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Is it not about time that charitable status is removed from fee-paying schools?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by moscowbore, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Title says it all really.

    I looked into this a few years ago. Some fee-paying schools do have more than a token gesture towards having a charitable status. Most do not .

    I feel that it is time to raise the bar a wee bit and remove those tax breaks from the fee-paying schools who are not and never have been charitable.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I work in a small school that is independent but totally focused on children with significant social and learning difficulties.
    Most of our children have their fees paid by the LA or bursaries.
    Maybe not every feepaying school is in the same category as Eton.
    thekillers1 and Rott Weiler like this.
  3. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    That’s a fair point.

    Maybe a more robust system is required, maybe one where automatic charitable status is withdrawn, and schools have to apply for it and prove their worth.
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    In theory, the Charity Commission can remove charitable status from a school if it doesn't feel sufficient charitable work is being done.
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Charity Commission has done some very detailed work on many schools which are charities. And from the ISC website:

    There are 44,792 pupils on means-tested assistance at ISC schools

    According to the latest annual ISC Census, £422 million was provided in means-tested fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools. Nearly half of all pupils on means-tested bursaries have more than half of their fees remitted. The total value of means-tested bursaries and scholarships has increased by nearly £162m since 2011.

    The school looks at what it is reasonable for you to afford and sets a fee accordingly. Some schools are able to offer greater bursary provision than others. At Christ’s Hospital School in Sussex, a boarding school, most of the pupils are on greatly reduced fees or pay nothing at all.
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    So bright children get to go to a nice school. How is that good? If they were giving bursaries to low achievers or really difficult children I would be more impressed.
  7. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    What are your views on Grammar schools?
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I hate them. I hate the terrible tests they use to select the 'bright' children, and the idea that there is a pool of bright and a pool of not-bright, rather than the continuum that is what there really is. I hate the idea that clever children (which is all of mine, incidentally) should be given a nice school with nice children in it and lots of lovely music and so on, while the unselected majority get less. It's a ridiculous system. Overall children do better in comprehensive schools, but the parents who like grammars basically like the idea of getting their children into a school with fewer riff raff.

    There are a few grammars in our county, not where we live, thank goodness. A few years ago I had a look at the elven plus tests they use. They are truly dreadful. Many of the multiple-guess questions had more than one answer that could be correct. For some of the questions every answer could arguably be right. This puzzled me, until I twigged that they're not looking for the clever children per se, they're looking for the reasonabaly bright, compliant, obvious thinkers who will be easy to train to get through our school exams. The whole thing depresses me.
    needabreak likes this.
  9. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Agreed, though I doubt they are on the hit list.
  10. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    The other problem is that private tuition distorts the results. Children lucky enough to have parents willing and able to pay for private tuition to show them how to get the "right" answers are more likely to get a place at grammar school. There are also prep-schools which prepare children for the 11 plus but state schools are not allowed to.

    I live in an area with grammar schools. The 11 plus is in early September. Some children will have done no school work for 2 months before the exam; others will have spent most of the summer having tuition and/or attending revision classes. Not exactly a level playing field.
  11. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    My personal experience of three fee-paying schools was that they were not in any way charitable. I was present at discussions in all three schools which were to minimise their charitable deeds.
    There was an article recently which basically was a guide to fee-paying schools on how to stay inside the criteria which qualifies them for charitable status. Well-documented token gestures were enough, apparently.
    My main objection to fee-paying schools per se is the massive over representation of that 7% of the population in government and in charge at the top of companies.
    Some fee-paying schools do charitable works and should retain their charitable status. Giving a token scholarship to a poor local urchin should not be sufficient to retain charitable status.
    Grammar schools is another kettle of fish. My personal view is that they represent another form of elitism for those who cannot afford fee-paying schools and there should be no need of them.
    I hear the argument, " those parents worked three extra jobs to get a good education for their kids ..". I find the clear assumption that a state education is not a good education offensive.
  12. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    “So bright children get to go to a nice school. How is that good?”

    No one wants their children to go to schools, where behaviour is out of control, where children are forced to learn far less than they could if they were in a private school and where the aim is seems to be crowd control rather than learning. I’m with the millionaire Shadow Minister Diane Abbott on this one - If you have lots of cash, buy a better education for your own children than working class plebs can get.
    lizzy9 and needabreak like this.
  13. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    There several members of the shadow cabinet who have children in selective grammar schools or fee-paying schools.

    The meetings to decide on the labour policy for closing private schools must have been interesting.
    needabreak likes this.
  14. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I concur. I used to be against them but actually if I had the money and time again I would follow this wonderful MP's example.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    There is one significant difference between a 'selective grammar school' and a 'fee paying school', of course: the former are state schools as much as any comprehensive, the latter are private schools.
  16. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Feeling desperate to get your children into the 'best' school always sounds like a massive view of no-confidence in said children.
  17. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I agree.

    We took a chance and allowed our daughter to go to the non-selective school she wanted to go to, rather than the selective one. There were issues along the way, but finally she ended up with excellent A Levels, and went to a Russell Group University and got a 1st.
  18. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    *Wonders what the issues were and how they were overcome.
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Nothing too serious, mostly to do with social relations, but also had to accept that the school couldn't provide some subjects/subject combinations we would have liked (and might have been appropriate for our daughter). Then re: University entrance, we had to do most of the work ourselves, and felt that the school's staff lacked experience or the time to prepare students for their Uni applications...

    Of course this is some years ago and things may have changed since...
    needabreak likes this.
  20. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Every school has it's issues/challenges thankfully you were able to support your daughter and weren't completely dependent on the school for the ucas application. Hopefully things have changed though not always for the better. when we are forced to support frankly unsuitable candidates in their uni applications in the interest of "fairness" or pushy parenting having spoon-fed them for gcse/gce exams to ensure our own data looks good. Overall it leaves students unprepared for what life ahead might hold. and no doubt explains some of the increase in the increased incidences of MH issues in that age group, but I digress.

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