School Fees Report 2023 - What's changed since 2022?

Written by: Tom B


School Fees Increase by 5.1% Year on Year in September 2022

According to data collated by, the average cost per child at a UK private school is now £20,480 per annum (£6,827 per term) for day pupils, and £34,790 per annum (£11,597 per term) for boarders. This represents an average fee increase of around 5.1% from last year’s fees, and an acceleration compared to the previous year (2020 to 2021) where fees rose on average at just over 4%.

The biggest increases in fees for day pupils were in Scotland and London where fees rose on average by 6.77% and 5.93% respectively. The smallest fee increase was in the South East, where fees for day pupils have increased by 4.21%.

As in previous years, the average cost of private school is still much higher in London and the south than elsewhere in the UK. The latest analysis shows the average yearly cost for a day pupil attending independent secondary school in London to be £23,249, compared to £15,516 in the North East.

Increase of Cost of Fees for Day Pupils by Region

Region Average Fees (Day) Average Increase (Since 2021)
London £23,249.33 5.93%
Central & West £23,187.33 5.60%
South East £23,090.07 4.21%
Greater London £21,413.17 4.77%
East Midlands £20,079.87 5.80%
East £19,891.91 5.11%
South-West £19,854.83 5.90%
Scotland £19,631.89 6.77%
West Midlands £18,501.03 4.90%
Yorkshire & Humberside £17,182.29 4.55%
North West £16,608.81 4.72%
Wales £15,942.57 4.79%
North East £15,516.29 4.86%
Northern Ireland £7,485.00 4.92%

Boarding fees have grown at a slightly lower rate compared to tuition fees, at around 4.3%, with the East Midlands and Wales both seeing increases in boarding costs far higher than the national curve. However, keeping with the trend already seen in tuition fees, London and the south also have many of the most expensive boarding schools in the UK.

Increase in Cost of Boarding Costs by Region

Region Average Fees - Boarding and Tuition Average Increase (Since 2021)
Greater London £39,750.33 4.99%
London £37,729.29 1.67%
South East £37,053.06 5.36%
East Midlands £35,554.67 7.03%
West Midlands £34,642.69 2.08%
East £34,622.52 3.81%
South-West £34,453.01 5.60%
Scotland £33,221.65 4.93%
Yorkshire & Humberside £31,163.81 3.77%
Wales £31,093.07 6.94%
North West £30,556.60 3.99%
North East £30,445.00 4.80%
Central & West £37,053.06 5.60%
Northern Ireland £20,329.38 4.28%

School Fees and Gender

The latest data shows a variance in fees, with girl schools now costing an average of £1,340 more than boys schools. The general increase on last year remains fairly evenly distributed between all education types, however, at around 5% for girls, boys and coeducational settings.

Gender Average Day Pupil Fees (2021) % Increase 2020-2021
Girls £21,918.79 5.37%
Boys £20,578.52 5.12%
Mixed £20,140.42 4.99%

Given the optimistic projection for school fee increases published in the spring, this data offers a reflection of how the subsequent cost of living crisis has impacted the rate of actual fee increases across the UK. While fees were largely frozen in 2020 during the pandemic, soaring food and energy bills this year will have had a part to play in putting schools under greater financial pressure, with many having little option but to pass these on to parents.

Allowing flexibility for parents in financial difficulty while also negotiating the current economic uncertainty themselves, will remain a delicate balancing act for schools in the coming year. However, it’s worth noting that, as of September 2022, an increase of 5.1% remains well under the current rate of inflation, and may well even prove to be a generous concession should inflation continue on its upward trajectory.

There is a little doubt though, without financial assistance, this significant year-on-year increase will nudge independent schooling out of reach for more families. The total cost of schooling for a child currently entering Year 7 will be £143,360 for tuition alone - and that’s before incremental yearly increases are taken into account.

Many schools offer scholarships, means-tested bursaries and other concessions including discounts for siblings or local families. All of these are well worth exploring when making your decision and, if you decide private school is the best option for your child, could make it affordable.

Day Pupils Infographic

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Boarding Pupils Infographic

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