Cut costs now, private schools told

The Telegraph is reporting that the head of the Independent Schools Council has said private schools should cut their fees by as much as 50 per cent in order to attract more students.

Middle-class families are increasingly unable to afford fees at private schools, which can be as much as £30,000 a year and start from around £11,000…

But Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the group which represents 85 per cent of private schools, said that the time to cut fees is right, given low inflation, pressures on state schools’ budgets and the increase in pupil numbers that would result.

Some private schools, including Gosfield School in Essex and St Joseph’s College in Reading, have boosted demand by between 15 to 40 per cent by cutting their fees.

Moyles Court School in Ringwood, Hants, has cut its fees this academic year. The previous reception fee of £2,029 per term has now been reduced to £1,575, which represents a 23 per cent cut. And for Year 7 the fee has been reduced from £4,220 per term to £3,500, a drop of 17 per cent…

A study has found that it now costs almost £1 million to send two or more children to private boarding school, with fees trebling since 1990, making a public school education the least affordable in five decades…

Despite the recommendations, Mr Lenon insisted: “There is no sense of crisis at private schools and in recent years there has been no fall in demand particularly in London. Independent schools have also hugely increased the number of bursaries, enabling them to take a wider range of pupils…” 

More at: Cut costs now, private schools told


See also this featuring Barnaby Lenon from the TES: Private schools’ charitable status can be a disadvantage, says independent school leader


There does seem to be something of a polarisation in the independent sector between the major high profile ‘brands’, which have significant demand, often from overseas, and the smaller, less well known alternatives.

Do you think meaningful fee reductions are actually likely on a significant scale?

Are they perhaps necessary to compete against the state sector? Or might upcoming cuts and/or teacher shortages in the state sector lead to increasing demand for private schools?

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  1. The OECD found in 2010 that UK state schools outperform private schools when socio-economic background is taken into account.  In other words, the private schools’ ‘advantage’ came from its intake.
    That said, the greatest threat to the quality of state schools is the looming teacher supply crisis, reduced funding and the chaos caused by hastily-introduced ‘reforms’.  The chair of the Education Select committee said in the report re Regional Schools Commissioners that the introduction of RSCs was typical of the DfE’s  “acting first, thinking later” approach.

  2. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove marketing 101 – you can change product, price, place or promotion – amazing how many just put fees up every year.

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