Charity disparity

24th October 2008 at 01:00

Your article "First five in line for charity test named" (TES, October 10) asserts that the Independent Schools Council has "criticised" the Charity Commission for naming the first schools to be scrutinised under new public benefit tests, and that we have said the commission was "wrong" to name them before finalising its guidance on what will be expected of the sector.

It is correct to say that we have expressed concerns to the commission that reviews are commencing at a time when final guidance on fee-charging and educational charities has not been issued. The lack of such guidance inevitably leads to uncertainty about how the commission will measure a school's public benefit. But we are working with the commission and the five schools to overcome this uncertainty and plan to bring all parties together for an open conversation about the approach.

Further, we look forward to continuing constructive engagement with the commission; engagement that is not assisted by reporting that the ISC has criticised the commission. In fact, we have been at pains to stress that our schools will welcome the opportunity brought by public reviews to publicise how they pursue their charitable purposes.

Matthew Burgess, Deputy chief executive, Independent Schools Council.

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