State Education

Today’s state education system is failing too many of our children, many of whom leave school without the skills they need for life and work. The problem is worst in the most disadvantaged communities; but only the wealthy can escape. The state school system is a near-monopoly, too centralized to respond to the individual needs of its users. The answer must be to diversify provision and use competition to help spur performance. There are many ways of doing this. In some EU countries, the cost of a state education is met by the government, but if you choose a non-state school, the same sum is available to offset the fees: so even the poorest have choice. Other countries have Charter Schools, set up and managed by local people but paid for by the government. Even in the UK, some state schools are privately managed. The challenge for the UK is to overcome the political barriers and make such innovative systems work. Universities, too, should compete, setting their own fees just like any other service supplier. Students can decide for themselves whether particular courses are worth the cost. Government support can focus on promising students who cannot afford the fees on their own.

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