Key challenges faced by independent schools

Key challenges faced by independent schools

What are the key challenges faced by independent schools in the years ahead

Independent schools are expected to face a number of challenges over the latter half of 2018, ranging from increasing running costs and thriving competition to running into troubles with VAT and business rates.

Earlier this year, property consultancy group Bidwells carried out some comprehensive research into the matter, in a bid to predict the top challenges such schools were likely to face over the course of the year.

It found that ‘rising running costs’ was the top issue faced, with fee increases having exceeded inflation for the past ten years running and many UK parents finding it more and more difficult to fund independent education for their children.

As a result of this, the group said that independent schools would need to be ‘more creative’ in terms of exploring other ‘income-generating’ activities which might help them to balance the books.

The second biggest issue Bidwells said independent schools would face was rising competition from increasingly innovative – and highly-rated – state schools, which the group cited as another reason why independent schools needed to think outside the box in order to attract more pupils.

This was followed by ‘changes in parental demographics’ and the ongoing issue of British students being ‘priced’ out of the market by higher-paying international students.

The group also said that many independent schools were likely to encounter problems ‘balancing’ their multi-faceted appeal as an educational provider, a charity and a business all at once – especially at a time when schools are facing mounting pressure to branch out and be more innovative.

Finally, Bidwells suggested that a large number of schools were ‘fire-fighting’ in terms of trying to maintain and improve their existing buildings, due largely to a lack of financial reserves and the notoriously slow nature of building works, which can often outrun half term holidays cause timetable disruption.

Key challenges faced by independent schools