Boarding schools in the UK are renowned for providing an excellent education for students from all over the world, however, this highly valued education comes with significant financial investment. As families embark on exploring private schools it is important that they understand the fees and other expenses associated with an independent school education.
The cost will vary depending on the school, the level of education, and the services provided. It is not uncommon for fees to be in the range of £30,000-£50,000 per year, taking into account the cost of tuition and for boarding it will be towards the higher end of the scale, particularly for schools with a highly regarded reputation and more extensive facilities. In addition to tuition and boarding fees, there are often additional costs such as fees for extracurricular activities, including music or sports, as well as for laundry and other amenities. A geography field trip or a school ski trip or even an outing to the cinema can also be an added expense depending on a pupil’s subject and activity choices. We would always recommend that parents ask the school about the ‘extras’ and carefully review the school's fee schedule to understand all of the costs associated with attendance so they can plan and budget for the unseen costs. Scholarships
Almost all independent secondary schools offer scholarships in order to attract especially talented pupils; these may be for academics, sport, art or music. Generally these are highly competitive to secure and, to retain them for the duration of their time at school, the pupil will need to maintain excellent standards throughout their school career. The financial benefit of a scholarship nowadays is rarely worth more than 10% of fees and often as little as £100 for example ,in vouchers for art supplies for an art scholar. However, scholars often have other special privileges such as extra coaching or tuition in their chosen discipline and additional trips, tours and mentoring for the duration of their time at the school. Many schools also offer sixth form scholarships, to enable some pupils to stay on at the school until they enter the next stage of their career or university or to attract new pupils into the final two years of school. Bursaries
A bursary, unlike a scholarship, is awarded based on financial need. For some candidates, bursaries can be worth up to 100% of fees and can cover trips and uniform and other extras. Bursaries are nearly always means-tested; this means a family must undergo a thorough investigation of their financial circumstances by the school bursar or an external auditing company. The family income threshold for some degree of fee assistance can be surprisingly high, so it’s definitely worth exploring, although income is just one of the things that will be checked. Schools may well look at the value of the family’s assets and assess other outgoings such as holidays. They also take into consideration other financial commitments such as the number of children or other dependents. Many schools also offer closed awards to children of members of the Armed Services, as well as clergy, teachers and some other professions. Some give help to children of former pupils, single parents families and orphans or concessions for brothers and sisters. Each school has its own rules and ways of making their decisions and some are more transparent about these than others. Families interested in applying for financial assistance should contact the school's admissions office to learn more about the application process. Despite the high cost of attending an independent school in the UK, many families believe that the benefits of a private education are worth the expense. Many of these schools are recognized for offering a rigorous academic program, alongside a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for personal growth and development. Pupils will have extensive access to a supportive community of peers and mentors, which can be invaluable in helping them achieve their goals. With careful planning, research and guidance, it is possible to find a private school that meets a pupils’ needs and fits within the family's budget and families should not be afraid to ask schools exactly what they have on offer in terms of financial support.