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If you send your children to private school, what is your income?

(95 Posts)
Enjoyingmycoffee1981 Mon 21-Apr-14 07:29:09

Personal question! And one I would never ask any other situation than an anonymous Internet forum!

So, the backstory is that DH and I never expected to send our children to private school. It was simply not on our radar. However,we are now in a position where we can afford it. This has involved DH working very hard, but to be honest, he would work very hard for peanuts. He has a Protestant work ethic! We could fairly comfortably afford the fees, and the plan is for me to return to work in two years when our youngest is three. At which point, the fees would be no issue whatsoever. DH's job is very stable, and we have saved hard, so have a decent safety net.

The issue is, we only know one family that send their children to private school. They are significantly wealthier than us. Significantly so. We are a little concerned that on the first day of school we are going to rock up in our second hand battered focus, and be scorned right out of the school!

So, if your child goes to private school, what is your situation? Are you very wealthy or, are you like us, very 'normal', but worked our socks off and now prioritising private schooling. There won't be Caribbean holidays every year, there won't be Aston martins in the driveway (we don't even have a driveway!), but damn it...there is waitrose food in the fridge!

Enjoyingmycoffee1981 Mon 21-Apr-14 07:36:13

Oh, and in your experience of your child's private school, is it very focussed on what you have, holiday etc.?

lilystem Mon 21-Apr-14 07:41:41

We officially earn about 25k between us. However we live in a mortgage free house and have some bills paid by the business (taken as drawings). We will be going private but have the ability to withdraw more money from our business for those years on top of what we need to live on.

Our kids are drive about in a Volvo estate from 08 that we don't intend to change for a good 8 years if we can. We will have the odd holiday skiing but only every few years. Other years it will be visiting family in the uk. I know a few people intending to go private in situations like ours.

ivykaty44 Mon 21-Apr-14 07:43:30

The parents I have mixed with that send their children to private school don't give a second thought to what you have or where you live or holiday, they are not competing as they don't need to in my experience.

Enjoyingmycoffee1981 Mon 21-Apr-14 07:46:27

Thank you.

Ivykaty, that is interesting, and I had hoped for that.

noviceoftheday Mon 21-Apr-14 07:53:59

I have no idea what car the other parents drive at our dc's school or other "status symbols" they may have. I really don't care, I am fairly sure no one cares about what we have either as no one afaik is really "competing" in that way.

RoganJosh Mon 21-Apr-14 07:55:40

It depends on the school itself around here. Some have a very glitzy, range rover type of parent, others not so much.

Sparklingbrook Mon 21-Apr-14 07:59:40

Mine don't go to private school. I often think you have to be able to afford the fees and a certain lifestyle IYKWIM.

If your DC are in a class where everyone else has a brand new ££ car and has 4 foreign holidays a year, and you go drive an old car and, say go to Tenby for a week in the summer doesn't that set them apart somewhat?

basildonbond Mon 21-Apr-14 08:00:01

To some extent it depends a lot on the schools concerned. There's one private primary near us where the mothers are almost exclusively expensively blonde, scarily slim and well-groomed and drive top of the range Chelsea tractors. We didn't like the school for other reasons so it was never on our possibles list for dd but tbh I would have felt v out of place.

The school dd is at is v different - there are some staggeringly rich parents but also quite a few 'normal' families. We don't live in a massive house, our car is ten years old and although we go away a couple of times a year we're staying in rented cottages or with family rather than the all-singing, all-dancing trips to the Maldives that some of her friends go on.

There is generally a wider income spread at secondary level as any more schools offer scholarships and bursaries and more families are prepared to pay for secondary so will have been saving

We hadn't intended to send any of our children private but dd was so miserable at the local primary that we had to do something and were lucky that DH earns enough to give us more choices. She's been incredibly happy at her current school so we haven't regretted it at all

AppleAndBlackberry Mon 21-Apr-14 08:10:17

We are intending on private for secondary school but we are very 'normal', actually their grandparents will be paying the majority of the fees although we can afford some of it.

Bowlersarm Mon 21-Apr-14 08:14:02

In my experience, families vary from being exceptionally wealthy and living in grand manor houses/minor stately homes with grounds, second homes, and smart cars, to those living in modest 3 bed semi with old car and no holidays. Most are somewhere in between.

And most don't give two hoots about what anyone else's situation is (although I'm not talking about top public schools here, that might be different, I don't know)

Sparklingbrook Mon 21-Apr-14 08:17:09

I hope that's the case Bowlers (about the hoots). I can't help but think the DC would feel a bit envy of the huge houses and multiple holidays though.

AuntieStella Mon 21-Apr-14 08:21:37

"I can't help but think the DC would feel a bit envious of the huge houses and multiple holidays though."

Some will, some won't. If you know your DC are materiatistic, then you might be correcting anticipating a problem.. It is definitely wrong to assume that all DC in rich families have a materialistic attitude.

Sparklingbrook Mon 21-Apr-14 08:25:35

Yes I do agree Auntie it's probably down to the child/family than anything else.

Even at state schools there is a massive spread of incomes/houses etc so it's not solely to do with private schools either.

ivykaty44 Mon 21-Apr-14 08:26:01

Grandparents paying the fees is a common occurrence and either paying all the fees or part of the fees. There are a big variation of incomes and circumstances just like there are differences at other schools but from a different starting level

Bowlersarm Mon 21-Apr-14 08:27:11

I don't think they do, Sparkling. Well my dses don't, maybe other children do, but none of my friends who I've made through the dses class mates ever talk about anyone else's wealth/possessions, certainly not in a derogatory way. dS2 has two best friends one living in a fuck off mansion and one in a small 1930's semi - I have never heard him talk about their difference in their material situation and he has no preference to spend time with/sleep over at rich boys house.

We have experience of the dses being at 3 different private schools, but maybe it matters more at the more elite ones. I don't know.

CMOTDibbler Mon 21-Apr-14 08:30:09

Schools vary a lot, and especially outside London.

Many/most families at ds's school are like us - two parents who work in professional jobs, not wealthy. Cars vary a lot, and I don't think anyone notices. A significant number of people go camping as a holiday.
Most people scavenge the second hand uniform sale, and theres no extravagant childrens parties - its bowling/laserquest

Navybluetutu Mon 21-Apr-14 08:31:38

I think you may be surprised at the mix of parents you will come across. Many will be in your situation and many will be extremely wealthy. I have found the local playgroups to be more judgemental and unfriendly than private school, as the parents there have nothing to prove. Go for it, hold your head up high, be friendly and open and you will be fine.

Enjoyingmycoffee1981 Mon 21-Apr-14 08:31:49

Oh mine are very young and completely and utterly unaware of any differences whatsoever. Long may it last!
I am heartened (?) by the comments. I had imagined that to be the case, and so happy to read that it is.
Dh pointed out, do we give a hoot about friends who are not sending their children to private school, who don't have the holidays we have (they're going to dry up!) or live where we do (hard to describe, no driveway, modest on paper, but location makes it highly coveted), and the answer is 'no!', we never give their finances or situation a thought. So I am hopeful it will be the same going forward re schooling.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

ivykaty44 Mon 21-Apr-14 08:33:45

That's what I never understand about state schools my dds have been to they never have second hand uniform sales. Yet all the private schools I have had dealings with have these sales and are frequented by multi millionaires routing through the clothes for a bargin

Suzietwo Mon 21-Apr-14 08:35:53

My professional area means I often have to find the 'right' level of income for someone including whether or not it's suitable for children to be sent to private school.

The general rule is get housing and other income needs sorted to a comfortable and realistic level first and then consider private schooling. I wouldn't consider it until we can easily afford 65k net with housing needs met either by no mortgage or someone else paying. At 100k net (assuming 2 children) I might get it. Again, with housing needs met elsewhere.

Another example is that 125k net and 3 children but separated parents doesn't afford it

Beastofburden Mon 21-Apr-14 08:37:34

Depends on the school. We sent DS1 to a super selective private school and it was a badge of honour to drive a crap car, or no car, use the school second hand shop, and have both parents at work to pay the fees. But there are plenty of snobbish rich schools around. As a very rough guide, boarding schools are much more expensive than day schools, because of the huge staff they need, so tend to attract richer families- who may also need the childcare element more.

As your DC are so young, I would keep an open mind IIWY. Prep schools can also be far more snobbish than secondary. We did state primary, fee paying secondary. You might be better advised, depending on your DCs talents and where you live, to save up to help them buy their own house in due course. Save a deposit, get them a buy to let each, and get the mortgage paid off before they are adults. Off topic, but just a thought, since your decision seems to be based more on having the money than on educational reasons at this stage (understandably).

Fathertedfan Mon 21-Apr-14 08:41:04

My children went to private school. Their classmates were absolutely not snobby or money obsessed. Very few parents had flashy cars and the children who had extremely wealthy parents didn't make a big deal about it. A large number of children who attended had joined midway through their education because they had been bullied at other schools, or had dyslexia and their parents felt they would benefit from the small class sizes (12 to a class was about average).

123Jump Mon 21-Apr-14 08:46:44

I live in Ireland, went to private school so do my kids.
I'm not sure here, but isn't there a massive difference in private school fees in England? Presuming that is where you are? I think the fees are about the same North and South of the border here, about £5000. We have 2 in school, a third starting in a while, and plan on having one more DC.
I couldn't give 2 hoots what someone drives/what their house is like/what they earn.
I like nice people. That goes in school life, social life and work. You will meet tossers in every walk of life.
It is also up to you as a parent to ensure your child does not grow up to be a narrow minded twit-whatever school they attend.
We have to pay a couple of pounds-and I mean a couple of pounds-extra each term for trips out etc. Maybe £15 in total, everything is included in the cost.
My kids also do a few activities away from school, cubs and football etc.
Please stop worrying about "things", the people who care about that stuff are not worth worrying over.
And IMO, it is far more likely that most parents are making sacrifices to put their kids through private school,less likely that it makes no odds how much it costs.

nowahousewife Mon 21-Apr-14 08:47:10

We've found it really doesn't matter. Like you we had no experience of private schools until we sent the DC's to excellent preps. Most of the parents are lovely and those that aren't would be the same sort of unpleasant people you'd find anywhere. Wide cross section of houses, holidays, parental jobs etc.

With reference to bowlers comment regarding elite schools both ours are at elite academic London day schools and again the kids are there for an academic education with the nice to have extras but believe me the focus of all is the education! Our DC's and their friends are really not bothered by material things and infact just don't notice.

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