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Parents of special needs children face ‘unfair tax’ with Labour private schools plan

The parents of more than 100,000 children with special educational needs face being unfairly taxed under Labour's private schools policy, experts believe.

An estimated 20 percent of all pupils attending private schools receive specialist support, with the vast majority not having the written certification that would exempt their families from paying VAT on school fees.

Local authorities issue the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for students with significant additional needs, but can take years to obtain with further rises in demand since Covid lockdown.

Under Labour plans, having an EHCP would make families exempt from paying the additional 20 percent levy on school fees promised if the party is in government.

Research from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) has found that its schools provide Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (Send) support for 111,154 pupils described as 20 percent of all pupils. Of those, 7,646 pupils or 6.9 percent have an EHCP, for conditions including dyslexia and dyspraxia.

It is thought that many parents have chosen to move their children into the schools to receive extra support rather than tackle the lengthy process of official assessment, or for help as they wait for it.