7th February 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...
English scholarships offer Tongans ‘far more than just rugby’
Danny Cipriani was among several leading rugby figures yesterday to defend the awarding of scholarships to talented teenagers, saying that the players would benefit from far more than rugby at schools that they would otherwise be unable to afford to attend.
Responding to yesterday’s report in The Times on English public schools targeting talented Tongan teenagers in Wales by offering to pay their school fees, Cipriani tweeted: “Kids wouldn’t be able to get that sort of education without the scholarships. It’s allowed many to create a future for themselves.”
A number of Tongans raised in the Gwent area, some as young as 11 or 12, have been given scholarships by English public schools, raising fears among Welsh officials that their allegiance will be transferred to England, as many leading schools have strong links with Aviva Premiership clubs.
Cipriani, the Wasps back, attended the Oratory School in Reading and Whitgift School in Croydon on scholarships and believed that the teams benefited when talented players arrived. “People in the team worked harder to stay in it. But everyone had the opportunity to a better education,” he said.
David Flatman, the former England prop who attended Dulwich College, also pointed out the benefits. “Kids going to amazing schools at 12/13 is surely about so much more than rugby,” he tweeted. “I did two years at a private school [no scholarship, not recruited] and it changed my life. Not just because of the rugby.”
Two tier charity warning over private schools' rates relief cut
Plans to strip private schools of tax breaks risks making them ‘second class charities’, ministers have been warned.
The Scottish Government has also been told the proposals undermine legislation which regulates all charities.
The concerns are raised in a series of emails from civil servants and officials from the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) revealed under freedom of information legislation.
Because private schools are charities they qualify for an 80 per cent discount on business rates, but a review last year set up by the Scottish Government recommended the relief should be abolished.
In December, the proposal was backed by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay who said it was “fair and consistent” because state schools do not qualify for rates relief.
However, internal documents from the Scottish Government’s Charity Law and Volunteering Team reveal concerns about the consequences of the policy were expressed as early as June 2017.
Officials warned the plans “would essentially create a two tier system for charities” and lead to “a class of charities who receive less favourable treatment than others”.
They also raised the issue of whether removal of rates relief - worth some £5 million to the sector - would be better dealt with under a wider campaign to challenge the charitable status of private schools.
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