Could private school fees be best invested elsewhere?

Research has found that paying for private schools may be a poor choice of investment for parents to make, judging by the overall financial welfare of their children.

The £236,000 that a parent could expect to pay for private education may be better spent elsewhere, according to information published by Killik & Co. investment advisers.

This sum could theoretically be grown into a much larger amount through investments, reaching up to a potential £800,000, according to the company.

If, instead of sending children to a private school, wealthy parents could invest this money, they could secure the financial future of their children, by using this invested cash to cover university fees and a deposit for a house, leaving plenty of money left for retirement.

The research commented: “With such a large sum potentially at stake, it makes sense for parents to ask whether the amounts that they would have invested in their children’s education could not be better invested to set them up financially for life.”

While private schools tend to produce better exam grades at GCSE and A Level (owing to the apparent increase in teaching quality, and smaller class numbers due to the exclusivity of the schools), state schools can save parents a lot of money, and the best could even produce results similar to that of private schools.

Over the last 25 years, the average fees for a private school education have risen drastically. Since 1990, the average day fee has reportedly risen by 340 per cent overall (although only by 150 per cent if inflation is taken into account).

Despite a historic wage difference in between those who attended a private school and those who went to a public school, alternative investment may still benefit.

An international accountancy recruitment firm have announced this year that they will be no longer be using the UCAS tariff system in their recruitment decisions, which is based on A Level and university results.

This system skews their recruitment in favour of private school attendees, who generally get higher A Level grades, even though the difference between private and publicly educated students tends to disappear at university.

Of course, the results of this research is unlikely to change the minds of any parents, and in the long run, if private students manage to maintain the status quo of slightly higher wages when they become employed, they may still end up better off.