Labour proposals threaten existence of independent schools

Labour proposals threaten existence of independent schools

New plans have been unveiled which, if successful, would see independent schools ‘integrated’ into the state sector.

The announcement at the recent Labour annual conference followed an earlier pledge by the Party to apply VAT to private school fees if it wins power at the next general election.

Matthew Adshead, vice-chair of the Independent Schools Association (ISA), which represents 470 fee-paying schools, condemned Labour’s new manifesto pledge as a “worrying proposition”.

Mr Adshead, who is also head of the independent Old Vicarage School in Derby, said: “For me, it seems quite incredulous that in 2019 I’m discussing whether my private land will be seized and then redistributed.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It doesn’t feel like I’m living in the UK anymore,”

Under Labour’s proposals, all property and assets held by private schools would be “redistributed democratically and fairly” across the country’s state educational institutions.

Independent schools’ charitable status would also be abolished, adding £3,000 to the average annual cost of day school fees. , Full business rates would also be applied to schools, which critics argue would result either in a further increase in school fees or putting smaller independent schools out of business

In a further move against the independent sector, universities would have their intake of privately educated students capped at 7 per cent.

Mike Buchanan, executive director of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) claimed that the proposals, if implemented would amount to “an act of unprecedented vandalism”.

He added: “Any government has a duty of care to all its citizens and this would harm children in independent and state schools, harm families and harm freedom.”

The proposals could face a legal challenge as the European Court of Human Rights “guarantees the right to open and run a private school.”

Labour proposals threaten existence of independent schools