Poison perks;Leading Article;Opinion

THE London Oratory is not the first maintained school to ask parents to offset unwelcome cuts, even if it has been funded in recent years at levels most heads only dream of. Nor will parents at the Oratory be the first gladly to pay what to many is a relatively small premium in order to enjoy the sort of exclusivity, staffing, facilities and extra-curricular activities they would otherwise have to spend thousands on in the private sector, even if the governing body has kept from them the information required by law in its annual report on how it spends the school's money.

The Oratory is not the only former grant-maintained school to be feeling the squeeze begun by the last government after double-funding was criticised by the Public Accounts Committee and tightened by the loss of special grants following a change in status. But rather than fight to retain the perks which poisoned the well of self-government they ought to lobby for adequate funding for all schools.

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