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Should more fee-paying schools be considering academy status?

6 August 2013

With news this week that another fee-paying independent school will not be reopening in September due to substantial financial losses, should more fee-paying schools be considering joining the state sector by converting to academy or free school status?

Around 21 previously fee-paying private schools have converted to academy or free schools status and 3 more independent schools will become free schools in 2014.

For some, most notably Steiner schools, the principal attraction is the ability for an academy to follow its own curriculum rather than the National Curriculum, which gives Steiner Schools the opportunity to offer their own unique educational approach to a wider number of students. Parents who want to embrace the Steiner ethos but who have previously been unable to afford the fees can now apply under the state system. For other independent schools under financial pressure, joining the state school sector may be the only alternative to closure. Cash-strapped independent schools would be well advised to seek independent advice on their options.

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