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to want to abolish private schools' charitable status?

(736 Posts)
minifingers Thu 17-Jul-14 14:00:28

Which costs the tax payer 100 million squids a year.

Schools justify having charitable status by saying they offer financial help to 'disadvantaged' children.

The 'disadvantaged' children they refer to are actually, almost to a boy/girl, highly intelligent, academically successful children who have outstandingly supportive parents (otherwise they wouldn't be researching bursaries/applying for schools/preparing their children for exams). In other words, not at all disadvantaged. These are the children who generally succeed very highly in the state sector too.

I personally think that tax-payers money should go towards supporting those children who are failing in education, not to those children who are already succeeding. Surely it's more beneficial for the children who are currently failing most severely in the state sector to have tax payers money spent on them, as these are the children who the tax payer ends up supporting through benefits/the prison system.

In addition, 'skimming off' this top layer of very clever children and sending them to be educated separately from other ordinary kids impacts on the learning of all the other children in the state sector - any of us who have done a degree/been in education know what a difference it makes to be in a class where there are a lot of clever/motivated people, how much more enjoyable and productive learning is.

Just to draw a mumsnet analogy - imagine if all the funniest and most interesting posters here were offered their own site - 'mumsnet gold', where they could be funny and interesting all day long and those of us who are not as funny and clever would be excluded. Imagine how much of a loss that would be to everyone here? we could rename the new non-gold site 'netmums2'


Take the £100000000 currently given to private schools and give it to state schools with the largest number of underachieving students to spend on supporting their education instead?

SamG76 Thu 17-Jul-14 14:04:45

YABU - they save the taxpayer a lot more because their parents pay their taxes and then don't use state schools. The state sector is already under huge pressure - if it suddenly had to take a huge group of refugees from private schools, it would be pushed over the edge.

SignoraStronza Thu 17-Jul-14 14:06:13

Here we go. For what it's worth I totally agree with you op, but here come the the ME who have a spare £650+a month to send their little darlings to private school and will now tie themselves up in knots insisting that their child and their child's school is deserving of charity. They make 'sacrifices' you see.

SignoraStronza Thu 17-Jul-14 14:07:06

MNers Although it is very me me me!

Hakluyt Thu 17-Jul-14 14:08:30

Absolutely,OP- there is no possible argument against that position. Watch the private school parents try though!

OTheHugeManatee Thu 17-Jul-14 14:11:50

YABU and sound pretty bitter actually.

Calloh Thu 17-Jul-14 14:15:20

I am not a private school parent.


Are they costing tax payers money or just not actually paying tax?

minifingers Thu 17-Jul-14 14:16:24

"YABU - they save the taxpayer a lot more because their parents pay their taxes and then don't use state schools. The state sector is already under huge pressure - if it suddenly had to take a huge group of refugees from private schools,"

What 'huge group'?

I'm not proposing closing down private schools give me time

minifingers Thu 17-Jul-14 14:17:27

The tax breaks private schools get cost the tax payer 100 million pounds a year.

They only get these tax breaks because they have charitable status.

Missunreasonable Thu 17-Jul-14 14:18:02

The total education budget is £87.8bn so £100m is actually a very small proportion of that.
How much more would need to be found if we closed all private schools and put the extra 7% of children into state schools?

It isn't possible to abolish the charitable status across the board due to rulings on education and charitable status including things like universities which are also charitable despite charging £9000 a year tuition fees.

whataloadofoldshite Thu 17-Jul-14 14:18:49

I think it's great that gifted kids get the opportunity to receive a great education without lack of funds being an obstacle.

But do I agree that more money needs to go into state education.

Not all well of people are smart and not all poor people are stupid.

If my DC were offered a scholarship, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Iggly Thu 17-Jul-14 14:19:23


Plenty of people pay taxes for services they don't use. So a flawed argument.

But those who use private school - where are their teachers training...? Who pays for that?

Fundamentally charitable status for private schools is a nice way to avoid tax.

whataloadofoldshite Thu 17-Jul-14 14:20:43

* I do agree

Bigglesfliesundone Thu 17-Jul-14 14:21:12

Charitable status also means that the local oiks can go and use the lovely school grounds for about five minutes once a year in the holidays and marvel at life on the other side though..

wanttosinglikemarycoughlan Thu 17-Jul-14 14:22:24

agree with you OP in fact I think a lot of charities are no different to big business now and many should lose their charitable status

TopsyTail Thu 17-Jul-14 14:22:40

YABU. Private schools have to meet strict criteria to meet their charitable status. Where we live over 25% of children are privately educated. The state schools can't cope with the numbers they have. If all the privately educated children were to enter the state system the schools couldn't cope.

SamG76 Thu 17-Jul-14 14:23:07

Minifingers - the fees will have to go up to make up for the £100m lost, which by basic economic principles means that some parents will be priced out. It will also mean that private schools, as they don't need to offer the public any benefits, will become even more inward-looking.

minifingers Thu 17-Jul-14 14:23:21

"YABU and sound pretty bitter actually."

Yes - I'm quite bitter.

My children are currently in a very good inner city primary. Their class represents a very broad spectrum of society: they learn alongside the children of university lecturers, teachers and lawyers as well as alongside children from families who have never worked and where one parent is in and out of prison.

In a year's time 5 of the 6 children in the top set in each year 5 class (my ds's class/set) will be 'creamed off' into private/church/grammar schools and my son will be going to the local comprehensive without that group of children to learn alongside. He can't go to a private/church school and has little chance of a grammar place. His experience of education will be poorer because of the missing clever children that he currently works alongside, and who enhance his learning experience.

So yes, it does piss me off. It strikes me as divisive and bad for society. And unfair. Very, very, very unfair.

TopsyTail Thu 17-Jul-14 14:24:57

Do know what pisses me off minifingers. The constant bashing of parents who have made a different choice to you when educating their children. They presumably work hard to earn their money and make a good few sacrifices too. I bet you would do it if you could.

Missunreasonable Thu 17-Jul-14 14:25:28

I have thought about this a bit more. The saving is approx £200 per pupil. I wonder how many parents would happily cough up an extra £200 a year to prevent people not paying full fees from attending with a bursary or the local oiks (as somebody put it upthread) from using the facilities?
I'm guessing quite a few would happily do that. Of course the state would have to find an extra £6000 a year for each extra pupil who attends a state school due to not being able to get a bursary.

Calloh Thu 17-Jul-14 14:25:43

The people sending their children to private schools presumably pay income tax that supports the state school system. They just choose not to use it. If fewer children went to private school more would have to be accommodated in the state school sector without a proportionate rise in tax revenue.

The treasury wouldn't get £100 million in tax from private schools as fees would presumably have to go up and fewer children go and more schools close.

But why does it actually bother you? I disagree with Friends of the Earth on an issue but don't think their charitable status should be revoked. Private schools do good things for pre-dominantly rich kids. They're still doing good things for kids.

I can't afford to send my child to private school but think great for those who can. It doesn't mean my child is going to fail and their child is going to succeed. It just means they have the money to choose to spend on their child's education and by doing that they support institutions which will also try and extend support through scholarships and sharing their facilities with local schools. I don't quite see who suffers from this?

Missunreasonable Thu 17-Jul-14 14:27:39

He can't go to a private/church school and has little chance of a grammar place.

Well I am glad that you admitted to being bitter. At least you are honest. When you talk about grammar places are these state grammar places?

Calloh Thu 17-Jul-14 14:29:01

Cross-posted. I missed your most recent post OP. I can see how that annoys you but do you really think the parents of those children should have their choice on how to educate their child taken away from them?

sashh Thu 17-Jul-14 14:29:06

they save the taxpayer a lot more because their parents pay their taxes and then don't use state schools.

Seriously, do you think Eton would close its doors it it stopped being a charity?

If all the privately educated children were to enter the state system the schools couldn't cope.

I think having an influx of well mannered children who have parents interested in their education and the resources to fund trips and equipment wouldn't be too hard for teachers.

rose202 Thu 17-Jul-14 14:31:16

Hahahaha to your MN example where you have just clearly described the Mouldies!! Yeah it did happen!

Perhaps there's more to a child failing in education & perhaps throwing money at the problem won't actually help? I remember a friend of mine at my school whose family disagreed with the principle of homework to such an extent that they wouldn't let her do it at home, so she had to spend every break time doing it instead. Her family didn't set a high value on education, it was just something to be got through so she could leave school. How is this going to be solved by money? When a child doesn't have the peace & quiet in their own home to allow school work to be done, how will money solve this?

Plus when a not well off family scrimps & saves for school fees & manages to send a child to private school as they value education highly & want that child to have a different live to theirs, why should that child be disadvantaged by their school not receiving money. Even Eton offers scholarships ffs.

Money should be spent on pinpointing why children fail in school & dealing with the cause, not the symptoms.

You sound immensely bitter & jealous OP

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