The pupil is the consumer

23rd April 2004 at 01:00
Blairites and other conservatives (the "Blair-Rights") believe, as your article exposes, that the parent will soon be the customer of state education (TES, April 9).

The logic behind this appears simple when the state pays state-school fees on behalf of the parent, but it is flawed. The money is collected by the state from all taxpayers, not just from parents. This would seem to make all taxpayers collectively the customer, yet this ignores the status of the pupil as consumer.

Although not the fee-payer, it is the pupil whose needs, preferences, and complaints must be satisfied, as it is the pupil who is the direct consumer of education.

Neil Southwell Education studies lecturer University College Northampton

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