Scottish private school fees predicted to rise

Written by Tom Freeman on 18 July 2018 in News

Private schools are raising fees ahead of predicted rates rise

Fettes college - credit Ben Heathwood

Scottish private schools are set to raise their fees to cope with proposed changes to business rates, it has emerged.

The average fee has already risen from £11,500 to around £15,000 since 2010, according to analysis in the Times, but schools now face an end to their charitable tax relief.

Private schools are currently regulated by charity watchdog OSCR to ensure they meet public benefit conditions required to keep their charitable status, but the Scottish Government plans to overhaul the business rates system so that they are treated in the same way as state schools and therefore exempt from tax relief they currently enjoy.

Scotland’s most expensive private school is Fettes in Edinburgh, which is putting up its senior day school fees from £26,790 in 2017-18 to £28,200 in 2018-19.

John Edward, director of the umbrella body the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: “Schools are committed to means-tested fee assistance for pupils, often for up to six years at a time, as part of the public benefit test.

“If, despite that, business rates are to be increased fivefold – the only educational bodies across the UK to experience this – it would be no surprise if medium-term budgets have to reflect that too.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish ministers recognise that, although small, the independent sector is a well-established part of the Scottish education system that promotes choice for parents.

“We will continue to engage with the sector as well finalise the detail of our proposals, subject to which we intend to bring forward primary legislation to deliver this change by 2020.”

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