financial question!(23 Posts)
We're sort of looking at sending dd2 to a pre prep school next year, have a good one in mind and are off to the open day soon. The fees will be around £8000 a year which would be just about manageable, but how much roughly are 'extras'? We are by no means wealthy, live in a pretty ordinary house in an ordianry street, but I want her to have this opportunity. What would be an amount would anyone think that would be realsitic to be aiming for?
the school should be able to tell you what extras there are
- before and after school care and clubs
- possibly any residential trips
- uniform - it seems to cost about £500 to kit out a reception child with new uniform
you need to allow for the fees to increase 5-10% each year too
They really aren't as bad as people make out, dinners are 50% more than state school but three courses and so you don't need a meal in the evening, I kitted three out for £450.00 including all sports kit you just buy one skirt/dress and wash it every other night, same with the cardigan and the balzers.
Resdiential trips are year 6 onwards so you've a while to save.
If the prep fees are just about manageable how are you going to afford the senior fees?
Millymollymoo - £450 for 3 is seriously cheap and it does depend on the school. My ds's was about £350 (for 1!) and that was with most of it being second hand.
Obviously, Morosky, we are taking all that kind of thing into consideration. At the moment it's just an option we are considering.
Coolma - forgot to say, the only extras we have are for music lessons, learining support or occasional spending money....school trips are a bit down the line (ds is 9)
DD is at private primary and most of our "extras" are optional. School lunches, instrumental lessons, school bus. Trips are the same sort of price`as state schools and happen twice per term, so maybe £25 per term at most. The "big" trips are more of a secondary school thing and then not everyone goes.
Uniform is expensive new, but lasts for years, and people buy less of it, secondhand is normal. I'm always slightly amazed by people on MN who buy 7 skirts or whatever.
At the pre-prep my DD used to attend it cost approx 350.00 to kit her out in the full uniform. We didn't have to pay much more than that really - food was included in the fees and also some of the after school activities. Other activities like Ballet only cost about 40.00 per term.
I would say however that the cost rises significantly when they move to prep. Whole new uniform plus all the sports equipment plus residential trips. The fees also increase dramatically.
I would agree with Morosky though - if you can only just afford pre-prep fees then really think hard before sending her there. What happens if you have any more children for example or one of you looses your job? If you don't have some finincial cushion things can become hard very quickly.
Good Luck with your decision.
We are not having any more children - she's our third and we're um 'older' parents ! And, of course, we're thinking long and hard. Thanks for all your replies.
Extras in the pre-prep section of a school are usually very minimal. Trips that are part of the curriculum are usually free though not always. I would say that if lunch is included in the fees and you are not taking music lessons then a maximum of £200 per term on extras and that is a huge amount and likely to be much less IMO.
So will she go from pre prep into the main school ?
Something else to bear in mind is that there will be loads of 2nd hand uniform in small sizes from people who started and then left for state in reception.
But also once you've been in a private school you'll find it hard to send her to a state school, I made mine go to state for 4 years and we've just gone back to private and honestly I found those years in between very hard knowing what my children were missing out on in comparrision to her nursery friends and seeing how far ahead they were getting, I hope to catch up but suspect we never really will.
dc school has just changed its fee structure to include curriculum based day trips, occasional activities(ie author visits) and lunch - so you'd need to check you are comparing like for like - but extra curricular activities such as dance, swimming, tennis can easily be over £50 epr term , instrumental lessons are £17.50 each(30 minutes), one to one learning support about the same. "Optional" residential trips in prep are upwards of £150 a time. I kitted out 2 kids in uniform for about £400 , about half of which was second hand, but bear in mind requirements evolve (sports kit has changed completely for girls within 2 years) and change as they move up(including a mouthguard for hockey from year 3).
Why do you 'want her to have this opportunity'? What is it about the school that makes you think she will receive a better education than at a state primary? Are the schools particularly bad in your area?
Just asking, as I went to a private school aged 4-18 and now teach in an inner city primary. The two experiences are incomparable (in favour of the state one). My parents thought that they were giving me a great opportunity and its not that I had a bad education per se, its just that our local primary was very good and I'm not entirely convinced it was worth it.
Not being belligerant, was just curious I suppose.
My bill for prep usually inludes some extras - LAMDA, music lessons, dental plan, trips. It's always another couple of hundred quid.
Prep and lunches are included but not in all schools.
Unifrom is much more expensive than at state schools but there is often lots of swapsies going around and old stuff parents are desperate to recycle.
DS is at pre-prep and extras (including lunches) are about £200 a term. The uniform would be round £500 new but I got everything for well under £100 second hand.
Our school charges for trips and things like theatre groups visiting. But lunch is included. Summer uniform no more expensive than state. Winter/sports do add up a bit.
Ask the school. Its a perfectly reasonable question. Don't forget, you are a potential customer!
With the optional extras - some parents at all the prep and pre-preps my kids attended (we moved alot a few years ago)didnt use the the schools optionals.
Things like ballet, music, judo etc etc were offerd by most the schools but alot (not all) of parents would use classes or a music teacher local to their home and for different reasons.
1) Some parents objected to their children missing curriculum time for their 30 minute violin lesson.
2) Some parents objected to ballet after school because their kids (pre prep age) were too tired after school and opted for a weekend class local to home
3) Some parents objected to costs at the school, and found it cheaper to use classes outside of school.
Its more inconvenient as a parent to do this - extra running around and a nightmare if you have kids of different ages attended different levels of extra curricular classes at different times etc etc but its usually cheaper and not a bad thing for your child to mix with other children away from school.
We picked an mixed what suited us and save a
fair bit on the dance classes going to a local RAD school instead of the school based class.
School uniform - its strangely cool in private schools to hve the second hand kit. You can save loads like this and usually make some money back as your kids grow. Even now, I scan uniform lists for anything that does not HAVE to be bought from the school shop and can be bought anywhere else. IE: Sky Blue blouses - 3 pack from Asda £3, School Uniform shop £12 each!
With the little bits saved like this we can afford the trips and to put some by for the next stage of education!
Good luck with your decision!
Daisy - I possibly phrased that badly. She has just started at a lovely little private day nursery and the difference in the way things are run there compared to the state nurseries our eldest two went to is amazing. They are in classes of 6 or 7, and at the end of each day the staff spend a good 10 minutes telling me about her day. At the other nurseries, there were 30 in a class, and no-one spoke to you unless you wanted to speak to them and then would only give you a couple of minutes. She is learning french already and has a dance class once a week - the curriculum (as it is at that age) seems as it should be and the general level of attention paid to the children is exceptional. I find that quite remarkable. Additionally, she has a very mild congenital disability - well, mild to us, but possibly not to other people and i want to be sure she goes through her education not being 'overlooked' or treated any differently because of it - as I did. There are some excellent state schools here where we live but also some excellent independant schools. I want her to be in the right place. don't want to make people feel i'm being 'funny' or 'snooty' about this, just want to make the right decision and that we can keep it up if we make the choice
No, fair enough, I wasn't meaning to sound snotty, the nursery sounds great. I'm just coming at it from my own perspective, which was a private school with a great reputation, but with no special needs provision, very little in the way of resources and unqualified teachers. I do appreciate that they are not all like this though. My daughter is at a private nursery atm because they provide care 8-6 and I'm back at work. I would prefer her to be in a state nursery but they don't offer the hours.
Daisy it's very easy to look at the inner city state school with adult eyes and feel it was better than your private education and question it's worth, but I went to that inner city school and it's not nice being 5 years old and treated like crap by the other rougher kids and even the support staff who tend to be local and treat children very differently than perhaps we would our own.
You may have been given different opportunities at a state primary, but I pay for the gentleness, the time spent reassuring her and me that things are going well and the extra time dedicated hearing each & every child read daily, never happened in state school ever.
But that's just it MillyMollyMoo. You state that 'never happened in state school ever' but it does; just not in your experience. I've already acknowledged that not all private schools are like mine. I just think it's a shame when people opt out of the state system because they can pay for it, rather than try to change it from within for the better. I teach a boy atm who has just been moved to our school from a prep school with a great reputation. They considered him 'unteachable'. He clearly isn't, but didn't fit with their model of a learner.
Anyway I didn't mean to piss anyone off. Your choice of education is your business, and if your kids are happy and learning well then that's what matters.
Daisy, if you are the teacher then it's your job to change it from within I'm too busy trying to fix the NHS so the boy you speak of will be able to have dental care in 10 years time because right now it's looking unlikely, we all pick our battles.
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