Private Education - Finding the Money

By: Michael Challiner

The decision to send your child to a private school is a very personal one. There are parents who make this commitment soon after, or even before, their child arrives in the world. The child's name may be put down for the parent's choice of independent school. Quite often the school may be the one which a parent attended or one chosen because they wish the child to be educated according to a particular religious belief.

There are also private schools catering for children with special needs as far as their education is concerned. Children with impaired hearing, problems with vision or mobility or some degree of learning disabilities are catered for. Schools are available for specially gifted children, offering training in drama, music or dance alongside a comprehensive academic curriculum.

All independent schools in England and Wales are required to be registered with the Department for Education and Skills. In Scotland and Northern Ireland the registration is with the Scottish or Ireland Executives.

The normal pattern of private education is kindergarten or pre-prep school from the age of four (sometimes earlier) and then on to prep school until the age of thirteen when they move into a senior independent school.

Some parents choose to use independent schools for part of their child's education, combined with state schools. They may decide to send their child to a local state school for some years, before transferring him or her to a private school for their senior years. Not all parents like the idea of the large comprehensive state schools. The child may have attended, and made good progress, at a smaller village school and the change may be something which worries both parents and child. Alternatively the decision may be made to give the child a good start at a good pre-prep school and see how it goes.

The cost of private education using an averagely priced pre-prep school from the age of four, through prep school and on to an independent senior school could be as much as ?200,000 plus. More if a boarding school is chosen.

In the case of parents who have pre-planned their child's education, it is likely that they have built provision for the costs into their budgeting and there are various products geared towards this.

Many parents, disillusioned with the state sector, come more slowly to the decision to head for the private option and therefore have made no provision for the costs. In this case, unless you dip into your savings or have sufficient income, borrowing may be the only choice.

There are tens of thousands of parents who are making great financial sacrifices to give their children the very best start in their education. Around a quarter of these have average, or lower, incomes and are choosing to go without holidays or other luxuries to pay school fees.

There has been a notable rise in applications for personal loans to fund private education fees and it is expected that these will increase as more parents decide to invest in their child's future. Around 620,000 children are now educated in independent schools.

A recent study shows that not only are private school pupils more likely to attain better results, but also to get higher-paying jobs than state school pupils who were just as able and of similar backgrounds.

For all the advice you need on loans, the internet is the place to go. Here you'll find advice and help and discover the best way to fund your "personal investment".

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