Is Homeschool More Expensive Than State School?

In recent years, the educational landscape has seen a significant shift with more parents considering the option of homeschooling. The motivations vary, from seeking a personalised educational experience to concerns about school environments. However, one of the most pressing questions for many families is the cost involved. Is homeschooling more expensive than sending a child to a state school? This article explores the financial implications of both educational paths, providing a comprehensive comparison to help parents make informed decisions.

Section 1: Understanding the Costs of Homeschooling

Tuition and Resources

Homeschooling can be a significantly variable expense based on the chosen curriculum, resources, and the extent to which external tutors are employed. Costs range widely:

  • Monthly fees: These can vary from as little as £250 to upwards of £2000 depending on the level of professional involvement and the quality of materials.
  • Tutoring costs: At £20 per hour, engaging a tutor for just three hours a week translates to an additional £240 per month.

Table 1: Estimated Monthly Homeschooling Costs

Expense Type Cost Range
Basic (No tutors) £250 – £500
Enhanced (With tutors) £500 – £2000

Exam Fees

For families with children in exam years, such as those taking GCSEs or A-Levels, the costs can add up significantly. Each exam typically costs around £100, and with students often taking multiple subjects, this can become a substantial expense.

  • GCSE Example: Taking 9 GCSEs at £100 each would cost £900 just for exams.
  • A-Level Costs: Slightly more expensive, averaging about £105 per subject.

Additional Costs

Aside from tuition and exam fees, homeschooling also involves expenses for learning materials and other educational resources.

  • Materials: Including books, stationery, and educational equipment, costs can vary widely but typically start from around £100 annually.
  • Field Trips and Activities: These optional costs depend on the nature of the homeschooling programme but can add richness to the educational experience.

Section 2: Costs of State Schooling

State schooling, while often perceived as ‘free’, does entail various expenses that can accumulate over the academic year.

Basic Expenses

The following are typical costs associated with state schooling:

  • School uniforms and clothes: These can cost up to £605 annually, including sports gear and shoes.
  • Stationery: An essential, yet relatively minor expense at approximately £12.50 per year.
  • School trips: Often educational and sometimes obligatory, these can add about £250 annually.
  • School dinners: A significant yearly expense at around £430.

Government Funding

It’s crucial to understand the backdrop of state funding to appreciate the cost structure of state schooling:

  • 2024-25 Funding: Schools have received £59.5 billion, a marked increase since 2010.
  • Per-Pupil Funding: In 2024-25, this amounts to £7,690 per pupil, representing a 49% increase from 2010 in cash terms.

Section 3: Comparative Analysis

Cost Comparison

When comparing the direct costs of both educational paths, homeschooling can seem more expensive, especially with multiple children. However, the cost per child can decrease with more children being homeschooled together.

Table 2: Annual Cost Comparison

Schooling Type Cost Estimate
Homeschooling (1 child) £1,000 – £8,000
State Schooling (1 child) £1,297.50

Value for Money

Homeschooling offers a tailored educational experience, which can be particularly valuable for children with specific learning needs or interests. In contrast, state schools offer a more standardised educational route with broader social interactions but less personalised attention.

Home School with Cambridge Home School Online

Cambridge Home School Online offers a comprehensive British online education for students aged 8 to 19. We pride ourselves on high academic achievements, with 86% of our IGCSE students and 83% of our A-Level students achieving top grades in 2021, facilitating entry into prestigious universities globally.

Expert Teachers

Our subject specialist teachers, all holding MA/MSc/PhD degrees, use engaging, interactive online methods to enhance student learning and retention.

Small Class Sizes

We limit our classes to 10 students, ensuring personalised attention and tailored instruction that addresses each student’s unique needs.

Modern Educational Resources

Our curriculum includes the latest educational materials and technologies, helping students stay current with modern theories and practices.

Extracurricular Activities

We encourage participation in sports and social events to develop students’ confidence and social skills, promoting a balanced school-life experience.

Recorded Live Sessions

Students have access to an extensive archive of recorded lessons, enabling them to study and revise at their own pace.

Student Well-being

We prioritize reducing stress and workload to foster a positive and productive learning environment, allowing students to develop a passion for their studies.


The annual fee for our comprehensive educational service is £9,000 GBP, covering all aspects of our online schooling, from academic instruction to extracurricular activities.

Section 4: Conclusion

Choosing between homeschooling and state schooling involves weighing multiple factors beyond just the financial cost. While homeschooling, especially through a structured program like Cambridge Home School Online, can require a significant financial commitment, it offers a bespoke educational experience tailored to each student’s needs. This can be particularly beneficial for students seeking a curriculum that fits their specific learning style and academic goals.

Conversely, state schooling often has a lower direct financial cost but can come with additional hidden expenses that accumulate over time. Moreover, the more uniform approach of state schools may not suit every student’s learning preferences or requirements.

Parents must consider these elements—cost, educational quality, personalisation of learning, and overall student well-being—based on their family’s unique circumstances and the individual needs of their children. The decision between homeschooling and state schooling should align with long-term educational goals and the environment in which a child is likely to thrive academically and personally.


How does the cost of homeschooling compare to state schooling?

Homeschooling costs can range from £1,000 to £8,000 annually per child, depending on the level of tutor involvement and curriculum choices. This might seem higher compared to state schooling, which on average costs approximately £1,297.50 per child each year when accounting for uniforms, meals, stationery, and trips.

What are the typical monthly fees for homeschooling?

Monthly fees for homeschooling can vary significantly, from £250 to £2,000. The cost depends on whether tutors are used and the quality of educational materials employed.

What are the average costs of exam fees for homeschooling students?

Exam fees for homeschooling students, particularly those in key exam years like GCSEs and A-Levels, can be substantial. Each GCSE exam costs around £100, totaling £900 for nine subjects. A-Level exams are slightly higher at an average of £105 per subject.

What additional costs are involved in homeschooling?

In addition to tuition and exam fees, homeschooling costs include books, stationery, and other educational materials, typically starting at around £100 annually. Costs for field trips and activities, which enhance the learning experience, also apply but vary based on the homeschooling program.

How is government funding allocated to state schools and how does it impact per-pupil funding?

In the 2024-25 academic year, UK state schools received £59.5 billion in funding, a significant increase from past years. This equates to £7,690 per pupil, up 49% since 2010. This funding supports the general cost structure of state schooling, impacting the overall educational resources available per student.

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