Private school teachers plan sixth form for middle classes

Teachers from Eton, Winchester and Dulwich College plan to open new sixth form for middle classes unable to afford private education as fees soar above £40,000-a-year at top public schools, the Mail Online reports

Teachers from leading public schools have called out private education for being unaffordable as they make plans to set up their own sixth-form, the Mail Online reports.

Scholar 6 plans to cut down costs – planning to charge only £13,000 per year – by partnering with clubs and societies in the local area rather than building its own state-of-the-art facilities.

Joe Francis, a senior master at Eton, along with teachers from the £39,750-a-year Winchester College and the £42,680-a-year Dulwich College, wants a new type of school for families who can no longer keep up with the spiralling cost of fees.

“My wife is a doctor, I’m a teacher: even for reasonably prosperous people like us, most private education is unaffordable without bursaries,” Mr Francis told The Daily Telegraph.

“Fees have risen so rapidly, we can’t afford to send our children to independent schools.”

Mr Francis, who has been at Eton for 20 years, said that private schools have become ‘hungry for cash’ so they can invest in West End-standard theatres and sports facilities.

The average fee for a private school rose above £17,000-a-year for the first time earlier this year as average fees have risen by 553% in the past 25 years.

This doubles the average pay packet of £491 a week, around £25,000 year.

The school will also make full use of technology by using online, interactive textbooks and by having a virtual library rather than incurring the cost of running a library.

Average annual fees for a day pupil was around £13,000 three years ago but 10 years ago the same education cost £9,600 a year.

However, Stowe school which boasts alumni of Sir Richard Branson and Prince Harry’s former girlfriends Chelsy Davy, dropped its fees by more than £7,000-a-year – a decrease of almost 30%.

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The day fees will cost £18,435 instead of £25,590, with boarding fees at £35,595 as headmaster, Anthony Wallersteiner, said there was a danger that independent schools could become the preserve of a wealthy elite, bolstered by foreign oligarchs.

Mr Francis, added that he believes there has been ‘lack of imagination’ among private schools about affordability.

“We are just a bit sceptical about that whole money-hungry process of development funds, selling brands abroad – these schools seem to be living beyond their means,” he said.

The new school is hoped to be set up and have 250 sixth-form students in London by 2020.

If successful, the teachers intend to open more in the capital city, with further schools including Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Manchester.

Neil Croally, a classics teacher and head of scholarship at Dulwich College, said the new school would have a strongly academic ethos and would focus on delivering ‘high quality education’.

A book published earlier this year by the former High Master of St Paul’s Boys’ School claimed that private schools’ ‘corporate greed’ is pricing out middle-class families.

Dr Martin Stephen said that ever-rising school fees are short-sighted, as they pose a threat to the existence of public schools.

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