PRIVATE tuition is widening the gap between rich and poor, as
more than a third of the wealthiest families in Britain supplement
their children's schooling with extra tuition, a new survey
Extra-curricular Inequalities, a study by the Sutton Trust - set
up to improve social mobility through education - suggests that 23
per cent of young people nationally, and 37 per cent in London,
have received private or home tuition.
When broken down by income, using data from the Office for
National Statistics, the Trust found that 35 per cent of children
from families earning more than £52,000 a year were buying extra
activities or tuition for their children, compared with nine per
cent of children from poorer homes.
The Trust's study found that pupils at private schools were
nearly twice as likely to get private tutoring as those from state
schools, giving a "large academic boost [which made] a big
difference to their access to the most selective universities, and
subsequently to the highest-paying careers".
The study found that parents from professional or administrative
backgrounds also signed their children up for out-of-school
activities more frequently than parents in manual jobs. Richer
parents were likely to spend about £500 a year on extra music,
dance, drama, or sporting activities for their children. Research
has shown that these extra-curricular activities boosted children's
education and career outcomes.
The director of research at the Sutton Trust, Conor Ryan, said:
"Inequalities in education don't stop after the school bell has
sounded. They extend to the range of private tuition and
extra-curricular activities available to children whose parents can
afford to pay for them.
"While many schools offer a range of sporting and other
activities outside regular school hours, there is still a
substantial advantage available to those who can afford it.
"If we are serious about improving social mobility, we must
narrow the gap in educational opportunities outside of school as
well as within the classroom.
"Offering low-income families vouchers to spend on
extra-curricular activities or private tuition would be a step