Professer John Jerrim, a top educational researcher from the UCL Institute of Education has suggested that a tax be placed on private tutoring to ‘level the playing field’ for lower income pupils trying to gain entrance to grammar schools.
In a recent study, Jerrim discovered that students from higher-income families are more likely to be ‘coached’ through the 11 Plus entrance exam, resulting in a higher success rate in the test. The study found that students from lower income families only have a 10% chance of attending grammar schools. Professor Jerrim believes that a tutoring tax could benefit students from lower income families, offering 'subsidised or even free' tuition.
In Jerrim’s study of 1,800 children in grammar school areas, 70% of students who received tuition gained a place, compared to 14% of those who did not. Jerrim’s conclusion was that private tuition, and its relative inaccessibility for lower-income families, has created a unlevel playing field for pupils in the lower quartile of household incomes.
Jerrim concludes that access to grammar schools is more economically influenced, rather than being meritocratic. He has suggested that the government take into consideration the effect of private tuition on grammar school entrance for pupils, before allowing the existing schools to expand: 'The government therefore needs to explain how they are going to level the playing field between different income groups.' A tuition tax, in Jerrim’s estimation, could be a step towards achieving this goal.
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