Scots professionals priced out of private schools

SCOTTISH professionals risk being priced out of private schools despite Scotland having the lowest fees in the UK, latest research shows.

Gordonstoun in Moray is Scotlands most expensive private school. Picture: Neil Hanna

Fee hikes mean that the average day school fees now represent 42 per cent of the average professional salary north of the Border.

Average independent day school fees in Scotland have risen by £342 in 2015, up from £10,431 in 2014 to £10,773 per year now. Boarding school fees are up by an average £843 and now stand at £27,936.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Compared with the UK as a whole, a lower proportion of Scottish children attend private school at 4.4 per cent – the nationwide figure is 7 per cent.

However, Edinburgh is the exception, with 25 per cent of children in private education.

Scottish fees still remain high for many parents, with Prince Charles’s former school, Gordonstoun in Moray, charging £23,658 a year for a senior school day pupil and £31,650 for a boarder. Fettes College in Edinburgh costs £31,245 a year for a senior boarding pupil.

But the research from wealth manger Killik & Co, independent financial services and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, also shows Scotland has the cheapest private school fees in the UK apart from the north of England.

Sarah Lord, managing director of Killik chartered financial planners, said parents needed to plan ahead. She said: “Despite Scotland being one of the cheapest places to do so, the cost of private education is eye-watering for many families.

“Meeting the cost of a private education needs careful planning as early as possible and families should investigate the options – whether that be through a bursary, staying at ‘state school until eight’ or by asking grandparents for help.”

She added; “Of course, private education is not going to be viable for everybody. For some it will make much more sense to opt for a good state school and invest the money elsewhere.

“Indeed, 14 years of day school fees from 2015 could be invested over this time to build a potential sum of around £800,000, which would help children later on in life, whether that be funding university, buying a house or securing a comfortable retirement.”

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: “The concerns voiced in the report are not ones that we recognise.

“Independent schools in Scotland have, in the last few years, worked hard at keeping fee increases to a minimum.

“Together with financial assistance amounting to over £45 million in 2014-15, the independent sector enables children and young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to enjoy the benefits and choice of an independent education.”