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The Cost of Boarding Schools

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Nov 2022 | comments*Discuss
The Cost Of Boarding Schools

When you’re considering sending your child to a boarding school, it’s hugely important that you take into consideration the cost of this kind of education. There are only a few state maintained boarding schools in the UK, and some offer free education supplemented by paid-for boarding. But note that it will be disruptive and upsetting for your child if your financial situation changes and you have to withdraw your child from their school, so be sure in advance that you will be able to cover the cost of boarding, which is often substantially more than day schools.

Average Fees

The cost of attending a boarding school will depend on the age of your child and will obviously also be impacted by where you decide to send your child, in terms of factors are varied as geography and location of the school, type of school, facilities, equipment and grounds, any special needs requirements, and so on. But to start to look into these costs, you can consider some average fees figures as provided by the Independent Schools Council (ISC). The ISC writes that for a primary school level of education, students attending day schools will have termly fees hitting an average of £2,640. Meanwhile, for day pupils attending a boarding school, this will go up to £3,231.

Parents of boarding school students should expect to pay more - the average termly fees here is £4,343. Senior school education, for children aged between 11 and 16, is higher than primary level. The average cost for day pupils will be £2,963 per term, while this increases to £4038 fees for parents to pay if their children are day pupils at a boarding school. At the higher end of the spectrum, parents with children in boarding at this level can expect to pay £6,678 a term.

The costs are higher still for sixth form education, for students aged between 16 and 18 years old. Here the ISC estimates that parents of day pupils at day schools will pay £3,002, but parents of pupils attending boarding schools only during the day will pay £4,443, while families of full-time boarding students will have to pay out the most - an average of £7,177 per term.

Other Expenses

Note that the fee burden doesn’t end with the total termly rate. Ask schools what kinds of extras are routinely added to fee bills so you can plan accordingly. These extras might add up to 10% to the school bill. They will often be impacted by the choice of extra-curricular activities that your child goes for - one to one instrument lessons, for example, will not usually be included in your bill. Likewise, lunches will usually cost extra, often about £3 per day, while school trips can add substantially to your average termly fees.

Ask if the school charges parents extra for the cost of text books and examination entries. Check out the cost of school uniforms, if appropriate too. If a school has a particular “recommended supplier” this can be an expensive outlay.

Plan Ahead

Be aware that most schools will ask parents to provide fees in advance of the school term, or sometimes the school year, and will ask for a full term’s notice if they intend to take a child out of the register. School should give advance notice for rises in fees, but it can be helpful to ask whether any increases are planned. Be aware too that there is help available to cover these fees, such as bursaries and scholarships, so look into these options while you are considering whether boarding school is a viable and desirable option for you and your family.

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Hi I have my son 16 with AHDA I can’t control him he need authority and I’m think your mum and I have a health Problem and if any opportunity I can put in boarding school thank you
Mimi - 18-Nov-22 @ 12:38 AM
Good afternoon.. I base in Italy, I have my little girl of 12years old and I will love to send her to UK for schooling.. Please can you kindly indicate to me a good and affordable boarding school.?Thanks
Silvy - 9-May-19 @ 3:46 PM
Goodday! we are leaving in Italy and Wehave a son of 7 years old. I wanted to ask foraninformationabout thefees of a boarding schoolin UK o nearby.Thank you for your reply.
Graciuz - 6-Oct-18 @ 12:41 AM
@Ebby - I think the only option you would have is foster care if there are social workers involved and you can't cope. There are no boarding schools for a 'small fee' :(
ChrissyJ - 16-Jul-18 @ 12:23 PM
I am a 63 year old male single parent to a 12 year old girl who has ADHD and am find it very hard two controller her I have social workers involved but because of my age I'm not really working so I was wondering is it possible to find a boarding school for free or small fee
Ebby - 15-Jul-18 @ 9:33 PM
@Es - there is no such things as a cheap borading school. All boarding schools are expensive!
AngieI - 9-Feb-18 @ 1:41 PM
My daughter is 16 and find bad friends and boyfriend,doesn’t go to school I can’t control her .Can you tell me some cheap boarding school please because i am single mum and if possible cheap
Es - 6-Feb-18 @ 7:20 PM
My child will complete 16yrs in 2019. Want to pursue his studies in UK in a boarding school.i want to know expenses per annum and name of school. please guide me. thanks.
Meeku - 4-Jan-18 @ 6:34 PM
to whom it may concern im looking for my kids for a boarding school for my kids aged 8 and 10 which is affordable in price and a good school please get in touch with me as they both hold british passport many thanks
lillian - 20-Feb-17 @ 11:39 PM
we are Egyptian family, i would like to know the cost for a boarding school for my daughter who is currently 14 and the next academic year will be grade 10. we are Egyptian passport holders only, so my daughter will be treated as international student. i dont mind placing her in Scotland if the fees are affordable. and if there is any bursaries or scholarships (especially for sports)please provide me with the necessary information or links to track. Thanks
Noha - 14-Oct-15 @ 11:21 AM
@Avi - I am sorry to hear this. I have included a link to the Independent Schools Council here which shows you a list of schools and for you to do some further research.
GetTheRightSchool - 16-Apr-15 @ 12:00 PM
I am looking for a boarding school for my sister's son, he lost his mum at Sri Lanka during the war.I am full time work and I can't manage to look after him. I am looking for reasonable price.
Avi - 15-Apr-15 @ 9:54 AM
@prophet - I have included a link to the Independent Schools Council which should help you locate one here.
GetTheRightSchool - 16-Jan-15 @ 3:01 PM
My daughter is 14 years ago. I'm looking for a private boarding school that offer scholarship. I live in Basildon. Thanks.
Prophet - 16-Jan-15 @ 1:17 PM
@Zuko - you would have to get in touch with the school directly in orderto find out their individual fees.
GetTheRightSchool - 20-Nov-14 @ 11:01 AM
looking for a boarding school but the fees is not showed
zuko - 19-Nov-14 @ 3:17 PM
i lost my cat and i think my mom ate it
i lost my cat - 30-May-14 @ 4:43 PM
boarding schools are great for kids and it teaches them disapline
big bob - 30-May-14 @ 4:41 PM
I am a university student and my husband is working far so I am looking for a good but reasonable boarding school for my son aged 5 and my daughter 11.Preferably in KZN
dudu - 19-Jul-13 @ 3:38 AM
i am lloking for a boarding school for the deaf for my 16year old child.
kay - 16-Jan-13 @ 7:57 PM
resty - 26-Dec-12 @ 4:40 AM
My son aged 16 is fragile X and am looking for a boarding school in the area of greater Manchester (UK) to cater to his special needs in education. He has a "statement" and given his age, I believe his time would be better utilized in a structured environment. Could you please share some thoughts, in terms of what is available and if any support for education may be availed, (either in part or whole) for the fees of such schools Many thanks Faizan Mitha (Father)
Faizan - 11-Sep-12 @ 9:08 PM
searching for average boarding school fees for period 1975 to 1985 please. Any information would be appreciated
N A - 2-Apr-12 @ 11:53 AM
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