New education market research carried out in the UK has seen fees for independent boarding schools rise above the average salary. The research suggested that the average fee for a private boarding school now stands at £27,600 per annum, compared to the UK average of £26,500. For comparative purposes, three decades ago, wages were around two and a half times the cost of annual boarding school fees.
The findings have fueled a debate around the issue of social mobility – with many arguing that they are evidence of independent schooling becoming unobtainable for many families over a relatively short period of time.
Susan Hamlyn, director of the Good Schools Guide Advice Service, suggested that the rise in fees may have been a symptom of heavy investment in facilities and technology – in part aimed at increasing the appeal of British education to overseas students. Among the most expensive boarding schools are Queen Ethelberga’s College (£39,885), Cheltenham Ladies’ College (£34,302), Tonbridge School (£34,137), Sevenoaks (£33,408), Marlborough (£32,280), Westminster (£32,490) and Eton (£32,067). This compares to the average boarding school cost of £2,400 in 1980 – which was only a little over a third of the average salary which stood at around £6,000.
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