Grammar schools braced for surge in demand as Labour plans new tax | Politics | News

Grammar schools are expecting a huge surge in demand after Labour announced a tax raid on private education.

Private schools meanwhile are preparing for a mass exodus of pupils as part of the VAT proposal. It would see fees increase by 20 percent should Labour take power.

Tutoring groups now say they have been inundated with parents looking to get help for their child as they prepare to take the 11-plus exams.

Critics of Labour’s plan say the already oversubscribed grammar school system will be swamped by an influx of former private school children.

Grammar schools currently receive as many applications as they have places, with half of them oversubscribed by 50 percent. More than a quarter say applications more than double the number of spaces available, reports the Telegraph.

The publication reports independent school leaders said most private schools would increase fees should the proposed VAT raid go ahead.

Parents meanwhile fear they would be priced out of private education should the VAT exemption be scrapped. Around 76 percent of schools surveyed by the Telegraph said fees would increase by more than 10 percent.

Since the policy was announced last year, the number of parents getting their child to sit the 11-plus has increased by 39 percent, says online learning platform Atom.

Children wanting to attend a grammar school after Year 11 have to pass the 11-plus. Should they fail, they can attempt to 12-plus or 13-plus. Other grammar schools accept older pupils into their sixth forms.

According to Atom, around 58 percent of parents logging onto the platform want to help their children attend grammar school. This compares to 28 percent targeting private schools.

Jill Dixon, of tutoring platform British Teachers, said that 11-plus inquiries had doubled from five or six a day to 10.

Ms Dixon said: “There’s certainly increasing demand right from across the country. I can only guess that is on the back of the threat to private schools, and applications and costs for those.”

Hytner revealed that some independent schools have already started adjusting their budgets for extra tutoring. The focus on grammar schools by parents has led to a boom in tutoring, causing prices to rise.

According to The Profs, a tutoring company, an hour of 11-plus tutoring cost an average £91.25 between October 2023 and January 2024, up from £80 an hour the previous year.

Senior Conservative politicians have warned that Labour’s policy could put more pressure on already full grammar schools, as parents scramble to secure places.

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