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Milburn on School Vouchers

Give parents the keys to a better school | Alan Milburn - Times Online

The evidence from countries such as Denmark, Sweden and the US is that it is not schools selecting pupils, but parents being able to choose schools that raises standards generally and helps the disadvantaged particularly....And we could give parents who do not at present have access to a good school the power to get it. I have proposed that parents be given a new right of redress to choose a better school for their child if they live in an area where the schools are consistently performing badly. Parents could be given an education credit worth 150 per cent of the cost of the child’s schooling for a state school of their choice. The extra funding would give good schools an incentive to expand pupil numbers and broaden their social intake.

Nearly there - give all parents an "education credit" (School Vouchers are obviously the verboten name now), give the schools to the governing bodies and watch the market work its magic.


150%? Is he mad? 50% would be quite enough - and have the bonus that the more people take up the option, the less it costs the taxpayer.

If it is the parents who decide whether the local schools are bad 150% is fine- educationally- though it will bankrupt the country very soon as every school poaches pupils to get the extra funding. If it is the ministry or the LEA, or one of their tame watchdogs that decide- then its meaningless they will simply describe all their schools as good- or maybe say there is access to one in the next borough.
At 50%- no school would take pupils at that rate- the better schools would go bust if they accepted any such pupils
Keep it simple- give every parent a voucher/credit/whatever to the value of the average cost of education for each child. Let the Parents spend that at any school (public private state) that they like and will take them. The state's involvement in education would then be limited to funding it- which would get rid of a lot of the rubbish currently taught.
It shouldn't be beyond the wit of man to give some benefit to home schoolers from the system. And it wouldn't be long before some schools found they could offer cashback to attract pupils- thus returning money to mostly poor parents for other uses, and more importantly setting a market value on education. It should be remembered that even in this day and age we need a large number of unskilled and semi skilled people who will never use more than reading writing and arithmetic- its a waste of their time and money to force them to sit through other stuff, and if they don't want to learn- they won't.
It'll never happen of course- there are too many LEA employees and Civil Servants with jobs to maintain- and no politician has yet managed to refrain from telling everyone what to think- they certainly won't give up a captive audience.

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