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September 14, 2004
More on the emerging no-frills private sector

I have already reported on Gems, the Dubai-based private education supplier. Here is more, today, from thisislondon.co.uk:

WE have budget airlines and hotels and now the 'no-frills' public school. 'Economy class' education could become a feature of the British landscape with the emergence of a new kind of independent school.

Dubai-based company Global Education Management Systems (Gems) is planning to open 200 schools charging from £5,000 to £10,000 a year depending on the class sizes and facilities on offer.

The schools may not boast grand settings like Eton, Harrow and Winchester - where fees are up to £20,000 a year but the company claims they will be a good, affordable alternative to State education.

I didn't get that Gems were "planning" (whatever that may mean) anything so ambitious as this. Well, I do now.

And this report continues:

Meanwhile, the think-tank Civitas, which believes more parents would opt for private education if they could afford it, has hit upon a similar idea.

Today it opens a public school in a rented room at a sports centre in Queen's Park, North West London.
The New Model School has just one class - reception year - and charges 900 a term. It will expand each year until these pupils reach 18 years of age. Civitas hopes to create a chain of low-cost schools.

Former schools inspector Mike Tomlinson has welcomed no-frills schools. But a spokesman for the Independent Schools Council said last night standards might suffer.

Maybe. But the business of the higher cost suppliers might also suffer. Keep your ears open for the phrase "educational cowboys".

Britain might finally be getting Tesco education. Well, Sainsbury education, maybe. Or perhaps "EasySchool". Check out this new school here. And here is the Gems website.

My thanks to Helen for the phone call that got me googling for this.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 06:28 PM
Category: The private sector
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