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Business rates will be reviewed by the Scottish Parliament including proposals to scrap relief for independent schools.

The Scottish Parliament is considering reforming the system and is now calling for feedback from the public on the plans.

Non-domestic rates are levied on business properties, determined by the assessed value of the building, and are the second-highest source of tax income for the Scottish Government.

The Bill, put forward by Economy Secretary Derek Mackay, also recommends independent schools should no longer be able to claim charitable relief, which would amount to £37 million between 2020 and 2025, it suggests.

Under the current system, independent schools with charitable status pay 20% of their rates bill, while local authorities have the discretion to charge them nothing at all.

Read more at: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17559997.scrapping-of-business-rates-relief-for-private-schools-under-review/

Brexit ‘nightmare’ could see GCSEs and A-levels postponed

Pupils might have to sit their GCSEs and A-levels on later dates or at alternative sites in the “nightmare” scenario of a no-deal Brexit causing significant traffic disruption according to Tes.

Exam board sources have told Tes that in the most extreme scenario of a large number of candidates not being able to sit a paper, “drastic” action could be taken to postpone the sitting across the entire country.

The UK is currently set to legally leave the EU on Friday with a deal yet to be approved, although prime minister Theresa May has asked EU leaders to reschedule this to the end of June. 

If Britain were to leave without a deal, then it is possible that the resulting disruption could run into the summer exam season, which begins next month.

Two exam sector sources – who spoke to Tes on the condition of anonymity – outlined the planning that boards have undertaken to prepare for a no deal.

They both said the Joint Council for Qualifications – the membership body for exam boards that is leading on Brexit planning – had looked at the possibility of delays to cross-Channel lorries at Dover causing traffic jams across Kent.

One of the sources told Tes: “The nightmare scenario you can envisage is if there’s a no-deal Brexit, and you end up with roads in Kent turning into carparks.

“You could literally end up with kids not able to get to school for their timetables exams.”

The source said that in this scenario, the action taken by exam boards would be tailored to the seriousness of the disruption. At the lower end of the spectrum, boards could “look at changing start times”.

Read more at: https://www.tes.com/news/exclusive-brexit-nightmare-could-see-gcses-and-levels-postponed