How do top private schools spend their money?

The Guardian, 15.07.15, takes a glimpse at the financial accounts of four HMC member schools CharterhouseEton College, Harrow SchoolWellington College.

For many private schools costly fees make up a big proportion of their income. But they also have bills to pay, with expenses ranging from the familiar (staff costs) to those particular to independent schools (boarding and welfare). And, of course, investment in the schools’ passions, be it drama, music or sport.

Eton College

Accounts year to 31 August 2014

Total income: £62m (£56m - 2013)
Expenditure: £59m (£55m)
Gross school fees: £44m (£42m)
Fee remission: £5.8m (£5.2m)
Fee reductions: 21% of pupils (20%)

Number of pupils: 1,300+ (aged 13-18)

Like many private schools, Eton’s fees make up a big proportion of its total income. Take away the scholarships, bursaries and discounts on pre-paid fees and you get the net fees of £38m, which accounted for 60% of total incoming resources in 2014.

Teaching (£18m), premises (£16m), boarding and welfare (£10m) costs took the biggest chunks of spending in 2014.

Around £33m was spent on the staff during the same period. This includes almost £1m which was spent on agency staff, medical services and external sporting coaches.

According to the school’s latest financial statements, 123 of its 916 employees earned more than £60,000 per annum, including taxable benefits in kind, with the highest earner in the £220,000-£229,999 pay bracket.

It’s also a costly business for the school to maintain its 398 buildings – 78 of which are listed. Premise costs rose to almost £16m in the year to 31 August 2014, up from just over £13m the previous year. This was mainly attributed to a “particularly significant spend on renovation of listed buildings.”

The school which has educated 19 prime ministers, including David Cameron, also had a direct property portfolio of £70m at the end of August 2014 – rising by £8m during the year.

Harrow School

Accounts year to 31 August 2014 (Harrow school, The John Lyon school, Harrow School Enterprises, Harrow International Schools Limited and Harrow Development Trust)

Total income: £55.1m (£47.3m - 2013)
Expenditure: £28m (£27m) – Harrow school
Gross school fees: £27.4m (£26.3m) – Harrow school
Fee remission: £2.2m (£2.3m) – scholarships and bursaries, Harrow school

Number of pupils: 830 (aged 13-18)

School fees at this exclusive boys boarding school are the primary source of revenue.

In terms of bursaries, £1.84m was spent in 2013-14 to help 87 students, while the previous year saw 85 pupils receive bursaries that totalled around £1.9m.

The school, which is home to some 830 boys, had main running costs of £27.4m, including teaching (£10m), premises (£9.5m), welfare (£5.3m) and support (£3.4m). Support includes central administration staff and overheads.

The annual accounts even goes as far as to calculate the amount the school saves the state (at least around £4m during the year) and lists the general public as a key beneficiary.

Investment in cricket is also taken very seriously. The Harrow School Cricket Fund, set up in order to help the governors provide high “quality cricketing”, gives approximately £15,000 to the school each year, although this varies.

Wellington College

Accounts year to 31 July 2014 (includes the college and its five funds, Eagle House and subsidiaries such as WC Enterprises and International)

Total income: £46m (£43m – 2013). Includes donations
Expenditure: £41.7m (£38.2m)
Gross school fees: £38m (£36m)
Fee remission: £2.55m (£2.61m)
Fee reductions: 22% of students at Wellington College (25%)

Number of pupils: 1,050 (Wellington College, 13-18), 370 (Eagle House, 3-13)

This co-educational day and boarding school for boys and girls was founded in 1853.

The school, which charged day fees of £8,350 per term and boarding fees of £11,375 per term in 2013-14, awarded scholarships to 259 students (based on educational merit and potential), with 76 of these also qualifying for a means-tested bursary.

Income for the school, its five funds, prep school Eagle House and subsidiaries, such as WC Enterprises and International, amounted to £46m in the year to the end of July 2014 – up from £43m the previous year. Expenditure, which includes resources used to support Wellington Academy, totalled £41.7m in 2013-14.

Total teaching costs in 2014 were £17.9m, with the average number of teaching staff during this period being 185. Almost £10m was spent on premises, around £5m on welfare (including things such as catering and domestic costs for boarding) and £4.6m on support costs.

The latest report also details plans for a second international school in Shanghai, China, which is planned to open this year.

Charterhouse

Accounts year to 31 July 2014

Total income: £28m (£27m – 2013)
Expenditure: £26m (£25m)
Gross school fees (including music fees): £25.4m (£24.3m)
Fee remission: £1.6m (£1.8m) – scholarships plus bursaries
Fee reductions: 281 awards made (271)

Number of pupils: 804 (aged 13-18)

Gross school fees (including music fees) came in at £25.4m in 2014. Almost £1.2m was spent on bursaries and another £421,000 on scholarships and awards that benefitted 281 pupils.

In 2013-14, day boarders paid £9,070 per term, while boarders fees came in at £10,975 per term.

Teaching costs amounted to near £11m in 2014, a slight rise on 2013, while £4.4m was spent on welfare and £5.6m on premises.
In 2014, 47 employees had total employee benefits (excluding employer pension costs) of more than £60,000 per annum, with the highest earner receiving £210,001 – £220,000 (total employee benefits).

The school, which prides itself on its students sporting abilities, describes the appointment of a new full-time director of sport in its annual accounts. It also notes that, as the number of girls at the school continues to increase, sport for girls has become a key focus.

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