Evidence that private school parents are targeting grammar schools

  • 6th February 2024

Parents who would normally opt for an independent school education are considering a switch to a state supplied grammar school alternative instead because of the prospect of 20% WAT on fees under Labour, according to feedback from private tutors highlighted in The Times today.

Joe Hytner of Titanium Tutors said: “We have parents who would be priced out of the private school market if 20% were added to fees,” adding that parents are increasingly seeking advice about moving their primary-age children into the state sector.

Sheyi Martins-Allen, a tutor from West London said: “Most of our clients will ask us to tutor for the private schools as well as the grammar schools. They always have a go at the grammar school just in case they make it through and can effectively get a private school education for free.”

Spires Tutoring’s co-founder Leo Evans added that some of the private school parents he has spoken to were expressing buyer’s remorse for having started private schooling in the first place, worried not only by the proposed 20% increase, but also worried that they were disadvantaged when it comes to their offspring’s chances of getting into Oxbridge.

The Times speculated that the trend is likely to affect social mobility adversely, with the number of pupils in grammar schools on free school meals already less than a third of the national average.

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, said: “The huge danger for grammars is that they become hyper-selective; their selection criteria makes them enclaves of privilege rather than engines of social mobility. They fail to take in academically talented students from all backgrounds.”

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