Private school gets visit from £20m military helicopter at taxpayers’ expense

A Royal Navy officer arranged for a £20million military helicopter to visit pupils at the £18,000-a-year private school where his kids go.

It is the second such treat for children there in the past six years.

After the recent visit, a resident said: “It seems a lot of taxpayers’ money is being spent on these trips for children at an expensive private school.

“It does not seem right to me.”

The helicopter landed in the park next to the school. It is understood the chopper flew from RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset – around 100 miles away.

Ravenscourt Park Preparatory School in Hammersmith, West London, tweeted: “Amazing day had by 5P [on the] Merlin helicopter.”

The Ministry of Defence denied there was a cost to the taxpayer because the trip doubled as a training exercise.

The MoD added: “To train effectively, military helicopters often use external landing sites so crews can practise operating in complex and unusual airfields and airspace. This particular training opportunity also enabled a community engagement event with a number of local primary schools.”

But a defence source said these trips are often arranged by military mums and dads as a treat for their kids. He added it was compensation for the long periods of time spent away from family.

It is said a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter visited the school in 2013 thanks to a different parent, a naval commander whose children were pupils there.

The Ministry of Defence spends £80m a year subsidising private fees for schools including Eton and Harrow.

The “Continuity of Education Allowance” covers up to £21,000 a year in fees and most claimants are senior officers based in the UK who are asked to contribute 10% of the costs of the school from their own pockets.

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