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Independent Schools Council (ISC) vs. Charity Commission (CC)

Under new rules introduced in 2006 private schools (along with all other charities) had to prove their wider public benefit to keep their charitable status.

The ISC brought the Charity Commission to the Upper Tribunal as they felt  that the Charity Commission’s guidance on charitable status was too narrow and did not take into account all the charitable work that schools were involved in.

On 14 October 2011 a ruling was finally released by the High Court in London.

It stated that the commission was unfairly placing too much emphasis on the extent to which independent schools offered bursaries to poor children, subsidies to the not so well off should be taken into account too and that it is for the trustees of the school concerned to address and assess how their obligations might best be fulfilled in the context of their own particular circumstances.

It confirmed that private schools, as educational charities, do have to demonstrate a wider public benefit beyond their own pupils.

It concluded that certain parts of the Charity Commission’s guidance were erroneous and should be rewritten.

The ISC warmly welcomed the ruling.

The Charity Commission have stated that they will rewrite the relevant sections of the public benefit guidance and that infact they had already started to do this.



Date: 21st October, 2011
Author: Wendy Bambrick


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