There's a great independent school near to us that offers generous bursaries for bright kids from low-income families. I've had a look on the website and it seems - from the info on there - I'd probably be eligible for a pretty large amount off the fees (assuming ds passes well, of course).
My question is - is there any point? Because even I did only have to pay minimal fees, I wouldn't be able to afford all the extras - school trips to far-flung places etc, kits for all the gazillions of different sports they play, etc. Even the cost of the school meals looks like it might add up to a fair whack!
The school is a v good one, no question. If I won the Lottery tonight I'd send ds there without a second thought. But I don't want him to be the 'poor one'. I'm scraping by as it is - significant extra expenses just aren't feasible. Anyone got any experience or words of wisdom?
You do need to find out what the bursary would and wouldn't include and also what the extras would constitute anyway and what would be included in fees; eg. at ds's school lunches are included in the fees as is stationery/textbooks but buses and trips aren't. They do vary. However, as for expensive overseas trips, I'm sure you'll find that lots and lots of dcs don't go on. In the last two years, two 'big' trips have been cancelled at ds's school due to lack of interest. Everyone's counting their pennies.
DD's indie has a thriving second hand uniform 'shop' run by the mums. The uniform is of good quality so when the girls grow out of them they are still in a decent resale state. I have bought items from the shop and I have detected no sense of stigma for doing so.
As for school trips, there are the one day history trips for eg which cost about £45. There is usually 2 a year and most/all kids seem to go. The big ones, eg skiing, has about 20% of the kids going.
Basically, a lot of the parents are well off as opposed to rich and with 2-3 kids at Indies they too have to watch their pennies as well. Ok, they have more pennies than you or I but they aren't throwing their money around.
As for lunch, some of the kids bring in packed lunches because of religious/dietary requirements so it's no big deal if yours did the same. Having said that, yes DD has sushi on the menu at £5 but he also has pizza or burgers at normal canteen prices.
Private school is do-able if you are on a limited income. You be surprised how many parents are in the same position.