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independent schools and recession

(63 Posts)
Malkaperlichka Sat 10-Jan-09 13:00:15

Is anyone worried about their child's school financial health? Am I crazy for moving my Dd from a very desirable state school to an independent one, when everyone seems to be doing the opposite? If that school closes down due to lack of funds, my Dd would be left without a place. How can one predict the school's future?

violethill Sat 10-Jan-09 13:23:00

It will tend to be the smaller schools that are in danger.
Long established good schools should be able to weather the storm, although many of them are doing so by radically altering their profile, and becoming schools for the overseas students. That's certainly a factor to consider, as it will radically change the ethos and also the peer group your child is in.

Only you can answer the question of whether you're crazy.

Quattrocento Sat 10-Jan-09 13:27:59

I can't imagine the DC's school closing tbh. It has been going for the best part of 500 years, weathering wars, civil disobedience and a number of labour governments ...

llareggub Sat 10-Jan-09 16:58:38

I've chosen a very small prep-prep and nursery for DS, and I've had second thoughts. It has very small classes, and although the nursery seems healthy enough, I just can't see how the figures add up. I can't see it surviving, which is a real shame, as it has a lovely feel to it.

Unfortunately the local state options aren't great, but I'm thinking about keeping the pre-prep as a fall-back and trying to get him into a small state primary in the next village, which is a long-shot indeed. Longer-term he'll go to a 7+ private boys school which has been around forever (really forever!)

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 17:00:40

oh you're ok then Quattro hmm

llareggub Sat 10-Jan-09 17:01:46

stillenacht, why the hmm? Did you read the question in the OP?

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 17:02:59

because it seems a very "We're alright jack" type of post smile

Nell12 Sat 10-Jan-09 17:03:21

The school I work in is relatively small (my yr4 class has 9 in it!) However it will last the recession, just like it did the last one in the late 80s/ early 90s.

The school is run by a bigger "parent organisation" that runs 20+ private girls' schools across the country so that is another layer of insurance for the school.

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 17:04:19

I would have added the word "Fortunately" at the beginning as it comes across as a little snidey (personal reading of it could be entirely wrong tho wink)

llareggub Sat 10-Jan-09 17:14:26

I just read it as someone asking the question asked by the OP.

Lilymaid Sat 10-Jan-09 17:25:52

DS1's school was embezzled by its trustees and is still going strong more than 200 years later. Most of the good schools have been going for many years/centuries and are unlikely to go down in this recession as they didn't go down in previous ones.

Earlybird Sat 10-Jan-09 17:33:30

Every year we read articles about the far-above-inflation rises in private school fees. Will be interesting to see if any of those increases have been set aside as a cushion against difficult financial times, or if there is really very little reserve fund.

bran Sat 10-Jan-09 17:48:03

The primary school that I took my son out of last term have plans to open a second primary school, which I suspect will go on hold. They had been expanding very quickly and it wasn't an old school, I think they will loose children (especially as there is a new school about to open in the same area) but will be able to contract again and stay solvent. They could drop from 3 reception classes (added an extra one this year) back to 2 without too much trouble.

The school he goes to now will also be ok I think, it only started last year so they weren't planning to be breaking even for a couple of years. And even though this is only the second year they've had a reception intake the class is full, and it's looking as though next year's reception will be full too. So I'm not worried about it.

I think it's easier for primary schools to weather the hard years as the running and capital costs are lower than secondary. Secondary schools have to have science labs, sports facilities, specialist teachers etc.

It may be that I just live in a rather distorted area for primary education though, the number of children in the area has shot up so everything is over-subscribed, state and independent.

ForeverOptimistic Sat 10-Jan-09 17:54:34

Quattrocento was just answering the OP. I think you are a little too sensitive stillenacht.

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 18:44:26

I don't think i am. I am a strong old cookie - to live day in and day out with severe autism you have to be. grin

scienceteacher Sat 10-Jan-09 18:56:14

Everyone isn't doing the opposite, though, Malka. The news wants to talk about how there is an exodus from independent schools, but it just isn't happening.

With the reduction in interest rates, most people are better off for the time being (OK, so we have a horrible tax bill to come in a couple of years, but today, we are OK).

Quattrocento Sat 10-Jan-09 19:00:07

Thanks FO and Llareggub - I was of course just answering the OP. I think it is unlikely that many schools will be affected to the point where they close down.

One effect I am a bit worried about is the effect upon selective schools. Ours is becoming rather less academically selective than it used to be ...

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 19:04:23

Its funny because the grammars are beginning to become a little more academically selective (perhaps as they can poach the traditional independent school set now) A grammar local to me has changed its admission policy so that top scorers regardless of distance from school get preference - so a child from 15 miles away who score higher in 11plus is above a child who lives 3 miles away but has scored a little lower - not really local grammar schools for local children anymore i think.

violethill Sat 10-Jan-09 19:51:25

Agree that interest rates mean mortgages aren't a big outlay at the minute - but it's a bugger for savings!
And it isn't mortgages that are hitting people anyway - it's the enormous costs of living which have increased greatly - petrol/utility bills/food etc plus the lack of job security in many sectors.

bagsforlife Sat 10-Jan-09 20:35:47

It's always been like that with the grammar schools in my area, stillenacht. In fact, it's the ones who don't gain admission to the grammar schools who tend to opt for the independents. It's harder to get into the grammar schools than the local independents...

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 20:38:54

yes its beginning to be like that round here too

(Hence the putting my DS in an independent as he won't prob get 11plus) - i said this to the Head of the independent and she knows the score - she knows the market for the school is largely those who don't pass.

My school still has local children policy that pass regardless of score then moves out of area to highest scorers by others are changing to highest scorers regardless - i wonder if ours will do soon?...

stillenacht Sat 10-Jan-09 20:39:39

'but others' - not 'by others'

scienceteacher Sat 10-Jan-09 20:39:43

I would imagine that most school-feeing parents have bigger mortgages than savings. Day-to-day inflation was a worry for a bit, but it all seems to have calmed down.

The biggest inflation category for us in our holiday. We have to go to North America this year, and the exchange rate is a killer.

Besides that, finances haven't altered much in the negative direction for fee-paying parents, as a whole.

SueW Sat 10-Jan-09 21:01:49

Local registrations are at least the same as last year I've heard although there was something in the news about one council receiving a large number than expected of applications for state senior school places. Perhaps people are hedging their bets for a while.

I agree with scienceteacher that, so far, there isn't a massive exodus.

I also agree with Quattro that some schools that have been around for years are likely to stay around for years. We have seen closures locally and there are rumours of more - of very small schools - so I would suggest that the OP thinks carefully about which independent school shes is putting her child into. You can also check out the Charities' Commission website for copies of their accounts although of course you shouldn't expect to see a huge profit since they are supposed to be non-profitmaking. Also not massive salaries. I think they report number of people earning £60+ and £100k+ in most accounts I've seen

bagsforlife Sat 10-Jan-09 21:02:14

Round here it's the top scorers regardless of where they live. People drive for miles to get to the grammar school(s).

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