Many of you will know that we have long championed affordability of independent education. This week, the issue has made headlines yet again. Ross Clark of The Telegraph has been questioning the increase in private school fees amidst a demand for an affordable independent education whilst former high master of St Paul’s School, Martin Stephen, has suggested too many independent school governors view their school as a business and they are to blame for school fee rises. Many, including Matt Thomas, Head of Dorset House School have written open letters to Philip Hammond in opposition to the introduction of VAT on school fees. There is no doubt that introducing VAT on school fees will be detrimental to both the independent and state sector.

The ISC have issued the following statement:

“Putting VAT on school fees would make this (independent education) an unaffordable choice for many families. Smaller independent schools would certainly close, resulting in a sudden increase in the numbers of young people needing places at state schools.”

There is no escaping it… affordability is a big issue in independent schools and whilst I would argue that schools are businesses and should be run as such in the interests of all parties, when costs are increasing and income is reducing, the solution is not just to raise school fees.

Expenditure needs to be examined very carefully. Get creative and look at what it is that sets you apart – what is it that your parents are prepared to pay for and what can you survive without. Focus your resources accordingly and make cuts where you can – if you can find a way to reduce your fees, you’ll open up a much wider section of the market and ensure your future.

There is a market out there for an affordable independent education but sadly there is no market for an unaffordable one.

If you’d like more advice on this matter, do contact the team.