How to Save for Your Kids' School Fees

Sending your children to private school is becoming more and more expensive – so how do you plan your budget to meet this growing cost?

When your baby is barely crawling, it may seem too early to think about schools. Yet the Independent Schools Council’s latest survey shows the national averages for private schools have gone up by more than the rate of inflation. Fees now stand at:

Prep schools:

  • Day schools – £12,516 per year
  • Boarding schools – £23,550 per year

Secondary schools:

  • Day schools – £14,103 per year
  • Boarding schools – £31,854 per year

Sixth form:

  • Day schools – £14,538 per year
  • Boarding schools – £33,729 per year

Private schools in London and the South East are significantly more expensive. The average day school fee in London is £16,446 and boarding is £36,363.

Ways to save on school fees:

1. Start saving early

Although interest rates remain at historic lows, it’s possible to achieve potentially much greater returns through stocks and shares type investments. With ISA allowances now at £20,000 per person, it’s also possible to retain any returns after taking inflation into account. Even setting aside £200 a month from birth means that by the time your children are due to go to secondary school, the pot could have grown to about £37,000. Increasing the saving to £500 a month could return more than £90,000.

These figures are for illustrative purposes only and future growth is not guaranteed as it is based on the performance of a particular investment and investment market.

2. Mix private schooling with state education

Many parents decide to delay private education until secondary school. By using the state system for primary schools, then paying from 11 until 18, the total cost comes down to just over £99,000 for a child educated at a secondary day school and completing sixth form.

3. Bursaries and scholarships

According to the Independent Schools’ Council, a third of children educated at private school now receive some sort of help with fees. Some are means-tested but many are available to anyone. The types of fee assistance vary from school to school so you may need to carry out lengthy research to find the right school for you.

4. Deprioritise other debts

Re-mortgaging can work for some people who have paid down a significant amount of debt on their house. Clearly this is not an ideal option if there is any long-term income risk and it may also mean delaying plans for early retirement.

5. Family help and inheritance

Grandparents who have substantial assets which may attract inheritance tax could be amenable to passing on some of their wealth early. They may be willing to invest a lump sum early in their grandchild’s life which would pay for the bulk of school fees.

Whichever strategy you choose, gpfm Financial Planners can help you meet your savings and investment targets to give you peace of mind about your children’s future. Contact our Chartered Financial Planners on 01992 500261 or on enquiries@gpfm.co.uk.

This article is for information only and must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions.