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Do you worry about paying school fees in future?

(73 Posts)
Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 18:05:12

We are trying to decide whether to send our DS (and his siblings in the future). If we are careful we can afford to send him now, but it gets more difficult for the others. I have planned our finances for the next several years and it looks like we should be ok, but can't be 100% certain.

How certain were you that you could pay fees in, say, 5 years time? I am willing to take the small risk that it could go wrong and we would have to move them, but DH being very pessimistic and is convinced something will go wrong. I don't want to be 5 years down the line though and realise we could have afforded it. I know that things will be tight - but that's the case for most people paying school fees I assume. DH seems to think we need loads of money in the bank to be able to afford it if things go wrong.

I want to go for it but am I being too risky?

Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 19:53:55

I do feel like we should take the risk and try and get them as far as possible. Just trying to convince my DH that it may possible. I want them to enjoy school and get as much out of it as possible. My DS gets bored and hates the disruption to classes as discipline is not great. He is also being teased at the moment, which is common, but its not being dealt with at all.

Fluffy - I have 4 DCs which makes the decision so much harder. I want to treat them all the same

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 22-May-13 19:56:10

My dc's are at private school and I know a lot of the parents pay the fees out of income. There really aren't that many who have all the fee money sat in the bank unless grandparents have perhaps set up trusts.

I don't overly worry about paying the fees in the future. Because if at any point we can't afford it, then we will simply take them out and move to the state sector. And a lot of people operate this way, hence the numbers of children who have left the school that my children attend.

So provided your income is sufficient to comfortably cover fees, well I wouldn't worry too much personally.

seeker Wed 22-May-13 19:57:43

What are your main concerns about his current school?

Fluffy1234 Wed 22-May-13 20:07:48

4 DC is a lot to educate privately. I think if I was in your position I
would look more into the option of moving house/school. In my area 4 at private school would cost about 5k a month.

Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 20:11:55

Seeker - where do I start! Disruptive classes, lack of discipline, bad ofsted report, headmaster is useless, poor communication, teachers leaving in droves. DS is very well behaved and loves rules so gets annoyed at the disruption. He just wants to learn and gets bored easily. It's not just about the bad things at his current school, but also what he more he could get out of a different school

crazycarol Wed 22-May-13 20:54:24

We rely on income to pay fees, although at a push we could do 1 or 2 terms from savings but that would be it. It is a risk I accept and I do not normally take risks but for my dds future I am happy with this decision as the state option was dire. We now only have 1 year left (& university if she chooses that path) so can see light at the end of the tunnel. If you keep on saying "what if" to yourself you will never leave your bed in the morning! (although that does sound like a good idea)

seeker Wed 22-May-13 20:54:27

Had you thought about a different state school?

beatback Wed 22-May-13 21:10:21

Is it a Comprehensive School.

NotGoodNotBad Wed 22-May-13 21:17:25

Bonsoir: Don't do it if money is going to be really tight. Better to move to a more affluent area with good state schools, and to use your money to buy lots of nice extras for your DC

Hmm. It was cheaper for us to send our kids to private school (secondary level only, admittedly) than to move to a "more affluent area with good state schools".

NotGoodNotBad Wed 22-May-13 21:18:03

Just seen the OP has 4 kids though!

wigornian Wed 22-May-13 21:32:55

OP I think sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. We only have 1 DC, which is much more manageable, of course. We both work in the public sector and sending DS to private school for the next 14 years (inc 6th Form) will involve sacrifices and if we both lost ours jobs and were without work for a long time, that would be it. However education is so important, for us, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Schools near us as far from dire - the nearest just rated up to good, others in the locality like the C of E primary just rated outstanding - we are Church goers so this would be an option. These are out Plan B if Plan A fails. Very fortunate, I know.

musicalfamily Wed 22-May-13 21:45:35

OP I also have 4 children and have done many many spreadsheets with my DH with regards to whether or not we can afford to send them all.

It doesn't look too bad when the first goes, the second is ok, but when the third and fourth hit, ouch it is a huge amount of money, like others' said, 5000 pounds per months and that's without school bus, trips, uniforms, extras...and then there's inflation.

For 4 children for secondary only we've calculated about 500k including inflation rises and extras.

We are seriously looking at moving options alongside the private option, because 500k is a lot of money. Moving isn't easy and isn't a light option, but it scares me to death spending all that money out of earned income - I would be interested to know what you choose to do, but do understand you.

teacherwith2kids Wed 22-May-13 22:04:15

It is one of the reasons why we don't use private schools. Not the main reason by any means - those would be around quality of education (locally, state schools get better results than private), social cohesion, ideological issues etc etc - but definitely one factor in the mix

DH has been out of work a few times as the children have been growing up. Even a full-time teacher's wage is not private-school fee paying territory, not on top of eating and keeping a roof over our heads. So we opt for security every time, which means that we can afford excellent quality out-of-school provision for the sports clubs and things like theatre trips and music lessons and transport to county music groups that might come 'in house' at a private.

Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 22:53:06

We would have to move to consider another state school as they are all poor round here, which they shouldn't be as it is an relatively affluent area.

I guess it does come down to how important we feel it is and whether the sacrifices are worth the 'investment'. I think I'm more willing to make the sacrifice than DH

Musicalfamily - good to know I'm not the only mad one considering it for 4! I think around 500k was our estimate aswell which is a scary amount of money.

I really want to make the leap of faith but scared as its such a huge decision

musicalfamily Wed 22-May-13 22:59:11

what scares me the most is that unpredictability of such a large commitment - however I think I would feel better if there was a decent secondary school I could send my children if all else fails.

The problem is that like you, the schools around here are poor for secondary so if I did have to pull them all out the solution would be a big culture shock to say the least.

So moving would give us a very good secondary school (state) and then a private option if that doesn't work out. We are thinking of doing it the other way round!! But haven't decided yet - we change our minds daily!

Mumtogremlins Wed 22-May-13 23:08:18

You sound just like us musicalfamily, we change our minds on a daily basis too! The secondary back up is poor and I would not want them going there so would have to move and rent somewhere if we had to pull them out of private.

My DH keeps saying we could enjoy our lives more if they weren't in private - more trips out as a family etc

The main issue we are finding with moving to another town for better state primaries, is the long waiting lists. There were 10 children on the list for Year 5 at two of my preferred schools, and its very hard to move 4 children into the same school at the same time. I don't want to move to end up in worse schools as they are the only ones with spaces

moonbells Wed 22-May-13 23:56:16

We took financial advice when we looked at going private. The chap who came round* said it's astonishing how many people assume that paying out of taxed income is a good way to do it. It's extremely tax inefficient, especially if you're a higher rate taxpayer. There are perfectly legal ways of getting at least some of the tax back, eg releasing equity from a house and repaying the minimum while overpaying a pension from which you can then take 25% tax free lump sum at 55 to pay off the mortgage again... thus regaining upto 40% of tax... sounds complicated but actually straightforward and gives you a bigger pension too. Then there's saving into ISAs for a few years, eg before prep or secondary, the more years an investment has to grow the better. Even people who think they're find paying as they go would benefit.

There's several firms out there, some specialising in school fees. The earlier you speak to someone, the sooner you will have a realistic idea of if you can indeed pay for your DCs schools.

* he also said that after he hands people a projection of just how much the totals are, over 13 years, people usually go pale then head for the gin/Scotch!

moonbells Wed 22-May-13 23:57:06

*fine (sigh!)

moonbells Wed 22-May-13 23:58:11

and DC's

It's late. I'm about 2h past usual bedtime. That's my excuse for the typos and I'm sticking to it!

cory Thu 23-May-13 07:39:44

It is quite clear from your posts why you need to move: your ds is unhappy. He shouldn't be. It's not a good way to be educated.

When you say all the local state schools are as bad, do you mean they are as bad in all respects? Or are you just going by results? Is it possible there might be one with dodgy results but with a better atmosphere?

DontmindifIdo Thu 23-May-13 08:31:45

Is it just the primary level that's currently an issue? Would it be more affordable to move (either rented or bought) to a better area for schools, accepting that you might not be able to get a place in the local good state primary schools for all of your 4 DCs, so have to pay in that area for one or two of them, but be in the area so that you can use state for secondary if the new areas state secondary schools are better?

It's also worth checking out burseries for the private schools you like, worth asking as you have 4 DCs what they would offer in way of discounts/help. That might make it more affordable than you thought. Remember as well though that private schools have longer school holidays so if you are both working, you'll need more paid for holiday care.

DontmindifIdo Thu 23-May-13 08:32:48

Plus I believe in a lot of areas (ours definately) if you move newly into the area, you go to the top of the school waiting list, but again, worth calling the local councils to find out.

AuntieStella Thu 23-May-13 08:38:29

You don't go to the top of the waiting list.

If there is no school place at all at destination, they activate the Fair Access Protocol and force the school which, in LA's opinion, can bet cope with additional pupils. If you don't like that school, then can join the waiting lists of those you prefer, but you will be ranked on them according to entrance criteria ofthe school, like everyone else.

OP: have you allowed for fee increases in your calculations?

seeker Thu 23-May-13 08:50:40

"We would have to move to consider another state school as they are all poor round here, which they shouldn't be as it is an relatively affluent area. "

Are you sure about this? It would be quite unusual for all the state schools to be as grim as the one you describe.

AuntieStella Thu 23-May-13 08:54:17

It is however common to be in a situation where the only schools where you stand a chance of securing a place are ones that are for some reason or other unsuitable.

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