Friday, 30 August 2013

How much does private school cost?

Understanding the actual total cost of private school is often grossly underestimated by parents.

School fees now average over £14,000 per annum (2013) however there are large regional differences.

The mistake many people make is not accounting for two factors, one of these is inflation and the other is time, or rather how time allows inflation to dramatically increase the initial cost of private school.

In my post on school fees inflation I give the latest figures on what is happening to the cost of private school.

The impact of inflation is dramatic, excluding inflation it will easily cost £250,000 to send a child starting in September 2013 to private school. It is really important to understand the likely total figure rather than just the next terms fees.

EDEN School Fees Planning provide a free tailored school fees projection using your school of choice and actual ages of your children. This is the best way for you to take the first step in understanding whether school fees are affordable for you long term.

If you would like a school fees schedule, simply give your details to EDEN using this link

In addition to inflation there are other things to consider:


Uniform at private schools runs to much more than a tie and blazer. Talking to parents, most suggest the uniform costs easily run into £100s each year and for some even £1,000s.

School trips,

Foreign excursions are a frequent fixture of private school trips. Rugby tours to South Africa, Choir tours to America for example. Whilst of course school trips are not mandatory, the majority of parents don't want their children to miss out on the opportunities afforded to their children.

The school bus

Whilst many children are driven to school each day and some schools even include the cost of the school bus in with the fees, it can be an additional termly cost


As with the school bus, school meals are often an additional cost.

Music / sport

Music is another area in which private school often stands apart from state school. It is actively encouraged as with sport and other extra curricular activities as a way of giving children a very rounded education beyond pure academia. The bottom line of course is that should children partake in music lessons these will come at an additional cost.

There is of course another angle here in which some children become extremely talented at music or sport etc resulting in them being awarded a grant or bursary. I have seen a family receive a 50% discount based on the musical ability of their children.

Clearly this is not the norm however promoting and encouraging talents in young children could make them very attractive to prospective senior schools.

Technology (Laptops,tablet computers) 

An increasing number of schools are using iPads to aid in teaching. Possibly subsidised, if a child needs it then it has to paid for.

I appreciate these costs individually may not amount to much however when added together could easily amount to the equivalence of been an additional terms fees! That's like paying 4 terms fees a year rather than 3, something I know most parents would rather avoid.

Monday, 27 May 2013

School Fees Inflation 2013

School Fees Inflation hits a 19 year low!

Not since 1994 has school fees inflation been as low according to figures produced in the annual census by Independent School's Council.

Remember of course that school fees across the board are at an all time high, they are just increasing at a lower rate. For the first time average private school fees are over £14,000 per year!

There are also now a number of schools that charge over £30,000 per year for boarding school fees.

In an recent article in the Financial Times, Chris Gray, headmaster of Gindon Hall Christian School (which has recently converted to a free school) is quoted, saying "independent schools suffer most at the end of a recession when parents can no longer hold on.

This is an interesting sentiment and it may be that Mr Gray has something. At the end of the day a private school is a business and like any business if customer numbers fall off then discounting is often one of the ways to reduce the fallout.

Like Grindon Hall, there are an increasing number of private schools deciding to convert to Free school status, which means they are state funded although remain independent of the local authority.

That said there are still over 500,000 pupils at ISC schools which means the total spent on private education is over £7bn every year!!!

With fees at an all time high it remains crucially important to plan ahead. Our friends at EDEN School Fees Planning are specialists in helping parents plan for private education. Some people can save thousands on the cost of private school which are on average around £250,000 per child. If you want to have a no obligation chat about your school fees, click here to enquire.
School Fees Advice

Thursday, 23 May 2013

University tuition fees - myth busting

There was an article today (Thursday 23rd May 2013) on the BBC website about the possibility of limiting university tuition fees to £6,000 per annum.

While I appreciate nobody wants to pay more than they have to for education, there is so much scaremongering flying around about tuition fees it is difficult to know what to believe.

There are a few key points which I think are worth highlighting:

  • Universities have had their funding slashed. Tuition fees are a way of replacing that lost income.
  • The majority of people will and indeed should pay their tuition fees by way of a loan.
  • The loans are different to most other types of finance in the way they are repaid
  • You start to repay the loan only once you have earned over a certain amount, currently (2013) this amount is £21,000 as of 2017 which is when the first tuition fee loans will become repayable.
  • Payments ARE NOT based on the amount of the debt, which for most students starting this year will be close to £50,000. Instead they are based on a percentage of salary over the £21,000 limit.
    • To give you an example; someone earning a starting salary of £30,000 (a good starting salary for a student) would repay approximately 9% on £9,000, £810 (£67.50 per month) which is taken direct from the salary through the PAYE system.
    • I doubt many people would argue that payments of this level are particularly onerous given a net disposable income of approximately £1,900 per month!!
  • So the amount you repay is based on how much you earn, not the amount you owe which in effect means the more "successful" (I appreciate success in relation to money is subjective) you are, the more money you earn and by association the uplift in earnings you have received by having gone to university the more you pay.
    • That should be great news to people who argue that going to university does not help you get on in your career. IF YOU DO NOT EARN MORE THAN £21,000 YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REPAY THE DEBT. 
  • There is one final piece of this jigsaw which makes the repayment system very attractive. If after 30 years you have not repaid the debt, the remaining liability is completely wiped clean.
    • In all circumstances, nobody over the age of approximately 53 will owe any money for their tuition fees.
    • 30 years is a long time but if you have only ever repaid 9% of earnings a significant  percentage of graduates are likely to pay much much less than the £50,000 loan.
    • If on the other hand you have a sterling career and earning £100,000's each year the debt will be repaid anyway...
I'm sure people could come up with plenty of counter arguments but as I see it, and remember this is only my opinion there is absolutely NO REASON why tuition fees should put people off going to University!!!

Read more about student fee myth busting on Money Saving Expert.

One final point and a more worrying one, is that tuitiion fees are only part of the problem. The NUS conducting a survey a few years a few years ago which suggested living costs for a year of University were approcimately £15,000... The bad news is that these costs have to be paid for as you go, no cheap loan facilities cover these costs (other that means tested grants for lower earning families).

As I always suggest, forward planning is the key. If you would like to talk to someone about University funding or for that matter Private School Fees funding I would suggest talking to EDEN School Fees Planning