Surprise! People will pay for good schools (The Times)

By Stephen Pollard
May 5, 2007

I have a column in today's Times on ten years of education under Tony Blair:

We have an apartheid education system in which the barrier is not race but money. Fee-paying parents buy places in the best meritocratic schools, with the best meritocratic chance of securing a place in the best meritocratic universities, and thus the best meritocratic opportunity to get on in life. They compete on merit with their peers. But it is a stilted contest. Only the few lucky enough to have a decent education are able to enter it. The rest, however able they may be, are left behind.

The thread to the past ten years has been Mr Blair’s aim of giving all pupils the opportunity to enter that contest – to increase standards within the state sector so that all children have an equal chance of succeeding. But ten years on, and the apartheid barrier has grown even deeper. Those who can, pay. Those who can’t, stay.


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