Schools 'to earn' charity status
Private schools will have to show they deserve charitable status
Independent schools in England and Wales will soon have to prove how they provide a public benefit if they wish to retain their charitable status.
I have written about this a number of times, most pertinently when kicking that fat, old, dribbling hypocrite, Hattersley. But to argue about the extent to which private schools do benefit the community, continually, seems a little pointless when the arguments can be summed up so swiftly.
In the old way of thinking—in the days when all schools were mostly funded by donations, i.e. before the Welfare State—it was taken for granted that, by teaching children to read and write, schools were, by definition, beneficial to the community. This still holds true, but now there are nuances.
Are private schools beneficial? Yes.
As the appalling literacy and numeracy rates of those leaving the state system become ever more obvious, private schools benefit communities by ensuring that there are at least some people in this country who are capable of reading, writing and adding up.
As public exams become increasingly devalued, private schools provide reassurance to employers and universities unsure whether a sodding A****** in English Literature means that a child can actually write an essay or not.
As cash-strapped councils sell off more and more school lands, such as playing fields, the private schools ensure that there are at least some people capable of playing team sports and, in many cases, somewhere for state school children to play.
Parents who send their children to private schools—often making great personal sacrifices to be afford to do so—still pay the taxes that keep the state schools going: they are not depriving the state of that income, as they effectively pay twice over.
The already cash-strapped and space-deprived education system simply cannot cope with the influx of all of the private school children into the state system. In Edinburgh, for instance, some 45% of children are in the private sector.
Should tax-relief be removed from private schools, they will be faced with a choice: raise fees or cut benefits. They will almost certainly go with the latter and the first things to go will be the scholarships and the bursaries. After all, why bother giving services away for free when there is no benefit to (what will then be) an entirely commercial business? This will remove opportunity for the poorest, further destroying social mobility, and make the schools truly the preserve of the rich.
Quite simply, this is another sop to the clapped-out, jealousy-wracked, class-war dinosaurs in the Labour Party; like the hunting ban, it is another bribe to ensure their continuing loyalty as the NuLabour project starts to crumble.
It is wrong and it is indecent to play politics with children's lives, for that is what you do when you remove the opportunity of a good education. Because screwing over the private schools will not make the state schools any better and so more children will fail to be well-educated; more children will leave school without basic, necessary skills; more children will be condemned to dead-end jobs or a life on benefits; more childrens' lives will be ruined and the underclass, those trapped in poverty and hopelessness, will continue to grow.
And all to appease a bunch of bitter, avaricious, superannuated Champagne socialists whose sole solution to the problems that they themselves have engendered is to ruin the lives of yet more innocent people.
Please excuse me while I go and sharpen my cockroaches...