It was announced yesterday that the subsidy paid to Victoria College, Jersey College for Girls, De la Salle College and Bealieu School will be halved over the next three years as part of a bid by the States to cut spending. This will ‘save’ the States £5m each year or so and means that the States will, in future, cover 25% of the cost of educating a child at one of these schools.
While there is probably some room for the schools that are impacted to work more closely to help reduce costs and, maybe, save some more money by increased efficiency there must be an expectation that fees will have to rise. The Head at De la Salle has already suggested an increase in the region of 25% as being possible.
All three of my children were educated at one or other of these schools as myself and my wife were of the opinion that they offered the educational experience that we wished for our children and gave them the best opportunity to do well and thrive. While I have to admit they were not by any means perfect we were generally happy that our school fees had been well spent and all three went on to university and the two that have graduated have moved into satisfying careers, our last child has just started her final Uni year. We are not ‘rich’ and made sacrifices to enable us to fund the fees.
There is a bit of a myth, held by those who do not know these schools, that everyone that sends their children there are members of the wealthy elite of the island, lawyers, accountants, rich business owners etc, this is not so. As I know many ordinary people send their children to these schools because they feel that they give their children the best start in life and they are prepared to make financial sacrifices to give their children this opportunity. Many have two or three children in education at these schools at the same time. Any significant increase in fees for these parents will really hurt and may cause them to have to withdraw their children from the school.
There used to be some financial concessions that made things a bit easier for parents with a modest income, if you had two or more children at VC or JCG the second and subsequent children were charged at a slightly discounted rate and the two A level years were free. These concessions were eliminated a number of year ago, so now each child is charged full fees from start to finish.
Some people seem to be of the opinion ‘why should I subsidise rich people who want to send their children to a fee paying school’, the point that they do not appreciate is that they should be grateful to the parents who send their children to these schools as they, rather than the taxpayer covers part of the cost of educating their children. For every child that comes out of a fee paying school to join a States school the direct cost to the States increases, currently by 50% and, shortly, to 75%.
I would be interested on your views on this, do you support the decision? Would you do things differently? Will this effect you?
Member since: 9th July 2012
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