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Can we afford private school?

(79 Posts)
Zorigami Wed 10-Feb-16 14:50:10

Hi, looking at putting DC's in private school - primary at this stage. Combined fees would be £17k pa but I am sure there are loads of extra's. Based on our household income, it will be a squeeze and will have to apply for bursary and look for better paying job etc.

What other extra's should I be looking at to try and work it out affordability. Uniform will no doubt be expensive.

And yes I know state schools are fine - just not our local ones.


keely79 Wed 10-Feb-16 14:55:32

Uniform is expensive. Also figure in childcare costs (longer holidays) and also yearly increases in fees, with a bit of a jump at secondary level as well. 17k for the two seems good value but likely to increase. Are school lunches and trips included in that or will there be a required additional contribution on top per term/?

MrsGuyOfGisbo Wed 10-Feb-16 15:01:26

Uniform - depends on the school.
My DC are at one of the top London days schools and most of their uniform I can buy from Asda very cheaply. Only school purchases are blazer and tie, vastly cheaper that the Superdry gear that is worn by the kids at the state schools I teach in, and you can buy the blazer second hand barely worn for a fiver at the regular school uniform sales.

writingonthewall Wed 10-Feb-16 15:02:04

Blimey, where in the UK are you that fees are only 8.5k pa. That wouldn't buy two terms in London. If its a very small school I'd look at their accounts on the companies house website and make sure they are solvent. Plan for 5% increases each year i.e will at least double by the time your kids are 18.

isthisabigdeal Wed 10-Feb-16 15:09:32

Aside from uniform, check if you'll have to pay for extras like after school clubs and music lessons. School trips can be pricey too and whilst not obligatory your DC may feel 'left out' if most of the other kids go.

jeanne16 Wed 10-Feb-16 15:15:43

Also there will presumably be a big jump in fees when they move to secondary so you need to factor that into your calculations as well.

Zorigami Wed 10-Feb-16 15:35:49

I don't know if it includes lunch. It didn't say it didn't. Clubs and music extra but optional. One compulsory trip a year I think. We in East Midlands. John Lewis is uniform supplier.

Thanks for comments.

CremeBrulee Wed 10-Feb-16 15:44:19

Extras will probably include:

Uniform - but dint be shy about 2nd hand
PE/Games kit - normal kit plus cricket whites/rugby kit/football kit & boots, indoor & outdoor trainers, mouthguard
School trips - 1 per term per child at least
After school activities - sports clubs etc
Music lessons & purchase of instrument - optional but study of at least 1 instrument very much encouraged

HereIAm20 Wed 10-Feb-16 16:02:23

Check with the school in question.

At my son's school music is extra but the after school clubds and sports etc are all included as are lunches etc.

The day trips are included too but not residential trips. In years 5 and 6 they were optional but everyone went (and were fairly cheap). As they get older they are truly optional and not many go on on them. some go on none.

£17K for 2 seems very cheap - we are in Cambridge. Post year 9 expect a big step up in fees. Also allow for annual increases too.

That said - still the best money we ever spent.

LIZS Wed 10-Feb-16 16:08:21

Agree fees step up steeply during secondary so do your calculations carefully . Annual like for like increases are typically around 5%. Check what is included, or not, like lunch, trips, extracurricular clubs, exam fees, books etc. For 17k you need to allow a gross income of at least 25k to cover it. Also terms may be shorter requiring extra childcare or activities if you are working and kids are too young to be left all day .

Sunnyshores Wed 10-Feb-16 16:22:12

Private school extras vary enormously.

Between my DCs we have been at 3 Preps and each has had a good 2nd hand uniform shop and at all we could buy some items from elsewhere.

In Prep there arent many school trips and current school has minibus so trips have been a reasonable price. Senior school is different, loads of local trips plus in one year DD could have gone skiing, to Iceland, Germany and France. She did none of them and doesnt seem bothered.

All have included lunch, snacks at break and evening tea at current one (as is also boarding).

Joining their myriad of clubs and making the most of those opportunities is alot of the reason people go to private schools. I think DC would miss out otherwise.

Current school has a very reasonably priced holiday club. Some schools dont and youll be left sorting all this out yourself with different providers.

The big thing when looking at affordability is the fee increases are way more than inflation. ie when Ds started in reception it was £4500pa, now (8 years later) it would be £8500. Yr9 at that time was £11kpa, its now £20k.

Do your homework carefully, not all private schools are good by any means and some are very fixed towards one sort of child only. IMO if you cant complete their education privately its not worth starting (unless you'll get into a 'better' selective state secondary as a result).

Zorigami Wed 10-Feb-16 16:30:25

If 17k seems cheap, have I misunderstood a term? Eg I have counted Sept - Dec as one term.

keely79 Wed 10-Feb-16 16:35:07

Yes, that's right - with three terms a year.

Happymummy007 Wed 10-Feb-16 17:01:03

Our uniform is about £700 for everything, even buying just one jumper, one pack of blouses etc. We have very little second hand stuff unfortunately - the blazer for example is £80 and I have seen schools with blazers over £100 each.

Also, residential trips (DD currently Y5) are about £400 - our school starts residentials in lower years though, and next year there is a week long trip which is about £600.

Lunches are around £200 per term.

writingonthewall Wed 10-Feb-16 17:09:52

Yes. Our local schools are 4500-5500 per term,three terms a year.

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 17:27:22

Lots of variation in fees and facilities.

Mine were at a small prep with fewer facilities and fees were £7k pa per child until secondary school stage.

We have moved and they are now at a prep with lots of facilities and fees are £13k pa per child - DS is in reception and still gets 15 hrs free but he will be £13k next year.

Next year DD moves fro pre-prep section to prep and her fees will be £16k pa.

This doesn't include trips or extras. Uniform isn't too bad but count at least another £1000 for both children per year. This includes the many new shoes etc you always end up buying.

For secondary there are a few schools at £18k to £20k pa. But many are more like £30k pa per child.

It's expensive.

Also remember your earnings gross to net. So say your tax rate was 50% then you'd need to earn £50k gross just to pay for fees.

Looking at it like that, it's a bit scary really. smile

Silvertap Wed 10-Feb-16 18:05:42

Watching with interest. We too are East Midlands. Kids haven't started school yet but we're looking at private v state.

jeanne16 Wed 10-Feb-16 18:37:58

I think to say secondary schools are around 30 k is an exaggeration . London private secondaries range from around 17K up to 24K.

Silvertap Wed 10-Feb-16 18:42:04

The most we've looked at for day schools in the East Midlands is 20k. Boarding would be closer to 30k. There are some (verging on east Anglia though) which are 14-16k.

DeoGratias Wed 10-Feb-16 18:51:00

We are outer London and there have hardly been any extras (and at primary level the fees included the lunch and in the older years a once a year whole class trip away again included in the fees). We are a very musical family (my main hobby) and 3 won music scholarships at 13+ so we did pay for music lessons at school for one instrument so did choose to pay for that (and taught them another at home). The older ones all had second hand unifrom and equipment as sold by the school - costs very little. It's worked out fine.

Liondon private secondaries do not start at 17k. We paid £15k and that is for the most expensive (7th form). Haberdashers girls ( a very good academic school secondary is about £15k a year (and of ours down here parents are paid higher salaries and both parents usually work full time).

Certainly 2 sets of day school fees is the same cost as a full time couple of nursery places or a full time nanny or the loss of one adult who otherwise would work full time so you kind of seamlessly move from the under 5s to the 5+ school fees stage.

Chrisinthemorning Wed 10-Feb-16 19:08:06

Our primary is 2.5k a term, they include lunches and take early years funding and childcare vouchers off until compulsory school age- a winner for summer birthdays.
Uniform- shirts are M&S and the new to you sale helped a lot. The new uniform was expensive though!

PirateSmile Wed 10-Feb-16 19:14:48

Schools such as Bolton School and Merchant Taylors in Liverpool charge fees of about £10,000 for senior school pupils. Don't know exact fees but it's about that. They also give about quarter of their pupils bursaries so it's a lot more affordable than other parts of the UK.

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 19:38:57

Silver. I did say some start at £18k to £20k and a lot are in the £30k range.

I'm in Kent btw.

Kent College is about £17k but Tonbridge is £34k for day pupils more for boarding. Walthamstow hall is about £26k I think.

Silvertap Wed 10-Feb-16 19:41:33

26k for a a day school? Dear lord, I thought what we were looking at was top end!! I'm definitely not used to London prices!

originalmavis Wed 10-Feb-16 19:45:03

Lunches, trips, excursions, uniform, sports uniform and equipment, gum shields, lab coat, various sponships/ photos/raffles/ teachers presents, clubs... Then there's the increase in fees (est 4% min p/a).

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