Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Private Schools Woo Poorer Children with Free Places Campaign; Alleyn's School, DulwichBursary: Pupils from the Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Private Schools Woo Poorer Children with Free Places Campaign; Alleyn's School, DulwichBursary: Pupils from the Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

LONDON'S private schools have launched a campaign to persuade childrenfrom poorer families to consider applying for places.

A group of 19 fee-paying schools including Westminster, St Paul's and St Paul'sGirls' School today announced the first advertising campaign aimed at low- andmiddleincome parents since the Government abolished the Assisted Places Schemein 1997.

It comes as figures show that while private schools are setting asideincreasing amounts of money to help families with fees, such means-testedbursaries are often paid to parents who earn [pounds sterling]50,000 a year or more.

Boarding school fees now average more than [pounds sterling]20,000 a year, while annual dayfees of [pounds sterling]10,000 are widespread in London and the South- East.

The campaign, which starts with an advertisement in the Evening Standard, isintended to help the schools keep the tax breaks that come with theircharitable status as the Government introduces a tougher test next year.

In a joint statement, the schools said: "There are undoubtedly quite largesectors of the community where it is simply not part of the culture to realisethat a third of pupils nationally receive significant assistance with theirfees.

"This campaign is about the principle that income should not bar a child fromattending an independent school. It is not about individual schools." Privateschools are scrambling to show they are not the exclusive preserve of a moneyedelite, ahead of the new "public benefit" test.

Their centuries-old charitable status could be under threat unless the schoolscan prove to the Charities Commission that they are making their facilities andteaching expertise more widely available.

Many schools have launched fund- raising drives to provide schools havelaunched fund- raising drives to provide more means-tested bursaries, includingNorth London Collegiate School, which is appealing for [pounds sterling]4. …

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