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Five top tips to save for private education

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Written by: Sarah Lord, managing director, Killik Chartered Financial Planners
17/07/2015
The cost of private education is rising faster than inflation, research has revealed. Here are five top tips to help parents plan for private schooling.

Independent day school fees have risen by £471 in 2015 to £13,194, while boarding schools now stand at £30,369 per year, a study from chartered financial planners Killik & Co revealed.

Despite the rising costs, the prestige of private schooling remains important for many. Here are five top tips to help parents plan for private schooling.

  • Bursaries/Scholarships

Many schools offer bursaries and/or scholarships to help less affluent families- particularly helpful for those where a large majority of disposable income is taken up by school fees. Some professions, such as members of the clergy, are expected to have over 100 per cent of their disposable income taken up by fees by 2028 and so this may be their best option. Schools actively canvass for bursary applicants and it’s important to enquire in advance about what is on offer. Be honest about your circumstances as means-testing is often a matter of course, and remember that some schools offer scholarships in areas such as music, art or sport.

  • State till eight – or even eleven

Consider opting for state education earlier on and make the transition to private school as they move to secondary school, where it is often thought to have greater impact. This can save parents a significant amount; for a child entering school in 2015 and leaving in 2028, going private from age eleven and age eight would save around £97,000 and £52,000 respectively – a significant amount.

  • Start early

Saving or investing early and regularly from the point your child is born could give you around 10 years to build up funds. Remember to make use of child benefits, which you can claim if you’re responsible for a child under 16, and the tax free advantages of ISAs, which are a must for parents wanting to save.

  • Better together

The rising cost of fees could signal the end of the stay-at-home-mum. ONS figures reveal the number of women who are stay-at-home mums has dropped by over a third in the past two decades to an historic low, and many parents are using combined salaries to manage the cost of private education. This may also increase the attractiveness of boarding school which, whilst more expensive, allows parents to continue working without having to compromise spending time with their children during term time.

  • The Bank of Granny and Grandpa

Whilst many parents choose to stay in work, others are looking to the wider family for help. Nowadays, many grandparents from the “baby boomer” generation are offering to contribute towards their grandchildren’s schooling. Consider this as an option if possible, as not only do grandparents see it as a practical investment in future generations but it is a nice way for them to support their family and feel more involved.

Killik & Co has provided a free online tool to help parents calculate the savings required to cover future school fee payments and plan for their families’ financial futures. Parents can try out the school fees planning calculator here.

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