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22 Oct 2015

Charity Commission updates guidance for recording partnership work

New guidelines on how independent schools can ensure they best demonstrate their public benefit have been issued.

The Charity Commission issued the new guidance on Thursday 22 October 2015.

The Commission's guidelines always made it clear that facility sharing was one way in which independent schools could fulfil public benefit duties, but the new update encourages schools, as a matter of good practice, to comment on their individual approaches to benefit in sport, drama, music and other arts in their trustee annual report.

The commission has updated its example trustee annual report for a charitable school to reflect the recommendation in the updated guidance.

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Charity Commission, said: "This small change to our guidance sends a clear signal to independent school charities: if you have good facilities for sports or the arts, sharing them with local state schools is an excellent way for you to make sure you run your charity for the public benefit. We know that many charitable fee-charging schools already open up their facilities to local state schools, and we would encourage trustees of all such charities to consider carefully, and report on, how students in state education benefit from using their school’s facilities."

ISC General Secretary, Julie Robinson, said: "Independent schools have a long tradition of sharing facilities and expertise with other schools and the communities around them. Across the country, extensive partnership work already takes place and there is genuine enthusiasm to see the wide range of projects grow even further. The Charity Commission's new guidance won't change this work, but will encourage schools to highlight the full range of activity already taking place which is perhaps not widely reported."

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