Private school kids will earn £200,000 more

Children who attend private school will earn almost £200,000 more that state school pupils in the first 16 years of their career.

Children who attend private school will earn almost £200,000 more that state school pupils in the first 16 years of their career, according to a new study.

There is still a wage gap of almost £58,000 even when factors such as family background and early educational achievement are taken into account.

The study, published today by the Social Market Foundation, says that the better educational achievement of those attending independent schools is a major contributing factor.

Students from independent schools are more likely to get good A-levels, get degrees and to attend the most selective universities, the report suggests.

The report is based on a sample of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1970 (the British Cohort Study).

Commenting on the findings, director of the Social Market Foundation, Emran Mian, said:

“Our research shows that pupils from independent schools do dramatically better than those who go to state school – earning an average of £194,000 more between the ages of 26 and 42. These huge differences arise in part because these children come from privileged backgrounds anyway. But that’s not the whole story. Take two people of the same ability at age 11 and with the same parental background, track them forward, and the pupil who attends independent school is likely to earn substantially more.”

The report also looks at recommendations from the Sutton Trust, which proposes an “open access” scheme that would open independent schools to pupils from all backgrounds based on academic ability. Under the scheme, schools would receive the same funding per pupil that local state-funded schools currently get, but also charge fees on a means-tested basis, with the poorest families paying no fees.

The researchers estimate that applying the scheme across 100 leading independent schools, covering 62,000 pupils, would cost the government around £215 million per year.

Chair of The Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, said:

“This report clearly sets out the advantages that can be gained from a good private education. We need to open those opportunities to more young people, transforming the independent sector to ensure that successful day schools recruit once again on merit rather than money. Forty years ago, most of the best independent day schools in this country were open to children of all backgrounds. Today, unless your parents can find £12,500 a year after tax, access is by and large denied.”

Commenting on the report, Labour MP Ian Austin said the divide between state and private schools remained “vast”:

“As government statistics released last week show, the divide between state and private schools remains vast, with one in 20 private school students going on to study at Oxford or Cambridge, compared with just one in 100 from the state sector.”

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