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Privately educated? You'll earn £200,000 more than state school friends by 42

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Privately educated children will have earned almost £200,000 more than state school pupils by the time they reach 42, according to research revealed yesterday.

A study by the Social Market Foundation think tank shows that in their thirties they can earn up to 38% more per year than their state school counterparts. This basically means that between the ages of 26 and 42 they will take home £193,700 more than a child that has attended state school.

The think tank put the divide down private schools pupils being "more likely to get good a-levels, more likely to get good degrees and to get them from the most selective universities." The evidence suggested the children had come from more affluent homes and come to school with better educational outcomes.

“On this evidence,” the study concludes, “limiting the opportunity to attend independent schools to those who are able to afford the high fees is inequitable."

They also stated that “even when factors such as family background and early educational achievement are accounted for, the ‘wage premium’ persists at £57,653.

“Independent schools in the UK are bastions of privilege, where a small proportion of predominantly affluent families pay high fees for an education that is associated with higher attainment, good social networks, and lucrative long-term employment outcomes for those attending.”

In a foreword to the report, Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, speaks of a “sense of outrage at the waste of talent in Britain” over the class divide in schools.

“I gained an Oxford education and a successful business career largely thanks to the fact that I had access to a free education at a leading independent school,” he adds, “But the opportunities I and many of my generation enjoyed no longer existed for young people in 1997.”

The Trust is using the findings of the report to press its case for an “open access” scheme to leading private schools, where all young people from disadvantaged backgrounds would be admitted to top independent schools for free.

Sir Peter now wants to establish a scheme whereby 100 leading independent schools operate an Open Access arrangement. 90 have already promised their support to him for it. Under the proposal, the schools would receive the same funding as state schools per pupil, but also charge fees on a means-tested basis. He estimates it would cost the Government £215 million a year.

The scheme has the support of Labour MP for Dudley, Ian Austin, who said: “The Open Access scheme offers an opportunity to bridge that gap for a significant number able students from poor families.

“Allocating places on merit, rather than ability to pay, has been proven to work - increasing social mobility and the life chances of children from less advantaged backgrounds in places like Dudley. It represents a radical step towards a fairer society at a time when bold solutions to the enduring problems of entrenched advantage are required.”

However, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, argued:  “While this may be a way of boosting independent schools’ falling rolls, it is complete nonsense.

“If the Government has £215 million pounds to spare it should be used where it is needed: in the state sector.”




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