Charity tax row: Oxbridge joins revolt
(30 posts) (14 voices)
Quite so, sir. I'm a registered charity you know. Please give 1* generously.
Surely to get a tax break you need to be paying tax in the first place.
You don't get to become a filthy rich millionaire by paying tax
I think Oxbridge being registered as a charity is a bit iffy but I'll let it through begrudgingly... after all anyone can actually get into the place(s) on merit - although Daddy did happen to donate £80,000 for a new Boat House and I managed to get in to St Weasles despite having one GCSE (albeit a fail) in needlework.
What gets my goat is Eton being a registered charity... which surely stretches the definition of what charity is to breaking point. Public schools getting charity status seems a bit, um, rich.
One of the women from our office did the three peaks challenge for charity recently, I gave £5 without really wondering where that money was going... turns out she was an old Etonian and the money was collected for the old place - what got my goat more than the amount of goat getting that is described above, was that she did the three peaks being carried on the shoulders of her butler.
I believe Eton still likes only boys, so maybe she'd had a sex change after his/her experiences there ?
I never realised that Oxbridge was revolting. Explains a lot.
I know I'm opening myself up for attack here, but the YM's school is an Independent, and the first to retain it's charitable status following the changes to the rules.
The school uses charitable donations to fund the 100+ scholarships, bursaries etc it provides every year. Most of the pupils on scholarships etc are from less affluent areas, and each year the school contacts every primary in the area to offer these places to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
I know that they do this, as about a million years ago, I was one of the 'underprivileged' children to be given that offer, although I declined.
The sports facilities are open to the public in the evenings and school holidays, and they regularly hold fund-raising days for Red Nose Day, Children In Need, etc.
So while I can see why it might seem odd, but some actually do do some good.
With all due respect, and I don't blame anyone for taking advantage of assisted places, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the harm 'independent' schools do to the education system and to society by creaming off the best teachers and enabling the rich to give their children the inside track in life. Grammar schools were the crown jewels of this country and getting rid of most of them was the most catastrophic mistake of any government since the war IMHO.
teachers in independent schools are no better or worse than any other schools imho. i think independent schools do seem to have smaller class sizes, tho-which may help boost learning.
all my children have done really well in state schools, so in my view they work as well as any other school, especially as they encourage children and young people to be able to understand a broader cross section of society. i do worry sometimes that the elites who often enter professions dont seem to have much experience of real life.
grammar schools? no thanks, oxy-different does not necessarily mean equal. i like equal.
tin hat on
and vice versa my children have done badly in private schools, where the equipment may be better but most of the teachers are much the same. on charitable status, I pay my school fees out of post-tax income, and continue to fund the state schools though my tax and NI despite not burdening them with my kids, thereby subsidising the rest, so yah boo nobs to you
I doubt that the teaching is better in independent schools. When I think of the people I was at uni with the real window lickers almost always went on to teach at an independent school with the most laughable cases going back to their old schools. Resulting in a total life experience of: posh school, Cambridge, posh school.
Sorry Jeni, but I think independent schools do tremendous damage to this country and would happily close them all tomorrow. I've met too many products of that system who genuinely believe that they are better than other people based solely on daddy's ability to write a big cheque once a term back in the day. Also in my working life it's been the independently educated who've needed more supervision and been less able to take set-backs. Not exactly scientific, I could have just met a lot of gits over the years.
I went to a boarding grammar school where almost all of the kids' parents were low ranking officers or NCO's. The reason was that the services gave an allowance for school fees and the school pitched its fees at exactly that level.
Both my girls went to an all-girls state school in Cheshire and both did very well academically - for free.
My best mate's daughters are at a bloody expensive private school. They were both a bit dim and failed the 11 plus, but are now not only academic high achievers they are both excelling outside of academia. One is already working as a model, the other has been accepted in the National Youth Theatre and is an excellent cellist and singer. They are both also very well connected and will innevitably marry into wealth. On the down side, when we go out for a pint all I hear is the news about the bloody kids. He also cannot retire for ages because he is burdened with school fees far greater than the best salary I have ever achieved. I suppose its like a pension scheme. They will be set up to look after him when he can finally retire - if he lives that long.
The fact that we all pay for state schools via taxes is irrelevant. Likewise the fact that it's possible to do well in state schools and badly in independent schools. And the fact that the rich kids who go to them are generally bright as well as rich.
The point is that it is surely immoral and wrong that anyone should be able to buy what is - in general - a better education and more importantly the 'right' connections for their children so that they can mix with a self-generating elite. You only have to look at the cabinet to know this.
Grammar schools weren't flawless and the 11 Plus was a pretty blunt instrument but they mixed the academically bright from all backgrounds and gave them an education similar to that of the public schools, enabling them to compete on merit with the wealthiest.
I'll never understand why the Attlee government didn't use its massive mandate to do away with the public schools when it had the nerve to create the NHS and everything else that made this country a decent place for ordinary people to live off. Sadly it was a later Labour government that started then got rid of most of the grammar schools. I was in the last year of mine.
Oxy.. I too mourn the death of the grammar school. Mine is now a huge "comprehensive" (is that the right name?) I was lucky to have been bright enough at the right time. Other kids, equally bright or brighter, didn't peek early enough and went to the secondary modern. We did latin and our teachers had degrees from top universities. They did woodwork and their teachers had tattoos. Despite this, I think there are good things to be had from mixed ability schools but only if everyone gets lifted to a higher level rather than peer pressure dragging everyone down to a lower level.
I failed the 11+ along with most of my mates and was duly sent off to the local secondary modern school (for boys). Nearly everybody went into the building trade, many are now retired or semi retired having earned good money out of building/buying/selling bricks and mortar. Failing the 11+ was one of the best things I/we ever did. We weren’t academically gifted but we played a lot more golf than the grammar school kids ever did. Believe me, you are better off having a plumber as a best mate rather than a hedge fund manager (although beau-jolly would definitely make a good mate).
Whether we like it or not, there is a pecking order in life and you have to find out where your corn will come from. The old grammar school system did this perfectly well, let's bring it back. Failing can sometimes be a good thing.
don't see it immoral at all - by the same logic of preventing conferral of advantage to your kids (which is a pretty basic human impulse) you'd need to ban all inheritances too... many of the best state schools are just private schools by another name, being in property enclaves / catchments that only the very affluent can afford to live in, and effectively the parents' 'school fees' are retained into their mortgages/equity, not released into the general economy. I was a council estate kid who got a free place in the local private school through open competition - which gave me a level of aspiration I would not likely have had from the local grammar, as in our local grammar the kids who did well were mainly those who came from middle class families and stuck to those peer cliques..
All the arguments against Independents on here are those I previously had against them, including one of the main reasons why I turned down the opportunity to attend the local one, which is where the YM now is.
I've learned over the years that it's pointless justifying why we chose to put him there, and that really, I shouldn't have to.
cinquecento makes almost all the points I would have previously, feeling that I had to excuse myself for the decisions I have made to ensure that my son has the best possible opportunities.
Our local Independent is very small, sited in the very centre of the city, and not one of the 'big names'.
Being small, the class numbers are also small, definitely beneficial to the YM, who while a very bright kid, is not at all academic. But the school doesn't just churn out brainboxes, it finds out where each child's strength/talent lies, and develops it.
The YM is really technically minded and great at making things, so he has a lot of encouragement to take that further. Also he's sporty, so that's encouraged too.
Not all Independents are filled with toffs' kids, we're certainly not loaded, but why shouldn't parents' do the best by their children?
Neurotic independent school obsessed mother talking about her daughter with the Head of English at the local state comp:
'Well, she managed to get into Chelsea College. She's very bright, you see, so we felt we had to go private...' I gabbled apologetically.
'Mmm,' he concurred. 'Whereas my children on the other hand are very stupid. That's why my wife and I felt they should go through the state system...'
From 'May Contain Nuts' written by some bloke called John O'Farrell. It's a rather good read and has much to say about parental aspiration. Been wanting to use that quote for hours so glad I'm finally home and could look it up.
Well, based on Mrs Diamond's CV which comprises an admittedly low sample size (two independents and four state schools), the quality of the teaching, pastoral care, all-round education for all abilities and overall school management are streets ahead in state schools. They achieve great things despite, rather than because of, the government, whatever colour that government happens to be.
The independents generally impress with far better facilities and smaller class sizes, and there are some kids that undoubtedly benefit from the environment that creates. There are also some excellent specialist independent schools for music and sports, for example.
But going back to the original point about charitable status, why are the independents providing all these bursaries and scholarships to 'clever but poor' kids who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend? Simple. To boost their positions in the League Tables.
To end with a punchline, I heard Mrs Diamond discussing 'G&T kids' a little while ago. Apparently it stands for 'Gifted and Talented' and not as I thought, a term for the little buggers that cause teachers to seek solace in the nearest bottle of Bombay Sapphire.
Really, it's all very simple. We accept that some people have more money than others and that will never change, whether you view that as right and proper or regrettable but inevitable. And yes cinquecento, the basic human urge to outdo others won't go away either. It's what we do about it that is the issue.
Thus, we surely all accept that the relatively rich can have some things that the relatively poor can't. But what? A better car? Yes, of course. The right to escape criminal justice? No of course not. We all draw the line somewhere in the middle of that. For me, healthcare and education fall well to one side of the line, because they are fundamental.
Just to say there's a posh private school here that is a charity. I think, undeservedly, as all the kids are rich and they don't give anything back to the community. Could it be a tax dodge of some sort? Jeni's school sounds good though. Fair play to them.
I don't think the standard of teaching is necessarily better in private schools, but they do get better facilities and smaller class sizes. Only trouble is, the kids only get to meet other rich kids which is boring, and limits their horizons somewhat. And it perpetuates 'the class system.'
I didn't go to a grammar school, but if I had I guess I would have gone on to uni and my life would have been very different. Seems a bit of a drag to have so much hinging on one exam when you're 11. But because this part may be possibly unfair, I don't think there's anything wrong with grammar schools per se.
I think the answer is to drug clever children, so they don't show up the thick ones. Or perhaps thick children could be told they're actually very bright, and reward them with free exam certificates.
Then if rich people get ill, we could take all their money away (they'll be too weak to fight), which should prevent them from competing with poor people who are sick, by paying someone to make them better.
Or perhaps everyone should be forced to go to one, big school with no exams at the end, so everyone comes out the same. Then people are alloted jobs by a lottery (with corrections in place for the naturally lucky) and everyone is paid a standard wage. Unless they don't want to work of course, in which case we should pay them anyway.
We'll soon have everyone at the same level. With a bit of effort, we could be world beaters at it.
Some more thoughts.
At my (grammar) school you were given the option of university or armed forces; the careers master's only options.
So I, like many others, went directly to university. After a 4 year course I had no interest in, I graduated and entered the world of work in the same position I would have been in if I had left school at 16. Except I had an overdraft, was probably over-qualified for many jobs, had no trade and I was 22. The RAF was suggested again but with an engineering degree and a fear of flying the option was bomb disposal or nothing. I eventually got a job in a shop.
Many graduates are in the same situation.
One lad left school at 16 because he really wanted to be a plumber. He retired a long time ago. The one too thick for university joined the police and retired as Assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall.
Public school, university and a commission in the Guards probably only qualifies you for another institutional life, like prison or the civil service.
Sod it, Im off down stairs for a few pints.
and are these qualms about money-assisted education only in school? how about extracurricular development which is not accessible to those on limited income: extra tuition, sports coaching, music lessons, equipment for hobbies, exposure to other cultures on foreign holidays, the ability to take risks based on having a safety net to fall back on etc etc etc. Even kids' access to advice is constrained by class and money - only career advice my dad was able to give me based on what he'd been exposed to was towards 'office work' rather than working outside... But am I bitter? - well, yes actually!
My parents had 'good' office jobs when I was a kid. We were far from well off, and most months were too long for the money they had. We didn't have a colour tv, phone or car for a long time and lived in a privately rented flat.
Every penny they could spare went to ensuring that I had an education beyond school. That meant I was taken to the Ballet, SNO, had days out to museums, exhibitions etc, and had foreign holidays long before most of my peers.
I never had the most up to date toys etc, but I had a relationship with my parents that money can't buy, and the opportunity to see and do things that should have been beyond our social class.
It's thanks to that that I was one of the smart kids offered a place at private school.
So there's really no constraint, if you want the best for your kids, regardless of financial position, it can be done.
Agree, both young Hoopsters are at or going to Uni (one fairly prestigous...no names no pack drill) and I'm a complete waster.
So Jen you had the chance to wear that grey uniform that dominated my teenage fantasies ....bing... as they say.. go
*strokes imaginary tasher*
Hoops, I wore the skirt. It was regulation uniform for the Harris too, that's why the other school changed it to the 'lovely' tartan one...
Don't say that you didn't wear tartan, Jeni. That challenges one of my many racist assumptions about Scotland. You'll be saying next that you didn't drink Iron Bru instead of milk.
Sorry to shatter another illusion Shitsu.
But if it's any consolation, babies in Scotland are weened straight onto 80/- and Irn Bru.
I'm just jealous. Scots culture seems more orientated towards pleasure. Even things that should be mundane aren't. In England we have meat stew whereas you have the life-changing wonder of stovies it's not fair.
I'm delighted that my recipe for stovies has had such a profound effect Shitsu!
I think the reason we have such a focus on pleasure may be because of the long winter nights.
In the depths of winter, it doesn't get light until about 10am, and gets dark again by 2pm. Without something enjoyable to look forward to, there's every chance we'd take to drink...
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