Scotland’s private schools ‘must do more’ for poor pupils

An investigation by Scotland on Sunday has found many of the country’s leading independent schools provide full bursaries for fewer than 1 per cent of the school roll – often just one or two pupils a year…

The figures were collated from reports written by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), which ­assesses the schools for the public benefit they provide.

While private schools often set aside significant parts of their budget for means-tested bursaries, very few children receive support which covers 100 per cent of their tuition…

The charity regulator is currently investigating private schools in Scotland to establish whether they are providing enough public benefit for the tax breaks which they are accorded under their charitable status.

While the number of children receiving bursaries is likely to fluctuate from year to year at individual schools, the reports published by the regulator so far – which cover around half of Scotland’s 53 private schools – show that in certain years some schools failed to offer free tuition to a single pupil…

Last month the OSCR warned Loretto School in East Lothian that it could be stripped of its charitable status after an investigation found it had “insufficient measures” in place to widen access for pupils from poorer backgrounds. According to the regulator’s report, there was only one child at the school in 2012-13 – a lower sixth form pupil from eastern Europe – who received the full cost of fees, which came in the form of a Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) Scholarship…

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), said: “The amount of money given away [in bursaries] has gone up exponentially in recent years – that is the figure to focus on.

“One of the things OSCR is very strong about is how you advertise the bursary provision because the money is useless unless people know it’s there. But if you don’t have applications from people who are eligible for 100 per cent bursaries, you don’t give them away.

“Schools are keen to widen access, but there’s a limit to the amount of people that are interested.”

More at:  Private schools ‘must do more’ for poor pupils

Is providing full bursaries the right kind of help from independent schools? And should they be doing more of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments or on twitter… 

Scottish ministers urged to extend free school meals for pupils
Parents in punch-up outside primary school in row over dangerous parking
Categories: Private Schools and Scotland.

Comments

  1. Angry_Teacher_

    SchoolsImprove This criticism has been going on for years. Either stipulate clearly what they must do or end the tax breaks.

Let us know what you think...