Letters extra: Wilby "ludicrously outdated" on privilege

5th March 2004 at 00:00

Peter Wilby's review of the book "Public or private" ( TES Friday magazine, 13.02.04 ) predictably censures the so-called "privilege" of private schooling. This addiction to the idea of "privileged toffs" is ludicrously out of date.

His historical perspective is likewise wrong: claiming that despite supposed shortcomings in the maintained sector private schools currently take "barely" 8 per centnbsp;of children, he ignores the fact that over the past 30 years this figure has grown from 5 per cent.nbsp;Perhaps the state's opting for comprehensive schools has something to do with this.

Curiously, elsewhere in the paper (Opinion) Mr Wilby recognises that the state can no longer deliver a satisfactory education. Therefore parents must pay for some reasonable standard. But the logic of Wilby's argument suggests that the state should back off from its near total involvement in education by encouraging, through tax rebates, those who wish to go private to do so.

But, instead, he proposes to attack the private schools' charitable status, a measure which would not abolish these schools but raise their fees making them even more exclusive.

Clearly, we have a political agenda designed not to uphold standards of education but simply the power of the state.

Nigal Probert

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today