Digging deep on privilege and access

31st July 2009 at 01:00

In "The Week" you mentioned that "no one seems to have figured out the process yet" for independent schools to lose charitable status (July 17). If this were possible, schools might opt for such an alternative.

After all, the choice would be losing the financial benefits of charitable status - not as high as many might suppose - or having to forgo income by offering more bursaries. The financial decision might be close.

However, losing charitable status is not an option. The assets of a school that is a charity are charitable assets, and these cannot be given away except to a charity with similar aims. The possible outcomes, if the school and its governors cannot come up with a solution that is financially viable and satisfies the Charity Commission, are, first, for the governors to be replaced as trustees and, if the new trustees still fail to do what is required, for the school to be closed and its assets transferred to another charity with similar objectives. This isn't about charitable status; it's about potentially closing good schools because there is not a financial solution that enables them to meet the requirements that the commission has imposed while remaining viable as a business.

David Exham, Witney, Oxfordshire.

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