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COGNITA schools... Private Equity model that failed.

(19 Posts)
Patriboots Mon 20-Mar-17 08:37:20

If you increase fees by above inflation percentages and borrow money (from your backers) at above base rate to purchase schools and invest in schools infrastructure then the winner is the PE house. However with procurement prices rising, inflation and borrowing rates increasing guess who loses. The schools. Add to this the focus on international students and international growth and you get all the marketing and infrastructure investment being diverted out of the schools in the UK. The impact then on schools is that you get too many international students which impacts on sports and social activities as international students tend to clique. Yet Ofstead gives these schools 5star every time because they are not looking at how badly run the organisation that runs them is. Chris Woodhead must be rolling in his grave.

bojorojo Mon 20-Mar-17 12:01:03

He didn't have to open the schools. As the Inspector of State schools, he should have concentrated on the state system for the vast majority of children rather than cut-price private schools and his own personal agenda. Most schools raise fees above inflation and have done for years. No parent has to send children to Cognita schools.

getmeoutofhere123 Mon 20-Mar-17 12:59:25

Personally I'd not touch Cognita schools with a barge pole. Our experience of one of their prep schools was short termist management to boost profits at expense of pupils education. I'm talking of things such as taking children in for 1 term, over filling classes after promising exiting parents a cut off size, accepting children with real behavioural and educational problems into established classes without consideration of the impact of existing pupils education .., the list goes on. I've not had this experience, or heard of this happening, in any other school.

Davros Mon 20-Mar-17 16:28:40

DD's been st a Cognita school for over 10 years. Never had these problems and I don't get the comment about international students.

BoboChic Mon 20-Mar-17 17:00:58

For profit schools with PE backers have very different objectives to schools that have a charitable/religious/state ethic.

DawnSharpe Mon 27-Mar-17 10:59:43

My ds and many of his friends are now thriving at competitive independent senior schools due largely to the excellent grounding that they received at a Cognita school. And no, this wasn't because they received an education in how to get an advantage over others but rather they were given the opportunity to learn and thrive in a school which champions a love of life long learning, character education, respect for others, aiming high academically and being kind which are attributes central to the Cognita ethos we found.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 27-Mar-17 11:20:39

To be fair though all private school fees increase at a rate higher than inflation though.

prh47bridge Mon 27-Mar-17 13:34:47

As the Inspector of State schools, he should have concentrated on the state system for the vast majority of children rather than cut-price private schools and his own personal agenda

He did. Cognita did not come about until several years after he left Ofsted. And he was Chief Inspector of Schools, not just state schools. Ofsted inspect most independent schools that are not members of the Independent Schools Council (ISC). They also monitor the work of the Independent Schools Inspectorate who inspect schools that are members of organisations affiliated to ISC.

GeorgieRob74 Mon 27-Mar-17 14:06:55

I have 3 children in a Cognita school aged 13, 11 and 7. All three are thriving both educationally and socially. Every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential and to shine. I could not want more from a school and I have not got a bad word to say.

MyPelvicFloorTrainsItself Tue 28-Mar-17 18:35:22

I'm very happy with ours, lovely staff, regular feedback and outstanding grounds and facilities.

Davros Tue 28-Mar-17 22:35:39

I'm glad it's not just me who is happy with their Cognita school

trinity0097 Wed 29-Mar-17 19:34:38

Most Cognita schools are not inspected by OFSTED. Most are inspected by ISI, others by SIS. Inspections are rigorous and the owners of the school have no impact on the outcome other than by the investment that has been made in the school to achieve the best possible outcomes.

I've worked in a Cognita school and independent private schools with just a board of governors. The impact on the outcomes of the children was no different.

Hoppinggreen Wed 29-Mar-17 21:51:12

We are very happy with DD's Cognita school
They are non selective and their results are almost as good as the local Grammar.
Pastoral care excellent too

Devilishpyjamas Sat 01-Apr-17 08:31:41

Ds2 and ds3 went to a cognita primary school (Davros - we seem to have our children in similar establishments grin ). We were happy enough with it although it suited ds3 more than ds2. They're both in state secondaries now. I'I pleased our Cognita years are over if the prices are rising grin

The biggest surprise to me was how much I liked Chris Woodhead in the flesh.

Davros Sat 01-Apr-17 09:29:39

devilspjs I never met CW envybut I was always impressed with him in print and on TV. I don't have any beef with the Cognita model, at least they are not masquerading as a charity in order to get tax breaks. I know lots of the independent schools that are charities now have to account for it but they didn't really for years. There's been MN threads before about that issue. You can't win!

meditrina Sat 01-Apr-17 09:38:38

All private schools always have inflation fee increases. See oodles of threads about 'can I afford private school' where this is pointed out.

If you want a school with no international students try state boarding instead (have to be a British passport holder). There is AFAIK no other way, as say state schools have to take whoever qualifies, regardless of their nationality status.

Devilishpyjamas Sat 01-Apr-17 09:41:39

Ds2 (ever the performer) had a special mention from him for reciting a poem about underpants grin

He seemed pretty down to earth and 'authentic'. Also appeared genuinely interested in a bunch of primary school kids.

And yes, fair point about the charitable status (& lack of).

AnotherNewt Sat 01-Apr-17 09:44:09

I've never been able to tell if a fee paying school is owned by a charity or by a business just be looking (and familiar with a fair few).

And whether a school is well run or badly run definitely doesn't match those categories either.

Devilishpyjamas Sat 01-Apr-17 10:15:08

No - but charitable status for private schools is a moral issue for some

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