Middle class parents are planning to move their children to private schools over concerns pupils at state schools have ‘fallen behind’ during lockdown.
The Independent Schools Association noted a surge in parents of high school students looking for private school places in September.
Several schools across the country are reporting an increase in demand of 20-30 per cent.
Middle class parents are planning to move their children to private schools over concerns pupils at state schools have ‘fallen behind’ during lockdown (File image)
Speaking to the Observer, the Independent Schools Association said it had noticed an increased demand from ‘high-aspirational, worried’ parents looking to transfer their children to private schools in light of the pandemic, amid fears of further disruption to state education for the next academic year.
Resources for online learning may be one factor driving parents to consider private schooling. A survey by Teacher Tapp found that to 59% of private primary and 72% of private secondary schools were able to provide live online lessons for their pupils during lockdown.
In comparison, just 3% of state-funded primary and 6% of state-funded secondary schools provided such lessons.
Diane Reay, emeritus professor of education at Cambridge University, said: ‘Many affluent middle-class families sending their children to state schools have become aware and often concerned about the digital divide between state and private sector.
‘Fleeing to the private sector is an easier option than campaigning for state schools to be properly resourced and equipped, which is what should be happening.
‘The state sector has always been the poor relation in education – around 25 per cent of education spending goes on the seven per cent who are privately educated – but more middle-class flight will impoverish the sector more.’
Resources for online learning may be one factor driving parents to consider private schooling (File image)
Andrew McCleave, headteacher of Ballard School, an independent day school in the New Forest, pointed out that private schools often have much smaller classes, and compared to state schools, teachers were more available to carry out classes online.
‘If staff are in school supervising key workers’ children, they can’t be delivering online lessons to children who aren’t in school. We had a few doctors among our parents, but we didn’t have a lot of key workers’ children in.
‘That meant our staff could deliver live lessons to everyone.’