The Boarding Schools’ Association represents over 450
independent boarding schools across the UK of all types and kinds.
Our members employ thousands of hard-working, dedicated professionals
deeply committed to providing over 68,000 students with an enriching life
experience where they can combine strong academic learning with developing as
young people, explore new activities, socialise with others from different
backgrounds or countries and build friendships for life.
We welcome any effort to strengthen the relationship between
independent boarding schools and the communities they serve. However this idea
is far from new for our members.
Several larger independent boarding schools already sponsor
academies. But the partnerships which exist between boarding schools and local
schools are far wider and more extensive than that.
These range from sharing of facilities, transfers of
teachers, lessons in common on specialist subjects, university entrance
preparation together, joint pupils visits and lectures, as well as the more
traditional sharing of sporting and performing arts facilities.
On top of this, dozens of students from families of limited
means, and those in or on the edge of care, are supported to take up places at
UK boarding schools every year. Means-tested bursaries are regularly funded
entirely by boarding schools, which also frequently work in partnership with
organisations such as Buttle UK, the Royal National Children’s Foundation and
Springboard, to ensure students who might otherwise miss out get the
opportunity to enjoy the often transformative effect of a boarding school
We believe your threat to withhold business rate relief from
independent schools which do not meet your proposed Schools Partnership
Standard will not help schools, staff or students in any way. It is also both
damaging and simply incorrect to suggest that independent schools are doing
Boarding schools invest every day in high quality learning,
excellent facilities and community work. Removing rate relief will massively
restrict their ability to continue doing these valuable things, and in some
cases could imperil the future of some of our members. This of course would be
completely self-defeating with your proposed Schools Partnership Standard in
some cases potentially removing treasured and highly valued boarding schools
from the communities they have served for generations.
We would urge you strongly to reconsider your proposal and
would be very happy to meet with you to discuss the valuable work already being
done by our members right across the UK.
National Director, Boarding Schools’ Association