Private schools should be an 'eccentric choice', says Michael Gove

Posted On: 
2nd March 2019

State schools should be made so good that putting children into private education is considered an "eccentric choice", Michael Gove has said.

Credit: 
PA

In an interview with the Evening Standard, the Cabinet minister - who served as Education Secretary under David Cameron - was asked whether he wanted to abolish state schools "by stealth".

He replied: "Well, yes".

Michael Gove talks up weekly food bin collections in major recycling overhaul

Michael Gove warns rebel MPs ‘winter is coming’ if they fail to back Theresa May’s Brexit plan

Michael Gove vows ban on wood-burning stoves in bid to cut air pollution

And Mr Gove said: "I would have hoped we would have been able to make sending your children to a private school, as it is in Europe, an increasingly eccentric choice."

The former Education Secretary also revealed that he had considered ending tax perks enjoyed by independent schools when he held the education job.

When it was pointed out this echoes Labour's current policy under Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Gove said: "Exactly. That’s why I hesitated, because I think the Labour policy is wrong, of course."

Despite being privately educated himself, Mr Gove has sent his children to state schools in London. 

He told the Evening Standard: "I am conscious that - and I made this point at Education and Justice - you can have people who because of an accident of birth or a misfortune visited on them go down the wrong track.

"There can be 'Sliding Doors' moments very early in your life.

"Having visited young offender institutions and prisons, there are people there who are incredibly bright and intelligent but who made the wrong decision at a critical moment in their lives and then went down the wrong track."