Independent schools should share sports facilities to keep charitable status, says Olympic chief

Lord Moynihan says the idea should be an 'essential part of the public benefit requirement'

Lord Moynihan
Lord Moynihan

Independent schools should have to share sports facilities with state schools as part of their public benefit requirement, the outgoing chair of the British Olympic Association said today.

Lord Moynihan, a former Conservative sports minister, told the BBC Today programme that he wanted to see independent schools share their facilities with local state schools, particularly primary schools.

He said this should be "an essential part of the public benefit requirement under the Charities Act".

Moynihan said he wanted to create "comprehensive engagement" and get all independent schools involved.

He said that he believed independent schools were already "willing to engage" in sharing facilities.

Speaking on the same programme, Graeme Maw, director of sport at Millfield School, an independent school in Somerset, said most independent schools already engaged in community activities.

He said that figures from the Independent Schools Council showed that about 80 per cent of its 1,200 members were already working in partnership with state schools.

The Charities Act 2006 removed the presumption that education providers registered as charities, including independent schools, provide public benefit.

The Charity Commission’s guidance on fee-charging charities, which was intended to clarify this issue, was last year withdrawn after it the charity tribunal found that it was "wrong in law" in parts.

A consultation on new guidance is taking place.

David Ainsworth recommends

Lord Moynihan on the Today programme

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