Are the private schools taking over?

Will improved state education force private schools to shut?

As state schools improve, it is getting to the point parents fail to see the point in paying for private education. Hundreds of private schools could face closures it has been claimed.

Since the 1980s it has been said by Ralph Lucas editor in chief of the Good Schools Guide that state schools have improved beyond all recognition. His publication in 1986 included only ten state schools, but last year there were 264, almost a third of the total.

According to Lord Lucas an old Etonian and hereditary peer, hundreds of independent schools could close, he said many state schools of today where offering improved disciplinary standards for pupils, instilling strong ambition.

In order to be in the catchment areas for the best state schools, the wealthier parents are often paying premium prices for housing.

Sir Anthony Seldon former Head master of Wellington College said that this was always going to hit independent schools when the state schools started improving and performing better, particularly when coinciding with an economic downturn that has hit disposable incomes.

This could mean that private schools may need to concentrate on showing individuality.

For two decades fees for private schools have risen extremely. They have risen above inflation, making it extremely difficult for middle class families to afford the costs. The average fee for day schools per term last year reached £4,398.

Last month, Barnaby Lenon chairman of the Independent Schools Council, said that private schools headmasters should consider slashing the fees if they want a more diverse pupil population. He said his advice was more aimed at the schools outside the London area where there can be lower demand.

Some private schools have already boosted their demand by cutting their fees, schools including Gosfield in Essex and St Joseph’s College in Reading,  have boosted demand by 15 to 40%. Moyles Court School in Ringwood has cut its fees from this academic year. The previous reception fee of £2,029 per term is now £1,575 per term.

But I believe state schools will suit the middle classes at primary and junior level but not for senior. If they can’t get into a grammar school they will pay; that’s when the difference sets in at 11.

What’s your view on state as opposed to private education. Should we have to pay and why?

Please read my Private School Education: Yay or Nay? Blog as some other issues of extreme importance are raised in that.