Private school fees: is it cheaper to move to a good state catchment area?
1st October 2019
Parents working out which school to send their child to often do a bit of maths homework before coming to a decision.
They calculate how much it would cost to buy a family home in an area within the catchment of a school rated “good” or “outstanding” and compare this with the cost of private school fees.
Savills, an estate agency, has calculated the average cost of moving from a good to an outstanding school area in different parts of the country and worked out how many years of private schooling that would buy. It assumed house values in the top 10 per cent for the area and average school fees of £5,744 a term. Stamp duty and moving costs were not factored in.
It found that in London the property price premium between a good and outstanding school was £154,785, which was equivalent to paying private school fees for nine years. For a family with one child, it may make financial sense to choose a private school and stay put.
In the East of England, where the average house price in a “good” school area was £540,000, the average difference from one in an outstanding catchment area was £102,000. This would fund 5.9 years at a private school. In the South West and South East the difference would fund 3.9 years of schooling and in the North West it as 3.7 years.
Some 7 per cent of children in Britain are educated privately — about 580,955 pupils at school now, according to government data.
See also: Your Budget and Minimising School Fees
Top private schools will move abroad if a Labour government tries to strip their assets, school leaders say
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council and a former headmaster of Harrow, said that if boarding schools moved abroad they would take their wealthy Russian and Chinese students with them, hitting the British economy. It would also affect universities, because many overseas students stayed on to take degrees.
“It is a straightforward decision for a boarding school to move from England to Dublin, Paris, Calais or Amsterdam,” said Lenon. “It would be the end of the great British boarding tradition.”
As the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) in London gets underway the heads of some of Britain’s leading independent schools are also calling for more government funding for state schools, and promise to make further efforts to share their teachers and sports grounds with them.
A poll suggests that the public do not blame private schools for the shortcomings of their state counterparts. Instead they back public funding for vulnerable children to attend private schools.