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private school costs - can average earners afford these?

(264 Posts)
coffeeforone Wed 16-Oct-19 08:48:12

On the back of a recent thread taking about very cheap private school it got me wondering. If we pay £1500 per month for nursery fees, as most parents in the area do, can we afford private school long term? The fees mentioned in the thread were so much less than this.

Is it an option to consider if we don't get offered our top 3 choices of state primary and are not happy with the school the LA offer?

Currently looking at schools for DS next September, I don't think any of the parents at DS's nursery are considering private education, and neither are us? But I'm now thinking why not? I have done no research at all on independent school costs, I just thought they were well out of the reach of average earners, maybe I'm wrong?

Babyiwantabump Wed 16-Oct-19 08:52:32

It depends on which school you send them too I suppose . My daughters school is £4K per term so £12k per year. Plus lunches , uniform etc.

It is doable because as you say most people pay that in nursery fees anyway . If you can afford it then why not .

Pitterpatterpettysteps Wed 16-Oct-19 08:54:43

Fees at my dc's prep school are about £13-15k a year, which is less than you're paying now. It depends on your income & priorities. If you are happy with the amount you have left over now after nursery fees you should be fine. But how many dc do you have? If you have 3, it could be £45K a year - almost £4k a month on fees

Sushiroller Wed 16-Oct-19 08:56:17

Average earners. I'd say not.

We have a combined income of just shy of 200k gross and live in london outskirts. We will not be educating our children privately unless their is a dire need or they achieve close to fully scholarships for secondary.

And we are both privately educated and pro private education the key factor is cost and impact to standard of living.

opinionatedfreak Wed 16-Oct-19 08:56:49

No. Fees get more expensive as you go up the school.

There are other expenses too - wrap around childcare etc so you would easily end up paying out more than you do now.

sue51 Wed 16-Oct-19 08:57:18

I presume nursery care is full time. At school you have to consider the cost of additional care during the holidays and after school hours. Also prices rise considerably at secondary, my local school is about £7000 for year 7 entry.

Sushiroller Wed 16-Oct-19 08:57:40

Also private does not always equal good.

TheBiscuitStrikesBack Wed 16-Oct-19 08:58:32

It is everything that goes with a private education though. We could afford the fees but skiing trips, extra curriculars, laptops, iPads, uniforms... it all adds up.

Trewser Wed 16-Oct-19 08:59:33

If you mean just for primary its doable. But tbh if you have a good state primary (and many of them are really good nowadays) its really not worth the struggle.

GPatz Wed 16-Oct-19 09:00:40

That's what we are doing. The fees for our two year old's nursery place are not dissimilar to our local pre-prep. Including wrap around care, I think it's an extra £40 per month (so £120 per term). The holiday club is cheaper per day than nursery.

However, this is something we can afford to continue ( with small sacrifices) in the future for two children (DD is six months).
We have ensured that we can afford the rise in fees between years

Trewser Wed 16-Oct-19 09:00:58

skiing trips, extra curriculars, laptops, iPads, uniforms... it all adds up

Don't go on the skiing trips. Mine didnt.
Yes most 12 year olds need a laptop anyway
All extra curric is included apart lessons
Second hand uniform

Trewser Wed 16-Oct-19 09:02:55

I did state until year 9. Now 21k a year fees but we have a large scholarship. Dd was in the top or second sets and further ahead than most in English and languages.

PrawnCracker1 Wed 16-Oct-19 09:03:30

No I'd say it's not doable. 12k per year is a lot of money, especially if you have more than one child.

For a lot of people as well, paying for nursery is a shorter term solution financially. You would be paying nursery fees for four years, and then childcare costs significantly reduce once they start school.

Shoppingwithmother Wed 16-Oct-19 09:04:42

Presumably the nursery are looking after your child 5 days a week until 6pm for that cost. And feeding them 2 or 3 meals a day.

When they get to school they’ll finish at 3 ish, and if you both work full time you’ll have to pay extra for them to be looked after until 6 (whether at school or somewhere else). This could easily be another £50 per week.

Lunches are extra, uniforms, equipment, etc, trips, music lessons....

There are a lot of extra things to pay for at school compared to nursery.

As others have said as well, it depends how many children you have/plan to have. You may be ok with one at a time in nursery for a couple of years, but more difficult with 2 or 3 children in private school at the same time for 10 years.

The fees increase every year with inflation, and also usually increase (by much more) as you move up through the different parts of the school.

JacquesHammer Wed 16-Oct-19 09:05:15

If you have a good state primary and get in, all good. If you don't then of course it is sensible to look at other options. Definitely look around the school though to get a feel as to whether private would be a good fit for you.

FWIW, lower fees doesn't always equal lower quality. DD went to an outstanding prep, award winning, made national lists etc and we paid no more than £7K a year throughout school.

Also noting you mention nursery fees - DD's school simply deducted the free hours from your termly bill which was really useful - rather than having to do x number of sessions over x number of days which a lot of local pre-schools required.

coffeeforone Wed 16-Oct-19 09:05:53

Thanks! If we do get offered a good state primary then I don't need to think any further. And we don't find out until April which might be too late for next September anyway.
Yes the £1545 we pay now is for everything, food, trips, extras and 10 hours a day care.
There is a very local state Secondary school that is currently excellent and would be more than happy it's that. It's the primary school admissions that are more of a lottery.

JacquesHammer Wed 16-Oct-19 09:09:10

And we don't find out until April which might be too late for next September anyway

If they have a nursery section attached there will be a lot of movement before Reception year - definitely worth a call if you don't get a school you're happy with.

Rinoachicken Wed 16-Oct-19 09:10:33

When they get to school they’ll finish at 3 ish

Pretty sure most private schools have longer hours.

glueandstick Wed 16-Oct-19 09:10:58

Primary yes. But secondary no. Most decent Indy secondaries are 9-14k a term. (Day v boarding) which is just frankly ludicrous.

Userzzzzz Wed 16-Oct-19 09:12:19

Most people can’t sustain nursery fees and suck it up for the short amount of time they are having to pay them. It is very different doing it for a few years to doing it for the long-term.

coffeeforone Wed 16-Oct-19 09:12:29

We have 2DC, won't have any more. Both go to nursery. The cost i mentioned is per child under 3 but we did pay this for both for a period, DS2 is £1545, but DS2 is now only £1100 due to the over 3's 'free hours' funding. So at the moment we pay £2645 for two DC, all inclusive.

Userzzzzz Wed 16-Oct-19 09:15:50

So really the key question is how are you defining average earners? because you probably aren’t average earners from the numbers you’ve just included.

MarthasGinYard Wed 16-Oct-19 09:16:16

I think possibly

We have always put a thousand a month in a school account since dd was tiny so it's built up and we always have a fallback.

Dd was at a pretty rubbish prep for a while but now a great one it's 5000 a term we are not in the South.

We couldn't afford for two though

coffeeforone Wed 16-Oct-19 09:17:40

Sorry I mean DS1 (age 3) fees are now £1100 since last month. DS2 (age 1) is £1545 and will be at least this until the term after he turns 3.

Onatreebyariver Wed 16-Oct-19 09:18:05

Only you know if you're happy with your disposable income left over. We went private and are thrilled. Our 7 year old does so much more sports and music and extra curricular than friends in the local state options. Plus the ethos, environment, support... it's all wonderful.

Every school is different. You should definitely go and look round some private schools just so you can make a full choice.

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