Concerns Labour put off 'baddie' private school parents

Leadership hopeful Jess Phillips worried by signal sent to parents but says private schools should be taxed as businesses

jess phillips

Parents who send their children to private schools believed they were seen as "baddies" by the Labour Party at the last general election.

That’s according to Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips MP who was giving her views on the party's election defeat.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News yesterday, Ms Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, said she was worried about how the conference vote to abolish private schools had appeared to parents who chose to send their children to them.


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Ms Phillips said: "I worry about some of the messaging and how that hit home because I have a friend who has a daughter with autism who is in a state-funded place at a private school and what she heard when we said that was 'You're a baddie and you shouldn't be doing that'.”

At its annual conference in September, Labour delegates voted through a motion to “integrate all private schools into the state sector”

A week later, a poll found that that two-thirds of public support independent education.

Ms Phillips said: "Every parent's responsibility is to their own child, a government's responsibility is to every child.”

However, she also said that private schools should be treated like businesses not like charities, and that they should be taxed “accordingly”.

She added: "There are so many things wrong with the private school system though, and how unfair an advantage it gives."

Ms Phillips said there needed to be a debate to improve state schools so people did not feel they could "buy advantage or buy privilege".

She continued: "My kids go to the local state school and it's an 'outstanding' school and people desperately want their children to go there.

"That's the situation that we have to get into, so that people don't feel like they can buy advantage or buy privilege.”

Last summer, Ms Phillips criticised the Department for Education over school cuts, and joined parents and teachers protesting about schools closing early on Fridays because of lack of funding.

As part of the protest, she left her son on the steps of 10 Downing Street after his school was one of those forced to close.

She also said that "if Ofsted inspected DfE, it'd be in special measures".

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