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Top independent schools contribute £125 million a year to Edinburgh’s economy, a new report has revealed.

The ten Edinburgh independent schools together educate around 11,700 nursery, primary and secondary pupils, as well as employing 2,580 staff. Their contribution was confirmed in a report as the Scottish capital’s leading fee-paying schools, including Fettes College, Heriot’s and Watson’s, face a £5m tax hike.

John Edward, from report author the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), said the sector was in “rude health” despite Brexit and ten years of economic woe.

The SCIS report found the number of jobs supported by the institutions were greater than the number of people employed in the city’s food and drink sector. And researchers concluded independent schools made a contribution through taxes paid and collected as well as through public sector cost savings from the schools’ provision of education.

The total contribution amounted to £85m in 2017-18, of which the City of Edinburgh Council benefited by £47m. This included educating 14 per cent of Edinburgh primary and secondary school aged pupils, saving more than £46m in the capital and more than £14m elsewhere in Scotland.

Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/private-schools-contribute-125m-to-edinburgh-economy-report-finds-1-4862247

Universities making unconditional offers may be breaking law by 'pressure selling' to students

Universities making unconditional offers may be breaking the law by “pressure selling”' to students, the higher education watchdog has warned.

The number of unconditional offers has risen sharply in recent years, with students now 30 times more likely to receive one than five years ago.

Some institutions hand out “incentivised” offers, where they tell students that their offer will be unconditional but only if they accept it as their first choice university.

Now the Office for Students (OfS) has warned that applying “psychological pressure” or “creating an impression of urgency” in decision making could be a potential breach of consumer protection law.

It comes as the regulator publishes a report that examines the impact of unconditional offers on students’ decision making.  It found that applicants who accept an unconditional offer are more likely to miss their predicted A-level grades by two or more grades.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said: "We are concerned about the rapid rise in unconditional offers, particularly those with strings attached which are akin to pressure selling.

"It is plainly not in students' interests to push them to accept an offer that may not be their best option.”  

Ms Dandridge said that universities should not be putting their own interests before that of students, who should be encouraged to make an informed decision about which offer to accept.

Read more at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2019/01/25/universities-making-unconditional-offers-may-breaking-law-pressure/