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Give state schools freedom to charge fees

Comment 3rd July 2010

Our schools are underfunded and the public sector cuts are going to make things worse. The rules stopping them charging fees are unnecessary and hold down the aspirations of millions of families to give their children the best start in life.

If schools were allowed to charge means tested, top-up fees in the same way as universities, capped at (for example) £3,000, with financial assistance for those who cannot afford them, this would be a huge boost to their funding and greatly improve the quality of school education in Britain.

Why does this matter?

 

This would benefit the poorest people in Britain the most – since they would get financial assistance, they could send their children to schools charging full fees without having to pay, and so would get the biggest boost to their education funding. 

This is also more ethical than university fees as parents can afford to pay fees, unlike students who have no incomes. Furthermore, parents can judge the quality of a schools since they have finished school, unlike students who have never been to university and so cannot tell the difference between a good and bad course. It is much more sensible to let schools charge fees than universities. 

It would create real choice for parents as this increased funding would allow more schools to open, with better facilities for parents to choose from. It would therefore also make it easier for parents to find a suitable school in their local area. 

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