Response to Labour Party announcement
Julie Robinson, General Secretary of the ISC, responds to the Labour Party's announcement to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils in England by introducing VAT on private school fees.
"The sums for this proposed policy do not add up and would be counter-productive. A third of pupils at our schools are on reduced fees and are from families where both parents work hard to pay the fees. If this measure was introduced smaller independent schools may close, driving more children back to be funded in the state system. Half a million children are educated in independent schools, saving the state £3 billion.
"Independent schools are fully aware of their social responsibility and offer free and reduced cost places to children from lower income homes. They also partner with state schools to offer support with sciences and languages, A levels and university access, as well as sport and music. But independent schools educate 7% of pupils at 1,300 schools, many of which are small, and independent schools cannot be expected to solve the problems of 25,000 state schools. Independent schools generate £3.6 billion in tax and contribute £9.5 billion to the economy."