Private schools should admit up to five vulnerable children in care to avoid losing their tax breaks, a children’s minister has said.
Nadhim Zahawi, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Education, wants to expand the Boarding Schools Partnership – which offers places to children who are in the care of local authorities – to 1,000 private schools.
He told The Telegraph that he wants to “get between two and five kids in every independent school in the country”.
And he said that if private schools failed to act, they risked losing their tax breaks if Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party took power.
Most public schools are currently exempt from paying taxes, such as VAT and business rates.
Labour has said that it would provide free school meals for primary school children by introducing VAT on private school fees if the party wins the next election.
Call for private schools to 'help the most vulnerable'
In the run-up to today’s Budget, the Conservative chancellor, Philip Hammond, also reportedly considered imposing the 20 per cent levy on fees to raise extra cash for the NHS, to the consternation of independent schools.
While he has reportedly been forced to drop the plans due to opposition by Conservative backbenchers, Mr Zahawi said he wanted the country’s “very strong independent school sector to feel they are with us on this journey to help the most vulnerable kids in our society”.
He said: “My message [to public schools] is you can do something really great by helping me with these kids who are clearly vulnerable, who have been traumatised.
“Come and help me do this – because imagine a world where you are knitted into the fabric of society – doing some really great work for the schools themselves.
“Mr Corbyn then has to make a decision – does he want to hurt really good schools that are doing great work with some of the most vulnerable kids in our society.”