By Fiona Pocock
Bosworth Independent College
WE try at Bosworth Independent College to avoid expressing party political views but feel compelled to state a few facts in view of Labour's plans to abolish private schools. The party's conference voted to 'integrate' private schools into the state sector. Since Bosworth is an independent college which would therefore be subject to such a policy, it's important, we feel, that you know a little more.
We understand the perception that fee-paying schools are elitist in that not everyone can afford to pay. Be aware that at Bosworth, we do our utmost to support families who cannot afford fees. We offer scholarships for students who excel in our tests and most years subsidise local students to a very considerable extent if they have strong academic potential and want to benefit from Bosworth's purposeful approach. It is true that the scholarship tests are competitive and that we can't help every single applicant, but we offer reduced fees to a good number of excellent candidates.
We do not enjoy charitable status. We pay VAT and are routinely charged higher prices than state schools by suppliers who assume we are wealthy. We are not! We do not have a reserve of cash into which we can dip on a rainy day. When it rains and our roof leaks, we find the money to have it repaired, meaning that savings will be made elsewhere. We rely each year on fees income to pay staff, maintain our buildings and resource the college. Thanks to Bosworth, several buildings in the Barrack Road and St George's Avenue area have been 'rescued' from dilapidation.
We employ some 170 staff who might otherwise rely on state benefits.
Unlike a state sector school, we do not receive money from the government. Families pay fees, often making considerable sacrifices to do so. Not every parent of a child at a fee-paying school enjoys great wealth. Instead, they have chosen to prioritise education and to forego things that a family with the same income might enjoy. We understand that not every family has the funds to begin to make such a choice but do please note that those who do are most often not especially wealthy.
About 60 per cent of our students are from overseas. These international students bring considerable wealth into the town. They spend money locally supporting the local economy. When families visit, they stay in local hotels and use local restaurants.
I defy any state school to provide the same level of care, support and education on the funding we receive at Bosworth. Imagine how well we could do if we were indeed integrated and received governmental support.
Find out more about Bosworth College on 01604 235090 or visit www.bosworthcollege.com