Here we go. As the debate continues within the Labour party as to which Brexit policy will win the party the most seats at a general election, the mainstream domestic policy agenda is progressing nicely. This evening, Labour delegates approved a motion for a Labour government to seemingly abolish private schools. The motion is to ‘integrate’ private schools into the state sector. Rather than knock them down, the idea appears to be that a school such as Eton would become part of the state system. However, Mr S’s Labour mole says there is a grey area as to the exact details as the motion passed is clumsily worded.
Set aside the small matter that private schools educate 15pc of sixthformers (ie, the ones who apply to university) when 7pc is a figure for the whole system. Set aside how on earth the state sector could afford to pay the 600,000-odd pupils who would suddenly be requiring council money to finance their education.
The motion breaks down into several parts but the overall theme is that Prime Minister Corbyn would ‘challenge the elite privilege of private schools’ on the basis that ‘the ongoing existence of private schools is incompatible with Labour’s pledge to promote social justice’. Various steps have been listed to begin with including ending independent schools’ charitable status and ‘all other public subsidies and tax privileges’. Under the motion, a Labour government would also force universities to make sure only seven per cent of their intake attended private school – to reflect the same proportion as in the general population.
The chief executive of the Independent Schools Council Julie Robinson, chief said:
‘Parents across the country have every right to be worried about the decision by Labour Party conference to support a motion to abolish independent schools. The move is an attack on the rights and freedoms of parents to make choices over the education of their children.’
What ever will Diane Abbott and Shami Chakrabarti say? Both shadow cabinet members have sent their children to private schools. Then we have Seamus Milne (Winchester), with both Corbyn and McDonnell having been sent to private schools when they were younger…