Three in five people are in favour of a ‘Free to Families’ scheme to create up to 10,000 new places a year at independent schools
The majority of people in Britain think the proposal for independent schools to create up to 10,000 free places a year for children from low income families, through joint funding with government, is a good idea.
Parents of children at senior school are the strongest advocates of the scheme, with 67% in favour.
New polling, carried out on behalf of the Independent Schools Council, shows that over three in five, or 62% of people, are in favour of the proposal. People are over four times as likely to advocate this proposal, with just 14% of people against the idea.
The proposal has also received support from Ralph Lucas, editor in chief of The Good Schools Guide and Graham Brady, MP, among others.
The proposal would see government contributing £5,500, the cost of an annual place at a state school, with the independent school topping up the remainder of the cost of the place, worth an average of £8,000 per year, to create up to 10,000 new places every year at independent schools across the country. The places would be free to families.
There would be no extra cost to government. This would be equivalent to filling ten new state schools, without the additional costs to government of building them.
The proposal was announced last December as part of the independent schools sector response to the government’s Green Paper, Schools that Work for Everyone. It comes in addition to the over £350 million a year that independent schools already offer in free and substantially reduced cost places to children from families on lower incomes.
Barnaby Lenon, Chairman of the Independent Schools Council, said: “These proposals would help create many more much needed good school places, at no extra cost to the state. It is no surprise that the majority of people are in favour of this scheme.”