Gransnet forums


Independent shcools and tax relief

(54 Posts)
Mishap Tue 25-Nov-14 13:12:08

Sounds reasonable to me.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Nov-14 13:35:08

It seems a tacit admission that private schools are better than state schools.
I'm sure that's not always the case. There are some very good state schools and some not very good private ones.

Mishap Tue 25-Nov-14 17:31:11

But they often have brilliant facilities (as a result of all that foreign tax-relieved dosh) and I am all for those being shared.

GrannyTwice Tue 25-Nov-14 17:50:04

I heard him being interviewed this morning and felt the thinking behind this was very muddled < faints with surprise>. I really resented the clear implication that there would be inspiring teachers in the independent sector who could be loaned out. I don't mean there aren't but inspiring teachers are found in the state system as well and they have to inspire in much more difficult circumstances often. However, the sharing of facilities would be great - I've been to events at Charterhouse and King Edwards and could not believe the magnificence of their facilities. I also drive regularly past other private schools in my area and all have beautiful buildings and I hear great IT and lab facilities. Also, another useful sharing could be in helping with work experience placements, carrer advice etc. I really think it's unfair that they get the tax relief - they are not bona fide charities

whitewave Tue 25-Nov-14 18:03:06

I think that the problem is that when some of the older ones were originally set up, they were charitable institutions for the poor, and like a lot of other things because they were good they were purloined by the wealthy but retained their charitable status. This has been challenged in the past but was rejected by the courts. However I do think that as the tax payer is contributing a stonking great rebate on their rates, they are entitled to expect something back. They grab more than their fair share of the Oxbridge places so perhaps if they are not willing to share some of their facilities, then perhaps the Oxbridge entry ought to be capped according to the % of the privately educated compared to the state educated.

Mishap Tue 25-Nov-14 18:15:24

The teaching of music in state schools is bedevilled by lack of funds, facilities, instruments and trained staff - I would be happy to poach a few of that lot from the private sector where they seem from my experience to be in abundance.

I have been into big primary schools where there is not one single teacher who can read music.

durhamjen Tue 25-Nov-14 18:18:03

Another problem is that many private schools have become free schools. We are paying for their superior buying power in smaller class sizes, better pupil/teacher ratios.
They need to stop that. One speech they say they will keep them; the next they say they will get rid of them. I wonder where they will be when they write their manifesto.

Iam64 Tue 25-Nov-14 18:20:27

I agree with GT that it's a bit muddled. It's got to be a good thing though, why should tax payers subsidise these establishments.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Nov-14 20:11:44

How are private schools free, durhamjen? confused

Eloethan Tue 25-Nov-14 20:18:23

On one of the adult education creative writing classes I have been to, the tutor was a teacher from a very expensive and nationally respected private school in my area which has really impressive facilities.

She was the most boring, unimaginative adult education teacher I have ever had. Conversely, one of the best creative writing courses I have been on was run by a former state school teacher, turned teenage fiction writer.

If a school has, for instance, theatres, state of the art laboratories, extensive grounds and sports facilities, etc., this must have some effect on pupil attainment. Some private school teachers may be excellent but then so are some state school teachers.

I think charitable status should be withdrawn from private schools. They are businesses, not charities, and any measure to make their charitable status more acceptable would be, in my opinion, just window dressing. With the increasing number of private religious schools, I wonder if the cost of monitoring that their curricula, teaching practices, etc., are in line with accepted standards, is paid for by the school or by the state.

Recent newspaper reports suggest that the vast wealth of overseas oligarchs is responsible for the massive rises in private school fees, to such an extent that even highly paid professionals are increasingly unable to pay the sorts of amounts that are now being demanded.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Nov-14 20:29:29

Looking at this another way, if the private schools didn't exist, how much would it cost the state to provide education for the children who are currently educated in private schools?
Just wondering.
It could be that this could be a larger sum than the tax relief given to private schools, and the state is a net beneficiary of the system as it is now.

rosequartz Tue 25-Nov-14 20:42:07

Do you mean this, djen?

soontobe Tue 25-Nov-14 20:45:34

The state may be, but society as a whole isnt.

rosesarered Tue 25-Nov-14 20:58:27

I think janeainsworth is right, private schools do save the Government [us] a lot of money. If they didn't exist, how would the country cope?So many more schools would have to be built. Perhaps that's why they get the charitable status [just guessing.]They do share facilities quite often and sportsgrounds and drama etc and do offer bursaries to clever children who's parents can't afford the fees.Probably if it was a bad idea to not have the status, it would have changed by now.

Ariadne Tue 25-Nov-14 21:04:57

OK - some independent schools are good, and have magnificent facilities etc. but there are a lot of small, local, "poncy" little schools, catering to the parents who think that if they pay, the education has to be better. Whereas they often employ staff who are unqualified andotherwise unemployable. I have seen so many young people from this sort of school come into our (outer London comprehensive school) Sixth Form and struggle to keep up with the standards expected.

However, if catering to this sort of snobbishness is beneficial in the end, as jane suggests, then so be it.

janerowena Tue 25-Nov-14 21:14:28

Around 10% of children in the UK go to private schools. Can you imagine the cost to the country if the state suddenly had to find places for all of them? And then, any profit made by those schools (not a lot as it happens) is taxed at a high rate. So as schools need to make some profit in order to maintain their properties and keep their facilities modern, they try to get some of that tax back by acquiring charitable status.

This can mean (at DBH's school) taking on several non-fee-paying students a year, offering their swimming pool out to local schools and clubs, ditto game fields and tennis courts and allowing the rooms to be used for local civic functions. Local school with pupils hoping to apply to Oxbridge are invited to come along to lectures accompanied by their teachers so that they have a better understanding of the application process. All sorts of things go on. The school breaks up earlier than the local state schools so they take over during the holidays and have coaching in all sorts of things, and a holiday club is run for state school children alongside the fee-paying children for those with working parents.

soontobe Tue 25-Nov-14 21:19:12

I thought that it was 7% but whatever.

The last time I saw our nearest private school, its sports changing facilites for example were pretty dire. It's swimming pool wasnt up to much either. I was surprised. The state schools' facilities were better.

janerowena Tue 25-Nov-14 21:27:00

It probably is down to 7% now, with quite a few school closures since the start of this recession.

DBH's school keeps their facilities going but has frozen the staff salaries for the past 5 years in order to keep attracting pupils. by not putting up the fees. The best thing that can happen for a school is for an ex-pupil to make a fortune and donate money towards a new building, and have their name on a large plate, or have the building named after them and their portrait inside.

durhamjen Tue 25-Nov-14 23:31:06

Just did a search for private schools becoming free schools and found this on Mumsnet from last year.,d.ZGU&cad=rja

Janea, King's School at Tynemouth joined with a nearby state primary. The parents are overjoyed to carry on with small class sizes and save the fees on top of that. Except for the few who did not want their darlings to mix with state school pupils and moved them.

durhamjen Tue 25-Nov-14 23:36:34

Janer, it was 6.5% in 2011. It's now gone up to 7% in private schools. I do not think it has ever been 10%.

janerowena Wed 26-Nov-14 08:45:52

I'm probably hearkening back to 25 years ago when my own little darlings first started! I'm not sure the internet has data on those figures going back that far, I just remember it being spoken about quite often.

janerowena Wed 26-Nov-14 08:46:59

Even so, it's still quite a few.

petallus Wed 26-Nov-14 08:50:17

Generally speaking, those who can afford to use private schools won't want charitable status removed. A large proportion of the rest of us will.

Nelliemoser Wed 26-Nov-14 09:45:45

I do not think you can fairly compare the performance of private and state schools at all, They start with a completely different pupil base and it's just not a level playing field.

Those who can afford top private schools are likely to be well educated, high earners to afford such schools in the first place. They usually have good social standing and a tradition of the importance of education which gives more confidence etc.

This adds advantage from the start, add to that the selective entrance exams which weed out the less academic.

They do not take very many children from backgrounds where aspiration is poor and families have a history of poor education. Nor do they get many of those who are beset with many other practical difficulties.

The value added to children's education and development is a more important indicator of a schools success.

gillybob Wed 26-Nov-14 09:53:41

Buying a place for your child in an independant school are no different to buying private medical care, nursing home care, dentisty........etc.

There are people who can afford to do this and those of us who only wish they could.

If tax relief was taken out of the equation and the fees rose as a result, do you think those people would suddenly decide to send their children to Joe Bloggs primary where there is a possibility they would mix with children from the nearby council estate? I very much doubt it.