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School Fees: How much should I expect to pay?

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Are you thinking about private education and researching the cost of school fees? When considering your options for your child’s education as a working parent you have a number of routes available to you. Of course all parents have the right to a free education for their children between the ages of 5 to 16 at a state school and as such it’s the route the majority of parents will opt for.

Additional benefits

But for some working parents, the advantage of being a working parent and having a career,  is the ability to be able to afford the luxury of paying for a private education for their children rather than a state education. Although extra cost such parents will off balance this with the benefits a private education can bring-  such as smaller classes, extracurricular activities and quality teaching as well as the knowledge that their children are being well looked after and educated both in normal school hours and outside of, whilst they are working.

Who goes?school fees: How much should I expect to pay?

As a result around 6.5% of families in the UK choose to pay for their children to have a place at an independent / private / public school. According to the Independent Schools Council last census, published in early 2012, there are around 625,000 children in around 2,600 schools throughout the UK enjoying a private education at an independent school and numbers rose in 2011 for the first time since 2008.

Of these more than 68,000 are boarding pupils. So if you do choose the route of private education for your child because it better fits in with your working parent life or it’s a choice you have chosen for other reasons how much should you expect to have to pay?

What’s the costs then?

Latest figures from the ISC, which runs an annual survey of its members that assesses boarding habits and fees, suggests that in 2012 fees rose by 4.5% on the previous year – a figure which was actually the second lowest rise since 1994. The overall termly fee according to the report is £4,596 – although this figure doesn’t include nursery fees. The average boarding fee is £8,780 according to the report and the average day fee is £3,903 a term.

Somewhere in between this average sits the average weekly boarding fee- which is generally about £1,000 more a term than the day fee. For those schools that also offer the option of flexi boarding (where the child stays overnight on an irregular, as required basis) the cost is around £30 to £50 in general per night.


However as mentioned the figures do vary widely by both school and region. For example the average boarding fee ranges from £7,679 per term in Wales to £9,724 in Greater London and the average day fee ranges from £3,057 per term in the North to £4,453 in Greater London according to the ISC survey. Greater London also saw a bigger rise in fees – up by an average of 5.2% in 2011 although this didn’t prompt a fall in numbers as they also rose 1.3%.school fees: How much should I expect to pay?

Such fees are a big chunk of money for parents to be paying out each term. Fees are payable in advance and a deposit can be required. They generally must be paid in full by the beginning of each term although this can be paid by lump sum payments or by monthly direct debits if that is more manageable for the parents. A one term notice period is generally required.

What’s included?

Such fees generally include tuition, most recreational activities, accommodation and food but extras such as music lessons or outings can add to the bill for parents. In general music tuition is likely to cost around £20 per lesson and general activities around £5 per session. Additional tuition is around £15 for half hour and £30 for a full hour.

But many parents also receive help in paying the fees for their children with the census results showing that a third of ISC pupils get help with their fees with ISC schools providing more than £590m in assistance annually. Most of those receive assistance direct from the school.




About Liz Morrell

About Liz Morrell

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