Home / Debates / Education / The Private Education System Should Be Abolished

The Private Education System Should Be Abolished

Table of Contents

In the British education system you have a choice: you can either pay for your (or your children’s) education or you can rely on the state to the job for nothing. Private schools disadvantage kids from poor backgrounds even if they’re brighter than the ones who can afford to pay. Does the two-tier system create more harm than benefits?

All the Yes points:

  1. Education should create equal opportunities for all
  2. It creates stereotypes and tensions within society
  3. ‘Old School Tie’ networks still exist.
  4. Removing ‘choice’ will improve the overall standard of our schools.
  5. Move forward and do what is best for the majority
  6. children need social education
  7. Private Schools inhibit reform of the public system
  8. Private schools aren’t necessarily good for the child.
  9. The child will feel un-loved and un-wanted

All the No points:

  1. A private education is a good education
  2. Private schools create competition
  3. In a civilised society, there should be plenty of choice
  4. So send your child to a Grammar School
  5. The goverment can’t afford to take on more school children
  6. Abolishing a good service on the basis that some cannot afford it is absurd
  7. Social disparity is an American ideal that the country is built upon.
  8. Parents who want to send their children to a fee-paying school are making a decision based on what is best for their children.
  9. The existence of private education can actually be financially beneficial to state schools.
  10. the correct way to improve the education for children in state schools is to spend more money on state schools
  11. Private schools one on one time with individual teacher and student enables better results in the long run.

Will mean fiscal responsibility

Yes because…

Statistics prove time and time again that those individuals with a private education background have more education, job and social opportunities than those who were educated by the state. The ratio of private school pupils entering the most prestigious universities is substantially high considering the fraction of children who are educated privately; to the extent where these universities have been accused of discrimination.

It isn’t fair that just because some parents cannot afford to pay for their children’s education that those children should be disadvantaged on account of that alone. Education is supposed to open doors, not shut them.

Furthermore, private school creates a segregation between children and young adults in society, which can result in bullying in some cases. If we want our children to treat everyone in society as an equal, we must all start on an equal footing.

Oxbridge doesn’t pick on academic standards, what a farce! 99.9% of applicants have got straight As and A*s, of which a tiny proportion are picked. There are interviews and ‘certain’ applicants fit the role. These are usually non-state educated individuals.
Also Oxbridge colleges actually have a quota for the amount of state school students they take in. The more they take, the more funding they get. (not sure which side that point lies on but I wrote the first bit too so…)

No because…

To rebut the points made by the proposition, universities were in the past claimed to discriminate. This now does not happen: Oxbridge chooses students solely on the grounds of academic merit and gives ample assistance to those who would not normally be able to attend university. Businesses choose on merit alone as well, and we make our own social opportunities by how we each live our lives. The (unquoted) statistics that the proposition claim “prove time and time again” their point do not in any way prove it; what the prove is the benefits of the private system and the failures of the state system to educate our children. If state education is to be improved, the government must improve it: abolishing private education will not improve the standards of state education. Remember, those who attend private schools pay twice: they pay for the state system through taxation and private school fees. The amount of money available to state education, currently woefully low, cannot increase unless the government increases it. Therefore, abolishing independent education would not create equal opportunities for all that were of benefit: it would create equal, poor opportunities.

It creates stereotypes and tensions within society

Yes because…

In the melting pot that are universities a separation occurs between two classes of people from the various backgrounds them came from.

Those that are state-school educated often look upon their counterparts as elitist, stuck-up and posh. Those privately educated frequently hang around with “their own kind” and – often unconsciously – do activites separate and different from the rest of the population Because of the lack of knowledge a partitioning often occurs. How can you argue that creating a two tier, immiscible separation of our society is a good thing?

No because…

There are of course many other divisions in society. Any established ‘group’ tends to stick together due to their common interests. You do not improve the situation by trying to abolish the basis of a group. The positive social policy is to build communication bridges.

In the case of education there was just such a bridge growing in importance – the grammar schools. They gave free real opportunities to the bright but disadvantaged. They were abolished in the name of equality. The result has been that the state sector lost some excellent schools.

There is no single perfect system. Why can’t we accept the benefits of diversity and encourage choice even with in the state sector so that we meet the needs of individual pupils rather than trying to push everyone through the same template.

‘Old School Tie’ networks still exist.

Yes because…

Once we’re out of school, all we seem to consider in our arguments is which schools give the best academic results. Yet most of us believe that many other things taken away from our schooling were far more important than an academic education. Values, outlooks, and life-skills stay with us forever, whilst a set of A-levels becomes merely a certificate – especially for those of us who only use our French GCSE in restaurants.

Yet what we consistently overlook when studying the league tables is the culture that is reinforced in maintaining private and state education. The social networks (extending into business, law, politics and so forth) that private schools can offer throughout life favour the life chances of their attendees a ludicrous amount. The private-state social divide is most often maintained at university, with different social groups forming around the basis of wealth and upbringing, and at some of the best academic institutions in the country, state school students who have had a harder time earning their place (statistics show this to be true) are very often made to feel inadequate and questioning their position.

Whether or not the practical difficulties of reforming the education allow it to be possible, private education almost certainly ‘should’ be abolished for the inegalitarian social networks which they create.

Arguments such as that opposite do not damage this point in any way. They rely on reductio ad absurdum tactics to portray a desire to abolish private schools, which offer unrivalled access to business networks, as a desire to abolish these networks themselves. This is simply not the case. If, as the argument opposite states, such networks and distinctions would exist ‘regardless of schooling’, then it would do no harm to these networks to abolish the Private Education system in the hope that we may keep both these networks AND ‘egalitarian ideals’: if this is not possible, then the argument opposite is self-contradictory.

Even though this point does not argue for the abolition of interpersonal relations in business (only a school system that gives unfavoured access to these relations), the opposition claim that businesses, deals and employment rely upon these networks is unsubstantiated and cannot in its present form be taken seriously.

No because…

Class distinction will exist regardless of schooling; it would be extremely naive to believe that these networks would dissipate if privileged children were schooled by the state. There are advantages to these networks that far outweigh egalitarian ideals.

Without the established connections and name recognition that comes along with having a private education, many businesses would never be funded, deals would fail to materialize and industry would not run as smoothly. Jobs are created and value added to society based on these networks.

Paraphrasing part of the opposite argument: Private Schools give students a better shot at life including education and connections. This is not a valid point. Are you arguing against the very idea of schools? Maybe it would be better if no one got an education then we’d all be pretty much equal.

Removing ‘choice’ will improve the overall standard of our schools.

Yes because…

If the well educated, affluent and motivated parents who currently send their children to private schools had no choice other than to send their children to the local comprehensive school they would become actively involved in raising the standard of these schools. Imagine the impact of all the funding currently received by the private sector in fees and charitable donations being ploughed into public education.

No because…

On the contrary, removing choice will end up with everyone getting the same mediocre education that is available from the state. Parents that are unsatisfied with this have then no opportunity to steer their childrens´ education into the direction they would like it to be heading and it is ludacris to think they would spend as much of their own money on state schools as they would be willing to pay for a private school. Why? Because if the school is statefunded it is a human attitude to expect the state to provide the money to improve it. Britain might even lose schoolchildren as well as qualified teachers looking for a challenging experience to other countries and their boarding schools.

Move forward and do what is best for the majority

Yes because…

Education should be based on an individual’s hard work and not on a family bank account. If we look to countries such as Finland and Norway which have more than 95% of their students in public schools, these countries are some of the best-educated countries in the world. Statistics show that by allowing a two-tier system to continue to grow, too many ‘hard-working’ students are going to be unfairly disadvantaged. Education should be based on ‘hard work’ and our hospitals ‘need’.

In regards to a two-tier system, we have to ask ourselves: do we want our children to do well based on their ‘own’ hard work? Do we want an education system based on meritocracy or aristocracy? If more students begin to attend public schools, we will soon come to realise that the effects are not only extremely beneficial for the majority (poor and middle-class) but also for the minority (rich) because they enable everybody to become more socially aware and are a key to future economic growth as more people are given future opportunities to seek steady employment.

Finally, the points made do not favour the abolition of private schools, what they do place emphasis on, though, is the need to increase government funding for progressive public education, which would only come through private schools being disallowed funds. Government funding to private schools in fact contradicts the purpose of private schools being free from government intervention. It is extremely important that we respect people from all different types of backgrounds; this is why public schooling provides an overall better education than private schooling; public schools enable students to learn more about what being democratic and coherent actually mean; private schools establish the basis for further inequality.

No because…

If the ‘majority’ chooses not to work as hard or as long as the majority of private school parents, then those who do hold down a good job that pays well should not be penalised for giving their child a better education. In fact, abolishing private education would not lead to a mass benefit to the state school system: it would simply over burden the creaking state schools and lead to large unemployment of teachers, janitors and cleaners who currently work at private schools.

The majority would not benefit from the abolition of private education: think about Winston Churchill, for example, who is regarded as one of the best prime ministers Britain has ever had. Where would Britain be without his leadership skills and military bravery, without his background in an aristocratic family and his private education? Also, the richest private schools do not get better at the expense of the nation: they get better at the expense of the parents who pay both tax to fund the state school system and the private education system, and the state school system in Britain is failing its pupils already, and we should not fail the rest of those pupils who are currently in private education just because of politics.

children need social education

Yes because…

Education should not merely be academic. Children need to be exposed to different classes and types of people. This is the sort of education that will decrease the wealth gap in Britain. If the more wealthier among us were educated with the least wealthier of us, people would be less prejudiced. This would result in the least well off people being accepted into higher class jobs instead of losing out due to the interviewer being prejudiced against people who were not so eloquent, but just as articulate. This is what we need for a meritocratic society.

No because…

Most private schools were established as a means of schooling orphans and the less well off. This tradition has continued in to the 21st century with many independent schools offering bursaries from 5% to 100% of the fees paid already by the Trustees of the school. Also, the wealth gap has been increasing steadily since Labour came to power, which proves that having socialists in power does not lessen the disadvantage/advantage gap.

Private Schools inhibit reform of the public system

Yes because…

It is an inevitable feature of democracies that the rich have particular access to politicians and policy-makers. While the rich don’t have a need for public education because they can pursue education for their children from other sources, they have no motivation to lobby politicians on behalf of the education system and a perverse incentive to remove education from political agendas in favour of their preferred issues and legislation.

Only by forcing the rich into the same situation as the poor can we expect to gain meaningful ground in terms of education reform, especially in terms of increased funding relative to national and municipal budgets. We cannot expect education will be a national priority until the entire nation has a vested interest in the good order of the system.

No because…

By “forcing the rich into the same situation as the poor” there will only be resentment, and the most well off will send their children abroad to more democratic societies where freedom of choice is allowed.

This proposition argument assumes that those who are less well off do not have the motivation to lobby Parliament, which is an insult to those who work hard trying to implement education changes, and send their children to state schools.

Private schools aren’t necessarily good for the child.

Yes because…

A private school is a very institutionalised, artificial environment where the child will be exposed only to children of their own socioeconomic background. Added to this, there are less safeguards in place to assure the parents that the children are being taught from the same curriculum as a state school and are not being abused, especially if it is a boarding school.

No because…

The pressure on private schools to take and provide for students of less priviledged backgrounds means the students are increasingly diverse. Private schools are institutionalised, but this need not necessarily be a bad thing. Many opportuinities are avaliable through a private education which a state school will not provide, sport, music etc. Exploring beyond the curriculum is a key part of the ethos and can help expand student’s minds. The centralisation of the exam process means that the curriculum has little chance of being abused.

The child will feel un-loved and un-wanted

Yes because…

They will spend their time after leaving school trying to earn their Fathers love and therefor not being true to themselves. They will go for money for example and not choose a career that will be compatible with who they truly are. This will lead to unhappiness, depression and hyper sanity (through intense education – learning too much too soon).

No because…

The affection and devotion applied to an individual varies based on the character and morals of a parent, and is not dictated by the schooling of a child. The idea of doing a job for the sole purpose of monetary gains is in no way only applied to children from private schools. If you assume that those enrolled in private schools place a large focus on money due to maintaining their own lifestyle, we can also assume those in public school choose a career for money, as they realize the importance and value of money, and know the opportunities that money both provides and limits. In a day and age where we are surrounded by blinking lights and the development of technology we would have never imagined 20 years ago, let alone materialized, the education in private schools is not nearly overwhelming.

A private education is a good education

No because…

It seems silly to propse scrapping a system of education that produces positive results and successful individuals. Private education still exists because the alternative is over-stretched, over-crowded and doesn’t always provide the best all-round education. The statistics prove the success of the private school system, as they attain higher incomes over their lifetime. The proposition claim that the government could invest more resources or copy other education models, but until this happens, removing the private education system would force everyone to enter a system unfit for purpose. This would be detrimental to education as a whole in this country.

Yes because…

The problem’s of inadequate education on the state could easily be resolved if the government were to invest more resources or else copy more successful models abroad. Just because at the moment the alternative is not palatable, doesn’t mean that this always will be the case.

Paying for your education does not guarantee a good education. Private schools still have an significant number of inadequate teachers.

Private schools create competition

No because…

Having private schools means there is natural compeition in the educations sector. The government must keep the standard of a state education up to prevent the affluent middle classes from deserting state education entirely and sending their children into the private sector at a reasonable cost. If this happened with enough families, there would be growing demand to lower taxes – it would be unfair for large swathes of middle England to pay for state educations they are not using. Obviously doing this would be a political nightmare: funding would be cut dramatically, lowering the quality of state education even further. So, the government is forced to compete with the private sector in order to guarantee continued funding and the support of the middle classes.

Yes because…

“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.” [Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26.i.]

Does the marketisation of education not contradict the universal right to free education? If education is important enough, it should not need to be marketised and competitive in order to progress. The marketisation of education, reinforced through institutions such as private schools, may also be having an adverse affect on the education itself. More and more teachers in both private and public education find themselves swamped with boxes that their students have to have ticked (Key stages, standardised lesson plans, SATs etc) in order to prove that their education is efficient, value for money, etc. The idea of education for its own sake is thrown out of the window. In less abstract terms, subjects that don’t get enough popular support are thrown out rather than improved – it’s no longer compulsory to take a language to GCSE, nor to sit an aural exam if one is taken.

Competition does not mean better education, it means standardised education and teaching students to jump through hoops. As private education has much better means to do this, e.g. much smaller contact groups and excellent revision resources, state-funded education really has to pull out all the stops to keep up, including rejecting independent thought in favour of ‘exam skills’. Competitive education is not a human right, it’s a travesty.

In a civilised society, there should be plenty of choice

No because…

Just as we have the right choose whether or not to buy organic or eat really fatty foods, or buy a ridiculously expensive car , we also have the right to choose a good education for our children, whether or not this is a choice that everyboy has.

It is unreasonable to expect everybody to have to send their children to a state school that they feel is unsuitable, rather than a better resourced, better run private school simply because there are others unfortunate enough not to be able to have this choice.

Yes because…

Choice doesn’t have to be between a state and a private school; an effective choice can exist between neighbouring state schools. Schools often now specialise in certain areas – sport, technology and so on – and so provide a choice for parents and students alike as to where a young person receives their education.

what sort of choice do people from council estates have whether they can go to a private school or state run? It’s choice for the rich, not for anyone else.

So send your child to a Grammar School

No because…

Grammar schools are free but selective. If you can’t afford a private school and your child is smart enough, send them there. Problem solved.

If your child isn’t clever (and yes it’s a hard thing to gauge when young) then why are you complaining that others will get further in life? They would have got further anyway.

Yes because…

The bottom line is, one’s prospects in life do not significantly differ by having had private education, rather than a comprehensive or gramar education.

I am a student at the University of Durham, where a significant proportion of undergraduate students have come from ‘Public School’ backgrounds. There are also a lot of students who have attended both grammar schools and comprehensive schools.

My argument is that all of these students have progressed successfully through their schooling, regardless of which type, and have arrived at Durham having been accepted on to a degree programme. The type of secondary education which one has had makes absolutely no difference.
All students have arrived and are in the same position and are ALL equal!

The goverment can’t afford to take on more school children

No because…

8% of students currently study at private schools in the UK. At a time when the entire budget is coming under pressure, the idea of taking on fully half a million more students all at once would devalue the entire system and bring it to the point of collapse. Those who are wealthy enough to pay for their child’s education are actually removing a burden from poorer taxpayers by not using the state system.

Yes because…

Abolishing a good service on the basis that some cannot afford it is absurd

No because…

Whilst it is true that some cannot afford to give thier children a private education this should not mean that the institutions should be abolished completely! This is equivalent to arguing that as some cannot afford Ferraris they should cease production. Of course there will always be inequality but this does not mean we should ban a good service for some on the basis that it is not available to all. Yes, perhaps we should try to make it more accesible through scholarships and bursaries etc, and perhaps one day it will be available for all, but until then it would be a step backwards to abolish private education. Communism didn’t work people!

Yes because…

The Ferrari argument is absurd. Of course people should be able to choose what car they drive. If someone wants to spend that much money on a car that is their prerogative. However, education is a sensitive matter, especially compared to cars! Just because someone has been born into money, why should they be given an education that offers them more opportunities? Cambridge and Oxford boast that “only” 50% of their students are from public schools, but this is no achievement when the percentage of pupils attending public schools is far less than 50%. (1)

Social disparity is an American ideal that the country is built upon.

No because…

This is not a country that endorses socialist ideals, good or bad i don’t know, but the idea of private education is fundamental capitalist ideal, and therefore can not be written off because of its endorsement of socio-economic disparity.

Yes because…

The ideals of the multifaceted country can not be generalized as Capitalist or Socialist. Education is a priority to becoming not only a contributing American citizen, but a global citizen as well. For every privtate institution with million, even billion dollar endowments, that could be spread, prioritized and effectively raise the standard of education on a national basis. What more reason do you need?

Parents who want to send their children to a fee-paying school are making a decision based on what is best for their children.

No because…

Parents who want to send their children to a fee-paying school are making a decision based on what is best for their children. They decide to use the money they have earned to give their children the best opportunities in life. What right does anyone have to tell someone else how to spend their earnings? Private schools provide parents with an alternative to the state sector, and a learning environment, which might better suit their children. All they are doing is using their money to help their children. . In addition, whilst there are many bad state schools, there are also bad private schools, and some excellent state schools which compete with the best private schools. It is clear from this last fact that state schools can be the successes that we want them to be, whilst still allowing others the right to choose a different option.

Yes because…

Private schools do not provide all parents with an alternative – only those who can afford it. Such schools perpetuate social inequality, as a better education tends to lead to a better-paid job, which in turn enables one to send one’s own children to such a school. Consequently, equal opportunities are denied to the children of poorer families. With the patronage of wealthier parents, private schools attract resources far higher than state schools. Moreover, with the (often academically selected) children from more affluent backgrounds, greater resources and smaller classes, these schools are unsurprisingly more attractive to teachers than state schools. We have a situation where state schools are potentially deprived not only of able pupils, but also very able teachers, thus compounding the inequalities. Such a state of affairs is socially divisive, and must be avoided.

The existence of private education can actually be financially beneficial to state schools.

No because…

The existence of private education can actually be financially beneficial to state schools. The state funds the education system through taxation. Parents who do not send their children to state schools still pay those same taxes. Therefore, there is more money per child in the state sector. There is evidence that a large number of parents, who send there children to private schools, are both ‘first time buyers’ – i.e. neither parent attending a private school – and not from the privileged elite that the opposition would have us believe. Moreover, most schools provide bursaries for able pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the state itself used to fund such a scheme, called ‘assisted places.’ This is evidence against private schools being socially divisive.

Yes because…

State schools will never improve if, instead of funding them, government pays thousands of pounds in assisted place fees in the private sector every year. Furthermore, the bursary system does little more than improve private schools whilst depriving state schools of some of their most able pupils. Another factor is that whilst a small proportion of children do get in on academic ability with bursaries, they are a small minority of those similarly able and disadvantaged, whilst less able children from more wealthy backgrounds benefit. And children of average or lower intelligence are excluded from these institutions of small classes and more individual attention, from which they may benefit, on two counts: their ability, and their parents’ incomes. This should strike any observer as deplorably unfair and discriminating.

the correct way to improve the education for children in state schools is to spend more money on state schools

No because…

On the disparity between private and state schools, the correct way to improve the education for children in state schools is to spend more money on state schools, devote more time, energy and enthusiasm to them. Preventing a minority from having a certain type of education is not the way to help improve the majority’s education. By and large, the complaint is that private schools are doing well and providing a good education, whilst state schools lag behind. It is in all our interests to set the standard of education as high as we can – you do this by raising state schools to the supposed standard of private schools, not by depriving children of a private education.

Yes because…

It is true that many of the problems facing state schools stem from within them, but the existence of the private schools outside hardly improves morale amongst staff. It is not as simple as saying we need more money to improve state schools. Since state schools’ funding comes via the government, which gets its money through taxation, then an increase in education expenditure – if it isn’t to cause cuts elsewhere – inextricably leads to higher taxes. It is the Government which makes decisions over education funding. What is more, the existence of private schools must necessarily diminish the social diversity in state schools. Thus, until private schools are banned, and more social groups are forced to take an active interest in funding issues for state schools, there will not be a sufficiently broad-based, united lobbying force to impel Government to take the action it fears now would make it unpopular and spend the necessary money. Indeed, the funding problems may more quickly be resolved if a few more prominent and powerful politicians had children in state schools.

Private schools one on one time with individual teacher and student enables better results in the long run.

No because…

Surely children with close contact time with the educators in schools, small classes and therefore close watch on improvement/difficulties, will allow each child to reap the benefits.

Yes because…

Not all private schools operate that way. Not all private schools are small and not all private schools hire the best educators who will always be helpful to pupils just because they are in close contact.

It is as if to say that quantity of time with children equates to quality of time with children.

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve Collis
7 years ago

Your first sentence is wrong – either Childrens parents can afford to pay or they can’t.
Your second sentence is also wrong – State education is not free as you pay taxes for it (which I assume you don’t if you can afford to send your kids to private school !!!!)

Navneet Kaur
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve Collis

Your second sentece is wrong because the rich also pay taxes so they are paying double what we pay. So you are wrong.

Verified by MonsterInsights