It came as no surprise to the SEAS to see questions raised about the SNP’s tax avoidance advice for private schools. We had already raised the issue about the Scottish Government deploying public resources to support private education in a previous blog “We need to talk about private schools” .
The antics of SNP Cabinet ministers working on behalf of private schools while state schools are under their austerity measures is only the most recent example of SNP’s unwillingness to support and invest in our schools.
We had highlighted John Swinney attending the Scottish Council Of Independent Schools as their keynote speaker urging sharing between private schools and state schools.
The SNP are clearly not fully committed to inclusive equitable education in Scotland. It is still part of their party’s policy for all schools to be given charitable status and in their eyes this would resolve the 96% anomaly whereby 4% of schools have charitable status yet 96% don’t. The SNP would rather push all state schools further outwith public service towards trust and charitable status. The rates relief idea is part of the devolution of irresponsibility by Scottish government bent on “reforming” education rather than seeking to promote progressive development and improvement.
The SEAS would be interested in finding out the extent of continued SNP state aid and hidden subsidy of fee-paying schooling, particularly where it contrasts with cuts and austerity to our schools. For instance, in one SNP run council last week (it was Glasgow), one of the private schools was phoning round secondary schools asking for places for a group of their students to undertake a course in the state school. How many other state schools are offering courses to private schools students? Are councils supportive of this subsidy of private schooling by state schools?
We have also mentioned the support HM Inspectors give private schools. Every private school gets free advice, support and backing from their own linked Inspector. Private schools are inspected less often even though their child protection policies are poor. They receive quality support visits from groups of our civil servants.
It is clear that the SNP, like the Tories, are For the Few, Not the Many!