Julie Robinson and Francis Green on private schools with charitable status

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Should private schools be allowed to operate as registered charities? Two experts, Julie Robinson and Francis Green, exchange opposing views and find some common ground. Where do you stand?


Charitable status within the independent / private school sector in Britain is one of the most emotionally-charged and contentious topics. Some private schools operate as registered charities while others do not.


Alberto Lidji moderates a robust and civilised debate with Julie Robinson, CEO of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), and Francis Green, Professor of Work and Education Economics at the Institute of Education, University College London's (UCL) Faculty of Education and Society.


Julie Robinson and Francis Green hold opposing views and yet manage to identify some common ground and fruitful area for future education policy exploration.


This episode will inform you about one of the most debated topics in education reform in Britain today. It may strengthen your existing views, or tempt you to view counter arguments more favourably, or even make you appreciate this topic is not as clear cut as you may have thought.


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About Julie Robinson


Julie Robinson was first a teacher then head of two co-educational, day and boarding prep schools for children aged 3-13. She led education and training for IAPS for five years and was appointed General Secretary of the Independent Schools Council in 2015.

The ISC’s data analysis informs advocacy of the sector and Julie has appeared in the national media regularly. Live appearances include Newsnight, Sky News, The Today Programme, BBC, and Channel 4 News.

The ISC is a representative body working with a range of other organisations linking the independent education sector and government policy. It brings together the independent school associations AGBIS, GSA, HMC, ISA, IAPS, ISBA and the Society of Heads along with affiliate associations BSA, COBIS, SCIS and WISC.


The ISC’s three priority areas of activity are: research/data; media/communications and policy/public affairs. ISC seeks to support, inform and promote the sector, rebutting untruths and explaining the value of independent education to wider society.

Julie advocates working together for the benefit of children in all kinds of schools. She is a trustee of the School Partnerships Alliance and a school governor at a state school as well as an independent school in London.



About Francis Green


Francis Green is Professor of Work and Education Economics at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, where he works at the LLAKES Centre.


After graduating in Physics at Oxford University, he studied Economics at the London School of Economics, before writing his PhD thesis at Birkbeck College.


The author of eleven books, and more than 150 papers, he has also worked as an expert advisor for the European Union, the OECD, the UK government and the Singapore government.


He is a co-founder and board member of Private Education Policy Forum. His research focuses on education, skills and the quality of work.


He currently works on projects covering the effects of Covid on young people, the impact of free schools and private schools, and 21st century trends in job quality around the world. His latest book, co-authored with David Kynaston – Engines of Privilege. Britain’s Private School Problem – was published by Bloomsbury Press in 2019.