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United over private funds

YOUR article on the charity status of independent schools (TES, May 10) decontextualises one phrase in such a way as to misrepresent the thrust of a talk I gave at the Independent Schools Council conference.

Independent schools are within the letter of charitable law, but in the views of some they are not within its spirit.

The idea of a test of public benefit would cause us to look more closely at our schools and how they operate. I do not think that there is anything wrong with that.

There is much evidence for the claim that independent schools do operate to public benefit. My talk called not for measures against the funding of independent education but for increased funding.

It explained the educational benefit of organisations such as the Sutton and Ogden Trusts, and recommended that the sector should rally behind schemes, such as the ISC's OASIS, that would further broaden access to independent education.

I did not call funding anachronistic: I argued that all those who believed in independent education should ensure that funding, even further augmented, would be the way of the future.

I am convinced that such beliefs unite my colleagues, rather than dividing them.

Dr TR Hands

Headteacher

Portsmouth grammar school

High Street

Portsmouth

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