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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 2:24 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I see in the press that Anthony Little, head of Eton, is calling for a return of the assisted places scheme.

I realise that this scheme is of huge benefit to the already wealthy public schools as they obtain a large slice of public money.

Can anyone find any benefit to the general public for these places. Currently there are free places available to the able through the bursary systems offered by many private schools and Eton offer an excellent system.

Personally I feel that nearly £30,000 per year would be better spent on many children rather than one.


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 3:15 pm 
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I had understood they were discussing funding equivalent to state education which would be topped up by other means, bursaries etc.

I simply can't imagine how they could fund full fees! :shock:


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 3:47 pm 
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The "voucher scheme" was supposed to work by providing private schools/parents with equivalent state school funding. I thought the assisted places scheme worked like a bursary but with the government funding the gap in the fees due to the school rather than the schools themselves. Hopefully I'm wrong.


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 5:15 pm 
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To quote,

The Assisted Places Scheme was established in the UK by the Conservative government in 1980. Children who could not afford to go to fee-paying independent schools were provided with free or subsidised places - if they were able to score within the top 10-15% of applicants in the school's entrance examination. By 1985, the scheme catered for some 6,000 students per year.

Claiming the practice to be elitist and wasteful of public funds, the Labour government of Tony Blair, upon its election in 1997, abolished the Assisted Places Scheme. The government announced that the funds were instead to be used to reduce class sizes in state nursery schools. However, children already in receipt of an assisted place were allowed to complete the remainder of that phase of their education.

The result of abolition has been to reduce the social range of pupils educated at independent schools. Some private schools have taken steps to provide their own funding for pupils from poorer backgrounds through bursaries.

Surveys of the scheme indicated that relatively few (e.g. 7% of) assisted-place students actually came from working-class backgrounds. Around half the fathers of assisted-place students had professional or managerial jobs. In most cases, a parent of an assisted-place pupil had him or her self been to an independent school. Another noted feature of the scheme was that around a third of assisted-place students came from single-parent families, again with the majority of parents having been educated privately themselves


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 6:21 pm 
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There is a report on assisted places here

http://www.suttontrust.com/reports/APS% ... Report.pdf

I have qouted some interesting bits I found in the report

Quote:
One of the major findings of the original research was that less than 10% of AP holders had fathers who were manual workers, with 50% of the sample having fathers in service class employment. Almost all the employed mothers of the AP holders were in white collar employment (Edwards et al 1989: 161). In the original sample, the majority of AP holders came from families with relatively high educational inheritance, leading to the conclusion that „on this evidence they are not clearly from socially or culturally disadvantaged backgrounds, despite the relatively low incomes of their parents‟ (Edwards et al 1989: 161).


Quote:
Virtually all spoke of the fact that they could not participate in the „semi-formal‟ activities of the school curriculum, such as field-trips, cultural visits or foreign exchanges, because their parents could not afford them. The lack of participation in weekend and after-school activities was compounded by the very long journeys to and from school which were commonly mentioned. Although many of their wealthier classmates would also have experienced long travelling times, the relative poverty of our AP holders meant they had a greater reliance on public transport. It is likely that this lack of participation in activities more associated with the social dimension of the school contributed to the relatively high levels of detachment within our sample.


Quote:
Why is it that our committed respondents are largely female and our alienated respondents entirely male? Our sample is small and imbalanced in terms of the number of men and women interviewed. Nevertheless, the difference is striking. It may be that our girls‟ schools embodied the forms of „academic feminism‟ identified by Arnot (2002), which underscored the importance of high academic attainment for competing with males.
However, the greater levels of involvement of our female respondents arise not so much from their acceptance of the academic dimension of their school, but from the acceptance and realisation of the social objectives of the school. After all, our „detached‟ category is comprised largely of male respondents.


Quote:
There is little doubt that many individuals benefited from the APS. The receipt of an assisted place enabled them to attend prestigious and well-resourced private schools which led to high academic attainments and places at elite universities. Previous analysis (Power et al 2006) indicated that AP holders were more likely to do better than state school pupils in this respect, although less well than full fee payers at private schools.


As to whether its better to spend £30K on one child or many, its very difficult to say but personally I see it as a way of bridging the soacial gaps and support it. Looking at the current mix of our leaders they are mostly privately educated and/or went to Oxbridge. Even with Nu Labour cabinet, they had a quite a bit more of these in cabinet. Should we therefore just accept that tommorrow' s leader will be from Eaton and Westminister where money talks? Giving a few other children APS may lead to it being perhaps a little more diverse mix of social backgrounds. Its all good to say we should make our state kids be at that same level but it will never be as long as there are issues to do with funding. The APS wasnt perfect and there are recomendations of how to make it better. I doubt we will see it soon considering money is tight right now for the government.

With grammar schools being a thing of the past which narrowed these inequalities, I can only see this problem becoming worse and statistics already show this now. Even with the current grammar's they are really being squezed and the government seems to have channelled all the money to failing schools. Perhaps more money to successful schools too would help them go that extra mile in providing first class education rather than channel all the money to academies.

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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 7:24 pm 
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I wonder if the ConDems will consider re-introducing the Assisted Places Scheme.

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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:53 pm 
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Can we get rid of all state subsidies of the private sector. If they want to operate in the open market then they should not rely on any government support.

By this I mean, private schools should not be VAT exempt, able to register as charities (unless all places are free), and an end to the subsidies that the armed forces officers receive.

Before any complains, I have no malice against private schools. For what its worth, I am also against faith schools. If you want your child educated in a particular faith, then pay for it.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 8:25 am 
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Just to reply to Gman why are you so against the Armed Forces getting a contribution towards school fees. The parents are doing a job which requires moving often and these allowances are paid equally to "all ranks" to give the children continuity of education. Hence the name "continuity of education allowance (CEA)." I know a family that has moved 15 times in the 20 years which would have involved 10 different schools. I have seen mentioned that for every move a child can go backwards educationally up to 6 months so if this is the case why should these children be punished for their parents' jobs because without CEA these children would constantly be moving schools? :(


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:06 pm 
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Moving is the risk you take when joining the armed forces. Many people move for jobs, and they do not get subsidies for private schools.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:14 pm 
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With respect, the 'Armed Forces' isn't just 'other jobs' though is it? These people risk their lives for our country and I don't see why anyone living in this country would have an issue with this. There are many, many other jobs they could take up which would earn them alot more money, but instead they choose to fight for us sat at home and in my eye's are 100% entitled to any benefit's toward's their children's education.

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