We should be grateful to John D Turner, who writes: I raise this subject because of Sean Coughlan’s post on the BBC website about Tristram Hunt’s private school business rate relief warning from Labour.

The BBC says that Sean has added the analysis below to the story written by Hannah Richardson:

“This demand for the private school sector to work more closely with their state school neighbours will probably be seen as a symbolic gesture.

It allows the tone of Labour’s education policy to sound different from the government’s, when otherwise they have much in common.

The amount of money under threat, £147m per year across more than 1,250 schools, might hurt the smaller struggling private schools. Average fees are about £12,000 per year, but it is not going to trouble upmarket schools charging more than £20,000 per year.

A bigger challenge would be the loss of charitable status and the accompanying tax benefits. But a long-running attempt by the Charity Commission to put pressure on this was pushed into the long grass.

Perhaps more pressing is the recent warning from a leading private school head teacher that if they become too expensive, they risk losing their character and sense of educational purpose and could become playgrounds of the rootless global super-rich.”

Firstly, two correspondents writing on one topic strikes me as a bit extravagant (at a time of austerity).

Secondly, how is this deemed to be an analysis piece? That last sentence says give us your money to ensure David Cameron may be able to afford to send his children to Eton. In other words, end our taxpayer funded subsidies and we will have to fully turn ourselves into an export business as a result of increasing our student fees. And there was me thinking that, in a time of austerity, we all have to do our bit to help UK plc pay its way in the world.

And for the record, the global super rich already send their children to the likes of Eton because of their character, sense of educational purpose and because they long ago became the playgrounds of the rootless global super-rich. Eton is a place valued as much for the lifelong connections that may be made there as for the education which it provides.

Read more on Mr Turner’s site, but we’ll leave you, for now, with his last sentence: “Incidentally, Mr Coughlan, where did you go to school?”

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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