Departmental Private Education

International Development written question – answered on 28th February 2012.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department paid to send the children of civil servants to (a) private boarding schools in total, (b) private day schools in total and (c) Eton College in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; how much he expects to allocate for such purposes in 2012-13; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

The Department for International Development (DFID) reimburses employees on overseas postings for private schooling overseas or boarding school fees in the UK for their children, within financial ceilings.

The terms and conditions of employment in DFID are set in order to recruit, motivate and retain staff who are skilled and equipped to meet DFID's objectives. Those with children have a legal obligation as parents to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the age of five, and they pay UK tax wherever they work. Most parents prefer to take their children with them, but in some countries they are not permitted to do so, either for health or security reasons. Continuity of education is also an important factor, particularly at secondary level.

Our central records relate to education allowance paid to Home Civil Service staff serving overseas to assist with school fees in the UK or in an overseas location and are not held in a format that allows for the disaggregation between boarding school and private day school payments. We do not hold a central record of school fees which are paid locally by overseas offices in respect of children in education in these countries.

The amount spent on education allowance by DFID was:

Financial year Total (£)
2010-11 1,061,307
2011-12 (April to January) 931,591

Our records show no children of DFID staff attended Eton College during the periods 2010-11 and 2011-12.

The amount that DFID will pay on education allowance in 2012-13 will be dependant on the number, of school age children, of staff working overseas. We would estimate the amount will be similar to the previous two years provided in the table.

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