Choosing a school for your child is not only the one of the most important decisions you will make, but choosing a boarding school education is also a significant financial undertaking.


Although fees vary from school to school, the cost of a boarding school education is reasonably similar across the sector. The average Senior School fees are £13,500 per term (£40,500 a year) and Preparatory School fees are around £9,500 per perm (£28,500 a year).

School Fees are paid termly and in advance. Invoices are sent out at the end of the previous term and must be paid before the first day of the next term.

Unlike in North America, there is no separation of ‘tuition’ and ‘board’ – school fees are composite and fully inclusive. All ordinary curricular and domestic arrangements are included in the fees – including all meals and laundry. There are a number of ‘extras’ which may be charged to your termly bill and these are identified below.

Discounts are given for siblings and for prepayment of fees.


It costs between £100 and £200 to register your child at a school and this is nonrefundable. Once you have accepted a place at a school, you will be required to pay a deposit: for UK parents this tends to be around £1000; for overseas parents it is usually a term’s fees. The deposit is returned when your child leaves the school and all other fees have been paid in full.


Each term, charges for non-routine activities will be charged to your termly bill. These may include the following:

• Instrumental music lessons

• Private tuition

• Learning Support

• Non-curricular trips & activities

• Stationery

• Transfers to airports

• Tuck (snacks; confectionery; drinks)

• Uniform (initial purchase or additional/ replacement items)

It is worth planning for the extras to cost around £300-£400 per term.


About 30% of pupils in ISC schools receive some sort of assistance with their fees – mostly from the schools themselves, but also from various trusts or commercial awards.

1.  Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded by schools to pupils who show particular promise in a particular field (or combination of fields). A number of these are Academic Scholarships (general or in one particular subject), but there are also scholarships for Music & Sport. Many schools also offer All-rounder Scholarships. The amount of fee remission awarded to each scholarship varies widely but they can also be topped up with a Bursary (see below).

Scholarships are competed for – by examination, interview and performance – and scholars are expected to demonstrate continued talent and commitment throughout their time at the school. Underperformance can lead to the withdrawal of the scholarship.

2.  Bursaries

Bursaries offer fee remission to those pupils whose parents might not otherwise be able to afford to send their child(ren) to the school. The amount of fee remission is decided by an individual school (Bursar): some fee remission is discretionary but some may be ‘means tested’, and parents must expect to be asked to produce documentary evidence of their financial position. Bursaries are also reviewed annually.