A Level Playing Field: The Reform of Private Schools

by Harry on September 23, 2019

I wrote a pamphlet for the Fabian Society in 2000, arguing for reform of the private school system, based on the assumption that it was impossible to abolish them (I still think it unlikely, and am quite curious what will end up in the manifesto). If you feel like reading it, here it is.



Z 09.24.19 at 2:03 pm

I was very glad to read your text, Harry. Like you, I’m against abolition of the private system of education, as I believe that parents are entitled to choose a specific education for their children that the state system cannot or will not offer (and rightly so, often, in my opinion) – typically a religious one, in my own country.

What should absolutely be required of private schools is either to forego all form of public assistance or to have a pupil population that reflects approximately the social level of the general population (in the broad area around the school, for instance) that they may not select based on academic criteria. (If I understand correctly, you actually go further and want to ban selection in all cases, as a matter of law, is that correct? Or does that only apply to academic selection?)

The current system, in several countries, is that of poor, uneducated parents subsidizing with their taxes the education of the children of their richer, more educated fellow citizens; and the better educative outcomes of the latter being used to justify the enormous economic advantages they receive later in life compared to those who left the educative schools with less stellar results. An obvious injustice, but it would be a grave mistake to believe that everyone wants to redress it.


engels 09.24.19 at 2:07 pm

Nice see the world slowly catching up with my internet rantings of more than a decade ago


Cian 09.24.19 at 5:54 pm

While it may not be legal to ban them, I suspect there are things you could do in practice to make their lives very difficult. And I’d find the moral arguments a lot more convincing if it wasn’t for the fact that Britain is currently experiencing the collapse of its public school elites.

If there was ever a stronger argument for a more diverse intake I can’t think of one. WWI military leadership perhaps?


engels 09.24.19 at 10:42 pm

I suspect there are things you could do in practice to make their lives very difficult.

The best one was in the motion: proportionate quotas for uni admissions


engels 09.27.19 at 4:15 pm


Buckwald Thunderdong 09.28.19 at 3:39 pm

Every school should be privatized. Sending your kid to a public school it’s like sending them to a meth lab.


engels 09.28.19 at 7:53 pm

A challenging argument! Perhaps by doing so all children will be able to attain your level of knowledge and logic, Mr Thunderdong.


Orange Watch 09.28.19 at 9:06 pm

I am a bit surprised that the comment @6 cleared moderation given its inflammatory lack of meaningful content combined with its its rather trolly username.

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