Labour’s recent promise to add VAT to private school fees if elected is causing some families to reassess their finances and motivating them to live closer to a good state school.
At the party conference last week, Rachel Reeves reinstated Labour’s commitment to introduce 20% VAT on private school fees if it wins and to start charging full business rates on fee-paying schools in England and Wales. The revenue raised will be used to help state schools (which 93% of children attend) and better advance their educational services.
Due to these increasing fees, some homeowners are having to sell their homes and move to a catchment area to secure a place in their desired state school. Others who can afford the higher fees are deciding to send their children to state schools to better their chances of getting into Oxford and Cambridge universities, which are accepting a larger amount of pupils from state schools to be more inclusive.
“There is a huge amount of interest now in grammars and moving to grammar school catchment areas,” says Ben Horne, Head of Country, referring to England’s 163 government-funded selective schools, which are widely believed to provide a better education than its 3,000 or so state secondaries. “It is still early for the consequences of the Labour policy to be seen but it’s coming up in conversation all the time with clients and at the school gates,” he adds.
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