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To consider private for my DS's on our income?

(153 Posts)
Lotsofknockers Sat 12-Jan-13 18:27:10

I don't wish to get into the state vs private but am considering private for my DS's for various reasons - is it affordable on a income of £130k per year? Day dees around 10k per year which will rise for prep. We live in London - one DS would go this year the other in two years time but there would be consideration of nursery fees of around £800 a month so technically the same as two lots of fees now. Are we mad to consider it? Will we be struggling? Mortgage is around £1300 per month.

MrsDe Tue 15-Jan-13 13:10:58

Coming in late to this but have only just seen it.

OP, we are in central london and have a similar joint income. Our mortgage is higher and we manage to send both of ours to the local fee paying school. Well, my DS will start in September but until then we have a nanny/part time nursery place and actually our childcare costs will be lower once he starts in school in September.

We manage to put into pensions, save, have holidays (camping trips granted, not 5 star resorts but still abroad) a nice car and days out etc. We don't have any other debt other than our mortgage and guess we don't spend much on clothes or other material things, gadgets etc. but I was talking to OH about this last night and neither of us feel as though we are missing out. Ocassionaly I think about how nice it would be to not watch every penny but I realise that we are lucky to have what we do have and for me it's worth it.

I am surprised at some of the comment from posters on here saying that they wouldn't do it on that salary. I guess it goes to show it's all about what other outgoings you have.

Bearbehind Mon 14-Jan-13 21:01:31

Maisiejoe, I never said these trips were 'essential' I was simply pointing out that the OP said sending her children to private school meant sacrificing family holidays and I was highlighting the fact that their peers will be travelling, either on school trips or with their parents, and it is a factor to consider when weighing up the options.

diabolo Mon 14-Jan-13 19:34:30



France is the extent of school trips for DS so far.

marriedinwhite Mon 14-Jan-13 19:00:27

Agrees with Diabolo - even in SW London - it's the same. And we have older dc of 14 and 18. I would say the girls are less into branded clothes, etc., than at the top 100 comp we moved dd from at the end of y8.

As for the trips we have always said one per year and occasionally as ds has got older we have said OK to something we have believed to be truly educational such as Berlin for History and Italy for Latin in addition to the ski-ing he always choses. We have also succumbed to a couple of sports tours because it would be difficult to say no when based on ability (that's the rub I think - it would be difficult to say no to those sorts of experiences of a lifetime - although I know a lot of families said no to the Galapogos Islands - don't even ask the cost hmm.)

seeker Mon 14-Jan-13 10:27:14

Interesting about trips. Depends on how many are going, I think. If it's the whole class bar one or two, then that's an issue. If it's half go half not, then that's OK.

maisiejoe123 Mon 14-Jan-13 10:18:28

Bear - I agree with YouBroke! I have one DS at prep and another at a well known senior boarding and your view of 'essential' trips isnt correct. There is no pressure to go and to have the right gear. Boys tend not to choose their friends by how much money their parents have

diabolo Mon 14-Jan-13 09:07:59

My experience is the same as MrsCampbellBlack - very few snobs, very little keeping up with the Jones' (and we tend to laugh at those that try), and the second hand shop has queues out of the door every week.

I'm sure some schools do have this - but here in East Anglia it's not like that at the preps I know and, according to friends, even less at the local senior independents as the parents tend to have far less involvement (thankfully).

HeavenlyAmy Sun 13-Jan-13 17:45:03

I haven't read all the thread, but would say choose state and supplement with tutors. The school day in private normally runs to 6pm so they could do some tutoring after school.

Bearbehind Sun 13-Jan-13 17:31:14

But on that basis you agree that the keeping up with the Jones' point does need to be factored into the senior school decision making process given you agreed it is a different kettle of fish. As I said before, I don't think it's right but I think it has to be considered when deciding which route to go down and that was the point of the OP's thread- can they afford to do it?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 13-Jan-13 17:23:34

You dont though bearbehind, you can afford prep, so send them and hope that you still can at senior if you have to. There are many types of senior indie as well for all budgets.

marmitepeanutbutter Sun 13-Jan-13 17:21:27

I would be surprised if someone on £130k felt out of place socially at a regular £3k a term prep school which what the OP is indicating her school fees would be. Our school is not full of SAHM mums driving brand new cars wearing designer clothes and spending every holiday in far flung destinations. Whilst admittedly there are no families that I know of who are living in one bedroom flats, driving an old banger and shopping only in Lidl to afford the fees and there are some families who are clearly absolutely loaded most are somewhere in between. The majority of the DC' s friends live in nice houses 3/4 bed semis or medium sized detatched houses, drive nice but not breathtaking cars such as Ford SMax, Golfs, older 4x4' s and the most popular summer holiday last year according to the display in the classroom seemed to be center parcs. Our mums night outs are usually Prezzo with discount vouchers. Whilst this is all clearly very nice and a luxury for many I wouldn't imagine that it would make someone on a good 6 figure salary feel very out of place.

Bearbehind Sun 13-Jan-13 17:20:58

Yes but as I said Youbrokemyshoulder, I can't get my head around the concept if aspiring to send children to private school until they reach senior level, then moving them into the state system, so I am commenting on their whole school career.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 13-Jan-13 17:16:31

We're not london but this keeping up with the jones thing just doesn't happen here - everyone rummages in the second hand uniform shop and there's a lot of tutting about every extra cost.

And most of the extra clubs are free anyway.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 13-Jan-13 17:15:56

Again, i dont agree bearbehind. Not in London preps anyway, theres a massively wide variation of people and money and it would be very hard to tell who was who or how much money they had.

There is very little brand conciousness at all until they are in senior school and the ones who are spoilt and have everything and are bragging all the time are the subject of derision not the other way around.

Senior 13+ schools are a different kettle of fish though.

Bearbehind Sun 13-Jan-13 17:11:17

Namnynick, I completely agree, I was fortunate that my parents could afford the extras too, but the children who's parents clearly spent every spare penny on the fees were seen as different and that was 20 years ago when kids were much less materialistic and brand conscious.
I'm not saying its right but I do think it is true that you have to factor in an element of 'keeping up with the Jones'' in your budget calculations.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 13-Jan-13 17:10:41

Well from what you've posted I think you should be able to afford it.

My dc's are at private and was chatting to some other parents last week and worries about fees are pretty common but you know if at any point you can't afford it - you pull them out - its not the end of the world - I know several families who've had to do this for various reasons, eg, divorce/grandparents no longer agreeing to pay the fees.

A lot of people pay the fees on an ongoing basis eg out of salary/divis and who knows what will happen with job losses etc.

But I don't regard my money as wasted. I am happy with the education we're paying for but my dc's may not remain in the private sector forever because they may not pass the exams to the senior school.

Perhaps I'm unusual in not worrying too much about the future yet and I'm lucky in that if they do go to state senior the local ones are fine.

Much harder if your local schools aren't great.

marriedinwhite Sun 13-Jan-13 17:07:35

I don't agree with that at all *nannynick*. I have worked full time since dd was 6 as have many mothers - London Schools and sought after ones. Also we don't have a merc or a beamer and have never ever felt alienated because of it - neither do I do the designer clothes route. We are rich though - so perhaps we just don't give a F***. Looks at shabby worn furniture.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 13-Jan-13 17:05:26

You see a lot if those things are not important to us

We never went on holiday abroad as a child. I am a fussy ester and much prefer self catering holidays in this country. Dh and I would be gutted if we couldn't go to the theatre a couple of times a year but we had to forgo that when the kids were younger anyway

Dd has piano lessons at school. They are the same price as private lessons but if push came to shove dh is a music teacher and I played to grade 8 standard

They won't be going on foreign trips. We are able to afford the year 5 outdoor ed residential.

Last night dh took me to Frankie & Benny for a pre cinema meal. The last time we ate out was at half term when we went to Blackpool for the day except for when my parents invite us out. Eating at home is so much cheaper than eating out. Because of the funny hours we work anyway we probably wouldn't go out for meals even if we had twice the income.

JoanByers Sun 13-Jan-13 17:04:14

At my children's school I would say most mothers work at least part-time, perhaps because low-cost childcare is available until 6pm.

If you choose a school where the school day finishes on the dot at 4pm it's going to be a different set of parents from a school where children can eat dinner in school.

nannynick Sun 13-Jan-13 17:01:17

When I nannied for a family whose children went to private school the vast majority of people taking/collecting children were Mums, who mostly did not work, or who did a little work during school hours within their family business.
So if you both work full-time, then I think you will not be like the majority of the other families whose children attend the school and thus you may not fit in the social group - the families all seemed to hang out with each other, very clicky at school pickup time.

As a child I went to a private school in London and I was the odd one out - my grandparents paid the school fees. It was obvious to the other children that I was not one of them, my parents didn't have the Merc/BMW or the big house, I didn't have the latest electronic games, the branded sports wear. Uniform was mostly second hand.

Look at budget and make sure you can do it without struggling, as your children will need to fit in with the others, not be cast aside as being 'poor'.

JoanByers Sun 13-Jan-13 16:49:04

> You will probably save something over using state scools as you'll almost certainly be able to buy the uniform 2nd hand,

No, the uniforms are v. expensive with all the straw boaters and berets and woolen blazers. You might be able to get some second hand, but you can't compare it to a sweatshirt and a couple of shirts from Asda.

> individual instrument lessons (If required) can be cheaper than outside scool,

not in my experience, the teachers have a monopoly position and charge £££, plus the lessons tend to be 1-to-1, whereas at a state school group lessons, while less effective, are more likely to be offered and are of course cheaper.

> with no petrol costs,

why not?

> and, IME, trips, which you by no means have to send your DCs on, tend to be cheaper than at state schools,


> as the independents arrange their holidays so that trips aren't at peak rates. Also the holiday timings mean that you can often take much cheaper holidays yourselves.

yes this is true if you have still money to spend on holidays after all those fees, going in early July or early-December is easily £1k cheaper than it would be in state school holidays.

With two working parents the childcare at private schools can be quite convenient/economical.

I think it is best to assume you just pay the fees and don't save anything and budget on that basis.

TotallyBS Sun 13-Jan-13 16:37:59

Interesting perspective choco. The birthday girl shouldnt have sleepover because the feelings of the child who is not a best friend might be hurt by only being invited to the party.

iyatoda Sun 13-Jan-13 16:08:56

Seeker - How bizarre. Your view of what happens in state schools is dependent on what I post on an. What power I have!

Are you alright? No your view on education state or private is irrelevant to me. But if you are going to answer the OP then answer it without the snipe. Not her fault you don't agree with private ed. grin

amicissimma Sun 13-Jan-13 16:08:33

If you're unsure, why not wait a few years, using that time to pay half the fees into a savings account? Then you'll have an idea hoe painful the fees will be, plus you will actually have to find less as younwill have some of the fees saved.

You will probably save something over using state scools as you'll almost certainly be able to buy the uniform 2nd hand, individual instrument lessons (If required) can be cheaper than outside scool, with no petrol costs, and, IME, trips, which you by no means have to send your DCs on, tend to be cheaper than at state schools, as the independents arrange their holidays so that trips aren't at peak rates. Also the holiday timings mean that you can often take much cheaper holidays yourselves.

In answer to your OP. IMHO, you could afford to send your DCs and mine private on that income, easily. But then I've no idea what you are spending elsewhere.

marmitepeanutbutter Sun 13-Jan-13 16:05:52

sorry I miss understood you. Yes, I agree, I wouldn't sacrifice holidays in their entirety for school fees, it would be just too miserable for us. I am happy to say to my children , how lovely that little johnny goes to his caribbean island and on 4 ski trips a year but we can' t do that but we have a lovely summer holiday in Italy and a weekend in Cornwall but I wouldn't want to be in a position where we had to say no to everything. So, yes I agree with you.

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