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Should non-educational charities run schools?

1 September 2014

A Centre for Social Justice report has called on charities campaigning on child poverty to open free schools focused on mitigating poverty’s effect on performance. Those thinking about taking up the offer should first check whether they have their governing document which allows them to step into education.

A charity can only undertake activities which are within its charitable purposes, known as 'Objects'. As an example, the NSPCC’s Objects make no mention of 'the advancement of education' - the core purpose of a school. If a charity wishes to amend its Objects, it would first need the prior consent of the Charity Commission, a potentially long-winded and expensive process.

Moving into education might seem a natural next step for a charity campaigning to end poverty, but is there a risk that in doing so it takes on too much and sets itself up for a fall? Perhaps the best outcomes for children will be achieved by charities continuing to work together and focusing on their respective strengths.

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