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Labour to abolish independent schools?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Steven Toy, Oct 31, 2019.


Should we abolish independent schools in the UK?

  1. Yes

    20 vote(s)
  2. No

    57 vote(s)
  3. Undecided

    4 vote(s)
  1. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy L3 Toy

    This is a tough one and I can see lots of arguments on both sides.


    We get to widen the field of candidates for top positions in industry, finance, civil service and politics. Currently too many are drawn from a very narrow field of candidates who attended independent schools.

    Why is this a problem?

    Just because your parents are wealthy does not mean that you are bright. The process of prep school > common entrance 13+ exam (with lots of coaching on the side) > top public school (more coaching) > better exam results at GCSE and A Level than your level of innate ability would perhaps otherwise afford > Oxford > PPE > drop the E in year 3 cos it's too hard > BA (Hons 2:1) is one which regularly churns out mediocrity with a posh accent.

    Look at Boris Johnson (sorry about that!). He knows how to.use a thesaurus when writing or reading from a script. Otherwise he waffles.

    I read that he failed to give correct answers to the following three IQ test questions (they test innate critical thinking):

    1) A house has 4 sides all facing south. What colour is the bear?

    2) If at 8 PM you wind up your alarm clock and set it for 9 AM, how many hours sleep do you get?

    3) If I have 5 apples and you take 2 apples, how many apples do you have?

    My wife got one of these correct immediately. I got the other two. Boris got none. He waffled.

    The answers are as follows (if you are interested):

    1) White. It's a polar bear. You are on the North Pole. My wife got this one.

    2) if you have to wind it up it is a 12-hour analogue clock with hands. You will get one hour of sleep at best.

    3) 2. It is a language comprehension not an arithmetic question.

    I guess if your critical thinking is not up to it but you have the right accent and ruffled, dyed hair you can always lie and bullshit your way through life.

    JRM once said that if you attended a state school you were "as thick.as a plant pot."

    Even if you went on to get a first at Oxford in economics without the leg-up.

    The widening of the field of entry to top positions is a compelling argument in itself.

    The other argument is that, over time we can get rid of the entitled ruling class without having to use guillotines. If young Alexander was educated at the same school as Kyle, his Dad Stanley might care a bit more for the funding of state schools. Kyle would get to benefit too.


    Soft power.

    Almost half of all students in independent schools come from overseas. They often go on to become leaders in their country of origin having been turned into anglophiles and anglophones. Example, the former PM of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva went to Eton.

    If we scrapped charitable status for these schools they could be a nice little earner for the Treasury.

    Removing charitable status could possibly make them even more elitist, however. Only the ultra-wealthy and not the moderately wealthy could afford them.

    If independent schools were abolished in the UK, would they not simply be moved abroad, say, to Switzerland, taking tax revenues with them?

    On the basis of the above plus any additional arguments I haven't thought of, what say you?
    roman likes this.
  2. Minio

    Minio pfm Member

    So Labour's front bench would have to send their kids to Comprehensive schools.

    We could do with some more lefty campaigners in them.
  3. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    Question 2 presumes no 24 hr mechanical alarm clocks exist. Given the inventiveness of clockmakers over the years, I can't believe this to be the case.

    Re schools, given that much of the mess we are in at the moment lies at the door of a single public school, it's tempting to damn them all. And yet...

    (I probable read too much Enid Blyton and Jennings as a kid).
  4. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    It won't happen. Who's suggesting it would?
  5. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy L3 Toy

  6. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy L3 Toy

    Designing a mechanical 24-hour clock would be like designing an electric car with a starting handle. You could but why would you?
  7. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    If you pay all your taxes and decide to pay again to educate your children then I have no objection to that. I’m keener to see state school standards rival those of private schools, not to remove them. I’ve the same view of private healthcare- paid up for the NHS and want to pay again and free up a waiting list space for someone else? Be my guest. Private medicine is no better than NHS provision and not nearly as comprehensive.
    I don’t see why private schools should have charitable status though and I think religiously segregated education is corrosive to society.
  8. ks.234

    ks.234 pfm Member

    Q2 talks about winding the alarm clock up at a certain time, not going to sleep at a certain time, so the answer does not relate to the question.

    Q1 White is not a colour, white is a combination of all the colours
    christray and sq225917 like this.
  9. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

  10. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    And polar bears are not white, their outer hair is clear and reflects light so appears white.
  11. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    Does anyone have the actual text of this?

    I've seen shrieking about it from unsurprising sources, but the only concrete info I found was that they planned to remove the charitable status and tax loopholes favouring private schools. Which strikes me as entirely fair, and well past due.

    For example, this excerpt from the motion text: 'would include, but is not limited to, the withdrawal of charitable status and all other public subsidies and tax privileges, including business rate exemption'.

    It'd be good to be talking about the actual policy rather than potentially a (propagandised) straw man.
  12. Michael J

    Michael J pfm Member

    Q1: the house is at the North Pole, but that does not mean the bear is also there. It might be a sun bear in Los Angeles zoo.
    Q2: https://www.google.com/search?q=24+hour+mechanical+clock and, as stated above, it also depends on when you actually go to sleep.
    Q3: two plus however many apples you had previously.
  13. roman

    roman pfm Member

    I've yet to decide definitively on this matter having wrestled with it for a long time.

    Obviously some change needs to happen to sever the Eton pathway to wealth and influence but I'm not sure what. Will read on and come back on this

    (I enjoy and appreciate the work and effort you put into these questions. Cheers!)
  14. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Corbyn was asked during his campaign launch speech this morning - he only went as far as to say that he would expect them to pay tax. Of course they haven't had the formal meeting under the rules of the party yet to agree on the manifesto
  15. Joe

    Joe pfm Member

    There is nowhere near enough information in the question to enable one to get a comprehensive answer.

    The clock could be a 3/4/5/6/7/day clock and just needed winding up at that point . As ks. says... setting the alarm does not define the time you go to sleep. I would have answered accordingly.

    As to schools... the parents have paid tax on their income...let them spend it on what they like.

    Charitable status for the schools ? ..a difficult one. You all assume you are talking about posh boy central but there are huge numbers of independent schools some of which provide education for many disadvantaged ( some disabled ) children. There are alternative schools such as the Rudolf Steiner schools that provide an essential ( safe ) place for some children.

    The politics of envy can be an ugly and blinkering thing.
    Gaycha likes this.
  16. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    There's a bit of a leap of faith right there...
  17. stephen bennett

    stephen bennett Mr Enigma

    I'd prefer to see target quotas in public institutions, like we have with gender, race and disability, for private/state school educated in the proportions that exist in the school system.

    So, for example, universities (both student and staff), NHS, the judiciary, Parliament and civil service would have to move towards a ratio approximating the numbers of children which go to each type of school.

    I'd also like to see Parliamentarians having to use public institutions when in office, bu that's not going to happen.

    roman likes this.
  18. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Right, so are you sayin that if one was to be walking through Richmond Park, it would be green?
    doctorf likes this.
  19. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve voted ‘no’. I’m no class-warrior, but I do firmly feel charitable status should be removed. Run them as businesses. FWIW I feel the same about religion!
    foxwelljsly likes this.
  20. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy L3 Toy

    Tangential but the alarm is a separate mechanism from the time-keeping one.

    It needs winding each time it is set.
  21. Joe

    Joe pfm Member

    Well.... try this.... they spend their money ( a lot of it ) on the school. The school employs teachers, nurses, cooks ,cleaners grounds people etc. They support their families by spending that money.The local community benefits from that spending. That income will have been taxed and national insurance paid so that even you will have benefited from those parents sending their children to private schools. I could expand this a lot but you get the idea...nothing exists in a bubble ( except for the Pinkfish Off Topic section )

    And...as I said, there is only one Eton and hundreds and hundreds of other types of independent schools that are doing great work with the disabled and the disadvantaged. Think of schools for the deaf and the blind before you all call for the abolition of independent schools and their charitable status please.

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