7 Hidden Costs at Private Schools

Private school

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For many parents, deciding whether or not to send their children to a private school usually comes down to whether or not they can afford it. However, it’s not just the cost of tuition that parents have to consider – there are lots of other costs that could put private education out of someone’s price range.

7) Stationary
While it’s true that you still have to supply your own stationery at a state school there is often a difference about what is acceptable. While a biro might be fine at the local comprehensive some independent schools insist that pupils use fountain pens. While the cost of fountain pens and ink cartridges won’t necessitate a second mortgage, there’s no denying that it’s still an extra cost that you don’t come across in state school.

6) Foreign language magazines
While there has been concern about the number of state school pupils taking second languages at GCSE level, subjects such as French, German and Spanish are flourishing in private schools. While this is great, it can mean more expense. As well as the inevitable trips abroad in order to encounter native speakers (see below) you may also find that your little ones are pestering you for a subscription to specially designed foreign language magazines. While the cost of these magazines isn’t particularly high compared to some of the other things on this list, it’s another thing to bear in mind.

5) School photos
State schools try and make the services they provide – such as school photographs – as accessible as they can. This often means trying to keep prices as low as possible for parents. However, at an independent school this might not be their first concern – they might want a high quality photographer first and foremost, which can result in higher photograph costs.

4) Uniform
While state schools often have a general uniform policy that means generic, store bought clothes are acceptable, unique, one-of a kind blazers are a common staple of private schools. These blazers do not come cheaply, especially as there is very often only one place where you can buy them. If your child is still growing dramatically every year you might have a substantial annual charge on top of any tuition fees.

3) School Trips
Make sure you read the fine print and find out whether your child’s tuition fees cover the cost of educational visits? Even if such visits are included it’s highly unlikely that trips abroad are covered.

2) School meals
While many independent schools include the cost of meals in their tuition fees don’t just assume it will be covered – read the fine print. If it isn’t you could have to pay hundreds of pounds extra every year or be ready for preparing packed lunches every day for the foreseeable future.

1) Sport and music equipment
One of the benefits of a private education is the focus that is put on sport and music. This is fantastic because it allows children to become well-rounded individuals, but it can put an extra strain on your wallet if you then need to buy extra sport or music equipment. If your child discovers a love of the violin they might even want the opportunity for extra one to one lessons. While many private schools provide such music lessons this is, of course, at an extra cost to the parents.

The purpose of this list isn’t to scare parents away from private education. Instead, it’s to ensure that they are aware of the types of extra charges that may be incurred during their child’s time at the school. Of course, with the possibility of bursaries and scholarships many parents actually find sending their children to an independent school is much more affordable than they first thought was possible.


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