Private tuition ‘tax’ will not level the playing field for selective school access, says Tutors International founder

Private tuition ‘tax’ will not level the playing field for selective school access, says Tutors International founder

Adam Caller, founder of leading private tuition company Tutors International, issues statement rejecting recent suggestions that wealthy families who use private tutors to help secure grammar school places should be taxed

A new study issued this month by the University College London’s Institute of Education has suggested that wealthy families who use private tutors to help secure grammar school places should be taxed to help pay for poorer children to access the same help. [1] Adam Caller, founder of global private tuition firm Tutors International, has voiced his concern that a private tutoring tax would not address the issue effectively and could serve to perpetuate inequality in access to selective schools.

Responding to the suggestions made in the study, Mr Caller commented: “Imposing a levy on high-income families in an attempt to improve equal access to selective schools will only serve to create a gap between the wealthy families able to afford taxed tuition and the low-income families receiving tuition support. This leaves a disenfranchised middle ground of families with limited disposable income who may be unable to afford the elevated cost of tuition but not qualify for financial support.”

Mr Caller added, ”Whilst this research shows that when it comes to admissions to grammar schools, the extensive use of private tutoring skews success to those from wealthier backgrounds, the vast majority of our Tutors International clients would not be deterred by increased private tuition fees if they valued selective schools as a desirable and appropriate  educational route for their children. My concern therefore is that this proposal would simply serve to widen the gap between wealthy families and those on below-average incomes, and fail to address equal access for all.”

Mr Caller cited improving delivery of primary education as a more effective method of ensuring equal access to schools with entrance examinations. “If our primary schools can ensure that all students are equally well prepared for secondary education, delivering a high-quality, tailored and flexible educational programme to support every child, then the advantage of private tuition would be significantly reduced. However, studies in academic performance have shown that narrowing the ability range in a setting is a crucial factor in academic improvement [2], so it follows that students taught via one-to-one private tuition or in full time homeschooling will outpace any students of similar ability taught in a school environment. Introducing a private tutoring tax would not alter this factor, and it is therefore unlikely to affect the demand for – or the results of – private tuition.”

To find out more about the services offered by Tutors International, including private tuition for examination preparation, visit

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[1] Jerrim, J, and Sims, S. 2018. “Why so few low and middle-income children attend a grammar school? New evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study”, UCL Institute of Education and Education Datalab

[2] Hallinan, M. T. & Sørenson, A. B. (1985). “Class Size, Ability Group Size, and Student Achievement”, American Journal of Education Vol. 94 No. 1 pp71-89

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