What household income for two children at private school nowadays, roughly?

(143 Posts)
KingfishersCatchFire Sat 08-Mar-14 18:22:35

Apologies as I am sure this has been done many times before, but I can't find a recent thread on it.

If you have two children at a good private school and are able to afford this comfortably without additional help from grandparents or work, would you mind telling me what is your annual household income? DH and I will be considering our options at some point, but I realise I am not sure how much most families in this situation actually earn. When I was at school the available scholarships were much higher and the fees much lower than they seem to be now.

NearTheWindymill Sun 09-Mar-14 08:48:49

It doesn't matter how important you think it is eatyourveg if your income goes above the CB threshold and you don't qualify for a bursary or scholarships and you have to meet all your domestic expenses and even if you scrimp and scrape you still don't have enough. Sometimes people just can't have it.

And for deepest I image one or two went in and the others had to follow suit and the costs and the obligation just crept up. I hope one comes out of the sausage machine soon and that it gets easier for you.

LadyMaryLikesCake Sun 09-Mar-14 10:21:35

I forgot about the extras. Ds's school don't add lunch to the fees and there's things like music tuition that I also pay for. Luckily all trips are included in his fees so I don't have to budget for these but his PE kit is expensive, there's no second hand uniform shop and I can only buy it from the school. 2 rugby tops, shorts, tracksuit, athletics kit, hockey kit, cricket kit... so you have to factor this in too.

Some places have fab state schools so it would be daft to pay for a private school. It would make more sense to send a child to a state school and use the money that would have been spent on fees on a better quality of life (holidays, trips etc. Not all private schools are good ones either so look for the right school for your child, regardless of whether it's state or private). Some places don't have fab state schools though and if you have a child with additional needs then there's little option but to go private.

Good luck, OP.

longingforsomesleep Sun 09-Mar-14 10:58:37

Exactly Lady. My children have all gone to a local state grammar but the extras still really do add up. Uniforms, PE kits, compulsory trips, activities, optional trips, music lessons etc. If your children show a talent or interest (the two don't necessarily go hand in hand!) in a particular area such as sport or music the costs can really mount up. I've paid for cello lessons at £15 pw, drum lessons at £20 pw, piano lessons at £13 pw, additional sports coaching sessions and one school trip in particular cost well in excess of £2k.

Blu Sun 09-Mar-14 11:02:17

Eatyourveg: but in a two income household the threshold for cutting CB can be £99k, and if you set aside £30k or even £40k for school fees then that still leaves £59k, way way above the national average.

If your household income is £30k how are you going to manage private fees?

LadyMaryLikesCake Sun 09-Mar-14 11:57:12

Blimey, longingforsomesleep! shock I hope you're making them earn their extras by doing some cleaning for you! wink

There isn't a grammar school here, sadly.

It's easy to manage on a household income of 30k for one set of school fees, Blu. I have a new job now but have managed on less than that before. It's not fun though as all you do is pay the school fees and pay the bills. There's little left for anything else but if you live in the ass end of nowhere you can't really go to the cinema/eat out etc.

NearTheWindymill Sun 09-Mar-14 12:06:22

How on earth can you pay one set of fees out of an annual income of 30k?

I would also say that once you get to two children the extras are such a small percentage of the overall cost that if you have to worry about them then you can't really afford the fees. For example: term's fees 6,300 - lunch, bookroom, odds and sods about 500. Uniform - tbh we've never found that too onerous.

Burmahere Sun 09-Mar-14 12:10:43

am also baffled re managing one set of fees on 30k, do you mean you manage on that after paying the fees?

MichelloBarner Sun 09-Mar-14 12:12:23

I think it's impossible to say. School fees vary a bit, but (unless you are comparing small local independent schools with big posh public schools) there is not as much variance between fees north to south, or between London and the provinces as there is in the variance of house prices.

Someone can manage very quite well indeed on the same salary in say, a suburb of Leeds, that they could not manage at all on, in most parts of central London.

I think it's easier to just say what the average school fees would be for two children in your area, and work out what you'd need to earn before tax to afford that, before you pay for anything else.

Blu Sun 09-Mar-14 12:41:14

I suppose if you pay £15k in fees you could live on the remaining £15k, if you have low rent, small family, low overheads, i.e a household that can manage on £15k, and then add on the school fees to know what the total amount needed is. I don't see how you could do it in London, for example,, unless you owned a paid-for house. Even a two-bed council property wouldn't enable you to do it, I don't think.

But the OP is talking about 2 children....

The answer is the same; what you can or do live on, plus the cost of the fees and any extras.

LadyMaryLikesCake Sun 09-Mar-14 12:46:03

30k (*before paying the fees*) - 12k fees leaves 18k, less mortgage/rent of 4k, so 14k left for the year.

Split the 14k over 52 weeks = £269 per week for the rest of the bills and food. Electricity and gas = £20 per week, TV, phone and broadband = £15 per week, food = £50 per week, water/tv licence/insurance/council tax = £30 per week, travel to school £27 per week (public transport), dentist £2.50 per week, leaving £146 so save for whatever. It's doable if you don't eat out/go to the cinema/go on holiday/buy clothes too much.

Families on benefits live on less than 14k, I am rather happy that I have a new job though grin

Blu Sun 09-Mar-14 13:35:11

£4k on mortgage / rent? <<faints>>
Most basic campsites we stay on charge more than that per week! Good though, that people can find cheaper places to live.

Also £20 a week on gas and elec seems light, ditto council tax - I think our council tax alone is about £20 a week shock sad.

One advantage London parents have is free bus travel for U16s - saves a lot. But modest private schools cost £4,700 per term and rising at secondary

Anyway, I am extremely happy with DS's comp, where even his individual weekly music lessons only cost us £50 per term, and I am not contemplating juggling on this level!

Congrats on your new job, Ladymary!

NearTheWindymill Sun 09-Mar-14 14:03:36

Must be grim though Lady Mary. I would send mine to the comp rather than live like that.

ItIsAnIdeasGame Sun 09-Mar-14 14:03:51

I've just calculated that putting our 3 through is going to cost 540k net. <faints>. Luckily i work and we've started saving/ investing but it is a frightening sum. We also live overseas so have to consider flights etc. The sums involved must mean sacrifices for most surely. When did it all get so expensive?

Blu Sun 09-Mar-14 14:46:28

itIsAnIdeasGame - there is an alternative you know!

LauraBridges Sun 09-Mar-14 15:25:20

I think I had our 5 from age 4 - 18 at about £1m of income taxed at about 40% (13 years x 5 x £10k a year),. When I did the calculation I assumed university was free so it is probably even more now and the fees are £15k not £10k now (secondary, SE). Money well spent however. Much nicer to spend no that than expensive shoes or hair cuts or whatever else.

AuditAngel Sun 09-Mar-14 15:47:38

We have 3 DC and cannot even contemplate a private education.

Our household income is about £4.5 k per month, but then the mortgage/gas and electric/council tax is £1,600 before any child care (about £500) credit card and loan repayments etc. plus car repayments, insurance, pet insurance, swimming lessons, dancing lessons, karate lessons. believe me there is never anything left at the end of a month.

MillyMollyMama Sun 09-Mar-14 16:38:37

At the schools mine went to,I saw few scrimping and saving for private education. It has gone out of the reach of many unless you are poor and clever. We know people who get bursaries, but Granny pays for the extras. The family has money, but the parents do not. This is a common wheeze. They don't go without as family money buys cars,holidays etc. Where mine went to school you would be a noticeable odd one out if you did not have a holiday or a relatively respectable car. If your child cannot join in, I do think there is a problem. They probably say they are ok so as not to hurt feelings. A few of the bursary children in my DDs old school had big problems adjusting. If you do not like rich children, why are you so keen to join them, LadyMary?

ChocolateWombat Sun 09-Mar-14 16:52:12

For a person with no mortgage (and there are quite a lot who seem to be mortgage free by early 40s even without being huge earners...just very careful and overpaying for 10/15 years since getting on property ladder in late 20s) I Think it is possible to do it for 1 child on not much more than £60k esp if that is split between 2 earners, so neither is paying higher rate tax and both have the tax free allowance.
I am basing that on them living fairly frugally, in terms of being careful about what is spend on food and utilities and driving oldish cars, but not going without holidays. I would see a 60k (about £3750 net per month) budget stretching to 1K on school fees per month and still allowing a couple of cheap ish holidays per year ....perhaps around the £600 mark each. Within that, I would also expect them to be able to contribute into pensions and perhaps save £200 or £300 per month. Maintaining saving is important for when you need a new car or boiler....and these things will always happen. Adding at least £4k to savings per year seems important.

ChocolateWombat Sun 09-Mar-14 16:57:36

I think those on lowish incomes who manage it, not only have no/tiny mortgage, but also some decent saving behind them. If they have £20 to £30k in the bank, the low income is not so terrifying, because there is always something to fall back on if necessary.
I know people who seem to do it on the £60k I mentioned previously. They have 2 earners on around £30k each, no mortgages and decent savings. They are financially savvy, in the sense that they waste little and always know the best deals, get the highest interest rates etc. They are not high earners, but get the most out of their money....and this has allowed them to afford private education, when some people who earn twice what they do, can't afford it.

Viviennemary Sun 09-Mar-14 17:05:06

I don't understand the question either. It depends on how much money you need for your mortgage and what your transport to work costs are and of course how much the school fees are.

eatyourveg Sun 09-Mar-14 17:26:37

Wish I had 20-30K in the bank!! Without the concessions of scholarships and bursary for ds1 the only way we could have done it would have been to move somewhere smaller and I would have had to increase my hours at work to something over the tax and NI threshold which could end up being counter-productive unless I was full time.

Dh is very astute with financial stuff so we could do one non-concession child and a 80K mortgage without a problem on an income below 50K. As it is, ds3 only gets a 5% sibling discount.

I would advise OP to look at areas of the UK where housing is cheaper and seek out schools that have decent scholarships that are actually meaningful.

LadyMaryLikesCake Sun 09-Mar-14 18:41:06

I didn't say I didn't like 'rich children' Milly confused

There isn't a grammar school here and ds has additional needs so I didn't think that a large noisy school would be in his best interests (his current school is half the size of the state school that he was allocated by the LEA). The school have other boys with the same needs as ds, which helps as they have the experience and he doesn't feel alone. The school is also open for longer so I don't have to worry about who's going to spend the hour with him after school. He loves languages and the state school we were offered only taught two (he's studying four). There's a higher percentage of male teachers where he is, I'm a single mother and I wanted him to have some caring men in his life. He also gets the support that he needs, which I think is vital. The reason he goes there has nothing to do with the type of children, it hadn't crossed my mind.

Thank you, Blu smile

ChocolateWombat Sun 09-Mar-14 19:38:03

I think there are a range of lifestyles in private schools, but obviously veering towards the more affluent. Whilst I'm not into 'keeping up with the Jones'' and think it would be fine to go private, if you couldn't afford the ski trips, to have holidays abroad yourself or new cars, I think that if paying the fees makes things so tight for you that you are never going to be able to afford for your child to join a paying extra curricular activity, or to go along with a friend for a day out, because the cost of going to the cinema is beyond you, or never join the other mums for a coffee in a coffee shop, then things are cut too fine and the extent of difference will be too much. Total exclusion from social activities other children and parents engage in is not healthy.
Likewise, if paying the fees means you spend loads of time worrying each month, that there might not be enough for the mortgage, or the food, or the credit card bill, then I think you are stretching yourself too thin.
Some sacrifices are fine. It's knowing how far is too far.

LauraBridges Sun 09-Mar-14 20:15:13

Many mothers of private school pupils work full time and certainly are not going for coffees with other mothers and don't want to. I don't think the inability to afford that excludes you. It may depend on your area. Around here (London area) where Asian families will plough all family money from the chemist shop or whatever into the education of one or two children there are lots of families where there is not much money at all but education is absolutely the first priority (which is rather nice). My children won't go on any school ski trips (they could, I always ask them, they always refuse) and it's non U to have a very expensive car - that is in effect lower class made good showy and not the done thing. An older car shows you have class surely in the English class system as you have nothing to prove.

ChocolateWombat Sun 09-Mar-14 20:27:33

Laura, not sure you understood what I was meaning.
I was simply saying that if paying the fees means there is ABSOLUTELY nothing left, meaning either basic bills such as mortgage cause huge worry very month, or nothing is left for absolutely any of the social activities the children and parents at the school engage in, then it is very easy to become very isolated. Being isolated is not a good thing.
Not interested in whether the old banger is socially acceptable or the flash new car......some people seem to put themselves in a position where they are unlikely to be able to afford to replace any type of car if needs replacing......again, seems to me that the fees are then just too much of a stretch. Some sacrifices are absolutely fine. People have different capacities for self sacrifice, but I think to choose an education which isolates a whole family due to the level of sacrifice required, cannot be a good thing.

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