Davidon chases clarity from Labour on charitable status of independent schools

With Scottish education in dire straits and little evidence that the Education Secretary has any notion of how to restore its earned former reputation, Scottish Conservative Leader, Ruth Davidson, has asked for clarification of the national Labour Party’s stance on independent schools.

Yesterday, Labour leadership candidate, Kezia Dugdale, said she wanted to see an end to independent schools having charitable status.

Ruth Davidson has consequently written to Scottish Labour MP, Ian Murray, asking him to clarify the party’s position on independent schools. The Edinburgh South Labur MP serves a city with thousands of independent school places. Ms Davidson stresses that it is important to know what he thinks about this issue.

Ms Davidson has written:

‘Dear Ian,
‘I’m writing regarding the charitable status of independent schools. Yesterday, when launching her campaign to become leader of Scottish Labour, Kezia Dugdale, signalled her intention to end this practice.

‘I believe such a policy to be mistaken. As you are aware, this issue has been considered both by the Scottish Parliament and, at regular intervals, by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) – who are responsible for assessing whether independent schools merit charitable status.

‘At the last count, OSCR concluded that the vast majority do exactly that and so it seems wrongheaded to re-visit the issue and threaten to unpick the measures which have been put in place to ensure that the independent sector is more accessible to pupils from all backgrounds.

‘As a Glasgow region MSP, I have a number of independent schools in my area and am concerned that ending charitable status would limit choice, cost jobs and penalise some of Scotland’s best performing schools.

‘These same considerations apply to Edinburgh South.

I know you back Ms Dugdale’s candidacy as leader and so I ask whether you share her view that charitable status should be scrapped.

‘Otherwise I ask you to confirm whether – like the Scottish Conservatives – you believe there is a space for independent schools in Scotland and this wrong-headed and ideological attack on their charitable status puts that space in peril.’

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Related Articles & Comments

  • If people want to run fee-paying schools they can do so as private businesses. It’s not a public benefit to have a moneyed elite educated separately from everyone else. It is, of course, no surprise that the party of the moneyed elite seeks to defend them.

    I also think the claim that Scottish education is in “dire straits” requires a little more evidence to back it up (more, certainly, than the couple of cherry-picked figures you usually trot out).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

    Arethosemyfeet June 21, 2015 4:23 pm Reply
  • I haven’t come across any parents who think their children’s education is dire.

    The purpose of education is to inspire everyone to develop his or her talents to flourish. To flourish one needs to understand rather than simply have an ability to exam pass. Curriculum for excellence is designed to promote understanding .

    If private education was to end the state would have to provide school places for these children about 30000. To fund that tax would need to be increased and that would be taxes on all taxpayers not just those who would otherwise choose private education. From a practical point of view who is prepared to pay more tax to abolish private education?

    I think I’m right in thinking that there are senior politicians in all the major parties who privately educate their children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    Graeme McCormick June 21, 2015 7:23 pm Reply
    • Nobody is talking about abolition though are they? Just abolishing the tax breaks and making private schools run as what they are – businesses. The funding for the extra places for those who just not to pay any more will come from the VAT, business rates et al that private schools currently avoid.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      Arethosemyfeet June 21, 2015 9:44 pm Reply
  • For Argyll should now issue a health warning after every “ahem” article it produces.Are you deliberately trying to scare folks just like the “Daily Fail”?If you are embarking on that particular trajectory,you are failing miserably,Scotland is now enlightened!Get with the times!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

    Machmaolain June 21, 2015 8:28 pm Reply

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