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Title: Key stakeholders and their perceptions of the current position and viability of independent prep schools?
Author: Howes, Siobhan E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 694X
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2014
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The current educational position and viability of the standalone preparatory (prep) school in England is examined through the perceptions of three sets of key stakeholders: parents, prep Heads, and senior school Heads. This type of school has been in existence for centuries and today forms a unique part of the independent education sector, but it is believed to be under threat due to declining numbers and school closures. The research used purposive and convenience sampling to identify case studies and face-to-face interviews were conducted with the key stakeholders. The case studies were selected from the Greater London area (deemed urban) and the Rest of England (deemed rural). Parents and Heads from eight prep schools and six senior schools were interviewed. The key stakeholders expressed their views with regard to the benefits (or otherwise) of prep schools and the pupils educated in them, the clients and the competition of such establishments. The study examines the issues currently facing the prep school as identified by the key stakeholders and considers whether these issues pose a potential threat to the sector’s viability. These risks are also considered in comparison to some broader trends affecting the education market in general. The research highlighted a large number of similarities across stakeholder views across geographical locations and noted the emergence of a new type of client. A second strand to the London market was identified which had a different purpose behind their choosing of a prep school. While no single threat is likely to be fatal to the prep school, a number of threats have appeared which, in combination risk a long, slow demise of this type of school. Although pupil numbers have plateaued over recent years, the emergence of the new customer, together with a willingness to adapt and to address at least some of the threats being faced, could be enough to ensure the survival of prep schools. However evidence of tension between education and the market was evident and could in itself impact on such a school.
Supervisor: Wakeling, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available