17th January 2018
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Private schools have trebled their fees in real terms since 1980 but their social mix has hardly changed because bursaries help the middle classes.
The cost of educating even one child eats up half the income of a family on average salaries, up from a fifth in 1980. Yet schools spend far more on bursaries and scholarships, meaning that the proportion of children from different backgrounds is little changed.
The average boarding fee has risen from £10,000 a year at today’s prices to more than £30,000.
The report assessed whether people paying for private education came increasingly from higher-income families in the 20 years since 1994 but found little change. It added: “There was no change in the proportion of private school parents who belonged to the managerial and professional classes — eight out of every ten families.”
The data came from annual censuses by the Independent Schools Council. Its chairman, Barnaby Lenon, said: “The proportion of pupils receiving fee assistance has rocketed, as has the amount spent on this.” Many schools had taken money from scholarships, available to all, and channelled it to bursaries. Some larger schools aim for “means-blind” admissions.
Mindfulness is on the timetable as a coping tool for life’s stresses
Students at one of Scotland’s most prestigious schools are being given lessons in yoga, mindfulness and t’ai chi.
Pupils at Kelvinside Academy are embracing eastern philosophies and being taught to meditate to help them cope with the stresses of 21st-century life. The independent Glasgow school claims that its programme will build resilience.
It has produced a mindful moments toolkit that teaches students in its junior school the rudiments of meditation and how to “deep belly breathe”. Pupils are encouraged to take “stretching breaks” between lessons, using exercises based on yoga and t’ai chi.
The school has also opened a mindfulness roof garden for time out to practise meditation and breathing techniques.
Ian Munro, the rector, said: “We live in exciting times, with ever-evolving technology creating a host of opportunities. But with opportunity can come challenge, and youngsters are far from immune to the mental health pressures of the busy world in which we live.
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