Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Private Schools and Tax Advantage in England — the longue durée

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posted on 2022-02-14, 11:56 authored by Rebecca Boden, JANE KENWAYJANE KENWAY, Malcolm James
State financing of schools invariably provokes questions regarding educational and social inequalities and the redistributive justice potential. Austerity policies have adversely impacted state school funding in England since 2010, resulting in much public disquiet and debate. However, the state funding that takes a more circuitous route, involving sizeable tax concessions for the English and Welsh private (fee-paying) schools that have charitable status, and which are frequently very resource-rich, has received significantly less detailed and direct attention from researchers (e.g. Lowe, 2020); much of that research is now dated (e.g. Walford, 1987;1988). In contrast, there has been, in the last ten years at least, a relatively significant and contentious popular debate about the status and privileges of these schools. This paper begins with the premise that appropriate historical studies are necessary to challenge 'the parochialism of the present' (Harris, 1983, 332) and to unmask the power relations inherent to these long-standing tax concessions. We chart how these tax arrangements arose over an extended time period through the tight entanglement of tax law, charity law and the interventions of legal, political and educational elites. Adopting a socio-legal historical perspective, we unravel the principal strands of this entanglement to explicate the current situation.


Published in

Critical Studies in Education


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Boden, R., Kenway, J. and James, M. (2020) 'Private schools and tax advantage in England and Wales—the longue durée', Critical Studies in Education, 61(2), pp.1-16

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Authors

Malcolm James

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

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  • © The Publisher


  • en

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