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Michael Gove moves to reassure independent schools about their charitable status

GOVE MICHAEL RED TIEThe Independent reports today that Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove has reassured independent schools that he is on their side as their charitable status is threatened by Dame Suzi Leather and the Charity Commission.

The paper states that an incoming Conservative government would hold "immediate talks" with the Charity Commission in order to to persuade it to "soften its line on reviewing independent schools' charitable status".

The report continues:

"It would want the Commissioners to adopt a broader vision of what constitutes public benefit, including schemes such as that introduced by St Paul's School for Boys in west London to give maths "master classes" to gifted state school pupils. Leaders of the independent sector have been incensed that the Commission has focused on whether schools offer bursaries to youngsters from poorer homes when assessing whether they should keep their charitable status.

Mr Gove tells the paper:

"I know that the independent sector have their concerns about the way it [The Charity Commission] is operating. The Charity Commission say the way private schools can demonstrate public benefit is by having more scholarships.

"I have no objection to that – but I think it is wrong to say that's the only way they can provide public benefit. Rather than benefiting a small group of children, why not use their resources to the benefit of a greater number like St Paul's has done?"

> In July, Tim urged the Conservatives to stop the Charity Commission's war on private schools

Jonathan Isaby

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