Independent School Parent Magazine reacts to The Times columnist, David Aaronovitch's claims that independent schools are “by and large, immoral” and “dishonest”.
David Aaronovitch argues, “What is dishonest is when fee-charging schools try to sell themselves on their social mix or fabulous bursaries for the poor”.
But we ask: what is immoral about fee assistance to the value of almost £600 million offered in 2012?
That is one in three pupils, reports Barnaby Lenon Chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), at the 1200 schools under the ISC receiving help with their fees: four fifths of them gaining financial help directly from their school.
What parent wouldn’t grasp this opportunity with open arms?
Furthermore, Mr Aaronovitch alludes to a society who apparently, in the same breath, questions the fairness of parents who buy their “child a huge advantage over someone else’s through paying school fees” and “scroungers [who] get benefits”.
Generally, the ability for parents to afford their child’s school fees has been achieved through sheer hard graft and often, huge amounts of sacrifice.
Schools may indeed attract some of the “rich and powerful” parents that Mr Aaronovitch speaks of, but not every parent who chooses to send their child to an independent school can be tarred with the same brush.
Mr Aaronovitch points out that, “From 1998 to 2008, while median earnings rose by 31 per cent, private schools fees went up by 83 per cent”. And yet he states earlier in his piece that figures of children being privately educated have “remained broadly static”.
Surely this demonstrates that even during this economic crisis, hard working parents do not see the weight of a moral crisis looming when deciding to pay for this, so called, “immoral advantage”.
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