Your views

It's not charity that state schools need, but equality

I despair of Labour's approach to private schools in England. Of course taxpayers shouldn't prop up privilege, but unless the subsidy can be removed completely the issue should be left alone ("An odd couple could be the perfect pairing", News focus, 28 November).

The Charities Act 2006 was ineffective and the latest proposals by Labour's education spokesman in England, Tristram Hunt, will fail again. If anything, they will be counterproductive because they are predicated on the false assumption that private schools are intrinsically better. Evidence shows that, on average, the private sector spends massive resources doing an easy job moderately well. Collectively, public education does a much more difficult job with greater success at a fraction of the cost.

What private education does do well, and in complete denial of "charitable purpose", is to perpetuate social exclusivity. The patronising suggestion that they should "help" state schools in ways of their own choosing will do nothing to challenge that reality, at the same time as leaving the unjustified subsidy in place. Indeed, it could benefit private schools' own teachers (initially trained at public expense) and encourage mediocre institutions to bask in an undeserved sense of superiority.

Alan Parker

Croydon, Greater London

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