Independent school fees soar

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The Independent Online

Fees at Britain's independent schools have soared by three times the rate of inflation in the past five years, according to new figures.

A survey by Halifax Financial Services, which is published today, reveals they increased by 43 per cent in a period when inflation had risen by just 14 per cent. The average cost of sending a child to a private school was now £10,368 compared with £7,275 in 2001. This means that, in real terms, fees have risen by 25 per cent.

However, a spokesman for the Independent Schools Council, which represents most of the country's independent schools, said the survey failed to take account of the increasing number of bursaries and scholarships available to pupils from poorer homes. "The Halifax figures do not tell us the actual amount parents pay when assistance is taken into account," he said.

"The fee increase this year was the smallest for years as schools battle to keep costs down against a background of salary, building and energy costs - which are rising well above the retail price index," he added.

However, Halifax said that the past year's rise of 6 per cent was still double the rate of inflation.