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A not so cunning plan

Ian Roblin ("Abandon the status quo", Letters, 5 July) believes he has a "cunning plan" for educational vouchers at fee-paying schools. Is the voucher to cover the full cost of the fees? If so, parents have an invisible educational voucher at publicly funded schools already. As they reach one of these, parents hand over their invisible voucher - otherwise known as their address - and the school then enters their child's name on the register. It's called open enrolment. If the voucher pays for only a proportion of the fees at a fee-charging school, parents then have to pay the rest. If they are poor, they can't. So the people who get in to Mr Roblin's school would be the ones who have enough money to do that, not the ones at the front of his queue.

But parents have a legal duty to cause their children to attend school regularly. They can't do that unless sufficient schools have a duty to admit those children when they turn up, so schools can't charge what parents can't pay. Of course, if Mr Roblin simply wants to subsidise parents who can pay school fees, all he has to do is to ask taxpayers to hand a certain voucher amount to each student on every fee-charging school's register. This is not a new idea or particularly cunning. Just very expensive.

Sir Peter Newsam, Thornton Dale, North Yorkshire.

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