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How much do you need to earn to send your dc to private school?

(86 Posts)
muddleduck Wed 18-Feb-09 16:25:36

So I have always assumed that the dc would go to state school. Part of this is because I went to state school and "what was good enough for me....". But also I guess i assumed that we didn't really earn enough for this to be an option.
But recently I've spoken to people who I think earn less than we do that are seriously considering going private. Now obviously there are lots of other factors involved (mortgage payments etc) but I was wondering if people had a ballpark idea of when private starts to be an option. I have some job decisions to make in the near future and I can't quite get my head around whether I should even be thinking of this as an option.

CarGirl Wed 18-Feb-09 16:29:46

It' all about your outgoings, sacrifices your prepared to make, possible help from other relatives as much as it is about income IMO

I've heard of people remortgaging and all sorts to afford it!

Mercy Wed 18-Feb-09 16:32:15

Loads I imagine!

I know a family with 3 dc, all of whom go to independent school. The annual fees are more than my dh's salary.

slayerette Wed 18-Feb-09 16:33:49

My DH works at the school my son goes to so we get a discount. But he is on a head of department's salary and I am on a (very) part-time teacher's salary and we manage the fees each month. We couldn't without the discount though, or if we had more than one child.

LIZS Wed 18-Feb-09 16:40:26

There are huge regional and individual school variations. You'd need to do your homework carefully and allow for extras(ie whetehr trips, music lessons, lunches, books are included) and above inflationary annual increases.

muddleduck Wed 18-Feb-09 16:42:33

Go on, somebody give me a ball park figure grin

Or are you all just too polite to talk about money?

scienceteacher Wed 18-Feb-09 16:42:51

We have five children in independent schools and we earn £&*%$&.

We are very fortunate to live in a modest house that completely meets our needs. I think life would be a lot different if we had bought our house a few years later than we did. We also have a safety net of having a low mortgage to value ratio, so can borrow more if we need to any given month.

If you are thinking about private, then you need to earn about £15k more than you need to live on, per child.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Wed 18-Feb-09 16:42:52

If LizS is around she has previously had very useful insights on this topic.
Factor in above-normal inflation, longer school hols (so additional childcare etc), incidental extras (we have so far racheted up an additional £500 this shcool year on ad-hoc things for DS1, school trips, art folder, books etc, and that doesn't include the £1,000 shock for the ski trip. Sometimes lunch is included, sometime not. In our case for one child am expecting the total annual amount to be about £16k, so pre-tax about 26.5k

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Wed 18-Feb-09 16:44:01

(Hey must be psychic - LizS was posting even as I posted her name grin)

deepinlaundry Wed 18-Feb-09 17:04:20

I did have three children in private schools and agree that where I live, you would need to earn about £25k per child before tax above and beyond what you need for living. It really depends on housing costs and what fees are. I was paying £3.3k term at prep.

MollieO Wed 18-Feb-09 17:25:58

reception year you can use govt nursery funding and childcare vouchers to reduce fee cost. Makes first year at school very affordable. When I went through the 'can I afford it' exercise I made up a spreadsheet to calculate the overall cost of fees/extras/childcare/annual increase etc. Made for interesting reading and I worked out that my fav school was cheaper than the other one I looked at - not apparent on a termly basis but added up to the equivalent of a year. Having said that I wouldn't have chosen a school on cost alone unless it was an equal choice. Some schools also have low cost wraparound care. My ds's school charges per session whereas some charge per half hour, which can really add up.

nkf Wed 18-Feb-09 17:29:33

I don't send my children to private (alas) but I think that in North London, you are looking at upwards of £12k a year. Probably more like £15k. The very big name schools like St Paul's and Westminster are even more expensive.

nkf Wed 18-Feb-09 17:30:56

Remember thought that some people are not paying all the fees themselves. Grandparents sometimes pay.

slayerette Wed 18-Feb-09 17:32:19

Ah - at DS's school before and after school care is included in the fees although holiday club is additional.

pagwatch Wed 18-Feb-09 17:37:59

about £12.000 per year each and then trips, uniform and extras are on top.

So about £1000 per month on top of all other outgoings

islandofsodor Wed 18-Feb-09 19:45:56

We have 2 children and fees of £12k which will rise to £14 plus inflation for secondary.

I earn approx £20k and dh earns approx £35k.

We have a mortgage of £65k

MollieO Wed 18-Feb-09 19:57:21

islandofsodor is that per child or total? Seems incredibly cheap if total - where do you live? I might move!!

slummymummy36 Wed 18-Feb-09 20:27:26

Well as a rough guide I would allow £4000 per term for each child through prep school and about £6000 per term per child for senior school.

talkingmoney Wed 18-Feb-09 20:38:49

Since everyone is being so polite and not answering your question I've done a name change and will tell you our situation. Our income is £90k plus City bonuses which are currently smaller than they have been in the past. Based on our guaranteed income, excluding bonuses and a £300k mortgage we can afford 2 sets of prep school fees at about £7k per child or one child at an indie secondary without compromising on our standard of living and as our local schools are excellent and interchangable with the independent schools in the area the children are both in state primary schools. We will more than likely send them both privately at 11 but if our income and mortgage remain at the same level I will go back to work full time to pay the fees. We have not, and will never rely on bonuses to establish whether we can afford school fees.

It depends on your priorities as a family as to how far you are prepared to compromise in order to send your child to a private school. Our luxuries and holidays are very important to us and unless we had to we would not be prepared to give these up unless we had no alternative.

islandofsodor Wed 18-Feb-09 20:44:27

That is total. We are in Staffordshire. Pre-prep is £2,100 per child per term, Prep is £2,400 and Senio is £2,700 with 5% discount for the 2nd child.

Mind you it is a struggle. I did get a bit behnd this term due to Christmas. I had a letter yesterday to say if the outstanding balance is not paid bythe ned of the month ds will not be allowed back in school. I get paid at the end of this week though.

Quattrocento Wed 18-Feb-09 20:49:13

Our secondary school fees are around £12k per child. That's out of taxed income. So grossing it up at the higher rate, you would need earnings of around £20k per child. We have two children so I reckon around £40k of gross pay goes on school fees. I think of school fees as the top slice of income, because it's something that could be foregone if push came to shove (or oratory).

MollieO Wed 18-Feb-09 21:02:34

Where we are pre-prep is 2,800, prep is £3,200 and senior is £3,800. We pay in 10 monthly installments which helps spread the cost and the school offers a slight discount for that.

MollieO Wed 18-Feb-09 21:03:05


islandofsodor Wed 18-Feb-09 21:17:16

I've been trying to avoid installments as it is £30 per term more expensive but I thinnk we are going to have to move to that next term.

Last year dh earnt a lot more and we do have a couple of years in reserve so here's hoping the economy gets better.

MollieO Wed 18-Feb-09 21:21:56

We get a discount of £60 per term for doing the instalment method, which helps pay for extras. We are lucky that extras are kept to a minimum and cheaper than local market prices, eg ds's piano lessons are £8.50.

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