18th January 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...
Parents of private school pupils facing £300 hike in annual fees, estimates Derek Mackay
PARENTS of private school pupils face paying an extra £300 a year as a result of changes to tax relief, it has been estimated.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the decision to charge Scottish independent schools business rates would represent a hit worth just 1.6 per cent of their average fees.
He insisted this did not represent a “financial shock” that would lead to “a mass exodus from independent schools to the state sector”.
It comes after some private school headteachers warned the end of business rates relief would “wreck” the education sector by pushing more children into state institutions.
But John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, rejected Mr Mackay’s claims.
He insisted they were based on a “massive misunderstanding” of the wealth of parents, and argued the shake-up would hit the level of means-tested assistance schools were able to offer.
He said: “The whole point in being a charity is that independent schools are not-for-profit. They don’t have a huge amount of reserves.
“If you have got parents who are getting means-tested assistance, and if they are getting 40 per cent assistance and the fees go up, then that 40 per cent is no longer enough.”
He said private schools would be forced to either reduce the level of assistance they give to less well-off parents, sell off assets such as playing fields or raise fees in order to cope.
UCAS: Universities braced for drop in student applications
Universities leaders are braced for a drop in the number of applicants as the higher education sector continues to be buffeted by shifting demographics and the impact of the Brexit vote.
Institutions were concerned as early indications suggested submissions ahead of the deadline were down on last year, with some estimations showing that student recruitment was down by as much as 5 per cent.
According to sources, the fall in applications is down to a range of factors, including a decrease in the number of 18 year olds in the UK. While a baby boom is currently working its way through the secondary system – having caused havoc to school places at primary level – it has yet to reach the HE sector.
Experts have also highlighted that the Brexit decision in 2016 continues to be felt by universities. The number of EU students applying to study in the UK continues to fall despite the Government committing to fund places starting in September for the duration of the degree.
Changes to funding to courses such as nursing has also had an impact to certain institutions as the number of nursing applications has significantly fallen away have also been blamed. Universities are pinning hopes on students leaving it to the last minute before submitting their UCAS forms to gain an offer from institutions.
According to one source, bigger universities with large numbers of courses are likely to suffer most from the shortfall in applicants.
Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/education/ucas-universities-braced-drop-student-applications/
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