Sunday, 26 July 2009

Independent Schools and Public Benefit

[Unpublished] Letter to the Editor


Surely the Charity Commission has missed a trick in applying a very narrow definition of public benefit to independent schools that distils down to providing means-tested bursaries and free places for people who cannot afford the fees.

By not giving due credit to the way in which independent schools have opened their doors to allow a greater public use of their facilities and to their increased partnership work with the maintained sector, the Charity Commission is forcing schools’ limited resources into bursaries to benefit the few, rather into serving the wider community. Thus, sadly, I fear that we will find that all that the Commission has managed to achieve is to give independent schools an incentive to cherry-pick the brightest and best pupils from the maintained sector.

Mark S. Steed
Berkhamsted School

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