Independent schools freeze fees to aid the ‘squeezed’ middle class

The Telegraph, 27.07.15, independent schools continue to keep fees as affordable as possible whilst maintaining high standards. HMC member schools Wrekin College and West Buckland School are referenced.

Independent schools are slashing or freezing fees from next term as middle-class parents struggle to pay for their children’s education.

A rising number of fee-paying schools are looking at ways to lure back their traditional customers who have been pushed out by soaring fees, The Telegraph has learnt. It follows calls for public schools to behave more like grocery discounters such as Aldi and offer a budget option.

Earlier this month, Robin Fletcher, the head of the Boarding Schools Association, said private schools needed to focus on offering a premium product at a more affordable price.

St John’s International School, a day and boarding school in Devon, is following suit by freezing fees from September. Simon Larter, headteacher at the £12,000-a-year school, said he decided to freeze fees to “make them more affordable for our local parents”.

He said: “I am well aware that parents make huge sacrifices for their children. It is our way to ease the burden.”

Other schools freezing fees include Wrekin College in Shropshire, West Buckland School in Devon and Moyles Court School in the New Forest.

King’s College School in London is actually raising fees by 1.9 per cent – but this is the lowest rise in recent memory. Andrew Halls, the headmaster, said: “This low fee rise comes despite the fact we are, like almost all independent schools, affected by the rise in employer pension and National Insurance contributions.”

Earlier this year, Tony Little, the outgoing head of Eton College, said school fees have become too pricey for “squeezed” families.

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