Two Scottish schools that failed the charity test have now passed

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator says Fettes College (pictured) and St George's School for Girls have made changes to their bursary programmes

Fettes College
Fettes College

Two fee-charging schools in Scotland that previously failed the charity test have been adjudged to have passed, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has announced.

The OSCR announced that Fettes College and St George's School for Girls, which are both in Edinburgh, had been allowed to keep their charitable status after making changes to their bursary programmes.

The regulator said in January that the two schools had failed the charity test because insufficient measures had been taken to help people with the payment of high fees or to otherwise widen access to the benefit they provided.

They were given 18 months to improve or face losing their charitable status.

The OSCR also announced that the International School of Aberdeen had passed the test.

The regulator said in May that it needed more time to consider its case because its "particular characteristics required more detailed consideration".

The regulator said this week that Fettes, a school of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, responded to failing the test by clarifying the process for awarding means-tested bursaries to focus them on those in financial need.  

Martin Tyson, head of registration at the OSCR, said that the process was aimed at maintaining public confidence in charitable status.

"Our experience is that where we have issued directions to widen access, schools have taken the necessary steps to comply and thereby retain charitable status.

"Fettes College and St George's School for Girls have both addressed the issues we identified as a priority and have taken early action to widen access."

The three schools were examined as part of the regulator's review of all of the country's fee-charging schools, which is due for completion in the summer of 2014.

To date, the OSCR has assessed 31 of the 40 schools it has identified for review, and since 2006 has granted charitable status to more than 5,000 new charities using the same test.

Anne Everest, head teacher of St George's School for Girls, said: "We have worked closely with the OSCR over the last few months so that they now have a full and detailed picture of the public benefit we provide. 

"We have also introduced a new constitution for the school and, more crucially, we have increased the number of means-tested bursaries we offer in a measured and sustainable way."

Michael Spens, headmaster of Fettes, said the college was "gratified" by the OSCR’s decision.

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