The costs of private school education in the UK have risen by a fifth in the last five years, according to new research.
The report, which was conducted by Lloyds Bank, reveals the changing face of the fee-paying school system, where average fees for day pupils have increased by an eye-watering 68 per cent in the last 10 years.
Private school fees now represent a larger chunk of the average wage than in years past, the report notes:
The average annual private school fee in 2012 of £11,457 is equivalent to 35 per cent of annual average gross full-time earnings of £33,011; in 2002 the comparable ratio was 27%.
A professional such as an engineer or architect is now less able to afford to send his or her children to a fee-paying school than a plumber was in the 1990s, laying bare stark changes which have taken place in the private school culture over the last decade.
With foreign multi-millionaires willing to pay vast sums to give their children the internationally-recognised 'traditional British boarding school' experience, the middle-class families who have long been the backbone of independent schools are finding themselves priced out of the market.
The overall number of pupils in private education has declined by 19 per cent over the last decade, researchers found. And those who remain are feeling the pinch, with one third of independent school pupils receiving financial help to meet the cost of their fees.
The survey found that the cost of private education had risen steeply nationwide, with the biggest price hikes found in London and the South-West, where fees rose as much as 79 per cent.
Below are a few examples of fee increases at some of the nation's best known independent schools, comparing prices for a year of non-boarding education in 2004 with the current fees.
The Downe House School
Once attended by Kate Middleton, the Downe House School was founded in 1907.
2004 fees: £14,670
2014 fees: £23,730
Increase: 61 per cent
The King's School Ely
Founded in 970AD, the school counts among its pupils such luminaries as Edward the Confessor and (somewhat more recently) BBC stalwart Alan Yentob.
2004 fees: £12,390
2014 fees: £18,531
Increase: 49 per cent
Eton, famous for educating generations of prime ministers, aristocrats and even royalty, only accepts boarders.
2004 fees (boarding): £20,961
2014 fees: £34,434
Increase: 64 per cent
More on Parentdish