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26th September 2019

Labour Party pledge to abolish private schools

At its annual party conference in Brighton, Labour promised to end private schools in the interest of “social justice”
Labour Party pledge to abolish private schools
Eton College, Photo: Martin Kraft @ Wikimedia Commons

The Labour Party has passed a motion to “integrate all private schools into the state sector” at its annual conference in Brighton. The vote by members signals a desire for the policy to appear in the Party’s next general election manifesto.

The motion claimed that “the ongoing existence of private schools is incompatible with Labour’s pledge to promote social justice.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said that more details would follow, but a Labour government’s first budget would “immediately close the tax loopholes used by elite private schools and use that money to improve the lives of all children.”

“Private schools’ property, land, and assets will also be seized and redistributed to other educational institutions and universities would be required to “admit the same proportion of private school students as in the wider population (currently 7%)”.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It will enable us to not only provide every child with the best opportunities in life, but also to build a cohesive and equal society in which we live together much more productively.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the Labour Party of “unbelievable hypocrisy”, claiming that “the offspring of several Labour cabinet ministers and most of Mr Corbyn’s closest associates went to private schools.”

The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents 283 independent schools, has promised to challenge Labour’s plans in the courts, with some suggesting that the freedom to spend money on private education is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Currently, just 7% of children in Britain are privately educated, but 71% of senior judges, 62% of senior armed forces officers, 50% of  House of Lords members’, 20% of University Vice-Chancellors went to a private school.

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