Credit: This story was first seen on The Telegraph
Independent schools will tell the government they are prepared to offer 10,000 free places to children from low-income backgrounds, according to reports.
The Independent Schools Council (ISC) says private schools in England will cover the costs each year if the government gives them the £5,550 per pupil the state system allocates for each child, The Telegraph reports.
The proposal, which has been seen by the BBC, will be made in the in response to the government’s ongoing education consultation.
The ICS say the initiative, which would test some children on academic ability, could cost up to £80m a year and create a number of school places equivalent to building 10 new state secondary schools.
The proposal comes as private schools face a threat to their charitable status, which the ISC says saves such establishments £150m per year.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the outgoing Ofsted chief, told the BBC the proposal was not radical enough.
He said: “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.”
It comes after Theresa May warned Britain’s independent schools are “divorced from normal life”, as she warned they must do more to help children from poorer backgrounds or face losing their status as charities.
In September Mrs May was accused of “waging war” on private schools by announcing a series of new policy measures which threatened them with punishment unless they complied.
In her first major domestic policy announcement as prime minister, she said that elite private schools will only be able to maintain charitable status if they set up or sponsor government-run sister schools.
She also announced that smaller private schools would have to send teachers to take lessons in state schools or be required to accept quotas of pupils who would otherwise be unable to afford private school fees.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We welcome contributions to the consultation and will respond in due course.”