Low-income pupils could be given free places at private schools

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Up to 10,000 places at private schools could be offered to children from low-income backgrounds, it has been reported.

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) says independent teaching establishments will cover extra educational costs as long as the Government gives them the £5,550 per pupil the state system costs per child, according to the BBC.

The initiative, which would test some children for ability, would cost some £80 million a year.

The proposal comes as private schools face a threat to their charitable status, which the ISC says saves such establishments £150 million per year.

However, Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw warned that the proposals do not go far enough, saying: "I think they can do better than that and if I was government I would be asking them to do more as a quid pro quo for their tax privileges."