Rank hypocrisy

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While most school students face an uncertain future of dilapidated school buildings and funding cuts, one section of society already receives taxpayers' help to give their children the education they deserve.

Last year the government spent £172 million on subsidising the private school education of senior army officers' children. The scheme covers 90 percent of the cost of the schooling, and is taken up by thousands of top brass officers who save as much as £135,000 per child. A similar scheme is available for diplomats.

The scheme is also available to lower ranking troops - the trouble is that most are too poor to afford even the remaining 10 percent of the costs.