Middle class families who use private tutors to help get their child into a grammar school should pay extra tax, a report suggests.
The measure would help break the stranglehold wealthy parents have over selective schools, experts said.
Academics at the UCL Institute of Education said children from better-off homes were much more likely to get into a grammar than pupils from poorer backgrounds.
Academics at the UCL Institute of Education said children from better-off homes were much more likely to get into a grammar than pupils from poorer backgrounds
This can partly be explained by the fact richer parents pay for private tuition to prepare their children for entrance exams.
The researchers said a tax on private tutoring could be used to pay for deprived children to have the same extra lessons.
However, attempts to inflate the price of private tutoring could prove controversial, seeming to punish middle-income families which work hard so they can afford to send their children to private tutors.
The study examined the backgrounds of more than 1,800 children living in areas of England and Northern Ireland that have grammar schools. Just under three quarters of those children in England who were tutored gained a grammar school place, compared with 14 per cent of those that were not tutored, the report concluded.
In England, children from families in the bottom quarter of household incomes had less than a 10 per cent chance of attending a grammar school, compared with a 40 per cent chance among those from families in the top quarter of household incomes.
The study comes after Theresa May proposed overturning a ban on new selective schools imposed by Labour in 1998.
The study comes after Theresa May proposed overturning a ban on new selective schools imposed by Labour in 1998
She had said more grammar schools could boost social mobility for deprived youngsters. Her plan was dropped when she lost her Commons majority, but she still wants the remaining 163 to expand.
Study author Professor John Jerrim said: ‘The Government claims expanding grammars will boost social mobility.
‘But our research shows private tuition used by high-income families gives them a big advantage.
‘The Government needs to explain how they are going to level the playing field between different income groups.’ He suggested one option may be an extra VAT-style tax on tutoring which could then subsidise lessons for poorer children.