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New proposals for prep schools are 'madness'

It is with dismay and a deepening sense of despondency that I read of Department of Education plans to cut the small amount of remaining funding to preparatory departments of grammar schools.

As a fee-paying father of children at Friends' prep school, I resent the fact that the Department of Education proposes a policy which will potentially deny me the freedom to choose where my children are to be educated and, further, will deny me the choice to subsidise the education of children of feckless or, more rarely, hard-working, but less privileged parents.

If this policy is to be enacted, I will be required to become another drain on the public purse as my children will be educated entirely at public expense, competing with the children of arguably more needy families for scant resources. How can this be considered a sane proposal?

By working hard and making sacrifices in other areas of family life, I am able to subsidise the education of my children to the tune of £3,000 each. The Department of Education adds approximately £800-per-child to top the fees up.

Under Department of Education proposals the full annual cost per child of £3,800 will have to be met by the taxpayer. Madness.

As a voter, I would be grateful for an explanation as to how, in an economic environment of threat to public sector jobs due to lack of money, any decision which results in additional burden on taxpayers, reduces the amount of contribution to public service from those more able to contribute and which will impose significant disruption on our youngsters, can be justified?

COLIN GRAY

Dromara, Co Down

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