New analysis shows that, because of rising demand from Middle Eastern oil barons, Russian political exiles and South American drug lords, school fees have, on average, trebled in the past thirty years; pricing out all but the richest from access to top rated schools.
Rupert DeVere, director of the Good School Guide, was dismayed by the current trend. ‘Private schools have always been the shining light of egalitarianism in this country, as children of doctors and lawyers stood the same chance of getting a place as those of Russian oligarchs or Central Asian dictators. By putting their prices up to such extortionate levels, these schools are completely undermining the principle that all children are equal, regardless of background.’
And DeVere went even further to say that the high prices, such as £34,000 per term for pupils at Eton, are a form of ‘social cleansing’. ‘Private school children used to come from diverse backgrounds, with pupils coming from all over the country. I had school friends from Kent, Sussex and Hampshire. Now most pupils come from the same tiny oil-rich state in the Persian Gulf.
‘Rather than breaking down social barriers like they used to, private schools are beginning to reinforce them’, he added.
But David Cameron has reacted by announcing new measures to ensure that no children miss out on a good education. ’21st Century Britain prides itself on being a meritocracy, and part of that means giving a good start to every child. We want to send a message that, no matter what your race, class or religion; if you work hard, you will be successful.
‘That’s why, from now on, all places in the top fifty state schools will be reserved for children of parents with an income of £150,000 or greater’, he announced.