Labour's tax on school fees ‘will displace vulnerable pupils’, ISC CEO warns

Posted on: 19 Feb 2024

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), has warned that Labour's plans to tax school fees could threaten the education of more than 95,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Robinson warned that the Labour Party's plans to impose VAT on school fees could result in a "very severe situation", which threatens to disrupt the education of vulnerable children.

Ms Robinson said: “A fifth of independent school children in our schools – more than 103,000 - need some form of Special Education Need or Disability (SEND) support, but currently only children with the most severe or complex needs, who are covered by an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – that’s just 6.9 per cent of them, just over 7,000 pupils – will be exempt from the planned 20 per cent levy. This leaves a very large cohort of children in the independent system – 95,000 plus on current figures – who have additional needs but who don’t have an EHCP. We all know this is true and yet the fees of these children are not exempt from Labour’s planned new tax. Most of their parents are also already stretched financially so thousands of these children could be displaced into the state system."