Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A Class Act

Keeping out the children of the poor is the whole point of private schools, so I cannot see how increases in fees pose any problems, least of all when they are brought on by a failure to provide scholarships or bursaries. Charitable status has always been a squalid little tax dodge. How can you be a charity when you charge for your services? Not just in the cause of fund-raising, but for the “charitable” thing itself?

But there is a better way of abolishing almost all private schools, a way which was on the brink of working spectacularly when it as discontinued. Grammar schools. You know, the ones that eventually filled seventy per cent of Oxbridge places from the State sector. The ones that many of today’s private schools actually were (they often retain the name), and would be again, at least if the alternative were to go bust.

For if we brought back grammar schools, then we could put most private schools out of business within the 10 years or so that it would take to win them up administratively. That had been on the verge of happening when the grammar schools were abolished. If the grammar schools were in place, then it really would be possible to ask, “Why pay for something that you can get for free?”


  1. Fighting talk, David! But if you believe that Ampleforth, Downside, et al are running a 'squalid little tax dodge', why don't you join us in the National Secular Society? You know it makes sense.

  2. Grammar schools would be very expensive and would only benefit a small minority of the population. Most of the people who were at grammar schools then wanted them to be abolished when they grew up.

  3. How many secular public schools are there?

    Grammar schools would benefit everyone: standards were higher across the board when they existed, and where they sill exsit, that is still the case.

    They would be expensive compared to what?