With private school fees topping £17,000, how can parents cover the cost?

With pupil numbers at their highest since records began in 1974, it’s clear an independent education is the preferred choice for many families. Parents choose independent schooling for their children because they value the broad all-round education on offer, the high academic standards and the learning opportunities offered outside the classroom.

However, after buying a home, school fees could be a family’s largest expense, especially if there are several children to put through school and college.


In order to put aside the money needed to cover fees, parents and other family members who want to help out can make use of their annual ISA allowance (£20,000 for the tax year 2018–19). Money invested in an ISA grows in a tax-free fund and can be withdrawn to meet fees without incurring tax.

Consider starting to save from the day the children are born, and encouraging family members to contribute to accounts. If there’s more than ten years to go before schooling starts, then it’s worth thinking about stock market investments. Your money will be exposed to risk, but has the potential to outstrip the returns available on an average savings account.

Increasingly, grandparents are helping out with education costs too. Many are choosing to pass wealth to their families during their lifetime as a way of reducing the value of their estate for inheritance tax purposes, either by giving a lump sum or setting up a trust for the benefit of the child or children.


Scholarships are not usually means-tested, but can reduce fees considerably. They are often awarded by schools for academic achievement, art, sports or music. Bursaries may also be available, but they tend to be means-tested.

If you’re considering a child’s education, we can help you plan effectively for the years ahead.

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested.