The Eton Group is an association of 12 English independent schools within the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The Eton Group schools often cooperate with each other, organising events and school matches. For example, the Heads of academic departments meet to discuss curriculum matters of common interest. The Headteachers and the Bursars also meet from time to time. Unlike the older Rugby Group, which contains only boarding schools, the Eton Group includes both provincial boarding schools and London schools taking day pupils.
The 12 Eton Group schools are:
- Bryanston School, Dorset
- Dulwich College, London
- Eton College, Berkshire
- Highgate School, London
- King's College School, London
- Marlborough College, Wiltshire
- Sherborne School, Dorset
- St Paul's School, London
- The King's School, Canterbury, Kent
- Tonbridge School, Kent
- University College School, London
- Westminster School, London
In 2003, following an investigation by The Sunday Times into the Eton Group and other schools, the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into alleged fee-fixing at independent schools. The bursar of Eton College, Andrew Wynn, was quoted as saying: "We do meet and talk about fees to get some idea of what other schools are thinking. We are a co-operative bunch and we are not out to slit each other's throats." The OFT concluded in 2005 that 50 schools, including seven in the Eton Group, had exchanged detailed information about planned fee levels in a survey coordinated by Sevenoaks School. The case was settled in 2006, with the schools admitting that such exchange of information "involved a distortion of competition and infringed competition law", but not admitting to any effect on fees. The schools each paid a £10,000 penalty, and agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling £3 million to a trust to benefit pupils attending the schools in the relevant years. However, Mrs Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and that they were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the OFT director-general, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."
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