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– The thing that is most distorting our education system is
the existence of private schools.
– State school graduates are still likely to earn thousands
of pounds less than those who are privately educated.
– What we're seeing is entrenched privilege.
– Why would the people at the top, why are they ever going to want
people like you or I taking the jobs that they want to go
to their privately educated sons and daughters.
– We will have an apartheid education system in this country
unless we do something drastic.
– There's an endless stream of evidence that private schools
help make our country unequal.
Only 7% of the UK are privately educated but
a disproportionate number occupies some of the most influential jobs
whether in media, art, law or politics.
I mean, take our new prime minister, the 20th to be educated
at one school: Eton.
But now a number of people asking if this is fair
and if they should exist at all.
– As a state school teacher why would I not want
the absolute best for the young people in front of me.
Why don't they deserve to have small class sizes, luxurious facilities,
access to this incredible network of alumni and I think that
would make our society much better much fairer
and abolishing private schools is key to that.
– But before getting to abolition,
we need to know what private schools are and how they work.
– Well the origins of Britain's private schools date back into
the medieval period, the late medieval period with a series
of charitable bequests to educate the children of poor
and rising middle class families.
So they started out as charities... – But gradually they expanded
in the victorian era when they became increasingly for the middle classes
and they cost money.
This trend continued into the 20th century.
And to avoid being labelled elitist, in the 1960s they rebranded
as independent schools.
Fast forward to now and how inclusive are they?
– So that's six thousand pupils paying no fees at all
out of the half million pupils in independent school council schools.
– Turns out that means only one percent of people
who go to private school are from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.
For most people can't afford to go private,
rising school fees now amount to 50% of an average earner's wage,
which is why intakes are dominated by the very wealthy.
So while funding has been cut to the point that state schools
are having to use crowd funding and Amazon wishlists
to pay for basics, a tiny proportion of people get access to
the excellent support and almost unlimited resources
that the private sector offers.
Plus private schools act as a direct route to prestigious universities
and networks to some of the world's most powerful people.
But discussing what to do about private schools isn't about attacking
the choices that parents make.
It's about an elite system that fast track certain children.
So what can we do about this?
Broadly there's a few options.
We could do nothing, which means there's no point watching this video.
We could reform the system to try and make fairer.
Or we could get rid of fee-paying schools altogether.
Let's look at reform first.
And the main point here is that although they mostly educate
the well-off, over half of all private schools still operate as charities today.
– Eton: has there ever been a more deserving charity?
[laughter]
Many private schools say they earn their charitable status
by offering fee reductions, free places in the form of bursaries.
So a simple measure could be to demand that they offer more.
But that would still be a limited number of people
and these bursaries are often used to top up fees of people
who are already pretty wealthy.
We even found one school willing to offer financial help
to families so long as they earn less than £120,000.
Also, as charities private schools don't pay full business rates.
So getting them to pay the full whack which is something
state schools already have to do could bring an extra £105 million per year.
Another idea could be to charge VAT on private school fees
since they're currently exempt.
That could bring in an extra £1.5 billion to the Treasury.
Or you could just strip them of their charitable status entirely.
But what about something even bigger like abolition?
[dramatic music]
Look, let's not get too dramatic here because the idea of abolition
isn't about destruction.
It's about unifying and integrating our education system.
That's what they did in Finland.
Their education system used to be a mix of private, grammar
and state schools, not so different from ours.
But in the 1970s, the government decided to abolish private schools.
It was actually the Finnish political establishment who decided
that their segregated system was actually causing too much divisiveness.
That they needed to establish a common school.
We don't see education as an industry, we see education
as a basic human right for everybody.
That's why all education is free in Finland.
It's against the law to run a private school or private university.
– With one of the most equal education systems in the world.
Finland is an example of what could be possible.
The neighbourhood school is the best school because
all the schools in Finland, they are all equal.
– And what that means is that by making the rich kids
go to school with everyone else, they grow up with those
other kids as friends.
And when they become wealthy adults, they have to think twice
before they screw them over.
– Critics say abolition takes away a parent's right to choose.
But does everyone get to make that choice?
What we have now is a parentocracy, which is where educational success
depends on the wealth and wishes of parents rather than
the ability and effort of actual children.
Choices are underpinned by resources.
And if you're poor and disadvantaged you just don't have very many choices.
– None of this is going to happen overnight and there's no magic bullet.
Abolition is just one part of a much broader change
that's needed, from funding our schools properly,
to getting rid of all forms of selection.
But one thing is pretty clear.
If private schools stay as they are, then nothing is going to change.
Thank you for watching this video.
We want to hear what you think about private schools.
So leave us a comment below and take part in our poll,
which you should see somewhere above me over here.
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Should we abolish private schools?

9 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on September 22, 2019
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