Oh, blimey, those Brits are crazier than New Yorkers about getting into the “right” preschool. Wall Street Journal had a front pager out of London this week that described what it takes.
At Wetherby, the boys school near Hyde Park, head teacher Jenny Aviss advises women scheduling Caesarean sections to have them early in the month in order to secure one of five places that the school allots to newborns each month. “If you have the option, don’t wait until the 31st, have it on the first and call on the second,” she says.
At Wetherby’s sister school next door, the Pembridge Hall school for girls, headmistress Elizabeth Marsden says one parent called the school twice a day for six months. Another sent flowers every week. One woman refused to leave the building until her child was given a place. She had to be removed by the police. Ms. Marsden says none of these efforts helped secure a spot at the school, whose tuition is $22,820 a year.
The Journal reports that the competition is becoming more intense as rich immigrants from Russia, India, the Mideast, and Hong Kong come to London to escape paying taxes in their home countries. What I wonder, though, is why is this market broken? If there’s such demand, then why don’t more schools open? I would think the Journal would be the paper that would explain that.