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Parents may need to consider alternatives as private education costs soar

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Parents hoping to educate their children privately need to plan early, with the cost of two children at private day school now running at £526,000, says Andy James, Head of Retirement Planning at Towry.

The average cost to send your child to an independent school is nearly £15,000 per year, he adds. Parents are increasingly considering private tuition supplementing a state school education or calling on grandparents to help with the fees. Towry reports that 8% of grandparents contribute directly to their grandchild’s school fees.

The cost of school fees has quadrupled since 1990, with the average overall fee for 2014 at £4,998 per term (£14,994 per year), a rise of 3.9% compared to 2013. A family with three children all of school age could therefore be looking at a current annual outlay of around £50,000 when adding in costs such as school trips, uniform and equipment.

James recommends that parents should plan early – perhaps even from the birth of their children. He says that over an 18 year period the £263,000 needed for educating one child at a private day school would require parents to save around £1,200 each month into an investment scheme. He also urges some caution over options such as Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds, as these do not allow access to the finances until the child is 18.

Towry says parents who want to supplement their children’s state education could provide a few hours of home tuition. Tuition support fees are averaging a minimum of £16 per hour for Key Stage Two children up to a maximum of around £30 per hour for those at college.

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