British Education Secretary responds to why Eton shouldn’t pay tax

British private schools usually offer various sorts of assistance -- such as access to playing fields -- to government schools in their area. Eton offers access to its rowing lake. But the basic reason they are given charitable status is that they are non-profit institutions which provide high quality education to their pupils which is not readily available elsewhere

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi came under fire as he appeared to avoid explaining why Eton College, which charges £44,000 a year, deserves charity status which exempts it from taxes.

The Tory MP said to Sky News presenter Kay Burley that 50 per cent of the independent education sector has charitable status, including Eton.

Without saying exactly why Eton should be allowed to dodge taxes, Zahawi added: “I want to see those schools do much more to open up to children from disadvantages backgrounds.

‘Evidence suggests the best way forward’, Zahawi says
“They are doing a lot already, they want to do more with us on our journey which is really my focus, which is a system that is diverse. We have academies, we have free schools, we have independent sector, that’s a good thing I think in an education system.

“They want to do more on that journey, where we get every child to have a great education in every part of the country, at the right time in the right place, but I think it’s also important that they play their part.”

“What does that mean?”, Burley asked.

Zahawi replied: “Well, can we get our independent schools to join us on what the evidence suggests is the best way forward, which is a family of schools that are well-managed, tightly-managed, really well-supported in a multi-academy trust that’s high performing, that we know from evidence delivers the best outcome?”

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