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Any views on differences between 'new' Privately owned schools vs. older, foundations

(10 Posts)
wigornian Fri 21-Sep-12 12:21:20

Hello, I'm new to posting, but have lurked for several months. This is not, repeat, not a bid to re-open the common state vs. private school debate! Rather, it is to explore the differences within the private sector.

I attended a small privately owned school, a registered charity as they all are, but owned by the Principal and his wife, and as such had to be run as a profit making exercise. I am not suggesting they did not care about the quality of the education, clearly, it made good business sense to keep standards up etc. Nonetheless, the need to make a living, may have impacted in some way.

In contrast we send DS to a small Prep-School which is attached to an ancient, selective and fee-paying Grammar School in the West of England. The school is registered charity, naturally, but with a board of Trustees - the school exists to fulfil its educational remit, and remain a going concern so that it can continue to do so. It feels quite different to my old school - and this may be for any number of reasons of course - however I am keen to hear the views of others on any apparent differences between these two types of schools that they have perceived?

Apologies for the long post! smile

lionheart Fri 21-Sep-12 12:24:33

I have just visited a Cognita school and I can see that although it is a profit making company, it has invested in the school in terms of buildings, refurbishments, equipment. For profit doesn't necessarily mean taking as much money and not putting it back in so I was pleasantly surprised.

wigornian Fri 21-Sep-12 12:42:54

Good to hear lionheart - after posting I reflected that it may come across as covertly critical of schools like the oen you visited. This was not my intention, as I said, I went to such a school and I loved it. Good to see pros and cons of each tbh.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 21-Sep-12 12:46:17

Ds's prep was privately owned, they seemed to charge for a lot! £10 per ticket to see my child in the school play for example. He's now at a very old school, and I can see the difference.

meditrina Sun 23-Sep-12 20:09:57

It's not and never has been compulsory for a private school to be a charity, and if your first example was indeed owned by the principal then it cannot be a charity.

Private schools, whether charities or not, vary hugely in their administrative competence and ability to extract vfm from suppliers. They also vary for myriad reasons in their ethos, academic and pastoral standards, and I've never really noticed a pattern between that and the details of legal status.

wigornian Sun 23-Sep-12 23:48:32

Thank you meditrina - my mistake.

senua Mon 24-Sep-12 10:28:25

I thik that it is like the difference between nouveau riche and Old Money. The NR have got where they are by the sweat of their own brow, there is no back-up facility. All it needs is a bad business decision or a string of bad exam results and you are history. The OM have, in contrast, been around for generations so they have family or chums who can bail them out in a crisis. An OM school will have alumni and bursary funds to call on. They have a history so they know what works and what doesn't; they have a solidity.

These things aren't writ in stone though: OM can become moribund and NR can hang around to become the new OM (IYSWIM - all OM has to start somewhere!)

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 24-Sep-12 13:03:44

OM schools have invested their money very wisely, hence the bursaries. Most NM are barely breaking even, so need to charge for pretty much everything. If they start to lose pupils, they go under. They won't tell the parents that they are having problems though as they can't afford to lose pupils. What they do is start selling off land/losing staff which they never replace. It can be very tricky for parents as they don't always recognise the signs until it's too late.

EBDTeacher Mon 24-Sep-12 14:16:02

Also, you have to think about what would happen if the private owner of school decided to sell.

My DSis sent her kids to a pre-prep where the Head was the owner. When she decided to sell the school was bought by a day nursery chain. They said they wanted to keep the pre-prep open but it was a total fiasco and the school will almost certainly close in the near future (Dsis has moved her kids to an OM school).

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 24-Sep-12 14:17:46

Ds's prep was sold to a very strange bloke. If families didn't fit his ideals (single parents mainly) they were forced out. sad

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