Cost of private education soars to £129,000

Donald Gateley

Parents of British private school leavers in 2016 who started Primary 1 in 2004 will have paid an average of £128,529 in fees, according to research by Bank of Scotland Private Banking.

Parents in Scotland have seen an increase of 58% in average annual fees from £7,170 in 2004 to £11,310 in 2016.

The average annual private school fee in 2016 of £11,310 is equivalent to 40% of annual average gross full-time earnings of £33,149.

Bank of Scotland said it has become more difficult for average earners in many occupations to send their children to private school.

“A place at a private school is a huge financial commitment, with an outlay of £129,000 to see one child through primary and secondary education,” said Donald Gateley, head of Bank of Scotland Private Banking.

“With an average annual fee of £11,310 per child, it is so important to start planning your finances early if you want a private school education for your children.”

Over the past five years, the average annual fee for day pupils has risen by 19%, from £9,492 in 2011 to £11,310 in 2016.

A total of 160,216 pupils — about 32% of all students — in Great Britain currently receive financial help such as bursaries.

The value of this help totals more than £850 million, an increase of 2.6% on last year.

About 85% of fee assistance is provided by the schools themselves.

Although the average private school fee across Britain has grown by 21% since 2011, pupil numbers remain largely unchanged.

While the number of private senior school pupils (11 to 16) has fallen by 3%, the number of pupils in the other age groups has increased.

The number of private school sixth formers (17 to 19) has grown by 10%, and children in private nursery schools (0 to 3) and private junior school (4 to 10) have both risen by 6%.