Many private schools have some fantastic facilities - high-tech science labs, swimming pools, squash courts, large and extensive playing fields - that are all too often under-used. They usually have high staff:pupil ratios resulting in many teachers having more 'non-contact time' that their peers in the state sector. The vast majority of these schools claim charitable status.The Government wants private schools to open their gates to all children in the community by allowing local schools to use their facilities or by pupils from state schools being taught by private school teachers. Surely this is what their charitable status is for, isn't it?
Not according to Andrew Boggis, chair of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Association. Speaking at the Association's annual conference Mr Boggis said that if teachers from private schools are to help out in the state sector then they must be paid "the market rate". He called for a formal service contract which recognised the contribution independent schools made to the national economy. According to Mr Boggis "The government's view of partnership is not what partnership really ought to mean, it represents a superficial and one-way interest in bridge-building between the two sectors." Isn't charity meant to be about one-way interest? Isn't it about giving but not seeking anything in return?
This just confirms to me exactly why it is a complete nonsense to allow private schools to claim charitable status - the sooner we end this anomaly the better.