Donate Now

Intelligence Squared:
Debate: Save Our Private Schools!

27th February 2024 · 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Doors open: 6:30pm

In person

Event has passed
Intelligence Squared: Debate: Save Our Private Schools!

Britain has an education system that perpetuates inequality. Seven per cent of its children go to private schools and yet these institutions receive around three times the funding per student as the average state school. Privately educated people then go on to dominate our elite institutions. They are seven times as likely to win a place at Oxford and Cambridge universities as their state-educated peers, and they make up 65 per cent of senior judges and 29 per cent of members of parliament. Private schools foster a cycle of privilege with the result that Britain has one of the lowest rates of social mobility in the developed world. So Labour leader Keir Starmer’s proposal to impose VAT on private school fees must surely be welcomed. The estimated £1.3 billion a year the tax would raise would be used to fund more teachers and provide mental health counselling in the state sector. Doubtless some parents would no longer be able to afford the higher fees but there is capacity within the state system to accommodate the fall-out. Who could possibly object to a tax that would benefit the majority of Britain’s school children?

Those who believe in aspiration, that’s who, argue the champions of private schools. People like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s parents, who, as he has explained, were not wealthy or privileged but who worked hard so that they could send their son to one of this country’s top independent schools. Removing the tax breaks on private schools would amount to class war and punish parents who are prepared to make sacrifices to give their children the best start in life. Because, let’s be honest, it won’t be the one per cent who will be affected by this change, but the children of the ‘squeezed middle’ and the less well off who rely on bursaries and scholarships to access private education – many of whom these schools may no longer be able to support under Labour’s proposals.

Should private schools continue to enjoy their tax advantages or not? Join the debate on February 27 at Conway Hall, hear the arguments and decide for yourself.

Event has passed

Further Info

If you have any accessibility enquiries, please contact us at / 020 7405 1818.

Read more about how we use Cookies in our Privacy Policy.


We need your help!

We host talks, concerts, performances, community and social events. However, we are an independent charity and receive no funding from the government. Everything we do is dependent upon our commercial activity and the generosity of supporters like you.

Donate Now