ISC response to Private School Policy Reform report

Posted on: 19 Sept 2019
Posted by: Barnaby Lenon

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, responds to the "Reform Options for Britain’s Private Schools" report, published today by Private School Policy Reform.

ISC chairman, Barnaby Lenon, said: “Our focus should be on improving educational outcomes for all children, not taking away choice from parents by tearing down good schools. We therefore welcome any debate about how independent schools can be part of the solution, such as through schemes to widen access.

“What is concerning about this report is the way in which it prioritises ideology over what is best for children.

“It talks about abolishing independent schools but concedes that doing so could breach human rights legislation. It proposes unfunded policies - the authors acknowledge that nationalising all schools would require compensation be paid to private owners of property for their assets if being taken over by state but do not know what this cost would be.

“On policy ideas such as VAT on school fees, the report’s numbers are questionable, with a very conservative estimate of pupil drop-off when independent schools are forced to close and no mention at all about the impact of VAT recovery. It also says there would be job losses. Comprehensive independent analysis tells us such a policy would end up costing any Government at least £416m in its fifth year and will not provide money to support spending pledges.

“It is time we work together to best improve our education system, embracing choice, innovation and meaningful partnerships to provide excellent education for all children.”