Give parents voucher for school of their choice, ministers told

A "voucher system" enabling parents to spend taxpayers' money on any school would drive competition, a think tank says in the Telegraph, 06/03/13.

Schools should receive funding directly from parents through a "voucher system" to drive competition and allow the worst–performers to fail, ministers have been told.

Families should be free to spend a lump sum of taxpayers' money on any state or private school to create more of a free market in education, it is claimed.

The Centre for Market Reform of Education (CMRE), a think tank, said the move would eradicate major "flaws" in the English schools system and drive up standards.

It would allow the most popular schools to expand while forcing unpopular ones to close, the study said. Vouchers would be equivalent to the amount that the Government spends on each pupil educated in state schools – an average of around £5,100.

Cash levels should be weighted to give schools more cash for teaching children from difficult backgrounds, the study suggested. Gabriel Sahlgren, the CMRE's director of research, said: "Schools must be allowed to fail in order for competition to succeed in raising achievement.

"Research indicates that it is almost impossible to turn around failing schools, so reforms that increase the number of places at good schools are therefore necessary."

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