‘No frills’ school charges just £52 a week | UK | News

It’s a fraction of the total government spending per pupil in England of £6,000 a year for state schools and an average annual fee of £10,000 for private schools. 

However the school, which will be based in a renovated church, has come in for criticism from the National Education Union, which questioned how it would deliver a high quality education on such a tight budget. 

Kevin Courtney, the union’s joint general secretary, said: “It’s frankly unbelievable that you could run a school on half the income of a state school, and a quarter of what independent day schools in Durham get, and to do so at quality. 

“The founders of IGS Durham speak about ‘no frills’ but I wonder what provision there would be for children with special educational needs? I wonder what support there would be for salary progression for teachers? I think they are trading on the insecurities of parents who would like a private education for their children, but can’t buy one.” 

Defending its model a school spokesman said: “For us, low cost does not mean low quality. We will focus on what makes the difference in education. That is not money. It is people. 

“The heart of our school and its defining characteristic will be the highest quality of teaching. Of course, we will have good resources, but the expression we have often used to describe our vision for a low cost school is ‘no frills’.” 

The schools’ website adds that it would pursue an “unashamedly traditional approach to the curriculum” focusing on English and maths with most children to be taught Latin. 

The low-cost private school model is the idea of James Tooley, Professor of education policy at Newcastle University, who is said to have a “global reputation in the establishment of low cost private schools across the world”. 

The Department for Education said it would monitor the school’s progress.

A spokesman said: “As this is an independent school, we do not make a judgement on the fee levels it charges. 

“We scrutinised the application from the school and Ofsted has also conducted a pre-registration inspection. It advised that the school will be meeting the required standards when it opens.” 

It is understood a second “no frills” private school charging £100 a week is also being looked at in north London.

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