15 Ways To Afford Private School Fees

Private school education is widely recognised for its advantages, yet many parents believe that it is financially beyond their grasp. In this guide, we will explore a variety of strategies that parents can employ to manage the fees associated with private educational institutions. From scholarships and grants to flexible payment plans, we’ll cover all the options available to make private schooling an attainable choice for your child.

What’s The Cost of Private School?

The cost of private schooling for each child varies based on several factors, including:

  • The age of your child
  • The specific school
  • The geographical location of the school
  • Whether your child is a full-time boarder, a part-time boarder, or a day pupil

Most children at private schools are day pupils. According to the latest census from the Independent Schools Council, the average termly fee for primary level is £5,108, amounting to £15,324 annually.

For secondary education, the fees increase to an average of £5,854 per term, or £17,562 per year.

There is also a regional variation in costs. Private schools in London and the southern parts of the UK generally charge higher fees than those in the north. For example, the average day fee per term in London stands at £6,250, whereas it is £4,500 in the North West, as reported by School Guide.

15 Ways To Afford Private School Fees

1. Plan Early Initiating your financial planning early can significantly ease the burden of private school fees. Starting when your child is still very young allows you to spread the cost over many years, take advantage of compound interest on savings, and make informed decisions about investments that could be earmarked for education expenses. This proactive approach gives you more flexibility and potentially more options for funding.

2. Utilise Both Parents’ Incomes If possible, having both parents in the workforce can substantially increase the household income, making it easier to allocate funds for private school fees. This strategy might involve full-time or part-time work for both parents, depending on their professional and personal circumstances, and could include looking into flexible working arrangements to manage childcare.

3. Making Lifestyle Changes Adjusting your lifestyle to save money can free up substantial funds for school fees. This could mean cutting back on non-essential expenditures, such as luxury items, expensive holidays, and dining out. Redirecting these funds towards your child’s education can make a significant impact on your ability to afford private schooling.

4. Inheritance If you anticipate receiving an inheritance, it could be strategically used to cover the cost of private education. Planning how to use these funds effectively, possibly through investments or saving in high-interest accounts until the fees are due, can provide a financial cushion when needed.

5. Saving and Investing Regularly saving and wisely investing can build a sizeable education fund over time. Consider diverse investment options like stocks, bonds, or education-specific saving schemes that offer favourable returns and tax advantages. Starting this process early can leverage the power of compound interest to significantly boost your education fund.

6. Loans Taking out loans is another option to finance private education. Education loans often have more favourable terms compared to general loans, including lower interest rates and deferred repayment plans until after graduation. However, it’s crucial to carefully manage these debts to avoid financial strain later.

7. Bursaries Many schools offer bursaries that are means-tested and can cover anywhere from 5% to 100% of the tuition fees. These are awarded based on the family’s financial need and require thorough documentation of income and assets. Applying early and ensuring all financial documentation is accurate increases your chances of receiving a bursary.

8. Scholarships Scholarships are frequently awarded for excellence in academics, music, sports, drama, or art. These can significantly reduce the burden of tuition fees and are not typically means-tested. Encouraging your child to excel in a particular area can increase their chances of securing a scholarship.

9. Children of Armed Forces Personnel Children of armed forces personnel often qualify for discounted fees at many private schools. These discounts are a recognition of the service by armed forces members and can make private education more accessible to their families.

10. Remortgaging or Downsizing Homeowners might consider remortgaging or downsizing to release equity from their property to fund school fees. This can be a significant source of funds, though it’s important to consider the long-term implications on your housing situation and financial health.

11. Support from Grandparents Grandparents might be willing to contribute towards their grandchildren’s education. This not only helps with the school fees but can also be an effective way for grandparents to manage their estate and potentially reduce inheritance tax liabilities, depending on how the financial support is structured.

12. Family Member Support Other family members, such as aunts, uncles, or even older siblings, may be willing and able to contribute financially. This collective family effort can make private education more attainable without placing the entire financial burden on the parents.

13. Consider Private Online Schools Private online schools can be a less expensive alternative to traditional private schooling. These institutions often offer lower tuition fees due to reduced overhead costs and can provide a flexible learning environment for the student.

14. Payment Plans Many private schools offer payment plans that allow tuition fees to be paid in instalments rather than in one lump sum. This can make budgeting easier and help manage cash flow throughout the year.

15. Investigate Local Scholarships and Grants Sometimes local businesses, foundations, or community organisations offer scholarships or grants that can be applied towards education. Researching and applying for these opportunities can provide additional funds to help cover private school fees.


In conclusion, there are numerous strategies that parents can employ to make private education more accessible financially. From early planning and adjusting household budgets to taking advantage of scholarships and bursaries, each method offers a viable route to managing the substantial costs associated with private schooling. It’s important to explore all available options and consider combining several strategies to create a robust financial plan.

Among these options, private online schools stand out as a particularly innovative and cost-effective solution. These schools offer the same high-quality education as traditional private institutions but at a fraction of the cost due to lower overheads. Moreover, private online schools can provide greater flexibility and accessibility, making them an excellent choice for families who require more adaptable schooling solutions due to lifestyle or geographical constraints. By considering a private online school, you can ensure your child receives a high quality education while also maintaining financial stability. This option should not be overlooked as you assess the best educational path for your child.


What factors affect the cost of private schooling?

The cost of private education varies based on several aspects, such as the age of your child, the specific school chosen, its geographical location, and whether your child will be attending as a day pupil or boarding (either full-time or part-time). These factors contribute to the diversity in schooling costs, which can also vary significantly from region to region within the UK.

How can planning early help in affording private school fees?

Beginning your financial planning when your child is young allows you to spread the costs over a longer period, benefit from compound interest on your savings, and make strategic investment choices. Early planning not only eases the future financial burden but also broadens the range of funding options available for your child’s education.

What are some financial strategies to manage private school fees?

Several strategies can help manage the cost of private schooling. These include utilising both parents’ incomes, making lifestyle adjustments to increase savings, using inherited funds strategically, and exploring various financing options such as loans, bursaries, scholarships, and even remortgaging or downsizing your home. Each option requires careful consideration to align with your financial situation and goals.

How do scholarships and bursaries work to reduce education costs?

Scholarships are typically awarded for academic excellence or special talents in areas like sports, music, or arts and do not usually require financial need assessments. Bursaries, however, are means-tested and can cover a wide range of the fees, from a small percentage to the full amount, based on the family’s financial circumstances.

Why should I consider a private online school?

Private online schools offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional private education, providing the same high-quality curriculum but at a lower cost due to reduced overhead expenses. These schools also offer greater flexibility and accessibility, making them an ideal option for families needing a more adaptable educational solution due to lifestyle or geographical constraints.

Recommended Posts