how much does private schools cost

How Much Does Private Schools Cost in the UK? 2023 Guide

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You live in the UK, and you want to switch from a public school to an independent school. One of the questions that comes to mind is “How much do private schools cost?” This article promises to answer all questions related to this.

Private schools are independent educational institutions that charge fees for their services. They differ from state schools, which are funded by the government and free for most pupils. Private schools have more autonomy over their curriculum, admissions, staffing, and facilities.

According to official statistics, there are 2,600 private schools in the UK, educating 615,000 pupils. These schools vary in size, type, ethos, and quality. Some are affiliated with religious organizations, some are single-sex, some are boarders, and some are selective.

However, the main purpose of this article is to inform you about the costs of private education in the UK and the factors that affect them. How much do private schools cost? What are the hidden expenses? What are the benefits and drawbacks of private schools? These are some of the questions we will answer in this article.

How Much Do Private Schools Cost? Average Costs of Private Schools in the UK

Private schools are very expensive in the UK. How much do private schools cost? It depends on whether they are day-only or boarding schools, and what level of education they offer.

According to Snobe, a website that provides information and reviews on private schools, the overall average costs of private schools in the UK for 2023 are as follows:

  • Day-only schools: £5,218 per term or £15,655 per year
  • Boarding schools: £12,344 per term or £35,289 per year

These averages vary by region and by type of school. For example, London has the highest fees for both day-only and boarding schools, while the North-West has the lowest. As mentioned earlier, some schools are affiliated with religious organizations, some are single-sex, some are selective and some have special educational needs provision.

Furthermore, the average costs also differ by primary, secondary, and sixth-form levels of education. The table below shows the breakdown of the average costs by level and by type of school, based on data from Snobe:

LevelDay-only schoolBoarding schoolState school
Primary£4,827 per term£8,951 per term£2,400 per term
Secondary£5,495 per term£12,139 per term£3,000 per term
Sixth form£5,625 per term£12,966 per term£3,600 per term

As you can see, private school fees are much higher than state school funding per pupil. State schools are funded by the government and free for most pupils, while private schools charge fees for their services.

Factors Influencing Private School Fee Calculation

Private school fees are calculated based on various factors, such as:


This is the main component of the fee and covers the cost of teaching and learning.


This is a one-off fee that is paid when applying for a place at a private school.


A deposit is a refundable fee that is paid when accepting a place at a private school. It is usually equivalent to one term’s fee.


When looking at the question “How much do private schools cost, it is important to note the cost of the uniform.


This is the cost of buying the textbooks and other materials needed for studying at a private school.


This is the cost of participating in educational or recreational trips organized by the private school.


These are optional costs that may include things like music lessons, sports coaching, clubs, societies, etc.

Private school fees can vary significantly depending on the school and the pupil. Some schools offer discounts for siblings or for paying in advance. Also, some pupils may qualify for scholarships or bursaries that can reduce or waive their fees.

How much do private schools cost? The answer is not simple, but hopefully, this article will give you some insight into the costs of private education in the UK. Keep reading.

Additional Costs

Private school fees are not the only costs that you need to consider when choosing a private education for your child. There are also additional costs that may arise, depending on the school and the pupil.

These costs can add up to a significant amount over the years, so it is important to be aware of them and plan accordingly. Some of the additional costs that may arise are:

Extra-curricular activities

These are activities that are not part of the core curriculum but enhance the pupil’s learning and development. They may include things like music, drama, art, sports, languages, clubs, societies, etc. Some schools may charge extra fees for these activities, or require pupils to buy equipment or materials for them.

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The cost of traveling to and from school, either by public transport or by car. Some schools may offer bus services for their pupils, but these may also incur fees. Transport costs can vary depending on the distance and the mode of transport.


This is the cost of living away from home, either in a boarding school or in a rented accommodation. Boarding school fees usually include accommodation costs, but they may not cover all the expenses, such as laundry, toiletries, snacks, etc. Rented accommodation costs may include rent, utilities, food, internet, etc.


These are any other costs that may arise from attending a private school, such as medical insurance, exam fees, graduation fees, etc.

How much do private schools cost? The answer is not only the fees but also the additional costs that you need to consider.

Regional Variations in Private School Costs

We’ve cleared the air on the fact that private school costs are not the same across the UK. They vary depending on the region where the school is located. This means that some regions are more affordable than others.

How much do private schools cost in different regions? Let’s find out.

According to Think Student, a website that provides information and advice on education and careers, the average annual fees for private day schools in the UK in 2023 are as follows:

  • London: £19,200
  • South East: £16,800
  • East of England: £15,600
  • South West: £14,400
  • West Midlands: £13,200
  • East Midlands: £12,000
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: £10,800
  • North West: £9,600
  • North East: £8,400
  • Scotland: £12,000
  • Wales: £10,800
  • Northern Ireland: £9,600

From the above, you have seen that London is the most expensive region for private schooling, with fees more than twice as high as those in the North East. The South East is also very pricey, while the North West and Northern Ireland are among the cheapest regions. Scotland, Wales, and the other regions have fees somewhere in between.

Reasons for these Regional Variations

There are many reasons for these regional variations in private school costs. Some of them are:


The higher the demand for private education in a region, the higher the fees. Demand depends on factors such as income, population, culture, and preferences of parents and pupils.

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On the other hand, the lower the supply of private schools in a region, the higher the fees. This may depend on factors such as the availability of land, buildings, staff, and resources.


Additionally, the more competition among private schools in a region, the lower the fees. The number, type, quality, and reputation of schools can determine how competitive the private school is.


Finally on this list is quality. The higher the quality of private education in a region, the higher the fees. Quality may depend on factors such as curriculum, teaching, facilities, results, and outcomes.

Benefits of Private Schools

Private schools offer many benefits for their pupils. How much do private schools cost? Is it worth it? What are the advantages of private education? Here are some of the benefits of private schools:

Academic Excellence

One of the main benefits of private schools is academic excellence. Private schools have more autonomy over their curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment standards. They can tailor their education to suit the needs and abilities of their pupils and offer a wider range of subjects and qualifications.

Individual Attention

Another benefit of private schools is individual attention. These schools have a lower pupil-teacher ratio than state schools, which means that each pupil can receive more personal guidance and feedback from their teachers.

They have more pastoral care and support services, such as tutors, mentors, counselors, and psychologists. This is good for the pupils because they can benefit from a more nurturing and supportive learning environment, where their academic, social, and emotional needs are met.

Rich Opportunities

One interesting fact about Private schools is that they offer a wealth of extra-curricular activities, such as music, drama, art, sports, languages, clubs and societies. These activities can enhance the pupil’s learning and development, as well as their enjoyment and satisfaction.

Also, they organize educational and recreational trips, both locally and internationally. These trips can expose the pupil to different cultures, perspectives, and experiences.

Personal Development

The majority of these schools aim to produce well-rounded and confident individuals who can thrive in the modern world. They foster a culture of excellence, ambition, and leadership among their pupils.

Moreover, they also instill values such as respect, responsibility, and integrity. Private school pupils can develop skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity that can help them succeed in their future endeavors.

These benefits can outweigh the costs for some parents and pupils who choose private education in the UK.

Drawbacks of Private Schools

It is not just enough that we help you answer the question, “How do private schools cost?”, it is important that we show you some drawbacks.

While private schools in the UK are known for their prestige and reputation for providing excellent education, they also have their drawbacks that often get overlooked.


One major factor that is often overlooked is the cost of private schools, which we’ve treated.

Private schools in the UK can be incredibly expensive, and the cost varies depending on the school, location, and grade level. It is not uncommon for parents to pay tens of thousands of pounds per year for tuition, not including other expenses, such as textbooks, uniforms, and extracurricular activities.

Moreover, private school fees tend to increase every year, which can be a burden for families with several children attending these schools. This can result in many talented and bright students from low-income families being left behind.

Lack of Diversity

Another disadvantage of private schools is the lack of diversity. These schools are often criticized for being elitist and catering only to the wealthy. This can lead to a cultural and social divide where students are not exposed to different perspectives and ways of life.

This, however, can limit their understanding of the world, and hinder their ability to thrive in a diverse society.

Highly Competitive

Furthermore, the emphasis on academic achievement can create a high-pressure environment that is not suitable for every student. Private schools can be highly competitive, and the expectation to succeed academically can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety for some students.


The cost of private schools in the UK can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, reputation, and facilities. How much private schools cost once enrolled is a crucial consideration for parents.

However, while fees can be substantial, it’s essential to weigh the educational benefits and opportunities they offer against the financial commitment to make an informed choice that aligns with your child’s future.

FAQs on How Much Does Private Schools Cost in the UK? 2023 Guide

Do private schools offer financial aid or scholarships?

Some private schools do offer scholarships or bursaries to assist with tuition fees, but availability varies.

Are there cheaper alternatives to traditional private schools?

Yes, there are more affordable options, such as prep schools or non-selective independent schools, which may have lower fees.

Is private school education worth the cost?

The value of private school education depends on individual circumstances and priorities. Consider your child’s needs and goals when making this decision.




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