Coronavirus: Private schools' plea to parents over fees

Independent schools are 'small businesses', so funding is crucial, says sector body

Amy Gibbons

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Private schools are urging parents not to withdraw funding as pupils are sent home in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, it has been reported.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), has said private schools are "small businesses" and they are "in the same boat as everyone else to a certain extent" – meaning continued funding is crucial.

He said if teachers need to continue working, this would be "a justification for a fee".

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Mr Lenon told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's probably going to get messy but it will be messy in many areas of life.

"As far as Year 11 and Year 13 are concerned, with public exams cancelled, a lot depends on whether the schools feel they need to collect evidence of academic progress from those students over the next two months particularly.

"The details have not yet been announced by Ofqual, but we can be sure that statements like 'you can use mock exam results' are bound to be inadequate because some mock exams happened months ago and some teachers quite deliberately mark down for mocks.

"Many people may have made good progress since the mocks so it could be felt that schools will want to carry on setting a marking work and delivering online lessons for the next two or three months, in which case the teachers will need to be employed, the teachers will need to be paid, and that's a justification for a fee."

He added: "This is partly a mental health issue and schools that can provide activities on a regular basis will have to staff them and those staff will need to be paid.

"In the end, a bit will depend on the ability of schools being able to demonstrate that they are doing the best that they can.

"A bit will depend on the patience and generosity of parents, but schools intend to keep going as far as they reasonably can."

The Department for Education has said it will provide financial support for private schools "as required" during the coronavirus crisis.

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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