The cost of sending a child to a senior independent school has soared from around £6,000 to almost £30,000 in 25 years, it was disclosed.
In the last six years alone, fees have increased by around a third at some schools, figures show, quicker than the rise in earnings.
OK, but perhaps these peeps are right?
But independent school leaders insisted the figures were \”highly misleading\” and rises were in line with an increase in general education costs, including teachers’ salaries, pensions and the price of building work.
The way to sort out such counterclaims is to go and look at the different inflation rates: of prices in general and of wages. Which you can do here.
£6,000 in 1984 (used because 2010 isn\’t in the database yet, but I still want to get 25 years in) is in 2009 £14,400 using the retail price index. But the general inflation rate isn\’t quite right for a labour heavy service like education, as William Baumol tells us. So, upgrading by average wages gives us £23,300 instead.
So, at £30,000, yes school fees do seem to have risen substantially faster than teahers alaries etc would seem to indicate.
Yet the schools don\’t make profits, so that extra money must be going somewhere. I would suggest (suggest only, I don\’t actually know) that there are two things here.
1) That wages rise is the average wage rise. And as we know there\’s been an increase in the gap between average and higher paid workers over the past generation. Could be that private school teachers have been on the, for them, right side of that change. I think I\’m right in saying that State school teachers have had higher than average wage gains over that time and they are the competition after all. So there\’s been some specific, as well as the general, wage inflation for schools over that time.
2) I\’m told that the private schools have \”got better\” over that time as well. \”Got better\” in the sense of having smaller class sizes (thus requiring more of that more highly paid labour per pupil) as well as generally better living conditions and food etc.
Quite how much of the price rise you want to ascribe to each is up to you. Well, in the absence of someone doing some real research that is. Price rises on inputs or the use of more inputs?