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independent school fees - can you tell me what it really costs?

(47 Posts)
givemeaclue Mon 30-May-11 19:32:28

Trying to work out costs for private school as there are admissions issues with our local state schools so may not be able to attend a state school in our area.

Can you please advise me on the following as I would like to get a realistic idea of costs?

School fees at our local independents are aprox £6000 per year per child and there is a 5% discount for the 2nd child so I make that around £11 700 per year (I have 2 children to attend)

this includes before school club at some schools, not others - what is the rough cost of before school club (I work 3 days per week)

What is the cost of after school club roughly?

lunch is included in infants not juniors, then it is £3 per day per child so thats £30 per week

school holiday clubs x number of weeks school hols (minus 5 weeks hols I get) x 2 children for 3 days per week - any idea?

uniform? - any idea roughly?

any other costs? -extra curricular activites? books?

I was estimating total annual cost of around £18k for reception class- is that realistic?

can anyone advise please - have looked at all the local websites for local private schools but none of them give a comprehensive fees/cost breakdown

thanks for your help!

MmeBlueberry Mon 30-May-11 19:39:13

It really depends on the school. You should know what all the extras are from the prospectus. £6000 is relatively low, so expect more extras.

Think of a minimum realistic cost of £7500 per year, but still look at the small print of the school in question.

Uniform for a little one should be £500 max, probably a lot less. You shouldn't have to pay for books.

After school rates should be published in the prospectus.

CMOTdibbler Mon 30-May-11 19:45:08

Well, we spent £120 total on uniform this year (could have spent less by more use of second hand uniform sale), and holiday club is £125 a week with £10 discount for sibling, or £30 a day ish.

Our before and after care is included, no book charges, and all the normal extra curricular is free - there is the option for some external stuff like gym which is £3 a lesson or so

meditrina Mon 30-May-11 19:55:22

You really will have to ask the schools in question as costs of after-school clubs in particular can vary enormously.

Ask to see the price list of extra-curricular activities run through the school - ballet is often included in headline price in girls schools, but not necessarily in co-ed - can add £100 per term.

Ditto for school holiday clubs - and bear in mind that unless there is one run by the school/s you're looking at, you may find gaps of several weeks you need to cover as most run during the state school holidays only. This may use up your annual leave allowance.

And add a further £20 per child per term for trips out.

TheCowardlyLion Mon 30-May-11 19:56:39

Our before and after care is included, as is lunch and the majority of extra-curricular activities. Activities where an outside teacher (eg karate) is brought in cost, as do music lessons and school trips - DS goes on an average of one-two a term, at a cost of about £10-15 a time. His music lessons cost about £300 a term. Our holiday club is £115 per week. Uniform can be expensive but we can get the majority of ours from M&S which is very cheap - ask for a uniform list to see what you have to buy which can't come from there. We don't have to buy any books.

All the above is at a school where the fees are just shy of £2,500 per term - so £7,500 p/a.

NotEnoughTime Mon 30-May-11 20:39:41

Sorry if I'm stating the obvious but dont forget to factor in that costs tend to rise by quite a bit year after year after year.......

papermate Mon 30-May-11 22:21:58

fees for september are £3200 a term

Uniform bulk purchase came in at just under £250. We have a uniform shop and its strict.

lunch and class day trips are included.

school trip for 3 nights cost about £200

Breakfast club is £1 (we use it every morning)

We use after school care every night, one form or another.

Prep is £3 an hour, once in seniors its free. (this includes maths club and chess which we have used)

sports clubs are free ran for an hour after school, and you are allowed to choose a max of 3 a week. you can also use a club at lunch time, again free.

an independent company come in and run an after school club once a week, they offer off site trips thats £150 a term. other companies come in too like previous poster, we did Karate for one term until number 1 and gang decided that canoeing, gorge working, altons towers on a saturday, swimming, camping etc looked more fun!

virgiltracey Mon 30-May-11 22:28:02

our fees are £8k a year
breakfast club £3 a day
after school club £6 per day
school meals £400ish a term
school trips about £25 a term
music lessons £20 a week
uniform £300
holiday club £125 a week
childcare for holidays on top of all that.

desperatelyseekingsnoozes Mon 30-May-11 22:35:03

All of our children were independent schools , now we only have DSS. His fees are £7K a term. I think we probably spend about another 10% on top of fees. DSS does one foreign trip a year.

SofaQueen Tue 31-May-11 06:27:11

Fees: £4.4K/term
School meals: included
Music lessons: £140/term
School clubs: £100/term
Uniform: varies, but the only expensive item is the blazer which is £70, but only purchased every other year
Trips: included
Optional Bus: £75/term

desperatelyseekingsnoozes Tue 31-May-11 10:25:09

That can't be foreign trips included? What about sporting things like sailing and horse riding?

LIZS Tue 31-May-11 10:36:24

Sailing for dd is about £15 per week, for a course of 5 or 6 weeks at a time. dc basic fees are about 3.5k per term, including lunch, an after school club, books and most non-residential trips. Uniform is up to £500 new but secodn hand shop means we kitted orus out initially for about £300. Music lessons £175 per term, dance c.£55. Residential trips form £150 upwards.

stayathomegardener Tue 31-May-11 11:14:54

Prep £4,000
Juniors £6,000
Seniors £10,000

Uniform £250+ Although I tend to buy second hand from other parents and sell on what we no longer need
Trips £300-£1,000 per trip 1 or 2 per year.Plus kit list for trips is very prescriptive and adds up.
Lunches £400/term
Insurance £70/term
Extra lessons piano or drama for example £140/term each
Bus £150/term
Extras for example footwear, we have been asked to purchase walking boots for a trip,running spikes for athletics,astro trainers for hockey on top of ordinary trainers and school shoes and then they go and grow....
No after school club fees but constant charity donation requests really add up plus open days spending, summer ball etc.

stayathomegardener Tue 31-May-11 11:17:17

That list looks horrific but I should clarify that it is certainly not the most expensive in the area and you really do need to consider the extras they really add up.

bluebobbin Tue 31-May-11 11:23:13

You should check with the school. My DS's reception fees are around the same as the fees you are quoting (£6k per year) and there were no extras at all. I bought half the uniform in supermarkets and the other half from the school shop. You should check prices in school shops as well - ours is very reasonable. My DS's (logo) school jumper was £10.

nometime Tue 31-May-11 11:37:55

Our fees very similar, but be careful as although the days may be longer the terms will certainly be shorter and you may need to pay for childcare or take large chunks of your annual leave to cover.

lljkk Tue 31-May-11 16:40:18

What do you need to insure, Gardener?

Some of these things are optional, you know, like music lessons, overnight trips, charity donations and sports clubs. Some schools have compulsory hot dinners & others have compulsory packed lunches! Costs to minibus DS to his school costs less than it would for me to drive there daily. Some items in the PE kit turned out to be discretionary, too. Half of his PE kit I bought in charity shops, come to think of it, and his PE trainers were half price (15 quid) on Amazon (fitted width and all).

lljkk Tue 31-May-11 16:42:00

We don't pay for books, but we the parents have to supply pencils, sharpeners & pens.

nometime Tue 31-May-11 18:38:28

We pay insurance too. I think, and I may be wrong, it is against loss of income and it covers the fees for a while. That's the gist of it I think, it gives you time to sort yourself out basically and also we have policy whereby if child is off for a lengthy period there is a fee rebate system.

givemeaclue Tue 31-May-11 21:45:32

Thanks to you all for your very comprehensive replies, much appreciated. I have clearly been underestimating the costs, its likely to be more like £15k per annum fees plus all the extras, some of which I hadn't considered. some of the schools in our area don't even put the fees on the website let alone the extras, I have now ordered the prospectuses so I can get the full information and get a clear view of the 'total' costs. I think this would be more like £22k per annum (gulp!) wow it is a lot of money!

Can I ask some further questions please:

-This would represent about 20% of our gross income which seems a lot - is this normal? Or do most people pay less of a % of gross income for fees i.e are better off than we are?

-This would clearly have a significant impact on our disposable income - we currently pay £10k per annum nursery fees and also overpay on our mortgage by about £6000 per year which we could stop doing, but that still leaves approx £6k (depending on specifics when I get the prospectuses and get a fuller idea) to find. What kind of things have you cut back on to fund school fees, or have you not had to? Cutting back on other things by £500 per month is doable but would impact on our lifestyle quite significantly (and we love our holidays...)

-Is there a broad range (relatively speaking) of families at your independent school or would you be out of place if you didn't have a second home and go ski-ing several times a year?

not trying to be nosy just trying to get a realistic overview

many thanks

ThisisaSignofthetimes Tue 31-May-11 21:57:25

For one child the fees represent under 10% of our gross income. Haven't had to cut back to be honest but lucky to be in that position, clearly helps as only have the one to support.

As to whether the lack of a holiday home, swimming pool or room for a pony would make you unusual it very much depends on the school. We have a real mix at my daughters school, some clearly loaded (or loaded grandparents) who do have some or all of the above, to those who live pretty modest lives. I have to say though that the vast majority of the loaded ones are very pleasant and not at all snobby, it wouldn't be like that everywhere though.

Hulababy Tue 31-May-11 21:57:47

Cost of fees vary massively through the country. Ours are more than £6k, but not hugely more at preprep level, they go up for prep though.

Allow up to 10% fee increase per year. Usually not this much, but at least that way you are prepared.

At DD's prep school (we are in Sth Yorkshire)

- before school club: £2 a day inc food (iirr, we don't use it)

- after school club: £4 a day for after school care to 5:30pm; clubs range from £4-5 each depending on which one and run til 5pm

- lunch: included in fees, as is milk. Breaktime snacks taken in from home

- holiday club - only available til age 8, via the preschool. Not sure on cost as don't use. We have about 3 weeks extra than state schools.

- uniform: Lots! All available from john Lewis but includes coats, blazers, hats, sports equipment, tc all of which are specific items. There is a very good second hand shop though.

- any other costs:

* all day trips included in cost (residentials at junior are extra)
* books/tests included
* no charge for sen/dyselxic/G&T support
* optional music tuition: approx £13-15 per week
* all sports (inc ballet for preprep, judo for prep and swimming for all) and transport to/from facilities where needed are included
* no insurance to pay

choirmum Tue 31-May-11 21:57:56

We have 2 children at prep school (yr 7 and 4) and save £1600 per month to cover fees, music lessons and uniform. Other extras are relatively few. Petrol costs are not included here and are becoming more expensive. We don't use a breakfast club but most after school activities are included. Holidays are the biggest issue. We have access to a holiday scheme at my workplace which covers the state school holidays only, and we save on that by using salary sacrifice, but we do tend to 'split' a lot of our annual leave to cover. We have a gross annual income of around £75000 and bring home around £4000 net each month. It's a huge expense but we feel it's worth it and have no debt apart from our mortgage. There's a real mix of families at the school - some mega wealthy (but also very nice) and some not so wealthy (but a bit stuck-up). It takes all sorts!

Hulababy Tue 31-May-11 22:02:39

-Is there a broad range (relatively speaking) of families at your independent school or would you be out of place if you didn't have a second home and go ski-ing several times a year?

Yes, really big range. Those with second homes, horses, etc are the smaller group by far. But yes, they do exist. There are some people there where fees are paid by gradparents or otherpeople, and also those paying themselves.

You'd really not notice the difference at all though at DD's school. Those kind of things are not an issue at all for us and everyone is just the same, especially in DD's class.

Butkin Tue 31-May-11 22:57:15

We currently pay 2,450 a term in pre-prep (KG-3) so about 7350 a year and this is considered to be one of the cheaper ones in the area.

This rises to 3,030 a teram in prep (4-8).

We don't pay anything for dropping off early (they just have supervised time in the library) or picking up late (supervised drink and biscuits with TV or activities). Lunch (home cooked meal) is also included as are clubs after school (DD does cricket on Mondays and tennis on Tuesdays at the moment plus choir practise). We don't pay for any books, equipment either (rather astonished that some do...)

Not sure about school uniform but you can save a lot by buying 2nd hand at the school PTA shop.

You have to allow extra for swimming and school trips although they are usually very cheap and sometimes (like DD's trip to beach/castle coming up) they are free.

Mind you as they say "there is no such thing as a free lunch" so I'm sure it's rolled into the fees we have to pay.

They only offer discounts on 3rd or more children though.

We have certainty found paying school fees easier on the wallet than nursery which was crippling.

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