Sophie Sandor



The case for low-cost private education in the UK

Parents are forced to pay for schools via taxation and if they opt out of that service, whether it be to homeschool or for private school, they do not receive a rebate. So schools are guaranteed an income even when their services are not valued by parents.

In particular, it is the parents who cannot afford private school fees or who cannot afford to move to neighbourhoods with higher-performing state schools who are stuck. This means that the poorest children get the worst deal out of the UK’s education system.

Introducing a low-cost private model is an opportunity to combine a ‘no frills’ approach to spending with the highly-academic, knowledge-rich curriculum and no-nonsense discipline currently accessible only to those pupils fortunate enough to be able to attend the best schools.

Research shows us that there is a demand for something like this model, why the model works, and examples of successes when looking to Professor James Tooley’s trials abroad. This option, to enrol in low-cost private secondary education, could challenge the state’s monopoly on education and drastically improve parental choice in the UK.


Formerly Research Associate at the Adam Smith Institute and Programmes Manager at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Sophie is a documentary filmmaker and writer based in London.