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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:09 am 
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/10541553.stm

I was under the impression the Charity Commission had backed off anyway?

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:09 am 
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I am all for this legal action. Mike, I suspect few people will be willing to reveal their true thoughts on this one since to a large extent posters will be revealing a political view and most will (probably correctly) judge that doing so it not wise.
My OP viewtopic.php?f=31&t=15897 was listed in order to draw out what others think. It received no comments beyond the obvious: that it cited an article about the Charity Commission from a year ago in the time of the now defunct Labour Government.

I had hoped the fact that the article drew attention to the contradictory stance of that government: on the one hand they disapprove of 'private' schools on the other their so called "public benefit" (lawyers speak and manipulation (spin) if ever there was) test requiring schools to provide more bursaries and thereby widen participation, would provoke discussion. All it produced was a similar remark to your own. I see no evidence to suggest the issue has gone away, nor that this Coalition led by Cameron, who may well yet prove to be more of a liability to his party (and education) than an asset, will undo or change how the commission behaves - despite reassurances to the contrary. I did not post the other complemantary link which illustrated perfectly what a corrosively destructive effect the Charity's ruling has had on small schools. If the Charity is encouraged and supported to take a similar stance in the future it can only have a terminal effect on such schools. As a direct consequence fees will rise, paradoxically making them even more out-of-reach to the average child, because the scools have no other sourch of revenue.

For me an "institution" founded for the sole purpose of providing education is intrinsically worthy of charitable status.

Lyscom is quite right when he says, "Charitable status gives tax breaks to independent schools, but Mr Lyscom said it was not about money, but about protecting their not-for-profit educational ethos."
The public benefit test is an absurdly nihilistic action of a politically perverse state.

(I have edited this .. hope it makes better sence than originally, as I am trying to teach youngest dd how to make a roux and go on to cook an edible lunch!!!)


Last edited by Sassie'sDad on Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:59 am 
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Sorry this is a rather muddled response from me, and I have not read the article. But my thoughts are as follows about certain independent schools ....... and don't get me wrong have been to independent school myself, and also been a fee payer for one.

There are some independent schools that promote a bit too much cushiness for staff and pupils via the fees, and less of an educational ethos as a result. It could be that the " financial cushion" of charitable status enables some of them to do this, whereas if they had to demonstrate some benefit to the wider community they would not be able to afford to do these things, and it would also be a better learning experience for their pupils.

A concrete example - a private day school, lunches compulsory right through to the end of sixth from, £5 per head per day. Great choice of food for the students but no check kept on what they actually do eat - could still just eat pasta day in day out with nothing else. Staff eat these lunches free. Sixth form do not clean up after they make themselves cups of tea / coffee in the sixth form block, so member of staff is paid to come in each day, make them tea and coffee, and clear up afterwards. What a waste of fees that could have gone into providing a more rounded education, and encouraging sixth formers to be a bit more self-directed in making their own lunch, teas, coffees etc.

Probably not a relevant example, but to me this school's catering section is not thinking educationally, and is surviving thanks to deep parental pockets plus the extra financial boost of charitable status.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:09 pm 
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As always, it's worth reading something other than newspaper articles. The CC has published some fairly clear statements about what it's looking for in terms of public benefit, and why:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Library/guidance/publicbenefittext.pdf

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Library/guidance/lawpb1208.pdf

This makes it plain why the CC requires private schools to provide bursaries (and specifically to make 100% bursaries available) and goes a long way to explaining why they aren't very interested in whether local people are allowed to use the swimming pool.

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:56 pm 
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I can not see how a private organisation that is open only to paying customers can claim to be a charity, and therefore get numerous tax benefits.

Just because the business may be the provision of educational services, these organisations are still businesses.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:13 pm 
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except that they are non-profit making..unlike most businesses

except that not everyone pays..e.g. those on bursaries etc


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:27 pm 
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As the docs I linked to make clear, paying for a service doesn't automatically rule it out of charitable status (for that matter, nor is simply undertaking charitable purposes sufficient to rule it in), but if it's only available to those who can afford to pay then that does rule it out. Hence (a) the requirement for bursaries and (b) the requirement for a private school to prove that they are taking steps to provide an education-related benefit to the wider public.

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:43 pm 
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Just to put the criteria into a wider context ,a few friends and set up a womens' sports team three years ago which ended up being attended by mainly white middle class mums, all expats of the NTC etc(non profit making by the way, no salaries paid). Aware of the benefits of chatitable status and the extra funding it could potentially bring, they applied for it. They were initially unsuccessful on the grounds that they did not meet the 'wider public benefit ' element and had to prove how they attempted to reach other sections of society, including poorer women living in deprived areas of their community.After lots of campaigning and advertising for more 'charitable' recruits, they built up a slightly more representative cross section of the community and were granted charitable status(hence , they were able to apply for various grants). I think this illustrates the criteria is quite fairly applied across the board and does not exist soley to irritate heads of indie schools.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:31 pm 
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The tax benefits are not numerous nor is the tax benefit such a significant sum, at least not in terms of the most heavily endowed schools but for the schools with little or no endowment the need to provide 100% bursaries requires sums of money, capital which they simply do not have. It is therefore a thinly veiled attempt to eliminate such schools.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:58 pm 
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The CC looks at the number of bursaries a school provides in relation to its means. If it hasn't got much money coming in it doesn't have to provide many bursaries. But in many cases the marginal cost of providing a free place or two will be negligible, it's the partly-paid places that will eat into revenue.

Mike


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