The potential benefits of real education reform in England


Reform has published a new ICM poll showing that three-quarters of the public think that state education in the UK is in need of fundamental review. Half of voters think that real education reform based on school choice – with taxpayer funded choice of independent as well as state schools – would be a good idea, with only a quarter thinking that it would be a bad idea. Half of Labour voters think that it would be a good idea.

Young people – the group with the most recent experience of education – are the strongest supporters of school choice. 63 per cent of 18-24 year-olds think that the policy is a good idea, with only 15 per cent thinking that it would be a bad idea.

The poll’s key findings are:

  • 76 per cent of the public agree that “the way we run state education in the UK is in need of fundamental review”. Agreement is higher among women (81 per cent) than men (71 per cent) and among C2 and DE voters (81 per cent and 78 per cent) than AB voters (71 per cent). 73 per cent of Labour voters agree.
  • 49 per cent of voters think that it would be a good idea if “parents should be allowed to use the government money spent on their children’s education (around £5,500 a year per child) to send their children to any school they choose, including independent schools”. 23 per cent think that it would be a bad idea. Support is highest and opposition lowest among 18-24 year-olds (63 per cent against 15 per cent) and 25-34 year-olds (56 per cent against 13 per cent). 48 per cent of Labour voters think that it would be a good idea, with 23 per cent saying that it is a bad idea.

ICM Research interviewed 1007 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 19-20th October 2005. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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