Why the Private Schools Need a Lesson in History; Commentary

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 24, 2014 | Go to article overview

Why the Private Schools Need a Lesson in History; Commentary


Byline: Chris Blackhurst City Editor

KNOWING how many City people send their children to private school I can't ignore the claim by Andrew Halls, head of King's College School, Wimbledon, that schools like his are now the preserve of oligarchs.

They've put their fees up so much, said Halls in The Sunday Times, that lawyers, doctors and teachers can no longer afford to educate their children privately. "We have allowed the apparently endless queue of wealthy families from across the world knocking at our doors to blind us to a simple truth: we charge too much."

That is undoubtedly true. According to research published in the Financial Times at Alleyn's School in Dulwich day fees climbed by 49% between 2003 and 2013. At Westminster School they rose by 38% over the same period. This while net household earnings for those traditional target professions, actually fell by 1.7%.

Continued Halls: "We are in danger of coming across as greedy, because we can charge what appears to be limitless fees but in truth there is a fees timebomb ticking away. It feels like the buildup to the banking crisis."

In which case, why not do something about it? After all, the claim is not new private school fee increases have outstripped inflation for at his own PS20,000-ayear day school, but chooses not to.

The schools like to claim the rises are needed to keep pace with wages and pensions in the state sector and increases in utility bills. …

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