Letters extra: What free schooling?

16th January 2004 at 00:00
Your question 'Whatever happened to free schooling?' (TES, 2 January) is highly misleading. Schooling has never been free and never will be.

All parents pay for education through taxation. Of course they have no idea how much they spend because our politicians decide that for them and do their best to keep it secret. This has led to a ridiculous situation where schools desperately need more money, parents clearly want to spend more on education, but politicians are unwilling to tax more because they believe it to be unpopular!

There are billions of pounds in UK households waiting to be spent on education, if only parents were given the opportunity to do so. The only real solution would be for the government to return our taxes and re-introduce school fees. For a policy that was first promoted in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, surely it is high time it was scrapped.

James Stanfield
School of Education
University of Newcastle

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