Coronavirus: Prep schools expected to cut fees

Independent prep schools can pass savings on catering and other costs during coronavirus closure on to parents

Catherine Lough

primary children

Independent prep schools are likely to make fee reductions for parents during the coronavirus outbreak, an expert on the sector has said.

Christopher King, the chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), said conversations he had had with prep schools "suggest strongly [that] schools are considering the likelihood of a combination of some or all of: a freeze for the foreseeable, a reduction for the summer term and the possibility of reduced fees in September".

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"Schools will be making every effort to be fair to the parents in the not unreasonable expectation parents will be fair to the school," he said.

"If schools recognise there will be financial stresses for parents and are making positive moves to address their financial situation, parents will see they have to play their part in supporting the schools.

"It looks from the latest statements from government that it is unlikely schools will be operational for the larger part of the summer term, and schools are planning accordingly."

Mr King added: "The responses of schools depend on a large range of factors but a number are talking about freezing the fees or a reduction in fees for the summer period.

"If you have costs associated with catering but you are not catering for any pupils then it’s right that those savings are passed on to the parents."

However, he noted that online education of pupils would continue and that pupils would still access the common entrance exams.

Mr King also said that provided schools were back to a normal timetable by September, the outbreak of Covid-19 did not threaten the sector's financial position overall.

"The longer this goes on, the more vulnerable schools will be, but if schools are back and fully operational in September, for the vast majority, the position is recoverable," he said.

He described the "huge amount of goodwill and emotional attachment between parents, pupils and prep schools".

"If schools don’t exploit that, they’re most likely to be seen as fair. We have all got to work together," he added. 

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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