are not as successful as you imply - in NI for example - and in areas where there are grammar schools the quality of education overall is not better - so the standard of education where there is selection is also "pretty bad". Yes, standards need to improve but selection has never been the answer, just part of the problem. twigley

9:43pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Labour trashed grammar schools. Traditional Tory areas kept it. That's why they are stuffed full of middle class kids. However, from the 1940s on, grammars served working class academic children well.
However, even in non grammar areas there is selection. In Brighton and Hove you still have middle class kids living in good areas getting the best schools and parents refusing Falmer and the former Stanley Deason, now closed. Other parents suddenly become church goers in the hope of getting Cardinal Newman.
Sadly comprehensive education in the UK is poor and any employer will tell you how it fails to provide a basic standard of education in English and maths.
Try harder. At least migrants know how to use an apostrophe and can add VAT to a bill without a calculator.
Labour trashed grammar schools. Traditional Tory areas kept it. That's why they are stuffed full of middle class kids. However, from the 1940s on, grammars served working class academic children well. However, even in non grammar areas there is selection. In Brighton and Hove you still have middle class kids living in good areas getting the best schools and parents refusing Falmer and the former Stanley Deason, now closed. Other parents suddenly become church goers in the hope of getting Cardinal Newman. Sadly comprehensive education in the UK is poor and any employer will tell you how it fails to provide a basic standard of education in English and maths. Try harder. At least migrants know how to use an apostrophe and can add VAT to a bill without a calculator. Maxwell's Ghost

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