‘Assisted places’ scheme wherein the councils provided subsidies to parents to take their wards out of state school will return in its partial form if the ‘Open Access’ programme proposed by the Sutton Trust charity is accepted by the authorities.
Dozens of top private schools including Westminster, Manchester Grammar, City of London School and King Edward’s Birmingham, were calling on the ministers to fund bright children find place in such schools where the parents could not afford the full fees.
The proposal of Sutton Trust charity wants to create a system under “Open Access” programme which would be operated fully and “needs blind” admissions.
Academicians have claimed it would be cheaper than funding places in the state sector and would increase the levels of going places in the society by letting the pupils to attend institutions with some of the best academic records in Britain.
As in every programme where government funding is involved the people who would lose on it, in this case, the teaching unions’ are expected to oppose it fiercely as it would mean diversion of state fund from the state education system.
The Conservative Coalition too would be apprehensive of backing such move for fear of igniting ‘elitism’ claims.
Sir Peter Lampl, the Sutton Trust chairman, said such schools would benefit more than 30,000 meritorious children who now cannot afford to do so. This he said would transform social mobility at the top.
In a report, the Sutton Trust suggests that education at a top private day school can be provided for around £11,000 per pupil each year.
Out of which it proposed the Government provided an average of £5,500 for each pupil to attend, which is about £500 less than a state school place, the rest is to be borne by the parents.
The fees would be based on the sliding fees where poorest pupil getting higher subsidy and the better off to get lower subsidies.
David Levin, headmaster of the City of London Boys’ School, said many highly able students are being turned away, from low and middle income homes, who otherwise would thrive in their schools.
Open Access would allow us to be truly needs blind in our admissions.