Thursday 11 July 2019

The conversation should be privatising all education, not nationalising it

Image result for ash sarkar private schools

So, as is common these days, the very nutty communists who inhabit the Labour party (have you seen a book called Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani? Drivel does not begin to describe how awful it is), have latched a new proposal into the labour party conference which decides their manifesto:

1 - Outlaw private education
2 - Confiscate the endowments and money from these schools to 'share' amongst State Schools
3 - End Charitable status to make doubly sure no Private schools start again.

Scary does not really do the above Justice. There are many, many reasons why the above it a terrible idea. The one that sticks out to me though is that, like our Top Universities, people from all over the world pay an absolute fortune to have their kids educated here - in fact I would bet it is one of the main reasons there are so many billionaires in the UK, they can educate their kids here.

So, in the real world, we should be thinking how do we extend the education opportunities provided by private schools to all? What is the secret.

Well the obvious piece is money. In Universities, the Government introduced fees to try and help Universities improve their offering, act like a supplier rather than an union and stop kidding people with silly Kite Flying degrees. Lo and Behold broadly this has been a success!

Thus the real change that would help state schools would be a voucher system for parents, who could spend the money on the schooling they wanted - local comp, technical colleges, religious schools, private schools. The good would prosper and the bad would reform or die. Just like in Higher Education, market forces would drive up standards overall.

You could even reduce massively the burdensome national curriculum as parents could choose they types of schooling suited to their children which is not always based on A-C grades a GCSE.

This would be a much more successful route than killing the successful bit of secondary education in order to level down the playing field.


hovis said...

Interesting, as there is also a growing home school movement. I wonder if this proposal suggests that all must attend a government political education facility, eerm I mean school??

andrew said...

I would not call a private school a charity unless it spent ~ 70-80% of its income on charity.

Or put another way are well over half the pupils at $private_school there by charity?

or is it a tax break for the top 10%?

(disclaimer, I went to a private school, I have no objection to them. I do object to the tax subsidies you get from me if you send your child there)

Raedwald said...

What andrew said

E-K said...

The vouchers already exist. They are called 'fucking big mortgages' - resulting in a lucky kid living in a house in a great school catchment area.

I went to a shit school in an area of shit schools.

So if they made them private they would not have been shit anymore ?

I'm afraid the schools were shit because they were full of shit kids raised by shit parents.

A privatised system will merely leave the shit teachers in the shit schools with their shit parents.

What stops people in poorer areas being shit is the sound of the lash and a bit of fire and brimstone in the vicar's sermon and a non bullshit syllabus in the school curriculum.

Without this no amount of privatisation is going to bring standards back.

Matt said...


Agree with this. Went to school in shite northern towns and the Penguins you ran the Left Footer schools would cane you for any reason at all (repressed sexual tension no doubt).

That's what makes you want to improve your lot in life.

Charlie said...

Parents, parents, parents, as E-K said. I went to a crap school in a crap town, but my parents (well, my mum) had already taught me to read, write and add up a bit before I started infant school, and continued to teach me stuff that school didn't for years to come. Now I am a successful City based office drone living in a leafy north London suburb, I find that kids with good parents still get taught stuff outside school, but the actual teaching is outsourced to tutors, because the parents are too busy working to pay off E-K's aforementioned Fucking Big Mortgage.

Anyway, another nutty Labour policy. I'd love to see an attempt to draft a law that bans private education. Would tutors be banned? How about night school? Kids' karate classes and swimming lessons?

Boris needs to absolutely obliterate these loons at the next GE, whenever it is.

Anonymous said...

I take issue with the tuition fees of universities having been a success.

Maybe there's a number of different issues at play here but I see the quality of a modern university degree (outside of the elite universities) as somewhat inferior to one two or three decades ago.

I'm not sure how a degree in equine studies with dance is going to be much benefit.

The only thing kids seem to learn at universities these days is a belief in marxist/neo-marxists ideologies and the need for safe-spaces and identity politics.

E-K said...

Even STEM degrees at red bricks - the number of kids with 'firsts' serving beer in my town is at record levels.

Everyone's graduating with a first these days.

Race to the top ... in an over inflated balloon.

CityUnslicker said...

Umm- tax breaks for attending private school?

So you ascribe zero benefit to the state of not taking up a state school place at circa £5000 per year and instead want to tax more. Also taxing education is about as suitable for tax as taxing basic food surely? Where is the moral remit to tax the population for trying to improve themselves?

Plus private schools do let their facilities out to the local community. Still each to their own Marxist views if you like it that way!

As for E_K & Anon - this is a key point, parenting is jus the crucial piece that the state can't fix. However, having some incentive to improve the shit schools can only help this a bit.

Finally - re University education, of course standards have dropped. This is just maths, 30 years ago at most 25% of people went to Uni. You had to have 3 good a-levels to get in. Now 50% of people go to Uni, so of course stndards are lower. This I the social engineering of the Government, what has happened with fees is students have become more demanding and there have been improvements of late but we will need to wait years to look at the stats from here gien the past vast increases in higher education under Labour in the early 2000's.

Anonymous said...

I keep running into guys with 2.1s from Russell Group unis in minimum wage Customer Servicve jobs.

"broadly this has been a success" - disagree. Apparently we have both "the best educated generation in history" (D.Miliband) and a skills shortage*. Does not compute. But it has produced a lot of SJW types who dodn't know much but know that Trump is an idiot.

* to be fair this actually means a shortage of skilled people prepared to take crap pay

Matt said...

Must be bad if Auntie comments on it -

andrew said...

I am sure you have met people who can paper a wall with certificates but for whatever reason do not seem to be able to do a job.
(My favourite was person who had maths degree, qualified accountant, mba, cfa, some actuarial exams and he was a contractor managing the tape backups
But before i go too far, my main memory was that he was happy)

Anonymous said...

This, on the same day we see 80% more top grades due to grade inflation ( - hardly an unqualified success. And not shocking, if people pay for something, there is usully a pressure to deliver in some manner, and the path of least resistance is usually the manner of choice. What's easier? Making your pupils smarter, or making their exams easier?

Market forces + human nature answers a lot of questions, just not necessarily the answer any given ideology may want.

So, can we stop with the false dichotomy of nationalise everything/privatise everything? If something is primarily commercially sustainable, it can probably be a private affair, if something isn't, but is socially useful (and what qualifies as that is another debate), it's probably something the state can do. Things in-between? Figure out who does what aspect.

And while I see little value in degrees in Middle Earth beyond a hobby, some of the lighter subjects are fine further down in primary and secondary - I find pretty abhorrent the concept that school should just be about preparing kids for work, it borders on a Communist mentality.

School is about education, providing tools for life - of which work will be a part of, but so will the ability to handle your finances, cooking, social interaction. etc. Life skills.

Probably the biggest shift I've seen is a lack of tolerance for other peoples views - the whole no-platforming shebang - which is nothing new. Social conservatives were the original snowflakes - when anything offended them, it was go cry to Nanny State for help. No, the shift is that socially liberal have joined the socially conservative in being a bunch of whiny fucks the gene pool could do without.

Not quite the advancement. And something I'd like to see government change, but that might require a bit of though rather than writing a cheque to a special interest group, so I won't hold my breath.

Raedwald said...

haha! the Mail is carrying the story that the Corbynista Labour deputy leader of Brighton council sends his daughter to £40k a year Roedean; Labour won't get rid of private schools - Labour politicians are amongst their best customers!

andrew said...

If public schools were proper companies a lot more tax would flow to the exchequer.

I dont have children do i deserve a 5.5k ×1.1 rebate for 16 years.
Clearly not.
It is part of your personal circumstances.

As does driving or not or using bupa or not.

I do not feel particularly marxist
Perhaps some feel a little bit of a crony capitalist welfare dependant cum subsidy junkie.
Each to their own.

Jan said...

There was a perfectly good scheme a few years back whereby bright pupils could get a place in a private school via the assisted places scheme. My daughter was a recipient and she wouldn't have gone there without it. The irony is that I believe it was introduced by a Labour government.

They can't make their minds up and are the biggest hypocrites going (see Raewald above). Also one T Blair/Dianne Abbot etc etc.

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E-K said...

The response to private schools, of course, is grammar schools. Alas they are banned because selection on the basis of ability in education is unacceptable, whereas ability in sport is. To lefties such as the Blairs selection by Mum and Dad's job or house is also acceptable.

My own childhood town had its grammar school system replaced by the comprehensive system which ruined education for ALL children rather than raising standards.

I vowed never to let my own boys go to such schools. They both went to grammar and are both now top students at RG universities on STEM courses. One doing an MChem the other MBChB with an intercalation.

I don't say this to brag but contrast it with my own 4 CSES and 3 soft O levels. Either I was held back or my wife is an extremely bright lady and they got all her genes.

(I did correct my exam failures by going to night school and by correspondence.)

dearieme said...

"The irony is that I believe it was introduced by a Labour government."

No: the Assisted Places scheme was introduced by the Conservatives. It was Labour that scrapped it on the grounds (at least partly on the grounds) that the wrong sort of poor children we're getting the awards - children of vicars, that sort of thing.

CityUnslicker said...

Dearime - Indeed, the fastest way to increase re social mobility would be to get the state to pay for 20% of private school places for the underprivileged. I was at private school when 10% was the case under Thatcher - most of the recipients are doing way better than myself and in many useful areas.

Much better to exploit something good than tear it down for something bad.

Andrew - increasing school fees further would put many private schools out of business tomorrow. So you would destroy a public good and a world renowned sector to earn a few pence more for the treasury to spend on the NHS (by definition, the NHS and benefit is over 50% of the budget so is where the majority of all money goes). But alas, I too remember bitching about taxes when I was single and had zero drain on the state, so we all have our phases to live through!

Belgraviadave said...


Presumably parents will fund their own children’ educations out of their own pockets? Or will there be a tax credits/child care vouchers fiddle to ensure that all that changes is the identity of the service provider? Like the privatisation of utilities?

Belgraviadave said...

Obviously you don’t ascribe zero benefit as you suggest but you must also ascribe a cost to the effect on standards across state schools of the absence of demanding parents with the social capital necessary to force up standards in state schools and a benefit of increased potential for pupils in state schools to gain from improved networking.

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