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Private School Fees 'have Soared By A Fifth In Just Five Years'

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Telegraph 5/9/14

'Rising numbers of families face being squeezed out of private education after school fees increased by a fifth in just five years, according to research.

Figures show the cost of sending children to fee-paying schools has soared around four times faster than the rise in wages since 2009.

In all, the average fee for a day school this year – £12,345 – is equivalent to 37 per cent of typical earnings. This compares with the equivalent of 32 per cent five years ago when average fees stood at £10,176.

The rise comes despite a squeeze on family finances during the economic downturn and will fuel concerns that independent schooling is now becoming unaffordable to all but the wealthiest parents.

It was claimed that much of the recent rise was driven by increases in teachers’ salaries, national insurance contributions, utilities and the maintenance of school buildings, with schools also paying more in means-tested bursaries for pupils from poor families.

Sarah Deaves, private banking director at Lloyds Bank, said: "Private school fees have increased to almost £12,500 a year which is four times more than the rise in average earnings over the past five years. It is, therefore, becoming increasingly vital that parents plan ahead as early as possible, to ensure that they secure the future they desire for their children."

According to figures, average fees for a pupil attending a private day increased by 21 per cent to £12,345 over the five years to 2014. It represents 37 per cent of annual average gross full-time earnings of around £33,693.

The biggest rise was seen in greater London where fees soared by 26 per cent – from £11,586 to £14,544.

By comparison, fees were lowest in the north of England, where prices increased by 22 per cent to £9,984 over the five-year period.'

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Inflation is 5-7%, on average for years, has been for years, is and will be. The difference between that and official figures made up byb outright lies, manipulation of the stats and lowering of goods quality / material use.

What the private schools will not make a big noise about is the collapse in younger entrants - they dare not as no parent wants to send teir child to a school that may not exist by the time they are due to take qualifications. It will take years for the real income crunch to fully hit from this lower number of fee paying children as their cohort grows up and reaches the last years of the upper school.

Some schools will already have seen the writing on the wall and given up - others, most likely the majority in such a situation will battle on till the end as best they can.

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In the end, only the best will survive - the top 10 or so great public schools: from Eton through to Wellington. Only these places can charge £20,000 or so a year and get away with it.

Edited by Errol

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In the end, only the best will survive - the top 10 or so great public schools: from Eton through to Wellington. Only these places can charge £20,000 or so a year and get away with it.

Also ties in with the increasing concentration of income at the the top. The rest of the private school system requires a resilient middle income bracket, many parents with fairly meagre incomes wishing to give up a lot to fund private school (rightly or wrongly). The pressures on the middle income earners are bearing down very heavily and will tend to cause the effect you state. Wouldn;t necessarily say they would be the "best" schools, just the ones with the most clout, influence and money shuffling through them.

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My old private school in North Devon has seen a massive growth in Russian students over the last 5 years. They are actively marketing in Russia and China

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In the end, only the best will survive - the top 10 or so great public schools: from Eton through to Wellington. Only these places can charge £20,000 or so a year and get away with it.

I think you will find there are upward of 200+ schools who charge that amount and 'get away with it'

google Halford Hewitt or Grafton Morrish. the two public school national golf competitions. In the Halford Hewitt the last 'new school' to enter was 1968 because a school dropped out...

10 schools however good don't produce the percentage numbers that the recent report suggested were producing all the lawyers. mp's etc.

in fact many are thriving

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Also ties in with the increasing concentration of income at the the top. The rest of the private school system requires a resilient middle income bracket, many parents with fairly meagre incomes wishing to give up a lot to fund private school (rightly or wrongly). The pressures on the middle income earners are bearing down very heavily and will tend to cause the effect you state. Wouldn;t necessarily say they would be the "best" schools, just the ones with the most clout, influence and money shuffling through them.

Agree but the pool is bigger than 10 schools.

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Agree but the pool is bigger than 10 schools.

Yes, guess at least half are in existence on merit many others function as a secure facilites for challenged learners from rich parents or escape valves from dire inner city schools, kind of alternatives through necessity.

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No matter how much they charge, you cannot turn a rock into a diamond.

absolutely but some of those rocks sit in board rooms whereas some of those diamonds get smothered in the mud of low aspiration and never see the light of day.

and remember a diamond is just a piece of coal that stuck to its job

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At my kids' prep school children are moving from the local highly sought after state primary to private. I don't see any financial issues at all.

This is commuter land. Likewise, if you look at the London/Surrey senior schools, there are great number that are hugely oversubscribed and have parents falling over each other to sit exams, etc. to get in. Fees of £16k plus per year are not harming business (technically they are not for profit of course, but prices reflect spending on equipment, new sports pitches, teachers, etc.)

The annual increase is btw only 3.9%. The real killer increase took place during the Blair government, where prices rose much faster due to increased state sector salaries.

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Supply and demand.

The elite have got a lot richer during all this (whilst everyone else, well, hasn't). Only so many good schools to go around. Why not whack their prices up? At least something is tricking down instead of out for a change.

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In line with house prices (as owned by those wealthy enough to send their kids private). Got to keep the riff raff out and that includes those working class people who falsely believe they are proper middle class. ie anyone who hasn't automatically inherited a decent house and has to get up for work and not just turn up for a couple of hours a day and put their signature on the dotted line.

Otherwise 'didums' and perhaps these people will go state ed and campaign for improvement

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Hmm, let me guess ....

Supply and demand. There's a lot of demand, so schools can charge what parents can pay. And with their housing costs having dropped through the floor since 2008, there are enough parents who can pay more to support price rises.

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My old private school in North Devon has seen a massive growth in Russian students over the last 5 years. They are actively marketing in Russia and China

The middle class may not have been destroyed (yet) - but their schools have. The traditional ethos of UK independents has been crushed by ostentatious foreigners.

I think even the second tier St Custards will survive - but not as traditional "English" schools. I've heard of places where entire years are Chinese/Russian/Nigerian. And not tiny unheard of schools either.

The future for my type of family (privately educated for generations but no oligarchs for grandparents) is home schooling I reckon. It's what I'm recommending my kids plan for. Hire tutors for specialist subjects, use the internet for online courses and deep research, and make contact with the growing local home school groups for sports and social.

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The middle class may not have been destroyed (yet) - but their schools have. The traditional ethos of UK independents has been crushed by ostentatious foreigners.

I think even the second tier St Custards will survive - but not as traditional "English" schools. I've heard of places where entire years are Chinese/Russian/Nigerian. And not tiny unheard of schools either.

The argument that private education is not about the education but the "old school tie" contacts that one can use in adulthood therefore falls apart. What's the point in paying a fortune for your child to develop old school chums on different continents that can't pull a few strings for you in the City of London? That old school tie network will therefore fall apart within a generation unless independent schools encourage Brits to attend - probably through huge discounts. However, they're probably too short-sighted and greedy to see this impending doom and would rather take the foreigners' cash today.

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Is that rate of inflation any worse than normal inflation? I think it's less than HPI over those years.

RPI inflation over the same period is 19.9% 20.0%

Edit: oops. Rounding error.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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The middle class may not have been destroyed (yet) - but their schools have. The traditional ethos of UK independents has been crushed by ostentatious foreigners.

I think even the second tier St Custards will survive - but not as traditional "English" schools. I've heard of places where entire years are Chinese/Russian/Nigerian. And not tiny unheard of schools either.

The future for my type of family (privately educated for generations but no oligarchs for grandparents) is home schooling I reckon. It's what I'm recommending my kids plan for. Hire tutors for specialist subjects, use the internet for online courses and deep research, and make contact with the growing local home school groups for sports and social.

That's a very small part of the market. There are half-a-million private school pupils of which just 66,605 are boarding. There are 25,900 foreign pupils. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10015199/Number-of-pupils-in-private-schools-drops-amid-rising-fees.html

You've got different markets:

* the majority - middle-class British parents living in affluent areas who want a day private school in easy reach (some of the trad boarding schools are in the middle of nowhere) where their children will get the best education money can buy and still see Mummy & Daddy every night

* nouveau riche Russians and Chinese wanting to buy their kids a traditional British education, and damn the expense - these will be boarding, and the schools will market directly in Russia and China

* a tiny number of rich Brits who want the traditional Eton/Harrow experience (and just as few Brits can now afford to live in Chelsea or Holland Park, so too very few can now afford their traditional birthright of a British public school)

Outside of a tiny number of schools, Eton, Winchester, Westminster, and not many others, which will stand on their own two feet, the boarding schools can simply redouble their marketing in China to fill their spaces without difficulty, as native Brits switch to day schools. Meanwhile the most successful day schools will weather the economic storms as they are so oversubscribed, and what you will find is that small day schools offering marginal value may fold in the future, since they do not have the option to import foreign boarders, and as economic times worsen, they will be the first to close. But the likes of Rugby, Charterhouse, Oundle, etc. even if they find themselves with fewer white kids, will be able to fill their numbers with foreign boarders.

Edited by bambam

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My old private school in North Devon has seen a massive growth in Russian students over the last 5 years. They are actively marketing in Russia and China

My two eldest are at a reasonably priced boarding school (compared to the competition ). What I've noticed over the last 3 to 4 years, is an increase in the Nigerian kids attending. Why Nigerians in particular?

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I think it's partly fashion and partly just globalisation. There's always been a cadre of filthy rich Nigerians but now it's really easy to send their kids to UK schools.

PS. What's unreasonable? I think mine churn through £12k a term each. (There's a bill on the table I need to pay tomorrow - suppose I should open it later!) I no longer think it's "value for money". But it seems to be par for the course.

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<snip> * the majority - middle-class British parents living in affluent areas who want a day private school in easy reach (some of the trad boarding schools are in the middle of nowhere) where their children will get the best education money can buy and still see Mummy & Daddy every night <snip>

In the city where I live there used to be two boarding schools - one attached to the cathedral and a girls' school founded donkey' years ago. Neither now have boarders. Both now use the buildings that used to house boarders for their expanded offer (nursery, prep/primary) and sixth form centres, taking in additional kids who've done GCSE's at state schools to add to those who've come through them from age 11 or earlier. The girls' school now takes boys for post-16 courses. The cathedral school has been taken over by a private school chain, is now co-ed and is building on every square centimetre available.

They appear to be doing just fine. Someone round here has money.

Edit: for clarity

Edited by Snugglybear

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Send kids to state schools to get social skills, but you need to teach them maths and science yourself. Private schools are only essential if the parents are a bit dim themselves.

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