Home Information General Information Charitable Status for Independent School

Charitable Status for Independent School


Westholme School is an independent day school, with a history of providing education in North Lancashire since 1923.  The school is a registered charity and further details are available on the Charity Commission website under our Registered Number 526615.  The Principal is a member of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) which is a constituent member of the Independent Schools Council (ISC).  The ISC represents the seven leading independent schools associations in the United Kingdom, collectively educating 508,000 children in 1,278 schools.

According to evidence submitted to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Charities Bill, ISC schools which are charitable educate 456,000 children, 440,000 from the UK.  On the government’s own figures, this saves the public purse £2.4bn each year, and frees this amount for spending elsewhere in the education sector, including on maintained schools, on pre-school provision, and on university and higher education.  2011 DfE figures show that the average spend per pupil in the state sector is £5,446.

The fiscal benefits of charitable status to ISC schools are estimated at £100 million.  The £2.4bn saving to the public purse from the existence of these schools is 24 times the value of the fiscal benefits of charitable status.

Access to the education provided by ISC schools is extended, through means-tested bursaries and scholarships, to children whose parents would not otherwise be able to pay the fees.  31.5% of children at ISC schools receive help with their fees: 23% of them from the school itself.  Westholme School awarded £275,746 in mean-tested bursaries during the 2010/11 academic year.

Many ISC schools actively raise funds to increase their ability to educate children from less well-off families, and charitable status helps them do this.  ISC schools give £2.30 in assistance, more than half of it through means tested benefits, for every £1 gained through charitable status.  At Westholme School the Development Office actively fund-raises in support of bursaries for less well-off families, as well as for capital projects.

The excellence of the education in ISC schools, at many different levels of ability, is in itself a public good.  The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report compared combined reading literacy scores in 27 countries.  UK independent school pupils achieved the best results in the survey by a wide margin.

Because ISC schools are acknowledged as world leaders in education they contribute hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK balance of payments – £294m in 2011 – by bringing in fees from abroad.  They also enhance the image of the UK worldwide, and promote international understanding by educating children from many different countries.

WESTHOLME: Our school’s place in the Community

1.         Westholme School comprises a coeducational Nursery and Infant School (2 years – 7 years) at Billinge House; Junior School (7-11) at Beardwood Bank; the Senior School (11-18) at Wilmar Lodge.  It is a registered charity, and any and all surpluses are re-invested in education.  The charitable purpose for which we exist is Education.

In addition to this, the school has a vital role to play in the Community, both local and further afield.  The school’s catchment area extends to Bolton and Wigan in the south, Colne and Sawley to the north east and Bilsborrow, Preston, Longton and Chorley to the west.

2.         Employment and Economy:  The school is one of the larger employers in the district, with 208 employees, full and part time.  The school’s annual turnover is about £7 million, over two thirds of which is accounted for by salaries, and therefore recycled into the local economy.  A substantial share of other purchases are sourced locally, from meat and dairy provision to plumbing and electrical services, petrol and minibus maintenance to coaches and printing.

3.         Public Benefit/Access to our school:  Westholme is committed to helping enable parents to benefit from our education of their children.  Over 4.9% of the school’s fee income is returned via bursaries (assistance for families suffering from changed circumstances and families who would not otherwise be able to afford to educate their child at Westholme) and discounts (family discount and Sixth Form discount to recognise parents’ longstanding relationship with the school).  In 2010/11 Governors’ bursaries were awarded to 91 pupils who otherwise would not have been able to benefit from the excellent education and facilities on offer at Westholme.  Foundation Bursaries have also been available from September 2007 and these cover 100% of fees, plus lunches and a one-off contribution towards start-up costs such as school uniform.  6 pupils currently benefit from Foundation Bursaries and others will be awarded as funds are raised.  All Bursaries are means-tested and only awarded after completion and review of a common application form.  Further details on bursaries are available elsewhere on this website.

4.         Facilities are shared with the community in a number of ways.  There are the usual inter-school sports fixtures.  The Westholme Association uses the Senior School sports facilities on evenings and weekends.  A swimming school also uses the pool out of school hours.  The sports hall is also used by a badminton club.  The Croston Theatre is in great demand by local music and drama groups to host their productions and workshops. King’s Camp, another registered charity, uses the school facilities at Easter and Summer to provide courses for all children in the local area.

  1. Community involvement includes charitable work and fund raising.  Barely a week goes by when pupils are not inventing new ways of fundraising.  There is a Sixth Form charity team who liaise with students in each year group.  Each year group adopts a charity for the year and with the help of the charity team, organizes various events to raise money.  These range from cake sales and raffles to charity football and rounders matches against the staff!  In addition the school supports national and local charities through “non-uniform” days.  In 2013/14 £14,072 was raised by pupils for good causes.  Westholme staff and Sixth Form students work together and share careers and other guidance.  Our Sixth Form students also assist their Year 11 students with core subjects under a general mentoring scheme.


The Junior School fund-raise for a wide variety of local and national organisations such as Barnardos, Salvation Army, Nightsafe, Rotary and Age Concern to name but a few.

The Junior and Senior Schools have both achieved the UK National Sports Gold Award.  Within the Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire Education Authorities, staff from Westholme organise town teams and other sporting events.  They are organisers or coaches for swimming, badminton, netball and hockey within the wider community.

Students and staff participate in local civic events such as the mayor making, Remembrance Sunday parades, and the Education Sunday service at Blackburn Cathedral.  Pupils have been involved in community projects dealing with race, ethics and moral questions at the Cathedral.

Westholme School is a Registered Charity No. 526615.

                February 2012