School Fees - Large Families

(52 Posts)
P0M1 Sat 25-Oct-08 13:27:59

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!

SqueakyPop Sat 25-Oct-08 13:34:04

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.

findtheriver Sat 25-Oct-08 14:04:45

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!

SueW Sat 25-Oct-08 14:10:14

Some do.

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."

SueW Sat 25-Oct-08 14:11:55

Or train as a teacher and get a job at Repton - 90% staff discount!

dilemma456 Sat 25-Oct-08 14:14:26

Message withdrawn

Loshad Sat 25-Oct-08 14:28:51

I'm in yorkshire, four at independent school and not a penny discount. School doesn't need to as oversubscribed.

P0M1 Sat 25-Oct-08 15:29:42

My school is oversubscribed in fact we are probably up to 100 kids down at present!

P0M1 Sat 25-Oct-08 15:31:21

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.

snorkle Sat 25-Oct-08 19:40:23

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.

snorkle Sat 25-Oct-08 19:42:18

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.

gaussgirl Sat 25-Oct-08 20:26:11

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...

SueW Sat 25-Oct-08 22:59:13

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!!

findtheriver Sun 26-Oct-08 11:40:59

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.

sunnydelight Sun 26-Oct-08 22:32:00

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.

KatieDD Mon 27-Oct-08 11:36:45

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.

gaussgirl Mon 27-Oct-08 20:11:54

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!

llareggub Mon 27-Oct-08 20:17:22

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!

LadyMuck Sat 01-Nov-08 16:24:51

Locally the catholic independent schools have the most generous sibling discounts.

northyorksmoors Mon 03-Nov-08 02:28:06

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:

coopertrooper Mon 08-Dec-08 11:20:53

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....!

slummymummy36 Sat 14-Feb-09 16:11:37

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.

scrooged Sat 14-Feb-09 16:22:44

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 sad. 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.

catMandu Sat 14-Feb-09 16:28:29

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.

scrooged Sat 14-Feb-09 16:29:35

Would be a good idea if they were not full!

Dottoressa Sat 14-Feb-09 21:32:42

We're in Yorkshire, and we get either 5% or 10% off for DD (sibling discount) - not sure which!

Lots of independent schools do offer scholarships for clergy, armed forces and so on; Queen Ethelburga's (nr. York) offers scholarships for riding (it's v horsey), and all sorts of things. If any of them can sing, choir schools have excellent discounts! Good luck...

marialuisa Mon 16-Feb-09 10:19:28

Scrooged-there are sibling discounts at private schools in Derbyshire. DD's school offers very generous bursaries to people on low incomes, have you tried asking at your DS's school?

scrooged Mon 16-Feb-09 20:30:44

ds is an only child so I don't have this to deal with aswell. His school fees have almost doubled since he started in the private system 5 years ago, I can't justify the cost anymore, it's almost three times the cost of my house. I've been in contact with the LEA this morning and there's space in my local state school, it's nice, I can't see much of a difference between this and the school I'm busting a gut to pay for apart from the class sizes. I'm still waiting for his school to get back to me regarding the fees so I don't have much hope. It would be so nice to have a haircut and do all of the things with ds that I can't afford at the moment. I'm unsure what to do.

marialuisa Tue 17-Feb-09 09:36:53

Don't know where you are but there are some good primaries in the city and some of the secondaries seem to be improving. My friend teaches at a very mixed secondary school in the city and she says that the top sets are excellent, the problems are with the weaker sets. Reckons it feels like she's teaching in 2 different schools.

Hope you get it sorted. I can't believe it's worth beggaring yourself for private at primary level.

queenethelburgasscholarships Fri 24-Jun-11 14:12:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

queenethelburgasscholarships Fri 24-Jun-11 14:14:06

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

QueenEthelburga Sat 25-Feb-12 23:47:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

TwoPinkShoes Sun 26-Feb-12 12:57:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 26-Feb-12 17:00:03

Move to Hampshire and come to our wonderful comps
(including Bohunt that the nice lady from the DM hated!)
seriously - top sets at Hampshire comps are indistinguishable (academically / socially / financially ) from their private peers
then again the kids that the private schools pump up the grades for will suffer (heaven forfend)

lateSeptember1964 Sun 26-Feb-12 18:28:44

We get 5% for ds2 and10% for ds3. To be honest it is such a little amount that it really doesn't make a lot of difference.

LadySybilDeChocolate Sun 26-Feb-12 18:31:17

It's an old thread. There's no need to post on here. smile

kerrygrey Sun 26-Feb-12 18:58:19

Marialuisa - can you tell me which schools in Derbyshire offer generous bursaries, please? Repton told me, in a rather superior tone, 'bursaries are minimal rather than substantial' PM me if you prefer. Many thanks

LadySybilDeChocolate Sun 26-Feb-12 19:01:38

Kerry Derby Grammar school have a few, only for the secondary section though unless things have changed. Trent college, Nottingham High School and the one in Bakewell (St Aslems I think) all have bursaries. None of the preps have them. I'm not sure about Ockbrook, or Derby High School.

SoupDragon Sun 26-Feb-12 19:04:46


This is from 2008

LadySybilDeChocolate Sun 26-Feb-12 19:16:37

I've already said that soup. smile

SoupDragon Sun 26-Feb-12 19:46:47


LadySybilDeChocolate Sun 26-Feb-12 19:47:28

Have some wine

kerrygrey Mon 27-Feb-12 06:42:51

Thanks LadyS

LadySybilDeChocolate Mon 27-Feb-12 10:56:34

Any time. smile Which ones are you looking at? I may be able to help.

WordsAreNoUseAtAll Mon 27-Feb-12 11:09:06

Could you home educate, and pay for tutors? With the money you saved in school fees, they could do loads of groups, have private tutors, and you could even get a nanny or whatever to ferry them around.

Also, up north is cheaper for housing at least, we are in commuting distance of loads of private schools and four bedroom houses with gardens are £100,000, with really big and posh houses at around £500,000 (in a place called Washington, but other places are just slightly more expensive). Depending on your husbands job, could he manage a hour and a half flight to london, or a three hour train ride? If you are happy with him having a flat in the city, or he has a job where he only has to go in every now and again, or they have regional offices, it is doable. And that is Newcastle, there are places further south that are just as cheap.

Plus my non catholic daughter is in an outstanding catholic state primary, with one form entry, huge playing fields and so on, and excellent exam results.

WordsAreNoUseAtAll Mon 27-Feb-12 11:10:41

Eek, sorry - posted after reading the first page... will go away now blush

NessaYork Sat 09-Feb-13 07:36:55

If you're considering Ethelburgas, make sure you read the fine print first. Many military families get stung because they believed they are able to reasonably remove their child before 6th Form eg for an overseas posting. What they didn't realise is that the fine print meant they would then have to repay every penny of the discount they had thus far enjoyed.

mummytime Sat 09-Feb-13 07:54:19

I would strongly suggest looking at State schools, and moving for one of those if necessary. Great Grammars in Essex or Comprehensives in lots of places.

Lots of children (especially boys) have been moving from their prep schools to my DCs Comp, and their parents have been very very happy.

lljkk Sat 09-Feb-13 08:21:48


Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 15:00:51

Put the younger two in state primary (go on, we commoners really don't bite!) and plan for your current Y7 to go to state 6th form. Hopefully (if I've understood the age gaps) this should mean you only have two in private education at any given moment. I don't really mean to sneer and fully appreciate that secondary schools with 375 and 47% pass rate are not ideal; I wouldn't want that for my kids either; but maybe the primary schools near you are OK and you can devote all your finances to secondary?

You might be pleasantly surprised at what state primaries offer...

scaevola Sat 09-Feb-13 15:05:35

As it is 5 years since OP I think the DCs education will have been pretty much sorted by now.

Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 15:08:24

Whoops, didn't notice this was old!

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