Four schools fail OSCR's charity test

Four Scottish private schools have failed the Office of the Scottish Charity regulator’s charity test.

Another seven of the 30 charities that took part in the first phase of OSCR's rolling review of charitable status have been told by the regulator to amend their constitutions to meet the requirements of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

OSCR concluded that Lomond School in Helensburgh, St Leonards School in St Andrews, Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh and Hutcheson's Grammar School in Glasgow "did not, on balance, provide public benefit" because their fees were too high and they had not done enough to help those unable to afford them to benefit. The schools must provide a plan to address their failings within 12 months, and implement the plan within three years.

Jane Ryder, chief executive of OSCR, said: "We are not dictating a particular business model to the charities and there are different ways in which they can address our concerns. But we are looking for an early acknowledgement of the intention to introduce changes and for implementation within a reasonable time period."

Gordonstoun, which counts Prince Charles among its alumni, was among a handful of schools to pass the charity test.

OSCR has also published revised guidance on meeting the charity test, which can be found here.

Ryder said the rolling review had highlighted three key lessons for all charities:

  • to make sure their constitutions meet the requirements of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and accurately reflect the charity's aims;
  • to ensure trustees' annual reports describe what the charity does and show how it provides public benefit;
  • where the charity is part of a membership or group structure, to consider implementing or updating a model constitution.

The charities that passed the charity test were:

  • The charities that passed the charity test were:
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Biggar Music Club
  • Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust
  • Robertson Trust
  • Servite Housing Association
  • St Mary's Music School
  • George Heriot's Trust
  • Gordonstoun Schools
  • Governors of Donaldson Trust
  • Sylvia Aitken's Charitable Trust
  • Kilwinning Community Sports Club
  • Regius School
  • Glasgow Steiner School
  • Scottish Rock Garden Club
  • Providing for People in Paisley
  • Queens House Residential Home
  • Isobel Fraser Residential Home
  • Edinburgh Interfaith Association
  • Willows Animal Sanctuary

The charities that were directed to amend their constitutions were:

  • Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
  • Scottish Youth Hostel Association
  • Ullapool Museum Trust
  • Andarroch Trust
  • Cosgrove Care
  • Bute Museum Trustees
  • Jordanhill School

To read the full report, click here.



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