Grammar schools are preparing for a potential increase in demand, as Labour unveils plans to impose taxes on private education fees.

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    education, elementary school, learning and people concept - group of school kids sitting and listening to teacher in classroom from back
    education, elementary school, learning and people concept – group of school kids sitting and listening to teacher in classroom from back

    Analysts predict that private schools may experience a significant decrease in enrollment if a plan to subject education costs to VAT is implemented.

    In response to Labour’s proposal for a tax increase on private education, grammar schools are bracing themselves for a surge in demand.

    Private schools, on the other hand, are preparing for a potential exodus of students as a result of the proposed VAT inclusion. This move would result in a 20 percent increase in fees if Labour assumes power.

    Tutoring groups report being inundated with inquiries from parents seeking assistance for their children as they prepare for the 11-plus exams.

    Critics of Labour’s plan argue that the already oversubscribed grammar school system could be overwhelmed by an influx of former private school students.

    Grammar schools currently receive applications in numbers equal to their available spots, with half of them oversubscribed by 50 percent. More than a quarter report applications doubling the available spaces, according to reports from the Telegraph.

    Independent school leaders mentioned to the publication that most private schools would likely raise fees if the proposed VAT increase is implemented.

    Concerned parents fear that they may no longer afford private education if the VAT exemption is removed. Approximately 76 percent of surveyed schools by the Telegraph indicated that fees would rise by over 10 percent.

    Since the policy announcement last year, the number of parents having their children sit for the 11-plus exams has increased by 39 percent, according to online learning platform Atom.

    To attend a grammar school after Year 11, children must pass the 11-plus exam. If they fail, they may attempt the 12-plus or 13-plus exams. Some grammar schools also accept older students into their sixth forms.

    Atom reports that about 58 percent of parents accessing the platform are aiming to help their children attend grammar schools, compared to 28 percent targeting private schools.

    Jill Dixon, from tutoring platform British Teachers, noted a doubling in 11-plus inquiries, attributing it to the threat posed to private schools and concerns over applications and costs.

    Some independent schools have already begun adjusting their budgets to accommodate additional tutoring expenses. The increased focus on grammar schools by parents has led to a surge in tutoring demand, resulting in higher prices.

    According to The Profs, an hour of 11-plus tutoring averaged £91.25 between October 2023 and January 2024, up from £80 per hour the previous year.

    Senior Conservative politicians have cautioned that Labour’s policy could intensify the strain on already overcrowded grammar schools as parents rush to secure places.

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