Bolton School hits back at plan to tax private school fees

Credit: This story was first seen on The Bolton News

The perception that private schools are the preserve of the wealthy is wrong and “unfair”, according to the headteachers of Bolton’s top performing schools, The Bolton News reports.

The headteachers have hit back at plans for VAT imposed on independent schools to pay for free school meals.

Philip Britton, head of Bolton School boys’ division and Sue Hincks, head of the girls’ division spoke out after it was announced a Labour government could impose VAT on private school fees to pay for free meals for all primary school pupils.

Mr Britton said it perpetuated the myth that independent schools are for the “very rich” and Miss Hincks accused politicians of seeing people as “cash cows”.

Mr Britton said: “The image of independent schools for the very wealthy is simply wrong — our typical fee paying parent is hard working and choosing to prioritise education for their children over expensive houses and holidays. For the second year running our fee rise is set at just two per cent and we are very conscious of the need to be as affordable as possible to as many people as possible.”

He added: “This suggestion, which is muddle headed anyway as independent school pupils save the state the cost of a school place, is a distraction from the really important discussion about how independent schools across the country can follow the example of Bolton School and establish well thought through partnerships with local schools for the good of all pupils.”

Miss Hincks added: “Independent schools like Bolton attract hard-working families who forego many luxuries to enable their children to benefit from everything we offer. It is unfair to impose further taxes on them when educational provision has traditionally been exempt from VAT. Politicians are treating people like cash cows, instead of encouraging families to invest in their children’s education.”

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the policy will boost the health and educational attainment of all children while ending a “subsidy to the privileged few”.

Labour says the provision of free school meals also improves the health of pupils. Children in reception year one and year two already get free school meals and Labour said that extending the scheme would cost from £700 to £900m a year.