Labour would add VAT to private school fees as soon as possible if it wins the next general election, The ipaper reports.
The party said it does not plan to “phase in” the change over several academic years if it enters Downing Street, but rather enact its plan immediately.
A spokesperson for the party said it made “no apology for relentless focus” on improving standards in state schools.
Independent sector leaders have been speaking out against Labour’s plans to lift the charitable status from independent schools, which gives them at least 80 per cent relief on business rates.
Labour says the policy could raise £1.7 billion to invest in state schools.
Last week, Benenden headteacher Sam Price joined a chorus of objections to the move in the independent sector, telling The Times that some private schools will be forced to shut as a result.
She said: “Schools are doing a lot of modelling to see the impact in practice. I think for all independent schools, it will add pressure — no doubt. A good number of independent schools will have to close or won’t be able to manage.
“When people talk about independent schools, they’re thinking in the context of Eton or other very wealthy, well-resourced institutions. But a lot of independent schools are just trying to break even. The spectrum of schools is huge and that’s not taken into account at all.”
A number of independent sector headteachers also told the ipaper that they would be forced to leave the government’s Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) and find cheaper alternatives if the Labour Party’s policy on taxing school fees came into effect. Urging caution, ISC CEO Julie Robinson said Labour must commit to a full consultation before implementing the plans.
A Labour party spokesman said: “While this out-of-touch, out-of-ideas, tired Tory government tinkers at the edges, briefing about plans they may or may not see through in five years’ time, Labour makes no apology for relentless focus on how to drive high and rising standards in our state schools.
“Because we are the party of fair taxes, we will end the unjustifiable tax break afforded to private schools and fund recruitment of over 6,500 more teachers and put access to mental health counselling in every school.”