Fees do not need to be extortionate

12th June 2009 at 01:00

From the perspective of a chairman of governors at a Pounds 9,400-per-term school, Christopher Jonas is right to be worried about the ability of parents to pay fees in the current economic climate ("Private schools warned: fees rise outstrips parents' pay", June 5). However, as head of a Pounds 2,060-per-term school that has frozen fees for the next year, I can assure him that there are plenty of schools delivering excellent education at a cost affordable to cash-strapped parents.

Mr Jonas was correct in stating that most fee increases over the past decade have outstripped rises in average salaries, but so too have salaries for teachers, which make up the single greatest cost factor for independent schools, typically about 70 per cent.

I would like to add that, after 18 years as a head, in my experience the vast majority of parents with children under 13 are looking for a small school, typically 200 to 300 pupils, that offers personal education and care in a family atmosphere. Mr Jonas may wish to advocate schools greater than 450 pupils at secondary level, but it is not attractive for many parents.

John Tranmer, Chairman-elect, Independent Association of Prep Schools, and headmaster, the Froebelian School, Leeds.

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