Norfolk independent school to cut sixth form fees by a third as part of changes

Hethersett Old Hall School headmaster Stephen Crump with student Anna Reed. Picture: Dave Guttridge

Hethersett Old Hall School headmaster Stephen Crump with student Anna Reed. Picture: Dave Guttridge - Credit: Archant

An independent school has said it will cut its sixth form fees by a third, as part of a shake-up to its provision.

Hethersett Old Hall School. Picture: Dave Guttridge

Hethersett Old Hall School. Picture: Dave Guttridge - Credit: Archant

Hethersett Old Hall School said the changes 'chimed with the spirit of the times', and, it hopes, will better equip its students for future demands.

A significant part of the plans will see its sixth form fees cut by a third. A student who started this year would have paid roughly £30,000 for the two years. While the exact figures have not been confirmed, under the plans a new student will pay roughly £20,000. Stephen Crump, headmaster, said they had already scrapped scholarships, which he said did not always provide a fair outcome, in favour of the move. He acknowledged that, for many parents, the costs would still be too high - but said he hoped it would offer some families relief.

'We want to grow our sixth form, but we are aware that by the time parents have paid fees from as young as three, they may be feeling the financial stress,' he said.

'We believe that by lowering the fees we can appeal to a vibrant, wider 16-plus community.'

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Mr Crump said it was an 'unusual' move by an independent school, with fees having, largely, risen across the country. But he said the decision fit with the ongoing debate around social mobility, and giving everyone, regardless of background, similar opportunities.

But he said they had also introduced measures to widen their sixth form offering and expand courses beyond traditional A-levels.

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As an example, he said they had introduced a compulsory business course to their offering.

'We are a girls school and we take pride in the empowerment of our young women,' he said.

'We believe there are no barriers for them, and we have always been very strong on saying the world is their oyster, whatever their choice.

'But we are aware that 40pc of the jobs the girls are going to be doing haven't yet been invented.'

He said they wanted to 'reforge' the sixth form experience, to ensure its students were prepared for the demands of the future.

He said they hoped the changes would create an experience of transition between 'school, A-levels, apprenticeships, university and work'.

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