Scottish regulator confirms charitable status of private school in Ayr

Wellington School failed the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator's charity test in May last year, but is now deemed to be providing sufficient public benefit

Wellington School
Wellington School

A fee-paying school in Ayr has had its charitable status confirmed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator after it increased the financial support it provides for students.

In May 2013, the regulator said that Wellington School in Ayr failed the OSCR’s charity test and issued it with a direction telling it to widen access to the benefit it provides by October 2014.

A report published by the OSCR today says that the school has made a substantial increase in bursaries and financial support to students, which demonstrates that it "has a clear focus to assist those who are less able to pay", and as such has been deemed to be providing sufficient public benefit to meet the requirements of charity status.

The school asked the OSCR to review its decision on 13 March this year. The report says that in the financial year 2013/14, the school paid out £279,400 in support and bursaries, representing 5.8 per cent of available income. Previously, it had spent only 3.1 per cent of income on support.

The OSCR said it had almost completed its assessment of 40 fee-charging schools that it had decided to scrutinise in September 2012. It said it had completed its activities with regards to 34 of these.

Four of those schools – Struthers Memorial Church, Fernhill School, the Oakwood Education Trust and the Springvale Education Trust – are still having their charity status considered, the OSCR said.

A further two remain under directions from the OSCR to widen access. St Columba’s School might comply by 31 July, and Loretto School has until 31 March next year.

Martin Tyson, head of registration at the OSCR, said: "We will continue to work with the schools that remain under the terms of our directions and will encourage them to take the necessary steps to remain on the fegister."

David Robb, chief executive of the regulator, said in 2012 that the review process was an important part of ensuring that charities were seen to be providing public benefit.

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