Sunday, July 29, 2007

Priced Out

Private school fees have risen by 41% since 2002 according to Halifax Financial Services.

The number of private pupils has increased by 6% between 2001/2 and 2006/7 from 631,800 to 669,300, meanwhile the number of state pupils fell by 2% from 9,484,200 to 9,289,300. In 2007 the average annual fees were £9,627 compared to £6,820 in 2002. Only 13 occupations can now afford fees compared with 23 in 2002.

In response Jonathan Shephard, general secretary of the ISC, which represents 1,300 independent day and boarding schools, said: “We hope that sooner or later Halifax will join the 21st century and recognise that stable families commonly have two income earners.

“A police constable and a teacher outside London would have a combined income of £49,430 three years into their careers - easily enough, on Halifax's calculations, to fund an independent school place.

“Affordability is always an issue, but independent education is within the reach of many more families than is often believed. By ignoring the likelihood of two income earners the Halifax survey is flawed and misleading.”

I loved that bit about “stable families” – no judgements there of course.

The ISC do have a point some couples do have one person who ‘works to pay the school fees’. The fact remains that the really exclusive private schools are only within the financial reach of the filthy rich. You can see the same process with the housing market, as the research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed, some towns and villages have become the exclusive preserve of the mega-rich. Even “hard working middle class families” can’t afford the private schools or houses.


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