I have waited patiently for those supporting the private school sector to suggest why some private schools have incurred an investigation from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. As yet they have been silent.
Instead there have been a few venomous letters to the editor, which have failed to address the real issue of why private schools should be given tax breaks due to their qualification of being a charity. These tax breaks, which incidentally we all pay for, give further advantage to those who are already have significant social and economic advantages.
While some may cry that they cannot afford that second foreign holiday because they have to pay school fees, there are many, many more who are concerned that even more families, who send their children to the local comprehensive, have to access food and other family support through food banks.
These are the cases we, as local councillors, deal with daily and while I respect every parent’s right to want the best for their children, to ignore the gap that exists between the most advantaged children and the least advantaged is not part of thinking we need to secure a fair, open and respectful nation.
The charity regulator should be given more powers and scope to re-assess whether private schools are in fact “charities”.
Would they seek charitable status if there was not any financial advantage in being so? The three schools which have been called to book recently suggest that they are sailing pretty close to the wind in meeting that definition and evidence supports the view that private schools’ bursary schemes are not as inclusive as they might be.
(Cllr) Douglas Chapman