AN independent school near York is changing its boarding structure to allow parents greater flexibility.

The all-girls Queen Margaret's School at Escrick, which was founded in 1901 and has 260 pupils aged from 11-18, will now offer a flexible boarding structure in recognition of the changing market and the increasing demands of family life.

Head teacher Sue Baillie, said: “As a mum myself I appreciate the demands on family time. We are all juggling many balls in the air and sometimes its just really useful to get some help.

"Our new flexible structure means that parents can drop their daughters off with us from 7.30am and miss the rush hour commute and if things at the office run away with time or a meeting runs over they can simply pick up the phone and arrange either a later pick up – up to 7.30pm - or for their daughter to stay over. As all girls have their own bed anyway it will be just like home.”

The change has been incorporated in to the school fee structure with parents of full boarders paying £11,230 a term or £33,690 a year and weekly flexi boarding – five nights at £9,685 per term or £29,055 per annum. Flexi boarding for three nights is £8,420 per term or £25,260; two nights flexi at £7,900 per term or £23,700 a year and flexi one night is £7,375 per term or £22,125 a year.

The day rate is £6,500 per term or £19,500 a year with additional overnight stays costing £85 a night.

Caroline Bayliss, the school's chairman of governors, said: “The independent sector is changing - the national picture and our own research suggests that there has been a steady decline in full boarding. We continually review our structure and now feels like the right time to adapt and build upon our current day boarder model."

With the future of some independent schools very much in the balance - The Minster School in York closed it's doors last week - Mrs Baillie said Queen Margaret's, like any other schools is having to adapt and change, but is on a sound financial footing.

She said the new structure was planned before the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen the school having to adapt in other ways.

With girls boarders coming from the UK and 12 other countries, Mrs Baillie said some girls coming back to Queen Margaret's in September from abroad will have to quarantine in school for two weeks before term starts.

Mrs Baillie also said that all the girls who were meant to be coming back to the school will return in September.

She said there are also no plans to take the school co-ed and take in boys.

She said: "We're a girls school to the core. We really believe in the value of single sex education for girls. It enables girls to be themselves and to follow their strengths and aspirations in a really positive environment."