What is meant by ‘the advancement of education’?
1. Charity law gives a wide meaning to education and does not limit it to education in a classroom
2. To be a charitable aim for the public benefit, education must be capable of being ‘advanced’. This
means to promote, sustain and increase individual and collective knowledge and understanding of specific areas of study, skills and expertise.
3. Today, education includes:
- formal education;
- community education;
- physical education and development of young people;
- training (including vocational training) and life-long learning;
- research and adding to collective knowledge and understanding of specific areas of study and
- the development of individual capabilities, competences, skills and understanding.
4. The types of charities that are capable of advancing education include;
- education establishments such as schools, colleges and universities;
- organisations supporting the work of education establishments, or associated with them, such as
parent-teacher organisations, prize funds, standard-setting organisations, teacher training organisations, student unions, examinations boards;
- pre-schools and out-of-school education such as playgroups, Saturday schools, summer schools, homework
- organisations that support they physical education of young people such as youth sporting
- organisations providing life skills training such as the Duke of Edinburgh award schemes, Scouts and
Guides, Woodcraft Folk;
- research foundations and think tanks;
- learned societies such as the Royal Geographical Society;
- museums, galleries, libraries, scientific institutes;
- organisations which fund people’s education;
- organisations that educate the public in a particular subject, for instance in human rights, climate
change, physics, personal financial management;
- information media such as the internet, radio, television, libraries, information centres, university
presses, seminars, conferences and lectures.
Charity Commission guidance
The Advancement of Education for the
This guidance explains the meaning of the advancement of education. It also includes supplementary
public benefit guidance for charities whose aims include the advancement of education.
- To advance the education of the public in the
subject of [insert subject to be studied]
- "To advance the education of the pupils at
[the name of the school] by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities [not required to be provided by the local education authority] for education at
- "For the public benefit to promote the education (including social and
physical training) of people [under the age of 25 years] in [place] in such ways as the charity trustees think fit, including by:
1. awarding to such persons scholarships, maintenance
allowances or grants tenable at any university, college or institution of higher or further education;
2. providing their education (including the study of
music or other arts), to undertake travel in furtherance of that education or to prepare for entry to any occupation, trade or profession on leaving any educational establishment."
- "To assist in such ways as the charity trustees
think fit any charity in [place] whose aims include advancing education of persons under the age of 25 years by developing their mental, physical and moral capabilities through leisure
- "For the public benefit to promote learning for
pleasure by people no longer in full time employment through the continued development of their individual capabilities, competencies, skills and understanding in subjects
of educational value."
- "To advance the education of the public in general (and particularly
amongst scientists) on the subject of particle physics and to promote research for the public benefit in all aspects of that subject and to publish the useful results."
Further information on this subject is available in the Charity Commission guidance:
The Advancement of Education for the Public Benefit.