14th November 2017
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...
£52-a-week new private school ‘based on Easyjet’
Scotland’s first no-frills private school plans to adopt an “Easyjet” financial model that founders believe will allow establishments to emerge across the country.
A new charity, the Schools Educational Trust, intends to charge as little as £52 a week for private education, a price that it believes would make opting out of the state sector an option for families on average incomes.
It is understood that work has begun on finding a site for a small school, probably in Edinburgh but possibly in Glasgow, for 200 pupils. If the project is successful, it is hoped that others of a similar size will open elsewhere.
James Tooley, professor of education policy at Newcastle University, who is also behind more advanced plans to open a cheap private school in Durham, insisted his model could be financially sustainable by operating with low profit margins in a similar approach to that of budget airlines and hotels.
Giving an example, he highlighted potential rental costs of £20,000 a year, or £100 a child in a school of 200. Another £1,550 per child could go on teacher and principal salaries. If all other costs could be covered with the remaining £1,050 per child from the £2,700 annual fees, the school would break even.
In comparison, private schools in Scotland charge an average of £14,000 a year, with the most expensive setting fees of £26,000 for a day school place.
Sensitive girls should be taught 'banter' at school to toughen them up for the workplace, leading headmistress says
Young women need to learn how to laugh at themselves and overcome “the curse of the good girl”, according to Lucy Elphinstone who is head of Francis Holland School, a girls' school in Sloane Square, west London.
“I think girls are, perhaps by nature, sensitive and easily hurt,” she said. “Very often when we hear something that is just gentle teasing, we tend to call it bullying and boys would never call each other that.
“They are used to calling each other nicknames, pushing each other around a bit and making fun of each other - but often it’s a sign of endearment.
And girls need to learn to not take themselves quite so seriously, to laugh at themselves a little bit more and to understand that teasing isn’t necessarily something that is cruel or unkind.”
She said these important lessons at a young age will “toughen them up a little bit” and prepare girls for life beyond the classroom when “they will get far worse than teasing”.
Mrs Elphinstone said that girls must also be taught about how to “wing it” so they are not at a disadvantage to their male peers when it comes to applying for jobs. She explained: “I don’t mean pretending that they are something that they are not.
"I like the fact that we as women tend to be much more authentic and truthful than men do, than men are, sometimes to our own detriment.
"I certainly teach my girls that well known trait - how to blag it. Sometimes you have to go for that job or that position when you are not sure whether you have all the experience or qualifications necessary but you are brave enough to have a go and believe in yourself.
Perfecting the skills of banter and blagging at schools will help girls “a great deal” when they enter the workplace, in particular male dominated professions such as law, politics, banking and finance, Mrs Elphinstone said.
Girls’ schools are the idea environment to perfect these skills, she argued, since they can practise banter and blagging “without fear of losing a boyfriend or losing a boy’s respect or being called brainy or what have you”.
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