Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 30 Jul 2009

We pay school fees, and taxes for education. Why should we also pay to ‘prove’ our children’s school is a charity?

Hillary's Advice

You say you don’t want any of the £48,000-plus annual investment that you make in your sons’ education siphoned off into bursaries for poorer children. But think of it like this. How much will your children be able to reap the benefits of this investment if the society they grow up into is so fragmented that aren’t able to live the full and productive life that they would presumably want?

The very best societies are those where everyone feels that they are in it together, and where people of all backgrounds, class and income are able to share some sense of working for the common good. If your children inherit a society that is deeply split by social divides, that hasn’t managed to nurture its full range of talent, and has allowed the gulf between its richest and poorest to grow vast and unbridgeable, then they may well find themselves dealing with directly with all kinds of unwelcome consequences, from growing levels of street crime, to a patchy and poorly-trained health service, or a government and civil service not picked from the best and brightest and therefore not up to the challenges they need to deal with.

Our society is already more deeply divided that many others, at least in Europe. Part of the problem is the rift that persists between independent and maintained schools, and it is in everyone’s interests that the barriers between these two sectors are lowered in every way possible.

In short, your undiluted self-interest does no-one any good, least of all your own children.