30th April 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Stowe School is planning to reduce fees for its day pupils by almost 30 per cent
Stowe School, whose alumni includes Sir Richard Branson is to drop its bills for day pupils by more than £7,000 a year – a decrease of almost 30 per cent.
Stowe’s head Anthony Wallersteiner said there was a danger that independent schools could become the preserve of a wealthy elite, bolstered by foreign oligarchs.
He said schools should not alienate their traditional bedrock families if they wanted the continued support of the country’s middle classes in the face of growing political hostility. His 780-pupil, co-educational school in Buckinghamshire still has a strong demand for places and is not lowering its £35,595-a-year boarding fees, but he wanted to encourage more local parents to feel they could afford places.
From next year, fees for day pupils who join one of two new houses being built to accommodate more day places will be £18,435, down from £25,590. This could mean a saving of more than £35,000 over the five years a pupil would normally attend the school.
Dr Wallersteiner said: ‘If you want to send two children to board at a top private school, you will need to be earning about £250,000 gross a year. But in the 1980s we were educating the sons and daughters of army majors, country solicitors and local bank managers.’
The average fees for day pupils at private schools is £18,750 and £33,684 for boarding.
Giving vulnerable children a boarding school place can dramatically improve their future, Government study finds
Out of a cohort of youngsters who were previously in care and then sent to a boarding school, the majority were subsequently taken off their local council’s risk register, the research is expected to show.
The study, which is due to be published this summer, follows the progress of 52 children who looked after by Norfolk Council Council and sent to boarding schools.
Martin Reader, who is chair of the Boarding School Association (BSA), said that the study shows how boarding has a “transformative benefit” for children.
The research was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Boarding Schools Partnership, a scheme which will see children from vulnerable families enroll at some of Britain's top boarding schools including Harrow, Rugby, Benenden and Eton College.
Under the initiative, school fees will be covered by local councils. It is intended to save public money in the long-run by avoiding the costs of expensive local authority care.
Mr Reader, headmaster of the £37,000-a-year Cranleigh School in Surrey, said that boarding schools are “genuinely thrilled” when “one of our pupils from a disadvantaged background has prospects transformed”.
More than 80 councils have signed up to the partnership scheme so far, which is backed by the schools minister Lord Agnew and Lord Adonis, a former Labour education minister. Currently, only about 100 children go to private boarding schools paid for by councils but Colin Morrison, chair of the BSP, hopes this will climb to about 1,000 a year within five years.
The Boarding Schools Partnership initiative is reminiscent of the Assisted Places scheme, set up in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher’s Government. Under the scheme, children were provided with free or subsidised places to private schools if they achieved a top score in the entrance exam.
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