The Telegraph reports that at least 100 of the country’s leading independent schools will be forced to sponsor a state school or risk losing their charitable status, under the Conservatives’ education proposals.
In a move that will be seen as a warning that private schools will not be able to ignore the demand, the Tories said that they are “keeping open the option of changing the tax status of independent schools if progress is not made”.
Under Conservative Party plans, failing schools will be banned from accepting any more pupils. The plans, which will affect more than one in ten schools in the country, will bar councils from creating new places at schools that have been rated “inadequate” or “requires improvement” by Ofsted, the regulator.
They also promised to conduct a review of the school admissions policy so that “ordinary working families” are not priced out of the best schools because they cannot afford to buy a house in the catchment area.
The Conservatives said they would increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022, as well as continuing to create a “fairer” way of distributing funding across the country..
A Conservative government would also press ahead with the free schools scheme, creating at least 100 new free schools a year, the manifesto states. In an effort to attract and retain more teachers in all schools, the Conservatives will also offer “forgiveness” on student loan repayments to teachers while they remain in the profession.
Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council Chairman, suggested that the manifesto proposals were not warmly received by private schools. “We believe the greatest benefit can be achieved by working together in a spirit of voluntarism,” he said. “It is important to remember that ours is a sector of 1,300 mostly small schools with limited capability in this area.”
Would “forgiveness” on student loan repayments to teachers while they remain in the profession help keep teacher numbers up? Or are the reasons behind teacher recruitment and retention far more complex than just loan repayments? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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