To ask how you afford private school fees

(1001 Posts)
Elephantslovetofly Mon 30-May-16 03:32:54

We have a young DD, and although it's a while away yet we are thinking about school. The area we live in does not have a good local school, and we are considering an independent school for her

Disclaimer - I went to a private school and for what it's worth had a great education. I enjoyed being there and did well in exams. I believe my parents decided to send me there also because of a lack of a good local state school. I might have done fine at a state school, but will never know I guess

We are probably 45 min drive from the school I went to - further than is ideal. DH doesn't mind driving her there if we decide to send her there though (if she is fortunate enough to get a place)

The issue is whether we can afford it. The fees are about £9k per year for junior and £12k for senior. Assuming we therefore need to find £1k per month for fees

My cheeky question is this - if you have a child at private school, what does your household earn and how difficult is it to find the money each month to pay the fees? Our income is about £60k, and at the moment I don't think we can do it (along with our other current expenses). Wages might go up a bit before we would need to start paying, but if this is always going to be a pipe dream i'd rather get over it now

I know we could move closer to a good state school, but am exploring my options at this stage. Don't really want to move, as we have a good house here and are settled

Thanks for reading

icklekid Mon 30-May-16 03:37:03

Our income is more than that but we couldn't afford independent school. It depends on your outgoings eg.mortgage and any other debt/bills. We probably pay more in mortgage to be in a 'nice' area with good schools but benefits are obviously far greater than just schooling. Sorry not to be more help but obviously reality is that most people can't afford it!

KateInKorea Mon 30-May-16 03:53:03

We have three at private school, paid for by my husbands company. Otherwise just not affordable.

AppleMagic Mon 30-May-16 04:03:28

We also have fees paid as part of our expat package. They are more than double what you quote too so there is no way we could afford them otherwise.

Panicmode1 Mon 30-May-16 04:03:28

It's not just the fees (which will rise above inflation each year), but the extras, uniform, trips etc so you also need to factor that in.

We have four children, were both privately educated throughout, but even with a six figure income, can't put four through private school, so opted to move to an area with great schools instead, and just pay for them to do extra curricular stuff - riding, rugby, tennis, music etc etc.

BikeRunSki Mon 30-May-16 04:06:01

My grandparents borrowed the money, mortgage style.
My grandfather retired the day he paid it off, which was several years after his youngest had left school.

VioletBam Mon 30-May-16 04:11:12

We live very frugally.

We have one car, holidays are camping trips. We don't buy any name brand foods and most of my clothes come from charity shops.

I never buy the children clothing that's not already on sale...never.

And we don't deviate from this.

We don't live a bad life at all...but we don't go out to theatres and things. We do a lot of free stuff with the DC...community events and so forth.

They go to Brownies and Guides rather than pony riding and ballet.

We're very happy with our choice and they love school.

citychick Mon 30-May-16 04:11:14

We moved abroad! Low tax rate and higher income makes it affordable.
When we come home I would love to continue thru the private system, but not entirely sure we will be able to.
Mercifully there are great state school close by.

Sadly our school fees were not included in our package. Grrrr...

Yes, you also need to account for all the extras. There are many families who really scrimp and save to put their DC's thru school. Friends of ours re-mortgaged their home 3 times to afford it.
Good luck with what ever you decide!

VioletBam Mon 30-May-16 04:12:18

I do think that if you can move to an area with good schools, that will save you money in the long run OP.

FakaP Mon 30-May-16 04:25:08

I went, but only because of a very generous scholarship.

If I were to have children I would scrimp and save to send to my school if necessary, it was fab. I am so grateful I went .

AnotherTimeMaybe Mon 30-May-16 04:28:21

We are veeeeeeeery tight with money! I never buy anything for myself anymore same for Dh . We used to have two holidays a year not its only 1 and more affordable.... It's all really worth it though as the amount of support ds gets at school is huge. Also the things they do, the places they go is something he d never experience in a state school in my area
And by the way consider yourself lucky if you only pay 9k for primary, we pay almost double that

pollyglot Mon 30-May-16 04:29:45

Become a teacher, work in an independent school and have a seriously big discount on your children's education as part of your salary package.

VickyRsuperstar Mon 30-May-16 05:48:55

My Father was a teacher in the school and got a hefty discount and there was also another discount for a 3rd child in the school (there were 3 of us). My parents also spent a large chunk of my mother's inheritance. We never had holidays abroad as children either.
It wasn't just the school fees to consider, there were a lot of extras. The uniform costs were very high, school lunches were compulsory and again not cheap and there were probably a lot of other compulsory bits and pieces that I'm not aware of.

Elephantslovetofly Mon 30-May-16 05:56:46

You all make very good points

We are the sort that are happy to have cheap holidays in Britain and not spend loads on clothes etc. I understand that with fees comes uniforms and school trips, which would add to the cost. I seem to remember one particularly expensive trip I went on as a teenager....

Moving abroad isn't an option, and sadly neither of us are teachers sad. I had a scholarship when I went to school, but apparently it only saved about a sixth of the fees. I guess there's no guarantee that my child would also get one - the decision to send the child has to already be made before the scholarship assessment I suppose, so I couldn't rely on that discount

Aargh, it's so hard!

beenaroundawhile Mon 30-May-16 06:13:24

An important question is also whether you plan to have more DC.

I can't see how anyone could afford private school fees on £60k personally, especially as the rate of inflation in fees can be anywhere between 5-10% a year.

The strain you would be putting on yourselves to pay the fees and also drive her everyday sounds stressful. Have you done the drive at school time? You can often expect to double a journey at that time of day by the time you have got through traffic, found parking etc.

The extras are huge, you have to think about what makes you all happy at the end of the day. It also depends what you want out of it and the value you place on that.

A good state school can be wonderful. I went to an excellent state school and was earning £100k + salary by the time i entered my 30s. I had a stable happy family, local friends and lots of holidays, activities outside school etc. On the other hand I know lots of people around me who went to private school yet are now earning less than 30k a year each or have given up lucrative careers the developed when they had a family. The are all struggling and depending on family help to send their kids to private school just because that's what they had themselves despite the fact it hasn't actually afforded them the opportunity to comfortably give their own children the same thing.

In a good area, a good state can be excellent. An independent is not right for everyone but ultimately if you're happy, your kids will be happy.

youarenotkiddingme Mon 30-May-16 06:30:23

Do you work? if you do do you have childcare fees? It maybe private school is a little more a month than childcare but you may be able to work longer, more etc when she's in school?

Cost wise it seems doable on the income but that is always dependent on current outgoings.

Nurseries and scholarships are also an option.

Good luck with whatever you decide - your DD sounds like she'll do fine with caring and considered parents.

Elephantslovetofly Mon 30-May-16 06:30:35

beenaround you make a good point about more DCs. It's early days, but at the moment we will probably just have her

I guess I'm trying to weigh up the benefits of private school. Small class sizes is important to me, as are good rules/ethos. I don't want her to get lost in a class of 40+ kids (if she's anything like me she would)

I have thought about grammar school too but there are none anywhere near us sad

123lekl Mon 30-May-16 06:32:17

Our small school is only £6 a year and we have 2 there. We earn £55k but we don't pay any rent/mortgage for our house which makes a huge difference to our outgoings compared to most people. I also get one child partly subsidised.
We are careful with our money so we do have treats but within reason. Last year we went abroad but this year we can't afford to so we are camping somewhere lovely in the uk. We don't eat out very often and don't buy expensive clothes but we have a few theatre / day trips a year which are memorable and fun. It works for us but obviously wouldn't work for everyone

123lekl Mon 30-May-16 06:34:35

When they are in secondary school I am hoping they go to grammar school which is where most of the kids from their school go.

Elephantslovetofly Mon 30-May-16 06:35:58

youarenot yes we work but DH is around more and is planning to do most of the childcare once I'm back at work full time, so hopefully nursery fees won't be extortionate!

Elephantslovetofly Mon 30-May-16 06:38:12

lekl that sounds a really good arrangement, I wish we had a grammar nearby for secondary! The closest one is 40 odd miles I think, so too far

Henrysmycat Mon 30-May-16 06:40:48

When you say there are no good schools? Do you mean OFSTED deemed them in dire straits or they are good/outstanding but not to your standards?

Even though, we are lucky with a huge income as family (over 200k but we do live in the most expensive county) I found that moving to a good school area was better all around. Sure, it was a bit more expensive but in the long run a better investment.
Also, we have a diverse talent in our families with DH. From artists to multinational Board Members to chefs to athletes to scientists. So I really don't know where my child's interest are to support her with our school choice. She's now 8 and she's more artistic and a very talented actress (drama teachers words) than a mathematician like me. So, maybe out secondary school choice would be an arty school as opposed to one that pushes you academically and I might consider it to send her to a private school.
In the meantime, I'm saving my money as she goes to the local school and she does part time acting classes in London, followed by various activities. When she was struggling in school (in maths of all subjects! The embarrassment) we got her some help as I was not a good teacher. My husband was privately educated but I think he would have done just as good in life if he went to his local school. I come from a poor school aboard where we hardly had books and my university experience was funded by scholarships so we have the whole spectrum of educational background in our house.

Hiddlesnake Mon 30-May-16 06:42:59

Ds1 has been through state primary but out local secondary schools are not great.
He has mild SEN and would flounder in a massive school with large class sizes.
We are very fortunate that grandparents have offered to pay his fees, and we are covering other costs (uniform, trips, clubs etc)

greengreenten Mon 30-May-16 06:45:00

What about payment plans? I don't know exactly what they are, guessing a long term loan basically. If you are only going to have one child this could work?

I think you talk to an independent financial adviser first. You probably start laying in now whilst DD is young then keep paying.

We have 3+DCs just through years 7-11/13 in private and found that VERY expensive but worth it. You came from private system and know the benefits.

Ours did state primary after local play school and that gave them a really good start even though the school was not brilliant. They all have their feet on the ground, mix well and freely admit that the years at primary were for growing up and learning good basic skills etc.

I see the DCs who started private at age 2 coming out at year 11 as quite different to mine. They're quite sheltered and unaware of the melting pot of society. Mentioning all this so you could save a good few thousand by just going in year 7.

Elephantslovetofly Mon 30-May-16 06:49:42

Henry the OFSTED reports are not good (nearest been in special measures and now inadequate) but some of my worries come from talking to other local mums who have kids there - they wish their kids were elsewhere but have no other option

I'm sure the schools aren't terrible, but I hear of bad behaviour (criminal type) even in juniors - not ideal!

I accept she may not be academically gifted and have talents elsewhere, but it's too early to tell yet.....

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