New School To Target 'Excluded' Middle Class

A group of private school teachers are setting up a new type of 6th form to target the UK's middle classes who, they say, are being increasingly priced out of the country's private schools.
New School To Target 'Excluded' Middle Class
By David Westley
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It's an issue widely discussed - in certain circles at least. The UK's middle class professionals, whose children once dominated the UK's private schools, have increasingly found themselves priced out of them.

According to a report in The Telegraph, teachers from three leading public schools plan to do something about it, setting up a new type of sixth-form with fees the embattled middle classes will be able to afford. The new, academically oriented, sixth form will be called Scholar6. 

The teachers behind the project come from Eton, Wellington College and Dulwich College.

Joe Francis, senior master at Eton, told The Telegraph:

“My wife is a doctor, I'm a teacher: even for reasonably prosperous people like us, most private education is unaffordable without bursaries... Fees have risen so rapidly, we can’t afford to send our children to independent schools.”

Mr Francis told the newspaper the UK had created an elite, global market for independent education, "which it does very well”.  However increasingly that meant the traditional, local, customers of private schools could no longer afford the entrance fee. 

Scholar6, by contrast will be "affordable", with annual fees of £13,000-a-year and offer its students four A' Levels.

According to its web site: "This is a remarkable aspiration in a context where London tutorial colleges rarely charge under £25,000 for three A-levels and where some top London independent schools are charging closer to £30,000 for a day place..."

The school plans to embrace technology to lower costs, for example by using online, interactive textbooks and by having a virtual library rather than incur the cost of building, running and staffing a bricks and mortar library. Administrative, finance and HR departments will be outsourced.

The former headmaster at Hampton Court House School, Mr Francis told The Telegraph he was "just a bit skeptical" about the existing business model of private schools, describing it as a "money-hungry process of development funds, [and] selling brands abroad.

Not only were private schools failing to embrace modern business practice, "these schools seem to be living beyond their means".

The first 250 student strong sixth-form college will be set up in London by 2020. Dependent upon its success, that would be followed by other Scholar 6 sixth forms in major cities around the country, including Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Manchester.

For more information, you may visit the Scholar6 web site. If you believe in it enough, there is a section for investing in the company.

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