Fee Paying Schools

7% of the children in England go to independent schools. Independent schools are known as private schools and public schools . Parents pay for their children to attend these schools.

Nursery/Kindergarten 2 to 4 years

Pre-preparatory 3 or 4 to 7 years

Preparatory 7 to 11 or 13 years

Public 11 or 13 to 18 years

Prep Schools
A preparatory school is a school to prepare pupils to go to a public school.

Public Schools

A public school is an independent secondary school. Public schools in England are not run by the government. The entrance exams used by most public schools are known as Common Entrance exams and are taken at the age of 11 (girls) or 13 (boys).

The most famous public schools are Eton, Harrow and Winchester.many people are considering private sixth-form for their children – which has the advantage of giving them a little more time for financial planning. Sixth-form is likely to be the most expensive time for education, but it does have the advantage of being a short, sharp, shock – you know you only need to pay for two years.

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) represents schools educating four out of
five children in the independent sector.  A recent report from the ISC revealed that about a third of all pupils attending its schools received financial help of some sort.  See our links about bursaries and scholarships below or click here for our section on how to find financial help with fees.

Topping Up State Education

It is well known that a high percentage of students drawn from fee-paying schools that fill the elite universities, such as Oxbridge, due to the excellent examination results they deliver.  Consequently many parents switch their children to a fee-paying institution for A-level study.

In addition many parents choose to send their children to a local state primary, before putting them into a private day school at 11. The drawback is that they may have to pass exams, which they may not be prepared for, but plenty of people do transfer from the state sector to private at 11.

A good guide may be to ask the primary school that you are considering for a list of secondary destinations, to see if they regularly send students to private schools. It's also worth considering tutoring for specific exams. A tutor can cost between £25 and £45 an hour, but that's a bargain compared with private school fees.


The Admissions Process

Contact Independent schools directly to find out what their admissions criteria are and what their application process entails.  Generally it involves an entrance exam and interview with parents.  It might also include references. If it is for a scholarship further assessments may be required to establish that your child reaches a required standard – for example with music an audition may be required to be competed.


Most schools expect fees to be paid termly. If this is a problem for parents, they may be able to negotiate a monthly direct debit payment or other installment system. With many parents paying for school fees from their income, schools are usually happy to try and accommodate their needs.

On the other hand, if you’re paying for fees from savings and are able to pay a lump sum up front, you may be able to negotiate a discount. Some independent schools also offer reduced fees if two or more children from the same family attend the school.

Bursaries & Scholarships

The basic difference between a bursary and a scholarship is that the bursary is given for financial need and the scholarship is given for ability.

Bursaries may be applied for at any entry level but might not be available depending on what’s left in the pot. Be prepared to expose your earnings and net worth and back statements up with the necessary paperwork.

A bursary is distributed on the basis of financial needs of the students. In order to apply for a bursary you have to provide a financial disclosure form. The applicants have to meet certain requirements of geography or demography to get bursaries.

Don’t be afraid to approach a school if you think it’s a good fit for your son or daughter just because the fees are out of your league: often the apparently elite – and usually well endowed — are much more approachable than you think.

Scholarships (or Awards) are provided on the basis of excellence in academics. Financial need is also considered between candidates of equal achievement. The grades from the last year school are also counted while applying for scholarships. Sometimes volunteer and extracurricular activities are also taken into account for obtaining a scholarship.Bursary is distributed on the basis of financial needs of the students. In order  to apply for a bursary you have to provide a financial disclosure form. The  applicants have to meet certain requirements of geography or demography to get  bursaries.

are only offered at key entry points – 11+, 13+ and 16+ and may be offered for a host of abilities: academic (including specific subjects like science); sport, music (all round and individual); location (some offer special awards for local children, some for international, drama and art


UK Independent Schools Explained


Independent Schools Council


How To Pay School Fees


Black Parent Network page on Scholarships and Bursaries - blackparentnetwork/page/scholarships




Scholarship And Bursaries




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