Don’t fall for the school ‘sub­sidy’ myth

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - COMMENT -

Sir, – I write in re­sponse to Steve Kerr (“No rates re­lief for schools,” Let­ters, Fe­bru­ary 13) who is the lat­est per­son to fall for the com­plete myth that in­de­pen­dent schools some­how ben­e­fit from a gov­ern­ment ‘sub­sidy’.

The very op­po­site is true.

The High School of Dundee re­ceives no money from the state.

On the con­trary, the very ex­is­tence of our school alone saves the state £8 mil­lion per year by ed­u­cat­ing 1,000 chil­dren out­with the state.

Our tax-pay­ing par­ents pay school fees out of their al­ready-taxed in­come.

This pays for chil­dren in state schools, not their own.

Ad­di­tion­ally, our par­ents, through the school, also pay 20% of busi­ness rates, a size­able and ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tion to state cof­fers.

In­de­pen­dent schools there­fore pro­vide a mas­sive sub­sidy to the state, not the other way round.

The con­stant re­work­ing of this myth is a bank­rupt il­lu­sion which de­flects from the real dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing Scot­tish state ed­u­ca­tion.

We need to be much more cre­ative and joined up in our think­ing, and form part­ner­ships to ben­e­fit all Scot­land’s pupils.

One small first step would be to abol­ish rates for all state schools.

To give state schools tax­pay­ers’ money with one hand, then claim it back with the other wastes my taxes which could go into im­prov­ing schools.

There are many other ideas out there – and in­de­pen­dent schools are a part of the so­lu­tion.

Dr John D Hal­l­i­day. Rec­tor,

High School of Dundee, Eu­clid Cres­cent, Dundee.

High School of Dundee rec­tor Dr John Hal­l­i­day dis­putes the myth in­de­pen­dent schools re­ceive a gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, and points out they ac­tu­ally con­trib­ute to state cof­fers.

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