VAT on independent school fees

NEU five pledges in the event of VAT being levied on school fees

The Labour Party has announced that should they win the next general election, they will levy VAT on independent school fees.

While many things could happen, we are taking steps to defend our members’ interests. While the National Education Union (NEU) is not affiliated to any political party, we are seeking to use our influence behind the scenes.

Our focus is protecting members’ jobs and terms and conditions. Independent schools have their own influential lobby.

Members know that in working in the private sector they are subject to commercial realities. At times, members face redundancy due to reorganisation, decline in pupil numbers, merger, conversion to academy status, or outright closure. In such scenarios, NEU ensures that members secure the best possible outcome in the circumstances.

Five demands

The NEU has adopted five demands, should the Government seek to charge VAT on school fees.

No compulsory job losses

The NEU robustly opposes all compulsory job losses. As with any reorganisation, there might be scope for voluntary redundancy on enhanced terms. If a school became financially unviable, then it might be possible to convert to academy status, as independent schools have done in the past.

Protection for terms and conditions

The NEU will campaign and negotiate to prevent any proposed detrimental change to members’ terms and conditions. The union will use the legal protections provided by the current ‘TUPE’ regulations but also work to ensure that these are extended.

Disruption to students’ education must be minimised

The educational continuity and wellbeing of students must be a core consideration. Planning must be undertaken at an early stage to ensure that any changes involve a smooth transition where disruption to students’ education is minimised.

Expertise from within the independent sector should be utilised

There is a serious and profound teacher recruitment and retention challenge across the country. Members within the independent sector have a wealth of experience. Meaningful consideration must be given to learning from, and utilising, the skills and subject knowledge of staff from the independent sector.

A joint commission comprising Government, employers, and unions to oversee matters

The impact on staff should be overseen at both national and local level, which could be done via a joint commission involving employers and unions, as well as Government.

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