The £1m private education challenge
By: Tim Bennett
A private education for two children could be the biggest item of expense a family ever faces. This week Tim investigates the options for parents.

The £1m private education challenge

With the estimated average cost of a private education for two children as high as nearly £1m, here I look at how parents can mitigate one of the biggest financial challenges they will face. For further information, please see the sources referenced at the end of this blog page.


We all know that a private education is expensive but quite a few people probably don’t fully appreciate just how pricey private school fees can now be. Data from the CEBR suggests that a typical family could be looking at an eye-popping bill, depending on the assumptions made.

And it’s getting worse

Perhaps the most shocking aspect if this research is the pace at which school fees are rising on average – at a rate that is well above the general rate of inflation.

The financial impact

The result is that a private education for two children is rapidly becoming something of a challenge for even relatively well-paid professionals, such as doctors and accountants.
Moreover, current projections suggest things will get worse, rather than better, in the future. This means families must give careful thought to whether a private education if the right path and how they will go about funding it.


One of the hidden costs of taking a private education route is the extras – think, trips, uniforms, equipment and the longer school holidays.
So, what can worried parents do about this mounting financial headache?

Ways to bring down the bill

One option is to see whether you might qualify for a bursary from your chosen school. However, the selection criteria tend to strict. Another possibility is to defer the age at which your child starts at their chosen school.

Paying up front

For families who are in the fortunate position of having the capital needed to fund an education when a child starts at private school, there is a way to bring down the total bill by paying up front.
Needless to say, this is not a route that will be open to everyone.

Help from above

One that might be is calling on grandparents. Paying for education is something many may be willing to do, if they can afford to, and it offers a more tangible outcome than simply handing over money.


More drastic than this is the relocation route. Some families compromise by buying a family home away from the main source of their income and then commit to either longer commutes or even owning a pied-a-terre where they need to be for work. This won’t suit everyone but is a route that is worth at least discussing.

Key questions for parents

If the last option here sounds a bit too much it does serve to focus minds on exactly what a family may have to sacrifice in order to take the private school route. More than ever this is a topic that needs to be discussed openly and by more than one generation potentially.
Parents also need to consider what they will do should something go wrong – the family breadwinner might suffer a long-term illness or lose their job. There are various types of insurance that can help in these unfortunate circumstances.

To find out more

Feel free to email on [email protected] or contact an Adviser to discuss any of the issues raised here in more detail. You can also request a copy of the Killik & Co Private Education report and/or a copy of our educational guide on saving and investing for a family. Finally, you may like to read Svenja Keller’s article in the Winter 2020 edition of our quarterly magazine, Confidant.