Subsidising private schools

 

Sir, – Aodhán Ó Ríordáin claims the “complicating argument” against our Republic ending the subsidising of private schools is that if all 52 fee-paying schools entered the State sector this would cost the Department of Education an extra €23 million (Opinion, August 1st). This argument is regularly repeated in the media but it is based on a flawed assumption. How likely is it that all 52 schools would join the free system?

Undoubtedly some of the smaller ones would not be able to sustain their numbers but it only seems logical that the most prestigious schools (such as Blackrock, Belvedere or Clongowes) could charge the same as their British counterparts and suffer relatively little disruption. Some of the more middle-class parents would be forced to take their children out, but plenty of others could take the financial hit of increased fees.

And even in the unlikely scenario that all of the 52 private schools decided to enter the free system, the schools themselves could more than subsidise any transfer costs by allowing the State to use some of their rugby and hockey pitches to build social housing. – Yours, etc,

JONATHAN ARLOW,

Dublin 9.