UK private schools face funding shortfall as sanctions on wealthy Russians tighten

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The hit to the charges, Aiken argues, is a “small price to pay” to send a message to the Russian regime as it wages war on Ukraine.

“There’s a whole debate about dirty money in this country, but the dirty money isn’t just in our corporate and real estate sector, it’s also in our private school sector,” says -she.

“If BP and Shell can suffer a multi-billion pound loss on the sale of Russian assets – and that will affect our pension funds – then it’s a small price to pay for our public schools to act.”

Larger private schools also rely on wealthy parents for donations, with development office staff in many of the larger ones dedicated to fundraising efforts. They organize events and set up membership packages to convince alumni, parents and others in the school network to offer financial support.

These highly lucrative efforts now risk losing Russian money. Private schools collect £120m in donations a year, according to Future First, helping them buy buildings, equipment and fund scholarships.

Harrow, for example, runs an annual Three Yards fund. Donors give up to £20,000 a year to the school and are invited to events to meet the headmaster in return.

Amid increased scrutiny, private schools are now also emphasizing money laundering checks to comply with the latest regulations.

Harrow, in north-west London, uses a money laundering policy first launched in 2016 to ensure compliance with new regulations. Its staff work with a third-party contractor to check the names of fee-paying parents to ensure they are not on sanctions lists in the UK, EU and US.

These checks also extend to parents of children who have received offers to attend school or are in the ongoing offer process. Eton also verifies the source of its charges and submits reports of any suspicious funds to the National Crime Agency.

A Harrow spokesperson said: “The entire Harrow School community mourns and mourns the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine and supports and acts in accordance with the efforts of governments and supranational institutions to quell the violence perpetrated against the Ukrainian people.”

As the war in Ukraine rages on, these schools may have to rely more on other jurisdictions to stem funding.

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