It is never too soon to start saving.
Putting money aside regularly from a child’s birth means a good start, but even saving £200 a month would need a return of about 6 per cent to grow to £33,000 in a decade.
To cover even just the secondary years of independent education, families will inevitably need to take professional advice and look beyond savings accounts and ISAs to offset mortgages, re-mortgaging, pension withdrawal, investing in the stock market, setting up family trusts or using a company.
Many will call on family – often grandparents – to help out and this too will mean taking financial advice.
The current economic crisis has highlighted how important professional insight is when things beyond our control change at pace.
In addition to amassing enough funds to cover fees yourself, there are a limited number of specific educational grants you can apply for. For the most part they are administered by charitable foundations and geared towards supporting the education of children from minority or disadvantaged households.
Although there has been a shift away from non means-tested scholarships to means-tested fee assistance, several independent schools still have scholarships available. They are usually awarded for academic ability, arts, sport or general excellence and after a highly competitive selection process.
There are some companies who will assist employees so that a child’s education is not disrupted if a job takes parents overseas.
For parents with more than one child, there may be sibling discounts. And at some schools former pupils, members of HM Forces or the clergy are offered a discount on fees for their children.
Schools may also offer discounts for those who pay fees up front. However, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not cover these payments if the school runs into financial difficulties.