Study suggests assisted places pupils ‘thrive’

People who attended private schools with fees paid by the state reaped an earnings “premium” and emerged from the financial crisis with their living standards intact, a study suggests.

The group, the last beneficiaries of the assisted places scheme, benefited from “soft” qualities such as self-reliance and discipline as well as good qualifications, the research said.

The results come from a questionnaire completed by 77 people who were given state-funded places at independent schools. Of the group, 23 earned more than £90,000 a year, nine earned between £60,000 and £90,000 and 17 earned between £30,000 and £60,000. Significantly, they were overwhelmingly satisfied with their work and job security.

The study found that graduates of the assisted places scheme were generally high earners in professional and managerial jobs. Only one was unemployed although several were mothers taking career breaks for reasons that some are more obvious than others.

Interestingly, however, those who took part did not think their schooling was the main reason for their career success…

The authors drew different conclusions and said the group may have benefited from soft skills such as self-confidence and strong social networks developed during their private education, pointing out that even those who started work straight from school had largely successful careers. “Even these individuals are now in solidly middle class occupations with good incomes. This suggests that they have benefited from a private school premium over and above that associated with educational attainment,” it said

Tony Blair ended the assisted places scheme in 1998 but agreed to continue paying fees until beneficiaries finished secondary school.

Some of my more regular readers will remember the block post I made about a top private schooling potentially scrapping fees to take advantage of the free schools and academies program that the current government have put into motion. Is this almost further evidence that perhaps all private schools should head down the same route? It’s a little risky to think too heavily into it though because the study only had 77 people take part and questionnaires often aren’t the most reliable of tools for gathering data due to demand characteristics and the mostly quantitative data as opposed to qualitative data.


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