Foreigners are puzzled why citizens in the UK have to pay to attend a ‘public’ school. I tell them, it is the same reason why you need to use a knife and fork to eat a banana! Melissa Benn has written in the Guardian today that our ‘public’ school system is “morally rotten”. I might use different language, but tend to agree that we do have a problem. My solution? Like in Finland, I would not ban private schools, just make the state schools better. I would make two changes:
- The government would be mandated to fund state schools at the ‘market’ rate per pupil. So, if the average private school fees are say £12,000 per pupil per annum, then this is what we need to invest in state education.
- In the interests of equality and diversity, I would require all public organisations (government, law, universities, BBC etc) to rebalance their quotas of private vs state educated to match the UK population as a whole (roughtly 6% private).
Point 1 would require roughly a doubling of state funding of education. Point 2 would have a big impact on so called ‘top’ universities, where privately educated students are over represented by a factor of 5, and on parliament where ‘public’ schools are similarly overrepresented . Maybe one day we might even see an MP from my old school?
 The quotas would have to be one parlimentary candidates within each party as we cannot mandate how people should vote, but still a party could stuff its 6% into safe seats if it wanted to, so the final outcome may be different.