Private schools in the UK will be abolished if Jeremy Corbin wins the next general election. The Labour leader also plans to impose a 7% cap on private school pupil entry to universities and to scrap Ofsted, the body responsible for inspecting a range of educational institutions.At the Labour Party Conference in Brighton on 21st-22nd September, party members voted to pass a motion – which was backed by several MPs, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell – to integrate private schools into the state sector. Under the party's leadership, it would also withdraw the charitable status of independent schools, as well as other public subsidies and tax privileges, and called for funds and properties held by private schools to be redistributed among other institutions.
Labour plans to 'make the education system fairer'
Speaking at the Labour Party Conference, Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, explained that the party would “work on making the whole education system fairer through the integration of private schools... our very first Budget will immediately close the tax loopholes used by elite private schools, and use that money to improve the lives of all children.“As the next Chancellor, John McDonnell will re-make our economy for social justice, by taxing privilege, redistributing wealth and re-investing in public services. So too in education. By creating a new, universal basic service. This is the heart of the National Education Service – the fundamental belief that education is a right for all, not just a privileged few.”In response to the motion, critics have questioned the human-rights and legal implications that would arise from these measures, as well as the feasibility of the state sector having to absorb in excess of 550,000 pupils.
How will this affect global mobility professionals?
For families considering a domestic move within the UK, the ramifications of these measures would include less choice for parents if private schools were abolished, due to a smaller pool of schools to choose from; larger classrooms in state schools to accommodate the thousands of private school pupils who would be displaced; and a potential drop in the quality of education as schools acclimatise to the new government's plans.A drop in education standards could put off global mobility professionals who are thinking about coming to the UK on assignment and who might find that international schools based in the UK have had to cut resources as their charitable status has been removed.Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council said, “Parents across the country have every right to be worried about the decision by Labour Party conference to support a motion to abolish independent schools. The move is an attack on the rights and freedoms of parents to make choices over the education of their children."Abolition would represent an act of national self-harm. Tearing down excellent schools does not improve our education system. The repercussions would be irreversible and far-reaching, damaging educational opportunities and limiting life chances. Moreover, Labour’s plan would breach the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to choose education.”