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Do you think school fees will continue to rise at their current rate?

(23 Posts)
kathyis6incheshigh Tue 04-Aug-09 10:58:38

Anyone have any thoughts?

The Charity Commission getting stricter is presumably only going to lead to rises in fees for schools that don't already have lots of means-tested bursaries, or will it mean a general rise across the board?

Am thinking ahead in case we want to send dcs to private secondary in 6 years time....

marialuisa Tue 04-Aug-09 12:55:21

would it be worth seeing whether you could afford current fees with VAT on top? We've not dealt with massive rises at either of the schools DD has attended.

BonsoirAnna Tue 04-Aug-09 13:01:49

Historically, school fees have risen faster than inflation, and my bet is that will continue to be the case: the top 10% richest of the population (those who use/can consider using private schools) just get relatively richer and richer, and there is no reason to suppose that will not continue to be the case, whatever government we have. It is just the capitalist way.

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 04-Aug-09 13:20:40

Thanks both.

Marialuisa - is there likely to be a change to VAT rules that affects private schools?

Anna - yes, I suppose you're right. The number of children in private schools seems to have been rising, certainly up until a year or so ago, though I don't know whether the recession will have made a difference to that.
I wondered if it would make a difference who wins the next election, but a Conservative government is likely to mean the rich in general get richer still (even if dh and I don't!)

BonsoirAnna Tue 04-Aug-09 21:11:39

It is hard for schools to cut costs to enable them to lower fees rapidly. Most schools have invested heavily in infrastructure and facilities in order to remain competitive, and these are fixed, not variable costs.

I suppose that reducing the number of subjects offered and increasing class sizes slightly might reduce costs a little, but I doubt that would be very significant.

TEJQ Wed 05-Aug-09 23:09:59

My DS has just left an independent, we are in the NW.

His school fees were £2300 a term when he started and have risen to £3000 a term in five years. They have risen consistently every year.

seeker Wed 05-Aug-09 23:21:40

You've already paid for school - in your taxes. So don't worry!

MollieO Wed 05-Aug-09 23:29:58

I thought education fees were VAT exempt. Not heard anything at all about that changing.

Seeker iirc your dcs are at grammar school. Not everyone has that option and therefore do worry about how they can get the best education for their children.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 05-Aug-09 23:31:17

Nope, not VAT exempt MollieO. People pay this twice.

MollieO Wed 05-Aug-09 23:32:02

Fluffy - how? [confused emoticon]

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 05-Aug-09 23:34:36

People pay tax for the state schools through their income tax or whatever. Not all private schools are charities so parents pay tax on this aswell via the fees. You can't claim them back via your tax return.
Ds's old school was not a charity, the VAT was paid by us parents via the fees.

MollieO Wed 05-Aug-09 23:37:08

I pay income tax and ds is at a non-charity status school. No mention of VAT on school fees there and fees are lower than other local school which does have charity status. If VAT was charged I thought it had to be itemised separately?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 05-Aug-09 23:39:44

Hmm. To be honest, my invoices never have a breakdown. The fees I used to pay were less then the second school he went to which had charitable status. Someone has to pay the VAT (unless it's a charity), I assume it's all included in the fees IYSWIM.

MollieO Wed 05-Aug-09 23:43:19

Are you sure about VAT being chargeable on education? I agree that supplies - paper, equipment etc would have VAT chargeable because of lack of charity status but I thought there was a general exemption for education fees. I know that I don't pay VAT for adult education fees with the local council (which isn't a charity!).

There was talk a couple of years ago by the Fabian Society of making a recommendation to charge VAT on school fees but afaik that wasn't taken up.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 05-Aug-09 23:45:25

sorry, my mistake blush

GrimmaTheNome Wed 05-Aug-09 23:46:50

I may be completely wrong but I thought that certain parts of the fees would be VATable (for non-charity-status) but that the part relating to tuition is not something to which VAT applies anyway.

The current politically-motivated rumpus over the charity commission rules will probably evaporate come the next election and it will be a while before the country forgets its disenchantment with Labour and in turn becomes disenchanted again with Conservatives. My hope is that the tories will provide a sensible transition route for schools which really shouldn't still be charities, but instead 'not-for-profit' organisations.

MollieO Wed 05-Aug-09 23:52:21

Fluffy - you had me worried! smile

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 05-Aug-09 23:54:14

Sorry. The school he was at were secretive about what parents were paying for and I assumed we were paying VAT. Sorry.

TubOfLardWithInferiorRange Thu 06-Aug-09 15:53:13

Absolutely I believe they will continue to rise. My child's educational costs tripled over the course of her K-12 education. If I had looked ahead, thinking gee this expense could go up 5-10% I would have planned for the rising expense.

islandofsodor Sat 08-Aug-09 18:35:47

I'm pretty certain it is the charity thing which makes it VAT exempt.

We run a childrens educational activity and have to charge VAT if our turnover goes above a certain level. We are the only country that does this and if someone were to bring a test case about this under European legislation it might prove to be interesting.

We make sure we stay below the turnover.

LadyMuck Mon 10-Aug-09 11:31:45

No, the fees are not subject to VAT regardless of whether or not the organisation is a charity. Ditto universities do not charge VAT on tuition fees.

But in terms of the OP, yes tuition fees will continue to increase as a minimum in line with pay inflation, as salaries are a significant part of most schools budget.

Daisy134 Mon 10-Aug-09 17:29:21

I've read that school fee increases are set to fall by a couple of per cent this year, after the big hikes of recent years. Some schools are sticking with increases of between three and four per cent...

MrsGuyofGisbourne Tue 11-Aug-09 10:07:28

At the moment, schools which are charities are not able to claim back the VAT on the goods and services they use, so to some extent if fees beacme vat-able, this would be mitigated by the ability to claim back vat on outgoings - maybe why those schools referred to below which are not charities can charge lower fees.

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