The country’s best known elite private school, Eton, is to be the ‘education sponsor’ of a new ‘free school’ in a move that further blurs the distinction between state and private education. Holyport College, to be set up near Maidenhead in Berkshire, not that far from Eton, will have about 50-50 fee-paying boarders (£9000 – £12000 per year) and non-paying ‘day’ pupils. It will, apparently, be non-selective but the lure of the Eton name and the quasi-private ethos created by the ‘paying guests’ will probably mean it is very popular amongst certain sections of the local populace. As a ‘free school’ it will receive its funding from the state but is that ONLY for the day pupils? Are the fees JUST for the boarding element? Assuming boarders and day pupils will be in the same classes, how will the funding be divided up? It seems, self-evidently, to be a further step down the road of privatising the state education system.
Meanwhile, in Nottingham, the Trust Group have reportedly formally submitted their plans for two ‘free school’ to the Secretary of State.