Scottish charity regulator to rule on charitable status of fee-charging schools

Decision due soon following 2008 ruling that four of them did not provide a public benefit

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator will decide this month whether four fee-charging schools that failed its charity test have made sufficient reforms to keep their charitable status, according to David Robb, its chief executive.

In October 2008, the OSCR ruled that Lomond School in Helensburgh, St Leonards School in St Andrews, Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh and Hutchesons’ Educational Trust in Glasgow "did not, on balance, provide public benefit".

It said the schools charged high fees and did not offer enough help to those unable to afford the fees.

Under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, all charities must demonstrate that they provide a public benefit. The OSCR ruled that the schools must provide plans for change within 12 months and put these plans in place within three years.

In November 2009, the OSCR ruled that the plans provided by the schools were "acceptable" in theory.

Robb told Third Sector the schools had submitted reports on the implementation of these plans and the OSCR would decide this month whether the schools were providing a public benefit.

The schools could lose their charitable status if the OSCR decides they are not.

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