Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Charity Commission: Independent Schools consider legal challenge

The Independent Schools Council is still considering whether or not to seek a judicial review of the Charity Commission's interpretation of what constitutes "public benefit".

The early rulings of the Charity Commission indicate that they are taking a very narrow view of what constitutes a public benefit. In focusing almost exclusively on the single issue of bursaries for pupils from low-income families, they have ignored the many other benefits that independent schools bring to wider society. These benefits include the fact that high-tax paying parents are saving the Exchequer an estimated £3-4 billion per annum in choosing to educate their children outside the Maintained Sector. [See Matthew Burgess' excellent Why Schools are Charities?]

Following Dame Suzi Leather's performance at the HMC conference [See previous blog post], many both within and outside the Independent sector have felt that the Charity Commission is being driven by an overt political agenda. There is little doubt that this now a political issue. The Conservatives have made it clear that they will review the way in which the Commission is applying the "public benefit" test. David Lyscom, ISC Chief Executive, outlines the ISC's position in today's Daily Telegraph. I would not be surprised if a legal challenge were to be timed so that any judicial review might report immediately after the General Election to the new Government, regardless of colour.

Private schools attack 'politically-motivated' charity rules Daily Telegraph 12/01/10


  1. Just imagine if the 600,000 plus kids in the independent sector moved to the state side the education system would collapse. We all know this is politically motivated,we all know poverty is the problem in this country, poor parenting, kids locked into sink estates and despair all around causes the state schools in these areas to fail

  2. I suspect that independent schools are an easier target than addressing the causes and symptoms of poverty.