A new report published today by the Sutton Trust has revealed that children who attend private schools are likely to earn £193, 700 on an average more than their state educated peers.
The report by the Social Market Foundation, a think thank that analyses the Sutton Trust’s open access programme found that students who attended private schools were more likely to perform better at school and therefore get access to élite universities and colleges.
The evaluation of the Open access programme, an initiative of the Sutton Trust to widen access to private education for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds calculated for the first time, the wage premium enjoyed by those who have attended Independent schools.
Using newly available data, the analysis found that between the ages of 26 -42, a student who graduated from an Independent private school would earn an average of £193, 700 more than someone who graduates from a state school.
It’s always been widely argued that children from state schools find it hard to gain access and funding to attend Independent private schools whose tuition fees are far beyond the financial capabilities of poor families, even if their children have the intellectual ability to meet the demands and expectations of such institutions.
Various factors such as the higher educational achievements of students from independent schools are thought to skew wages in their favour as the report finds that these pupils tend to achieve better grades at A-levels, go on to get degrees and attend the best universities.
Sir Peter Lampl, head of the Sutton Trust emphasised the need to recruit students into independent schools on the basis of merit rather than money.
“Forty years ago, most of the best independent day schools in this country were open to children of all backgrounds. Today, unless your parents can find £12,500 a year after tax, access is by and large denied,” he said.
He also added that it was a ‘shocking waste of potential that “an independent day school student is 55 times more likely to win an Oxbridge place and 22 times more likely to go to a top-ranked university than a state school student from a poor household”.
On the back of the report, the Sutton Trust’s Open Access Scheme is putting forward a proposal, which will allow students from less privileged backgrounds access to private schools based on their academic abilities rather than their economic status.
The report estimates that a government subsidy of up to £215m will be needed to give participating schools the same funding per pupil as local state-funded schools currently get, but also charge fees on a means-tested basis, with the poorest families paying no fees.
If the scheme is taken up by up to 100 independent schools, the report author’s suggest this will open up independent schools to up to 62, 000 pupils.
An analysis of the social backgrounds of children who score highly in standardised tests shows that selection based on merit, rather than ability to pay fees, would significantly alter the social composition of the UK’s independent schools – with places more evenly distributed across households incomes.
The report also proposes that schools alter the type of exams taken by entrants to make them more open to children from all backgrounds as well as offering targeted outreach programmes to families in disadvantage communities.