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    5. Keir Starmer wants private schools to 'thrive' despite promising to ..


    Keir Starmer wants private schools to 'thrive' despite promising to scrap tax breaks

    Starmer said parents of children in both private and state schools want appropriately qualified teachers to teach them. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

    Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants private schools to “thrive” despite promising to scrap tax breaks.

    The Labor leader told Jewish News he firmly supports shadow policies education, outlined by Bridget Phillipson. Secretary to ensure that VAT is added to tuition fees at independent schools.

    But he said he had no “ideological” opposition to private education, adding: “We have fantastic independent schools. I want them to thrive.”

    Currently, private schools can claim they have charity status, meaning they don't have to add VAT to their tuition fees.

    The Labor Party wants end these tax breaks to raise £1.5 billion a year to spend on 6,500 new schools. teachers in the public sector.

    The independent sector has warned that schools will have to sharply increase tuition fees, raising the prospect of schools closing entirely.

    And economic experts have warned the policy could lead to tens of thousands of children returning to the state sector.

    The Labor leader made the comments while visiting an independent Jewish day school in Hendon, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

    Sir Keir said: “The removal of tax breaks is not aimed at independent schools for any ideological reasons.

    “This is simply an attempt to answer the question, if your public schools don't have a teacher in core subjects like maths, are you going to do anything about it?

    “And if so, how are you going to get there? is it to pay? These tax breaks will be used to support the recruitment of 6,500 new teachers in public secondary schools in subjects such as mathematics.”

    Starmer said parents of children in both private and state schools wanted appropriately qualified teachers to teach them.

    “This is not a reflection on independent schools,” he said. “We want them to thrive and work with them.”

    Sir Keir said it was instead a way to get good teachers in all schools so all children could thrive.

    His aim was to ensure that it did not matter whether a child went to an independent or state school – they should all have the same chance. He said Labour's policy was not aimed at detrimental to private schools.

    Sir Keir also insisted that Labor in power would be “even more supportive of faith schools” than the current government.

    “I think it's good that we create strong connections within schools, and so I wouldn't interfere with how we run our faith schools,” he said.

    “You You don't interfere with the religious school model, but you build a broader structure around it.”

    'A simple question of fairness'

    Earlier this year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted that up to 40,000 privately educated pupils would be forced to enroll in a faith school. public sector if Labor forces the independent sector to add VAT.

    The policy is thought to pose a greater threat to small independent schools than to schools such as Eton and St Paul's.

    Speaking to the Telegraph in July, Ms Phillipson said the plan was a “straightforward issue of fairness”.

    “I don't think the tax breaks that private schools enjoy can be justified,” said the shadow education secretary.

    “And politics is about priorities and choices. And for me the choice is how we use this extra income to raise standards in our public schools, where the vast majority of children will go.”

    When asked what she wanted to say to those families who will be excluded from the system? of private schools she said: “My priority as Education Minister would be to make public schools so good that middle-class parents don't feel they have to turn to the private sector.”

    “And you know, private schools are increasingly becoming out of reach for many middle class professionals who in the past might have opted for a private school but are now hampered by the cost of housing, given the fact that private schools have seen tuition rise well above inflation. last decade.”

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    September 2023

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