Study The Maths Of School Fees

By David King DipPFS, wealth management consultant, Mark J Rees Chartered Accountants LLP

When you’re thinking about school fees, it pays to study the maths.

Around one in every 15 children attends a fee-paying institution, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC). But the percentage climbs quite rapidly once you reach the post-16 age group, with 18% of young people privately educated after they’ve completed their GCSEs.

If you’re thinking of sending your own son or daughter to an independent school, it’s probably a good idea to have a chat with your financial adviser first, as you’re actually making a significant financial decision. Average fees for day pupils in the UK are more than £3,300 a term, so unless you’re incredibly wealthy you need to be doing some forward planning to cover the costs.

Study The Maths Of School Fees
Of course, your capacity to shoulder the financial burden is closely inter-related with your other household outgoings. Perhaps you need to look again at your mortgage, for instance, and think about the way of getting the best possible deal. With some renegotiation, you might find you can change your payments or switch to a more advantageous rate.

What about ISAs? Remember that the limit for investment was raised this tax year to £15,000, so make sure you make the most of your tax-free allowance. Every extra saving you achieve is going to make a difference if you’re taking on a new and significant expense.

Although it’s obviously always good to take professional advice about your own finances, there may be other people in the equation too. Grandparents may be able to assist with fees and can possibly reduce their inheritance liability. They should also consider using a trust to make any contribution if they’re looking to maximise the tax advantage.

The overriding message is to plan ahead. Even if you might not intend to invest in private education for some years yet, it pays to start the discussion now.