Saturday, 22 January 2011

Middle-classes 'being priced out of boarding schools'

Research published by the Good Schools Guide indicates that school fees have risen around about a third in the past six years alone in some schools with the consequence that the Middle-classes are 'being priced out of boarding schools' [See Daily Telegraph article 22/01/2011].

At Berkhamsted, we have certainly begun to see effects of the recession hitting those families who are no longer willing or able to afford the fees at the boarding schools. The most obvious indication of this is that we have seen an increase in applications at 13+ from Prep Schools, such as Lockers' Park, Swanbourne House and Edge Grove, schools that traditionally 'feed' the large national boarding schools.

At £16,200 p.a. it is not surprising that increasing numbers of parents are seeing Berkhamsted as a very real alternative to sending their children away to the national boarding schools. Afterall, Berkhamsted has retained many characteristics from its boarding past, such as the House-based pastoral system, Chapel, a CCF and an extensive games programme; it still offers weekly and flexi boarding and has excellent facilities and opportunities for its broad co-curricular programme.

The consequences of this are that this week we had record numbers sitting our entrance exams, the quality of the entry has gone up and we are having to turn away significant numbers of applicants who meet our entry requirements. This all means that there are some very difficult decisions for us to make in the next couple of weeks.

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