Private schools, public partners

1st August 2003 at 01:00
Your article "Independents must open up to hoi polloi" (TES, July 18) fails to acknowledge the large amount already being done by private schools for community benefit.

This work takes a variety of different forms. For example, our recent survey showed that more than half of our member schools are involved in some form of partnership activity often, though not exclusively, with maintained schools.

Help with language teaching and music are typical. Almost the entire costs are met by our member schools. And just over a fifth of them have already applied to take part in the independentstate school partnership scheme started by the Government in 1998.

Substantial help is provided through scholarships and bursaries to help less well-off families pay fees: nearly a third of all pupils in our schools benefit from fee reductions.

It is true that our facilities are not used widely by maintained schools.

Often the facilities on offer are simply unsuitable in size or location.

But more significant are timetabling problems. Our schools' facilities are therefore generally available in the evenings and school holidays.

The Government's new policy proposals take note of the major (and long-standing) contribution made by our schools to the wider community (no more references please to "hoi polloi").

A fair and flexible public benefit test must now be worked out by the Independent Schools Council and the Charity Commission.

Alistair Cooke. General secretary. Independent Schools Council. 35-37 Grosvenor Gardens. London SW1

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today