Private school becomes first to slash fees to get more pupils

The Times is reporting that an independent school has become the first in Britain to slash its fees in a dramatic move to increase its pupil numbers…

Milton Abbey in Dorset is cutting its fees for day pupils by £2,000 a year from September in an attempt to put them more within reach of working parents.

It is unusual for a private school to reduce its charges, especially so sharply, but Milton Abbey is able to do so because it has only a small number of day pupils.

Fees for boarders will not be reduced.

Many independent schools beyond the London area have been squeezed by falling rolls since the financial crash of 2008, especially smaller schools in rural areas. Demand within the capital has, in contrast, been growing.

Boarding schools have in many cases responded by boosting the intake of overseas pupils, particularly from South East Asia where demand for a “British education” is booming…

Even after the reduction, the annual fees will still be substantial: £16,485 for day pupils and £31,200 for boarders…

Janette Wallis, senior editor of The Good Schools Guide, said: “Boarding fees at independent schools may be eye-wateringly high, but . . . we’re seeing schools really trying hard to keep their fee rises down. There’s still scope for more blue sky thinking; allowing parents to pay monthly by credit card would be a start.”

More at: School does its maths and cuts fees (subscription required)

The Times talks about “slashing” fees but at a reduced £16,000+ a year they are still extremely expensive. Do you think such a move will open up a new domestic market or is the future of independent schools going to involve an increasing reliance on students from overseas? Please give us your views in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. PrincesBold

    £16500 still seems a little too expensive. Indie parents quite shrewd, not going to be tempted by a decrease, going to think the place is in financial difficulty.

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