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News - September/October 2019

Private schools to be abolished if Labour returns to power

Private schools to be abolished if Labour returns to power

Labour has pledged to abolish private schools if it wins the next election, in a move which its leader Jeremy Corbyn said would “challenge the elite privilege of private schools”.

The party said at its annual conference that it would look to integrate all private schools into the state sector by seizing their assets which would be “redistributed democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions”. It also said it would scrap independent schools’ charitable status. In addition, Labour would legislate to impose a private school quota on universities, restricting to 7% of all students the number from private schools.

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, told the conference that a Labour government would ask the Social Mobility Commission to “work on making the whole education system fairer through the integration of private schools”.

She added: “Our very first Budget will immediately close the tax loopholes used by elite private schools, and use that money to improve the lives of all children.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned against the move, saying abolishing private would shift billions of pounds of costs on to the state education system.

It would mean almost another 600,000 pupils entering the state system - more than the school population of Wales.

And with average per pupil spending at about £6,000 per year, that would add around £3.6bn to the annual cost of running the school system.

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