School Fees - Large Families(52 Posts)
I currently have 4 kids at an independent prep school and with the recession kicking trying to debate what we do next. The eldest is in Year 7, Year 5, and two further down. I currently get 20% off the youngest with nursery vouchers so he pretty much costs nothing but it's what to do next as my partner's in the financial sector. We've ploughed so much money into it but they put the fees up in September by over 6% and a couple of people at school have already put their houses on the market. I have heard that there are lots of people on provisional notice so if they need to pull the kids they don't have to pay a terms fees and would imagine that a lot of people will be pulling, in 1987 11,500 kids were pulled from the private sector. The headmaster did suggest moving to the North of England! Has anyone heard of schools giving bigger reductions for large families? I did speak to one person who lives in Yorkshire and she was offered the fourth free!
Some schools give sibling discounts and some don't. If you have a large family, then it is worth picking a school with a sibling discount policy.
A lot of schools give sibling discounts but it won't be masses. The state schoools around here are suddenly getting loads of requests from private school parents who are realising they ain't gonna make it through the coming years!
E.g. Convent School L'boro.
"There is no reduction for two pupils but half fee is payable for the third and subsequent child in a family attending the school at the same time."
Or train as a teacher and get a job at Repton - 90% staff discount!
I'm in yorkshire, four at independent school and not a penny discount. School doesn't need to as oversubscribed.
My school is oversubscribed in fact we are probably up to 100 kids down at present!
Sorry, NOT oversubscribed, and obviously with the current climate a large proportion of people at school work in the city or are related to it as I would imagine a great number of the grandparents (approx 40%) who pay the fees are embroiled with shares which have bombed.
Our school gives a small discount for the third (10% I think) and the 4th, 5th,6th etc go free for as long as there are 3 paying elder siblings at the school.
Oh and the school is 4-18, so if you have children close in age you can get a good sized discount for quite a number of years.
Or - dare I say?- you might need to get your head around the concept that, with your ELDEST with still 6 years to go and with the 'above inflation' rise in fees showing no sign of abating- AND bearing in mind, when you're looking at 8-12K p.a. per child, those discounts are negligible- the local state school, where 93% of the nation's DCs (and rising) are being educated may be the way to go.
The money you save can go on extra-curricular and tutoring if you feel it's necessary.
Also bear in mind that a private school in financial difficulties is not necessarily a good place for a DC to be. There are all too many stories of parents rocking up on the first day of term and finding a padlock on the gates. By then it's far to late to get the DC into a decent local state school! There may been room at another local private school but if there IS might that also indicate 'trouble ahead'? This will only get worse. Also, if a school's 'selling point' is its academia, you may well find its standards fall to where parents, perhaps 'beguiled' by the word 'private' WILL stump up the cash.
I know for a fact a situation where a DS was told he was very borderline in passing his 'highly selective and academic' secondary entrance exam from the attached prep, back in very early September, and that the parents MIGHT like to consider their DS's future- but since then the Head himself has visited the parents to ASSURE them their DS has a place -since evidently so many others have dropped out!
That DH works in finance, too, and has seen the writing on the wall, so, FWIW, they themselves have 'sadly and regretfully' decided The Time Has Come- and are settling for a local-ish comp- with a mere 84% A-C inc Maths and English at GCSE school...
Our schools don't have a "mere 84% A-C inc Maths and English at GCSE" but have 37% and 47%. The much-heralded over-subscribed school 3-4 miles away, no transport, no local friends if you go there, has 68%.
Still nowhere near your "mere 84%".
Choices vary. Always on mumsnet it's people who live near the 'mere 84%' schools that say there's nothing wrong with state education, I find!!
gaussgirl - I think you make a good point about private schools which are struggling in the current climate. Of course they are going to drop their academic standard for entry! (if they are selective in the first place). Of course they will be more interested in who can give them a cheque which won't bounce!!
I think we'll see a big shift in the clientele of many private schools. Our local one is certainly filling up increasingly with overseas students, mainly Chinese. Nothing wrong with that - but people need to be aware that it creates a different, and very narrow school. It's no longer the school of choice for local affluent middle class families - it's a business which runs because the people who can now afford to pay are the overseas rich.
The only reason we can send three private is big sibling discounts (it's something like 20% discount for the second, 25% for the third and any more are only a couple of hundred dollars each). I would try and negotiate something if I were you, if there are already a lot of people on provisional notice hopefully the school wouldn't want to lose a family of 4. Good luck.
The fees up north are not much cheaper than down south in my experience, neither are the houses in the good areas cheaper either, another common misconception. Only we don't have the London salaries.
The only school around here that offers a 4th child free is Mostyn House which is so awful I would have still taken mine out even if they'd all been free.
If you've come this far then you've given the kids a great start, I would move them to the best state school in the area before everybody else has the same idea and the places go.
We did that 18 months ago, even forgoing 2 sets of fees instead of notice, but we were right to do so.
The children are doing just as well and in all honesty I regret the years we paid for private school.
SueW, I should have put "merely 84%" meaning who wouldn't kill to get their DCs INTO that local comp as opposed to seeing it as a poor second choice once private became too expensive, which the parents of the DS of whom I spoke did!
My friend has just taken her two out of a small prep school and sent them elsewhere. Since she has left, another mother has told her that she was offered a free place for a son in order to keep him there with her 2 girls. Boys are very scare at this particular school!
It doesn't really answer your question but I guess it illustrates the current financial climate. This particular school knew that if they lost this boy the chances of them getting any more boys in that year group are very remote indeed.
Tough times ahead!
Locally the catholic independent schools have the most generous sibling discounts.
I have a friend who has had four sons at Woodleigh School in Yorkshire and they had big discounts for larger families. They also offered lots of payment options including discounts for payment in advance so all in all they managed to make some pretty big savings. Might be worth checking out. They have a website here: www.woodleighschool.com
Bumping this as about to have my third start at an excellent selective , but have been told on the grapevine that the discount is 5% (and not across the board either, just for 1 ie about £500 for the year). They are full with W/Ls. They don't publish a discount, seems you have to ask. I didn't have three in mind when the oldest started.
Average fee rises in the past 4 years have been 10%, but as the fees increase with age too, this has meant about 25% this year!!!!
There is no discount for two.
Interesting to see what can be offered elsewhere, but I can now see why there are just four other families with three children at our school. I'm also hoping that they may be open to negotiation in the current climate!
We are also looking at state options, that £25k will buy a hell of a lot of extracurricular top ups,and I believe that what parents put in, and the expectations of their peer group, is probably more important than the precise environment, within certain parameters of course.
Has anyone had any success in negotiating a good discount, I'd love to hear how....!
My DD went to an indpendent prep in Gloucestershire 2 years ago where there was no discount for children 1 & 2 buta 20% or 25% for child number three!! I have no idea what, if any was offerd for a 4th sibling. If you want me to name the school please ask. I have no idea if this is still offered or not. We moved DD from there due to moving house 2 years ago.
I'm in the same boat. ds's dad informed me that he may be loosing his job last week, the exmil informed me on Thursday that he had been made redundant so wouldn't be able to pay maintenance. I've sent in a letter asking for extra time to pay the remainder of this terms fees but have heard nothing back so I don't know whether ds will be allowed to go back after half term. They have sent him home with homework and times for parents evening but have not contacted me over the extra time to pay the fees so I'm not sure what's going on. It's half term so there will be no one there. I couldn't imagine the stress you are going through having 4 of them at a private school . There's no discounts at any schools in Derbyshire for siblings. I'm pleased ds is an only child, the stress is driving me nits though.
Do what we did, move to an area where the state schools are excellent, we had to downsize to do it, but it has been worth it.
Would be a good idea if they were not full!
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