Education system biased against poor families

The prime minister yesterday admitted that the education system
was biased against poor families, writes Clare

On a visit to the City of London Academy, Tony Blair said that
for better off families, the education system was full of options
while this was not the case for children from poor families.

“In schooling, the better off do have a choice and power
over the system,” he said. “If they are sufficiently
wealthy, they can send their children to a range of independent,
fee-paying schools, which, by and large, provide excellent
education. Or they can move house to be next to the best state
schools. Or they can buy private tuition.”

“But for a middle or lower income family, whose local
school is the option and which is under-performing, there is
nothing they can do, except take what they are given,” he

Blair went on to say that city academies were helping the
education system to “move into the post-comprehensive

Academies are usually located in areas of deprivation and take
funding from private sponsorship. If a school can raise up to
£2 million from private sponsors, the government pays the rest
of the start-up costs, typically £25 million.

A recent survey found that almost 90 per cent of parents with
children at academies were satisfied with the quality of

The government wants 200 city academies by 2010 with 40 by next
September. Blair said the government was on schedule to meet the

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