By Tim Dodd
Sangita Myska asked if it was time for Britain to “take payment out” of its education system and “end private schools altogether” to level the playing field, amid a discussion on state school admission to Oxbridge.
It comes as Cambridge University vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope has told private schools to accept that they will get fewer students into Oxbridge in the future.
Professor Toope said the university would be “welcoming others” rather than telling students from private schools “we don’t want you”.
After reading an article that claiming “weaker state-school students” could “bring down the braininess of the average Oxford student”, Sangita said: “Is this the moment to look at radical solutions? And would a radical solution, one that would really level the playing field, be to take payment out of the system when it comes to schooling?
“Is it time that we just say independent schools have had a good run, they still get charitable tax status. Instead of fiddling while Rome burns by debating tax status, why don’t we just say we need to end private schools altogether.”
Sangita continued: “All kids need to go to state schools. Those schools need to be comprehensive schools, non-selective state schools, because by doing that not only do the kids end up there, but the parents end up there.
“The pushy parents who want better teaching, who will help their kids with homework, who will make sure the schools have enough equipment, who will buy books when they don’t have them, who will be there and make sure that fundraising at schools can happen.
“Those parents, by virtue of the fact that their kids have no choice but to go to their local schools, will have to buy in.
“I want to be really clear here. I’m talking about… is it time to end the independent sector in Britain, and introduce a truly comprehensive non-selective sector that means all kids have to go to comprehensive, non-selective schools?”
Speaking to The Times, Vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toopehe said: “I would say we have to keep making it very, very clear we are intending to reduce over time the number of people who are coming from independent school backgrounds into places like Oxford or Cambridge.
“Individual students who are talented, we would want them, but they’re going to be competing against an ever-larger pool because there are more students coming from state schools who are seeing a potential place for themselves at Cambridge or Oxford or other Russell Group universities.”