Do you worry about paying school fees in future?

(73 Posts)
Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 18:05:12

We are trying to decide whether to send our DS (and his siblings in the future). If we are careful we can afford to send him now, but it gets more difficult for the others. I have planned our finances for the next several years and it looks like we should be ok, but can't be 100% certain.

How certain were you that you could pay fees in, say, 5 years time? I am willing to take the small risk that it could go wrong and we would have to move them, but DH being very pessimistic and is convinced something will go wrong. I don't want to be 5 years down the line though and realise we could have afforded it. I know that things will be tight - but that's the case for most people paying school fees I assume. DH seems to think we need loads of money in the bank to be able to afford it if things go wrong.

I want to go for it but am I being too risky?

seeker Wed 22-May-13 18:07:12

If you're al all doubtful, don't. Who wants to live a life worrying about money all the time? Use the money to fill in any gaps you see in state education, relax and have a nice life!

motherinferior Wed 22-May-13 18:10:20

No, I don't.

Because my kids go to state schools.

Bonsoir Wed 22-May-13 18:12:32

Don't do it if money is going to be really tight. Better to move to a more affluent area with good state schools, and to use your money to buy lots of nice extras for your DC, than to send them to private school and struggle financially while your DC are friends with lots of wealthy families.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 22-May-13 18:18:19

I worry about paying for school dinners at the end of the month.

Smudging Wed 22-May-13 18:18:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 22-May-13 18:20:38

Seriously though,unless I could be sure of my DC's continuity in the school I wouldn't risk it.

scaevola Wed 22-May-13 18:22:52

How much have you allowed for schools fees inflation? It's usually ahead of other indices.

Timetoask Wed 22-May-13 18:23:36

How old is DS?
In your place I would do the following: send him to a state school and at the same time put aside the monthly amount you would need for private.
If in three years you think you need to move him, then you'd have three years of fees saved up.
I send my DS to a prep but always have one year's fee saved up in advance.

lunar1 Wed 22-May-13 18:25:40

Ds1 is in private and we can afford to send ds2 as well when he is old enough. We have some savings and good equity in the house, but not enough to pay up till 18 if dh lost his job.

If everything goes to plan dh should be earning significantly more in 5 years and I will be back at work. It is still a worry and when ds2 starts school im going to take out insurance to cover the payments if needed.

HabbaDabba Wed 22-May-13 18:27:02

When we started out the advice from my friend, who was in same boat, was as follows. Take one academic year at a time. Hardly ground shaking advice I know smile

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 22-May-13 18:29:23

We wouldn't consider starting ours unless we had the equivalent of half the total fees for both boys in the bank.

I remember reading once that if you are relying on income to pay that term's fees then you can't afford private school.

No doubt there will be people who will disagree with that sentiment, but I think it is a very sensible position to take.

DontmindifIdo Wed 22-May-13 18:40:29

If you aren't 100% certain, then the advice about not putting your DS in private straight away is a good one - most prep schools do have a 7+ intake (as the traditional pre-preps go to 7). If you could find a good state school for key stage 1 and then move if you a) aren't happy with the state school and b) think your financial situation is stable. If you can save the fees now then you will be used to living without that extra money and will have at least 2 years money saved so if one of you did lose your job you would have 2 years 'grace' to find something else equally well paying. (that said if you do go down this route, remember many state schools won't have the wrap around care in place or after school activities for free that you often get in preps, so you might have to pay for some of that as well as trying to save).

Other things worth thinking about, if you have one DS now but trying for other DCs, if you have DCs of a different gender, many private schools are single sex schools, this means two different school drop offs and no sibling discount for having more than one DC in the school at the time, if you are planning more, then it might be worth looking for mixed prep schools to give yourself a bit more leyway should you have a second DC.

DontmindifIdo Wed 22-May-13 18:46:57

Also worth thinking about what you would have to sacrifice, we could at a push send 2 DCs to private school, but it would mean we couldn't save for uni, we would have to stop overpaying on the mortgage, we'd not be able to holiday yearly, we wouldn't have the same flexibility of if I work or not (currently on mat leave, not sure if I'll go back or not). Everything would have to be a bit more money aware. As it is, we live near an outstanding state school and have decided if we can get DS in there, combined with paying out for things like music and sports that aren't available at that school (and having money for tuition if we aren't 100% happy with his progress in a larger class) then that would be better for us.

All that said, my DS is a very outgoing loud child, I'm not worried about him being 'lost' in a larger school with larger classes, I konw some people are chosing prep for very shy DCs because they think their DCs need smaller classes more. It might come down to your DS's personality.

diabolo Wed 22-May-13 18:54:37

We made a conscious decision to only do it when we knew we could afford to see it through - although I know other people do it year to year, I don't think I'd be able to sleep properly.

Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 19:15:06

Thanks. I do worry about doing it year to year and would like to have a good plan B if it all went wrong. I will look at school fee insurance

DS is in state junior, I'm very unhappy with it and he's not keen either. He was previously very happy at his infant school. We were never planning for him to go private this early, maybe secondary if we could afford it. But the school seems to be getting worse and my other DCs will be following him there

The other option is to move, but we would be stretching ourselves to move as its very expensive round here, the good primary schools are very oversubscribed and the good state secondary schools are few and far between.

We would be taking a risk by moving to another area and hoping to get into a school with a small catchment. We would be financially stretched with either option. But feel like we have to take a risk one way or another

OddBoots Wed 22-May-13 19:21:00

My dc don't go to private school but for the clubs and the activities they do I keep 1 year of fees away in a separate savings to give me some time to make changes if my financial position worsens. Could you do something like that?

Takingthemickey Wed 22-May-13 19:27:37

I pay private fees out of income as am a glass half full person. It looked daunting at the start but this is the 6th year doing it and, touch wood, so far so good.

Our options for state were so bad that I was prepared to take the risk. The extra payment for school fees still worked out cheaper than a house in a good catchment area.

Fluffy1234 Wed 22-May-13 19:33:50

How many DC do you have op?

Bowlersarm Wed 22-May-13 19:36:25

OP for about ten years now we've been unsure whether we would have enough money to pay the school fees for the next term, as each term ends. Well, we've managed so far!

My thoughts were that we would persevere for as far down the road of private schooling as we could. If there came a point where we ran out of money to do it then sobeit, we would look at the options at that point, and face it if we came to it. There is so much movement between schools that i don't think my DC would be traumatised by moving schools.

We've got one through but still two to go. I'm glad we've gone down this route, although our finances have been precarious at times, and we haven't finished yet.

SignoraStronza Wed 22-May-13 19:39:43

Yes, start them at state school so the major legwork of teaching them to read, write and count is perfected. Then, when you can afford to 'do the best by your child', pull them out and send them private to polish off all those rough edges, refine the accent and mix with a richer variety of classmate.

seeker Wed 22-May-13 19:42:43

Please tell me you're being ironic, señora........

Bowlersarm Wed 22-May-13 19:43:28

Bitter much signora? It's a free country isn't it? Surely every one makes the choices they think are the best for their DC.

DontmindifIdo Wed 22-May-13 19:49:36

In your case, then if you don't have a good state school as an option and moving isn't really affordable compared to school fees, then I'd do it. It's also worth noting that most private schools do have funds for students who are already in the school who's parents' financial situation changes and can no longer afford the place.

I would also look at other choices you can make to increase your savings, so if you can start adding any savings now, cut back to the bone as much as possible so that you could build up 1-2 years fees money, that might make your DH feel more comfortable about the choice.

SignoraStronza Wed 22-May-13 19:51:41

Bitter? No, not really (unless you get me started on the fact that private schools are considered worthy of charitable status as opposed to taxed as businesses, but that's another thread). I really don't feel I've missed out by not going private. Neither has my DC.

I just find it amusing that a state school will do up until a certain point and then sacrifices will have to be made in the interests of the child because suddenly it just isn't good enough.

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