Scotland’s independent schools face uncharted economic waters

Dave Roberts, Director at Chiene + Tait appears in the current edition of Business Insider Magazine talking about changes in the independent school sector:

‘Accountancy firm Chiene + Tait has been advising independent schools for more than 30 years and has seen affordability become an increasing issue. “Many parents, especially those with uncertainties about their own jobs, are now opting to put their children into independent secondary school only, rather than from primary onwards,” says Dave Roberts, director of business support services at Chiene + Tait.

“The reality is household income is not increasing in line with costs, therefore some parents simply don’t have the same level of resources to fund independent education.”

Roberts doesn’t expect to see many more mergers, but predicts more collaboration as schools look to reduce costs via, for example, joint procurement models or group discounts. On the loss of business rates relief, schools will need to pass on this cost by choosing between reducing bursaries or increasing fees.

“Between the two options, bursaries are likely to be reduced, worsening the current negative reputation of the sector,” Roberts suggests.’

To read the article in full visit the Business Insider website here.

Independent schools to lose rates relief?

(This article first appeared in the Winter 2017/18 edition of our Connect client newsletter.)

The Scottish Budget announced measures to scrap the business rates relief that independent schools receive as charities.

This was the result of the Barclay Review, which thought it “unfair” that independent schools receive rates relief, whereas state schools do not.

However, critics have pointed out that a state school pays its rates to the council, which funds the school, meaning there is no actual loss of funds. Other studies estimate that the fee increases that independent schools will need to make to afford the rates increase will drive pupils to the state system, with one estimate suggesting this will cost the government £5m more than the rates increase will generate. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools said that this move may also cut the amount of support independent schools can provide in the form of bursaries and grants.

The Budget is in draft form and will be voted upon in February.