Tories want fewer fee-paying schools

THE Tories want to reduce the number of pupils educated in private schools, shadow education secretary Michael Gove said yesterday.

A Conservative government would encourage fee-paying schools to become comprehensives by offering them government money and freedom from state control, Gove said in a speech to the Association of School and College Leaders.

He said: “I would like to see the percentage of private schools drop. The aim would be have more schools that are socially comprehensive, that is which educate children from a variety of backgrounds.”

The shadow education secretary’s comments come at a tough time for fee-paying schools, which have struggled in the recession. Around 30 private sector schools have closed in the last two years, while others are offering discounts to attract hard-up parents.