Alpha Plus, whose schools have educated members of Britain’s Royal family, saw its income reduced by £8 million last year as a result of Covid-19.

Alpha Plus, which is owned by British Virgin Islands-registered property investor Delancey, offered a 20% discount on summer term fees at all of its 20-plus schools and colleges and reduced nursery fees by 40%.

The private school operator’s accounts for the year ended 31 August 2020 show that fee discounts and costs linked to hardship fund grants cost the group £7.5 million, while £500,000 of rental income was also lost.

The loss of income at Alpha Plus underscores the severity of the pandemic’s impact on private school operators’ finances.

Alpha Plus’s loss for the year was £26.5 million, widening from £10.1 million booked in the 12 months prior. Revenue totalled £108 million, down slightly year-over-year from £110 million.

Enrolments across the group’s schools and colleges fell to 4,187 at the start of the 2020/21 academic year from 4,372 in 2019/20.

In order to quantify working capital required to meet the financial challenges of Covid-19 as the pandemic rages on, Alpha Plus modelled a number of forward-looking scenarios in respect of the accounting period ending 31 August 2022.

The group’s forecasts indicate that non-collection of college boarding accommodation fees this year could reduce revenue by up to £1.5 million.

Meanwhile, a reduction in enrolments in September 2021 compared with current expectations could further reduce revenues by up to £12 million, the group said.

Alpha Plus noted, however, “various possible cost-saving initiatives that would partly offset the impact of the above” but did not specify any measures.  

Alpha Plus is led by chief executive Mark Hanley-Browne. Its prestigious Wetherby School in West London counts British Princes William and Harry among its alumni.

Date published: 11 February 2021

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