Contact us

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We often support clients seeking advice on funding private school or university fees and researching what this may cost.

We understand that private education is a personal choice, and not right for every family. However, if you are considering it for your family – whether you already have the funds available or are looking to save for it – we are here to help.

We have over three decades of experience in helping families achieve financial goals like funding education. Our clients regularly ask for advice and assistance to plan for the cost of private education, from childcare costs at a young age to tertiary education. We recommend starting with a financial plan, specifically targeted to use a combination of saving and investing to help achieve these goals.

In addition, we produce a range of content to help families understand whether they can afford private education and assist them with structuring their finances to ensure sufficient funds are available to cover the cost.

Enquire today

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Talk to an Adviser:

+44 (0) 20 7337 0777

Capital at risk

Any money you invest is at risk and the value can rise and fall.  Information on this page is general guidance, not individual advice.

What to consider for the school years

Different moments throughout the school years lead to varying requirements from a funding perspective. Our Head of Financial Planning, Will Stevens, shares the key points to consider when navigating these years below.

The cost of childcare

family walking

Don't forget to budget for wraparound childcare costs

School holidays will mean additional costs for clubs and activities

Relocating to school catchment area

Starting Up

Families often see an increase in transport costs, especially if commuting into London for work

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a significant cost when buying a home, usually charged at a minimum of 3% of the property value (over £250,000)

Council tax can vary significantly by area, so make sure you factor this into your budget

Private school

boy reading

The average cost of boarding school rose by 5.2% in 2023
Source: National Union of Students (NUS) and Unipol Survey 2023

The school's costs for after-school activities may be higher than your local area

University fees

gift box

Tuition fees are currently up to £9,250 per year
Source: UCAS

The average annual cost for student accommodation is currently around £7,000 (higher again in London)
Source: Independent Schools Council Annual Census 2023

Undergraduate degrees can take up to five or six years to complete depending on the subject matter

Master's degree

Tower

A master's degree could add up to two more years of fees at a higher cost than an undergraduate degree

Placements are often integrated into a master's degree, which could lead to additional accommodation and living costs

Our research and insights

Our research aims to provide helpful insights to highlight how families feel about school fees in response to shifts in the economy and policy. From calculating the cost of school fees to exploring priorities for wealth transfer, our focus is on the impact on different generations of families.

In our recent Wealth Transfer report, our research found that the average annual cost of private school education for one child with wraparound costs factored in is almost £23,000.

Please note this calculation only covers school fees and everyday expenses, and there are likely to be additional expenses that arise in support of the ambitions you have for your children.

Cost One child Two children
School fee £15,654 £31,308
School meals £2,106 £4,212
Transport £2,457 £4,914
After-school care or activities £2,691 £5,382
Total £22,908 £45,816

Request a copy of our Wealth Transfer report

 

Further research and insights are available below.

VAT proposals prompt private school parents to seek fee solutions

  • Majority of parents are exploring alternative routes to keep their children in private education, with only 3% planning to do nothing
  • A fifth of parents are considering pulling their children out of private school if the fees increase
  • 28% plan to look for savings in other areas of life to offset the increase
  • If they no longer had to pay school fees, 32% would look to add to a trust fund for their child and 30% would pay for private tuition

Over a fifth (21%) of fee-paying parents would consider pulling their children out of private school if the costs increased, according to new research from wealth manager Killik & Co. This comes following the rumours that the VAT exemption on private school costs could be removed, effectively increasing school fees by 20%.

The extent of the financial sacrifices that parents have to make in order to put their children through private school was clear through the research, with just 7% of respondents saying they were in a position to afford the fees comfortably. 40% said that they prioritise paying for their child’s schooling over their own social life and 31% reportedly planned for paying private school fees before having a family.

While the findings show support among fee paying parents for the increase, with over half (56%) backing the proposal, it is also clear the vast majority have already thought about what measures they would take if this does happen. With average private school fees potentially rising to £21,074 and £48,800 for day and boarding respectively [1], it is unsurprising that only 3% of those surveyed said they would do nothing if this change was put into place.

When asked what they would do to overcome this affordability issue, the most popular response was to look for savings in other areas of life to offset the increase, something that over a quarter (28%) are planning to do. Other popular alternatives to manage the potential increase were; Looking for a cheaper private school (26%), looking for a higher paying job (23%) and speaking to the school about paying a lump sum upfront ahead of any potential changes (22%).

The average private secondary day school currently costs £17,562 a year, and £39,000 for boarding schools [2]. For those parents who plan to withdraw their children another issue arises, when asked what they would do with the freed up capital, 32% said they would add to a trust fund for their child. 30% said they would pay for private tuition and the same number said they would put more money into their investments.

William Stevens, Head of Financial Planning and Partner at Killik & Co, said:

“Fee paying parents across the country clearly have the proposed rise in school fees on their mind. Our research has revealed the predicament that today's parents find themselves in, with nearly all of this cohort reportedly making some kind of lifestyle change to cope with the financial burden.

“There are many financial decisions that parents will have to consider when preparing for this change; whether this involves exploring options that enable them to pay the increased fees, or pulling their child from the private school system altogether. It’s important that if parents are feeling unsure about what to do around the proposed changes, they are speaking with a financial advisor to work out which route would be best for your individual situation.”

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 750 parents of private school children between 19.03.24 - 25.03.24. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

[1] and [2] according to the Independent Schools Council

Uncertainty over the future cost of school fees forcing parents to fork out years in advance

  • More than a quarter (28%) have opted to pay fees years in advance in order to beat future fee rises
  • A quarter (27%) have also looked at the option of switching their children’s school from boarding school to day school
  • Just 10% of parents say the potential fee hikes won’t impact their current situation

The uncertainty caused by the proposed removal of the VAT exemption on private school costs is causing fee paying parents to reconsider their options, reveals new research from wealth manager Killik & Co.

Amidst the prospect of a sharp rise in the cost of private education, more than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed explained they have already opted to pay fees years in advance in order to avoid hikes. Another quarter (27%) reported that they had begun looking at the option of substituting boarding school for more cost-effective day school as a way to reduce costs.

In a sign of the impact the uncertainty is already having, nearly a quarter (23%) of parents admitted that they had already decided to enrol their children in a non-fee paying school. In fact, only one in ten (10%) parents said that the proposed changes to the VAT status on private schools wouldn't make any difference to their current situation.

Even without factoring in the potential increase, funding private education at the current prices is not without its difficulties Two in five (40%) parents admitted that they had to prioritise paying fees over their own social lives and almost a third (33%) have been planning to fund private school in advance of having children. Similarly, a further 31% stated that they often have to work longer hours to afford the fees and a quarter (25%) rely on the bank of grandma and grandad to help support them in paying the annual fees.

William Stevens, Head of Financial Planning and Partner at Killik & Co, said: “The potential rise in the cost of private schooling is being felt by parents and they are having to seriously consider how they will continue to meet the required fees. While choosing the route of private schooling is a personal choice, affording the cost is no mean feat and requires extensive financial planning and often personal sacrifice on behalf of the family.”

“This trend is very much being mirrored at Killik & Co, and our advisers are regularly sitting down with clients across multiple generations to discuss the best possible path forward for the whole family. The good news is that, with sound planning and investment advice, affording the cost of private education is possible. Getting started early is always the first piece of advice but, no matter your situation, if you wish to put your children through private school it is important to financially plan effectively to ensure you can meet the requirements throughout their school years.”

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 750 parents of private school children between 19.03.24 - 25.03.24. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

Proposed VAT increase to private school fees divides parents

Few parents with children at, or approaching, school age will have failed to note the possibility that VAT at 20% may be applied to private school fees. Killik & Co, the wealth manager, has conducted research that looks into the response from parents with children of school age. Findings include:

  • 25% of parents with children of school age (4-18) do not support the proposal, a further 26% remain undecided and 49% support it
  • When parents with children at private school were asked what they would do if they had to pay 20% extra for school fees, 24% confirmed that they already find it difficult to afford fees and 15% would consider pulling their children out of private school altogether

Killik & Co have also investigated the steps parents with children already at private school are weighing up to mitigate a fee hike.

  • 27% will look to make savings in other areas of their lives
  • 13% are considering selling investments and cashing in savings and the same proportion would seek help from other family members
  • 16% would speak to the school about paying a lump sum upfront ahead of any potential changes

Commenting on the findings, William Stevens, Head of Financial Planning, said: “Clients are already coming to us for planning support and advice on the topic of funding education costs. Whilst fees vary greatly across different schools, it is clear that adding a further 20% to them will create a financial challenge for many and put increased pressure on already stretched family finances in a substantial number of cases. As such, exploring ways to mitigate the impact is vital. Therefore, if you are a parent with children attending private school, or are thinking about this route in the future, it is important to review your finances and make sure that you are prepared. Understanding the impact of these costs on your other financial objectives, such as repaying a mortgage, reducing work, or supporting parents with care costs, has never been more important.”

This research was conducted by Censuswide with 2007 parents (19+) of children at school age (aged 4-18) – with at least 250 parents whose children go to private school between 09.10.2023 - 12.10.2023. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

The Bank of Grandma and Grandad Paying for School Fees

  • 24% of school fee-paying parents struggling to afford it and are worried they won’t be able to continue
  • Bank of Grandma and Granddad supporting some 18% of parents with school fees
  • 17% of school fee-paying parents say they are sacrificing supporting their child financially in the future to afford school fees now

29th November 2023: Grandparents across the country are helping to pay their grandchildren’s school fees, according to new research. The survey from Killik & Co found 18% of parents with children attending a fee-paying school had received help from their parents, in order to pay for the school fees.

Parents with children attending fee-paying schools are also struggling with the cost of living. Perhaps in a show of how much impact the cost of living is having, just over a fifth (21%) say the cost of living is a bigger barrier to private school than the proposed policy which could add 20% to school fees.

A quarter (24%) of parents with children at private school said they find affording the fees very difficult financially and are concerned they won’t be able to pay for the rest of their child’s school years. Parents are making many sacrifices in order to afford fees, indeed a third (31%) of fee-paying parents are prioritising schooling over their own social life and 20% often have to work longer hours to afford the fees associated with schooling.

It also seems parents are making tough choices about future financial support with 17% of private school parents say they are sacrificing supporting their child financially in the future to pay for private school now.

For non-fee-paying school parents, a quarter said they would like to send their child to private school but simply can’t afford it. However, 27% said they would rather use the money to support their child through university than pay for private school and a further 17% would rather use the money to gift to their child.

William Stevens, Head of Financial Planning at wealth management firm Killik & Co commented:

“It’s a tough time financially for all parents, and many are having to utilise various means of support and that includes the Bank of Grandma and Granddad. This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon but is one we’ve seen an increase in the past few years. Many will be looking at their finances and seeing how they can support their family, be that paying for school fees or general day to day costs. Understanding family finances as a whole is a good first step and an adviser is well placed to work with the whole family on this to help to hit your financial goals.”

This research was conducted by Censuswide with 2007 parents (19+) of children at school age (aged 4-18) – with at least 250 parents whose children go to private school between 09.10.2023 - 12.10.2023. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

How we helped the Woods

We met Dave and Anna* a few years ago when they were juggling high-powered careers with a busy family life and making plans to send their two children to a London day school. They had realised they could not afford to fund all seven years of school fees without making significant lifestyle changes and they were seeking advice on how to arrange their finances.

As we discussed their financial arrangements, we learned that Anna’s mother was considering moving into care and suggested that gifting some of her estate could cover the school fees. 

Anna’s mother was initially anxious about having sufficient funds to cover care costs if she made the gift. However, once we prepared a Cashflow Model to assess this for her, we could confirm sufficient funds would be available to cover her care costs and the school fees.

Plant
family walking

Our Cashflow Model accounted for factors such as Inheritance Tax and sustainability of income, and we modelled a range of scenarios to assess expenditure and affordability, including the performance of her investments through less to more favourable market conditions.

After confirming she could afford to make the gift, we helped Dave and Anna arrange their finances in a tax-efficient way so they would have a savings pot to cover the school fees and JISAs for their children to fund university fees - leaving the whole family with the peace of mind that they could meet their goals without making drastic lifestyle changes or incurring large tax bills.

*Names changed to protect client’s privacy

Enquire today

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Talk to an Adviser:

+44 (0) 20 7337 0777

Our top tip: start saving today

As our Head of Education, Tim Bennett, explains in this video, there are several options for navigating rising school fees. However, starting to save earlier can provide a broader range of opportunities.

YouTube Content

Content from YouTube may use cookies. You may want to read Google’s cookie policy and privacy policy before accepting.

More from Killik & Co