Education for all

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While I admire my former classmate Brian (Bo Bo) Monteith’s attempt to justify charitable status for private, fee-paying schools (Perspective, 22 June), I fear that he is trying to defend the indefensible.

There is, after all, no public need for any parent to throw themselves at the mercy of charity for their child’s education.

And if no public need exists then no public benefit can 
possibly accrue.

The opposite uncharitable extreme is achieved, as any fair and reasonable-minded person cannot be blind to the obvious public dis-benefit, that privately purchased education for the few must perpetually stigmatise and prejudice the majority.

This Dickensian system of educational segregation (sponsored by cash) is perhaps a more extreme example of educational apartheid than the educational segregation of children sponsored by religions – in my view, another stone-age, backward idea, both promoting social 
incohesion and division.

Adults may treat other adults poorly (bankers and plebs) but we all have a mutual obligation to treat all our children (educationally) equally.

The honest appraisal by Paul S Braterman (Letters, 18 September, 2012), that charitable status for fee-paying schools is a blood transfusion for a parasite, is accurate and I would challenge anyone to better it.

Kenneth M Baird

Brighouse Park

Edinburgh

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