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EDITIONS
Friday, 4 October, 2002, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Private status bid for state schools
St Georges, Ascot
The centre wants "private education" for all
State schools should be freed from government control and given the same legal status as independent schools, it was claimed.

According to the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies, it costs almost as much to educate a child at a state school as it does at an independent one.


Those children who currently have no choice but to endure the low standards and low aspirations that characterise failing inner-city schools would be set free of a system that has failed them

Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet
The centre calculates the average cost per pupil at a state school in Britain stands at between 4,500 and 5,000 a year compared to an average cost for an independent day school of 5,000.

The research - published in a pamphlet on Friday - argues that if all the money followed the child, state schools would have as much cash as the independent sector.

And if state schools gained private sector status, head teachers would have the autonomy to run their institution as they saw fit.

Greater autonomy

Teachers would be directly employed by the school and the school would have the right to opt out of the national pay bargaining system and settle pay and conditions for their own staff.

Schools would set their own policies for admissions, transport and management, but would be free to devolve any of these powers back to the local education authority.

"Parents would then have direct control over their child's education," the Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet claims.

"Government would be seen as a funder and regulator, not a provider, of education.

"And most important of all, those children who currently have no choice but to endure the low standards and low aspirations that characterise failing inner-city schools would be set free of a system that has failed them."

State monopoly

The former Conservative Cabinet minister, John Redwood, who has contributed to the pamphlet, said a lot of money going into the state sector was not getting through to the schools.

"So I have every sympathy with the teachers and the parents who will say... where is all this money, we don't see it.

"And they're right, they don't see it, because it's spent badly by national and local government in ways that it would never be spent in the independent sector," said Mr Redwood.

"We must break the monopoly of the state whilst still being generous with the money paid from taxpayers, so the money must all go to the schools to spend as they wish, so that they can compete more fairly with the independent schools."

The pamphlet - The True Cost of State Education by Nick Seaton, and Power to Parents by Mr Redwood - was published by the Centre for Policy Studies on Friday ahead of the Conservative Party conference next week.

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 ON THIS STORY
John Redwood, author of pamphlet
"The spending of each state pupil is 4600 a year now"
See also:

30 Sep 02 | Education
22 Nov 00 | Education
19 Mar 01 | Education
27 Apr 01 | Education
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