The Cost of Education

The Cost of Education

With the end of the summer term approaching, we thought we’d look at the implicit and explicit price of education at the moment. Whether your children (or grand-children), are yet to start school, or already attend school and have a University education in their sights, this time of year is an apt reminder of the investment that either of those requires, and the real price to parents and guardians:

  • Average cost of sending one child to ‘State school’ from year 1-11 is £1,579 a year, which equals £17,374 in total (Provident research of 2024 parents in 2020)
  • Average fees of a private school (day only) are £14,289 a year (Independent Schools Council Census 2019)
  • A University course costs on average £18,540 a year (National Student Money Survey 2020)

State Schools

State schools still require items such as:

  • Uniform (£70),
  • Tech (£85),
  • After school clubs (£106),
  • Packed lunch (£585),
  • Commuting (£60),
  • School social events (£55), and
  • Childcare (£220) per year.

Private School

With private schooling, all the above ‘extras’ of state schooling will still apply – although school outings, after school clubs and uniform are likely to cost more. On average, you can expect to pay the following fees per term:

  • £11,565 for boarding,
  • £6,402 for a day pupil at a boarding school, and
  • £4,763 for a pupil at a day only school.

These figures are the average per term across the 1,307 schools that participated in the census. There is also a non-refundable ‘registration fee’ and some schools ask for payment for the year rather than term by term. These can reduce with scholarships, bursaries, sibling discounts, and up-front payment. It is worth pointing out that Private school fees have risen faster than inflation every year for the past 10 years, so be prepared for further increases in the future.


A typical three year course in University totals £55,620, The cost of tuition for the majority of students in the UK is approximately £9,000 a year (not if you live in Scotland and are going to attend a Scottish University)*, plus the average annual cost of living of £9,540. To help with tuition fees, specific tuition fee loans cover the full cost of the course, and won’t have to be paid back until the student is earning above a certain level. There are also ‘Maintenance loans’ and ‘Student Grants’ that are means tested to help with living costs.

* Note that Tuition fees depend on what country the University is in, and your home location.

Pre-funding and saving for school and university education, using the many available tax shelters, can help with the above costs. If you would like help in planning for your children/grandchildren’s future education, please get in touch.


Provident research of 2024 parents in 2020.
Independent Schools Council Census 2019 of 1037 schools
National Student Money Survey 2020.

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