• 2 October 2018

British Schools need to increase level of International Students

UK families are steadily being priced out of having their children attend independent schools due to annual fee rises becoming too much.

Middle-class families have been priced out of private education because of an “endless queue” of wealthy people from outside Britain pushing up fees, the head teacher of a top private school has said.

Andrew Halls, the head teacher of King’s College School in Wimbledon, South West London – an Independent Day school and Winner of the coveted Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year – said local lawyers, accountants and military officers had stopped sending their children to the school because of the costs.

He said that in many cases they had become “finishing schools for the children of oligarchs” and warned the situation was a “time bomb” which he likened to the financial crisis of 2008.
The 185-year-old school charges about £20,000 a year for senior school boys aged 7 to 18 and girls aged 16 to 18.

Mr Halls told The Sunday Times: “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.

“Somewhere along the way, first the nurses stopped sending children to us, then the policemen, the armed forces officers, even the local accountants and lawyers.

“The most prestigious schools in the world teach children of the very wealthiest families in the world.

“We are in danger of coming across as greedy because we can charge what appear to be limitless fees, but in truth there is a fees time bomb ticking away. It feels like the build-up to the banking crisis.”

Recent research found that the cost of sending a child to private schools has risen by about a fifth in the last four years – about four times faster than rises in earnings.

Mr Halls suggested a collapse could be brought about by the supply of foreign families eventually drying up, while British families could elect to send their children to high-performing state schools.

The simple truth is that Britain’s private school sector need to market themselves increasingly to the rising affluent countries of the world and not expect to maintain their numbers if they retain a policy of even a moderate percentage only of overeas children allowed.