Wondering whether we can afford private school.

(68 Posts)
IggertyZiggertyZoom Wed 17-Feb-16 16:38:20

We have 1 DC. Our local primary school is rated "inadequate" across the board in its most recent OFSTED report. We are therefore considering private, but I'm not sure we can actually afford it.

Monthly income after tax, car, bills and mortgage (but not food, clothes, extras) is £3,000.

School costs £8,175 a year up to and including Y3. Then £14,850 a year up to and including Y9.

Private secondary schools in our area are approx £25,000 a year.

I'm guessing that there are also a lot of extras, but have no idea how much these would be. I would be very grateful for the thoughts/ experience of other people who have managed this on a similar income. Also whether they think it has been worth the sacrifices.

Kennington Wed 17-Feb-16 16:48:10

Do you need after school club or holiday childcare ? This will add considerably to the bill.
If you have savings and it is a good school then go for it!

LIZS Wed 17-Feb-16 16:50:24

For 8k you need gross income "spare" of at least 10k ie. around £900 per month to budget. Uniforms and extras can add around 10% (check what is included) and annual rises recently run at about 5%. If you are thinking ahead try to save 1k per month now into an account and see how it feels. There will also be registration and deposit to pay up front. Tbh I suspect it will already feel tight let alone by secondary. Do you have opportunities to boost your income?

mouldycheesefan Wed 17-Feb-16 16:50:30

Secondary level could be a struggle.

mouldycheesefan Wed 17-Feb-16 16:51:05

O could you move?

BertrandRussell Wed 17-Feb-16 16:54:35

Were you unhappy with the school before you knew what it's rating was? I don't think "inadequate" is an official grading by the way- what is it actually?

Tammy2 Wed 17-Feb-16 16:55:06

We have two in a private prep and we set aside 2k a month. This covers fees/after school clubs and activities but not holiday cover or uniform.

They are too young for any expensive trips.

With 1 child and 3k left spare you should be fine.

Only1scoop Wed 17-Feb-16 17:07:58

Op we are left with a similar figure probably slightly less each month.

Dd started in year 1 at a local private school which is approx 3000 a term at this stage. This does however include all after and before school and food etc.

Extras we have encountered so far are Ballet per term 100 pounds or there about and piano at 180 a term.

Uniform is pricey but everyone shops in the little used shop especially for extra curricular stuff etc.

We do have savings set aside for when it gets more expensive although at seniors it isn't as expensive as the ones in your area. We are not South.

Partron Wed 17-Feb-16 17:14:33

If you are not sure then you probably can't.

You can go without things for a couple of years then it becomes a real strain.

Private secondary here is at least 5k a term (day).

I would think long and hard. And think about secondary now - is there a good selective state school near you and which preps feed it.

My view is that the early years of primary school are the easiest to cover at home. Most people would have enough knowledge to support extra reading and maths at home for the first couple of years. I would go with the state option for KS1 but save as much as you can. If the school hasn't turned around by the end of Yr2, you could look to move and would have a financial buffer to help with the fees.

I think it would be tight to do it on your budget.

IggertyZiggertyZoom Wed 17-Feb-16 17:39:04

Thanks for the responses. I should have said that the £3,000 is after childcare is factored in.

Bertrand The OFSTED report lists the ratings as: 1. outstanding, 2. good, 3. satisfactory, and 4. inadequate. Ours is 4. I had heard that it had issues but I wasn't aware it was so bad.

There are very good state secondary schools but we are out of catchment. From what I've heard we'd have to move for DS to stand a chance.

Partron Wed 17-Feb-16 17:41:23

Will you be having any more children?

LIZS Wed 17-Feb-16 17:43:55

How old is the report? I thought it was Needs Improvement now. Such a rating can be a wake up call and attracts extra resources and attention for the school which generates improvement at the review. You need to look at the report to see what areas are highlighted and how important they are to you. There must be more than one school option. Bear in mind prep schools usually attract children from a wider catchment so travelling to play dates and few local friends can be an issue.

Headofthehive55 Wed 17-Feb-16 17:46:18

Use your income to move now, into a better catchment.

Do you know why it's inadequate? It may be that it's actually irrelevant to your child, like not having provision for special needs or something.

Is your child making progress? What do other parents feel?

AnotherCider Wed 17-Feb-16 17:54:11

What are the chances of your income going up by the time your DC is in senior school? Because thats the trickiest time i think, with lots of extras.

Our DC are at a Prep School and tbh I started getting a bit worried at the constant 'x will be added to your school fees' but i was pleasantly surprised when the inoice arrived at the low cost of the extras. The majority of after school clubs were at no cost, a lot of uniform could be purchased second hand. Private schools do tend to have a lot of sports kit though. Ours is proving expensive atm because they've changed the sports kit (dramatically) so no second hand options are available and won't be readily available for a few years.

IggertyZiggertyZoom Wed 17-Feb-16 18:05:15

Hi, moving is not really an option as houses in the catchment areas are at a premium. Plus we only bought our house two years ago and we love it.
Problem is it's very rural so the next primary school (after our village) is 5 miles away. We are outside its catchment area.

DS is 3 so not at school yet. I only really started looking at schools this year. As we've left it quite late there is only limited space in the private school's reception year, so they have suggested we register him asap if we want to guarantee a place. The other (slightly cheaper) private school within 20 mins drive has already closed its waiting list for reception.

LIZS Wed 17-Feb-16 18:08:43

Are you sure catchments apply, they often just go on criteria such as looked after children, siblings and distance sometimes with religion if relevant? What was the furthest distance from which a child got a place last year?

IggertyZiggertyZoom Wed 17-Feb-16 18:10:46

Also, to answer some questions – no more children planned. Income may go up a little, but would need to be promoted for it to go up significantly (which is by no means certain).

Another do you mind me asking how much roughly you budget for each DC, over and above the fees?

makingmiracles Wed 17-Feb-16 18:21:50

Can you apply to schools outside your village? Even if they are not in your catchment you may get in as long as they're not oversubscribed.
In September I got my oldest into state boarding as a day boy- it's way way outside our catchment- 20+ miles out!

Partron Wed 17-Feb-16 18:22:27

If it's rural there will almost certainly be a decent state secondary that you are eligible for. What's that like? Quite a few parents near me (also rural) pay prep fees and then kids go to the good state school nearby from year 10 onwards. Worth investigating? Have you looked at your local primary? My daughters is rated good and did quote poorly in the league tables but she's very very happy and achieving really well.

AnotherCider Wed 17-Feb-16 18:37:00

So far we haven't spent more than £300 extra per term per child, but that includes £180 covering the school bus both mornings and afternoons. This has also included - workshops, theatre trips, additional books.

It has NOT included music lessons, private afterschool clubs, or camps etc. Our DSs haven't needed 1:1 additional lessons (not a selective school so a broad range of children including a number with dyslexia etc) which can be expensive.

You need to find out from the school how much these types of things will be.

Also, the older children fundraise for their sports trips, so add a £1 most weeks for cake/sweet sales!

The holidays are longer, and some schools offer holiday clubs for those weeks, others don't. If the school doesn't offer them you will be hard pressed to find childcare for those additional weeks.

IggertyZiggertyZoom Wed 17-Feb-16 19:33:34

Thanks everyone, it sounds like we'll be ok for prep. I'm going to grit my teeth and pay the deposit for the private school.

Greengrass1982 Wed 17-Feb-16 22:45:24

In terms of uniform costs... We have had some families who have been kind enough to give us unwanted uniform . I always have a good dog around at the second hand sales too

Greengrass1982 Wed 17-Feb-16 22:45:51

Dig !! smile

Clonakiltylil Wed 17-Feb-16 23:32:02

I am surprised by the £25,000 quoted for secondary. Is that boarding? Even here in London the top privates aren't as much as that. Top whack is about £18,000 without extras.

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