Keir Starmer’s VAT raid on private schools could squeeze poor children out of grammars, leading education figures warn

  • Labor plans to add VAT to private school fees from as early as this September
  • The policy could lead to an increase in competition at over-enrolled schools
  • More than 88,000 people have signed a petition calling on Labor to scrap the policy

POOR students are at risk of being pushed out of grammar places by parents looking to dodge Labour’s proposed VAT raid on private school fees, leading education figures have warned.

Headteachers at the country’s leading grammar schools say Sir Keir Starmer’s plans to levy the 20 per cent levy on fees will lead to increased competition for places at the most popular oversubscribed schools.

They argue this will favor pupils from more affluent backgrounds whose parents can afford to pay for tuition.

Education companies have already reported an increase in parents preparing their children to sit the 11-Plus exam, which is required for grammar school entry. Previous studies have suggested that around 90,000 children could be forced into the state sector because their parents will no longer be able to afford private school fees.

Phillip Bosworth, of the National Grammar Schools Association, said an influx of parents putting their children through 11-Plus exams could ‘push out some local kids’. He added: “A large influx of students from private schools to grammar schools is going to be a challenge, as there simply aren’t enough extra places.”

Head teachers at the country's leading grammar schools say Sir Keir Starmer's plans to levy the 20 per cent levy on fees will lead to increased competition for places at popular oversubscribed schools

Head teachers at the country’s leading grammar schools say Sir Keir Starmer’s plans to levy the 20 per cent levy on fees will lead to increased competition for places at popular oversubscribed schools

Studies have suggested that around 90,000 children could be forced into the public sector because their parents will no longer be able to afford private school fees (stock photo)

Studies have suggested that around 90,000 children could be forced into the public sector because their parents will no longer be able to afford private school fees (stock photo)

Labor has launched plans to scrap the charity status of private schools, but says it will still add VAT to fees.  More than 88,000 people have signed a petition calling on Labor to scrap the policy (stock photo)

Labor has launched plans to scrap the charity status of private schools, but says it will still add VAT to fees. More than 88,000 people have signed a petition calling on Labor to scrap the policy (stock photo)

Joe Hytner, director of Titanium Tutors, said: ’11-Plus tuition has always been popular but is on the rise and I would expect it to grow further on an industry-wide basis if VAT is added to private school fees.

‘This will mean more pressure and competition for places at top state schools, potentially fueling greater demand for tuition.’

Labor has launched plans to scrap the charity status of private schools, but says it will still add VAT to fees. The policy could be introduced from as early as September.

It comes as more than 88,000 people signed a petition calling on Labor to scrap the policy. The Independent Schools Council, which represents 1,300 schools, warned that the extra financial burden of VAT could affect the ability of institutions to help fund places for poorer pupils.