Wealthy parents should pay fees for sending their children to popular state schools, says a top headteacher.
Parents earning over £80,000 a year who want their child to be educated by the state should be charged the equivalent cost of sending their child to private school, says Dr Anthony Seldon, headmaster at the Wellington College, a top private school.
Dr Seldon says his idea, published in a report for the Social Market Foundation think tank, would “break the middle-class stranglehold on top state schools” and provide additional funds to improve state education.
“We have to end this unfair farce,” he says, “whereby middle-class parents dominate the best schools, when they could afford to pay. They even boast of their moral superiority in using the state system when all they are doing is squeezing the poor from the best schools.”
Under Dr Seldon’s proposal, fees at the most oversubscribed state schools could be £15,000 a year for a primary school., and £20,000 for a secondary schools – about the same amount as independent day school currently charge.
Imposing these fees would, he says, help to close the “unfair” gap between the achievements and prospects of the richest and poorest children by using the money raised to pay for more teachers and smaller classes.
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