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Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi praises 40 independent schools for taking part in a government-backed scheme that provides places for looked-after children.

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Giggleswick School has begun a multi-million pound investment in its boarding houses and classroom facilities

The redevelopment project at the independent Yorkshire Dales school will see an overhaul of the boarding houses to create contemporary architecturally designed, home from home accommodation for its pupils.

The project aims to bring a new model of family-friendly boarding to Giggleswick and to its sector with open plan living, kitchen, social and study areas for everyone, including day pupils and boarders, as well as new single and double accommodation.

Work has now started over the summer holidays with the refurbishment of Nowell House, one of the school’s seven boarding houses and should be completed over the summer, ready for pupils starting back at school in September.

The programme will continue to roll through other boarding houses in subsequent years. Each house is said to be soon transformed with modern living spaces on the inside whilst retaining the architectural heritage of the building externally.

Read more at: https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2018/08/06/independent-boarding-school-in-yorkshire-dales-begins-multi-million-pound-development

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi praises 40 independent schools for taking part in a government-backed scheme that provides places for looked-after children.

The education minister told Newsnight that hundreds of other private schools should also join the Boarding School Partnership if they wanted to survive in a hostile political environment.

Private schools have faced increasing pressure in recent years from across the political spectrum to be stripped of their charitable status which grants them tax breaks.

At last year's general election, Labour pledged to abolish VAT-free school fees.

Mr Zahawi told Newsnight: "I think schools that are independent in this country need to think about what more they can do... It is an ideal opportunity to come and help deliver the greatest outcome. It is incumbent on all of us in a country as civilised, as wealthy as our country - we should be providing the best opportunities for these kids not simply managing them.

"If the independent sector becomes embedded in the infrastructure that delivers the best outcome to these kids there is no better way than them making the argument for their charitable status, for their VAT exemptions. And Mr Corbyn would never be able to abolish them."

Leading private schools, such as Eton College and Rugby School, have signed up to the Boarding School Partnership which offers places to looked-after children, that is children in the care of a local authority.

Local authorities pay 60% of the fees - with individual schools providing a bursary of 40%. Norfolk County Council placed 52 vulnerable or "at risk" children in boarding schools over a 10-year period.

It found that nearly two-thirds came off the "at risk" register after three years while GCSE grades improved substantially when compared with the wider cohort of "at risk" children.

Mr Zahawi said the scheme could transform children's life chances.

Read more at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45104327