A BURDEN FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND NO PUBLIC BENEFIT

Published ;Financial Times; October 4 2007 03:00 | Last updated: October 4 2007 03:00

 From Mr Patrick Watson.

 Sir, In burdening independent schools with more regulation, and increasing their overheads to demonstrate public benefit and their support for academies (report, October 1), independent schools will have less surplus to invest in school improvement and so have less available for charitable activities.

 Independent schools cannot recover the costs of their involvement with academies and this will affect their bottom line. This will serve to damage both their competitiveness and the scope of their charitable work.

 A group of schools educating no more than 7 per cent of pupils will not help transform the deep-rooted problems in the state system, which seems to be ministers’ intention, outstanding though many of the schools may be. Incremental, marginal improvements at a cost, possibly.

But transformative systemic changes? No way. Increasing red tape and making them responsible to the dead hand of Ofsted, which has done little (if anything) to improve standards in state schools, is clearly a regressive and self-defeating step and will reduce their efficiency, competitiveness and productivity. Is this really what the government wants?

 Patrick Watson, London SW8 3JX

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