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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 11:50 GMT
Insurance doubles for private schools
Private schools
Schools have increased fees by 7% this year
Private schools are having to hike their fees in response to big increases in insurance charges and higher teachers' salaries.

Schools have faced up to 150% increases in insurance costs, says the Independent Schools' Bursars Association.

This has contributed to independent schools charging in excess of 20,000 per year for the first time.

In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, businesses have faced increased charges for public liability insurance.

This is now affecting many independent schools - which say they are obliged to pay sharply increased premiums.

Mike Sant, general secretary of the association, says that public liability, professional indemnity and buildings insurance have all increased.

Large numbers of schools face 50% increases, he says, and there are some who have had to pay 100% and 150% more than last year.

There have been schools which have struggled to find any insurer willing to provide insurance cover, he says.

Salary increases

An even bigger impact on school costs has been an increase in teachers' salaries.

As state school salaries have been boosted by the government, so independent schools have needed to keep pace.

Although the increases are less dramatic in percentage terms than the insurance hikes, the impact is greater, as up to two-thirds of school budgets can be spent on staffing.

The pressure on budgets has seen Roedean school in East Sussex charging 20,970 a year for some full boarders.

Cheltenham Ladies' College is charging 20,697 for some pupils and Hurtwood House in Dorking is charging 20,100.

Eton College is charging up to 19,098 for boarders.

On average, private school fees rose by 7% for 2001-2002, with similar increases expected for 2002-2003, considerably above inflation.

Mr Sant says that fee increases always raise concerns that this will reduce the number of applications to independent schools.

And he says that smaller schools, operating on tighter margins, could be particularly vulnerable to increased costs and higher fees.

Next year is set to bring further cost increases for private schools, he says, with higher contributions to teachers' pensions anticipated and extra national insurance costs.

See also:

30 May 02 | Education
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