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True cost of private?(23 Posts)
Im just curious to understand how much extras cost for private ed at primary level. Im newly single with two children and wondering about schools for the future and the extra costs on top. What should i factor in? I really dont want to be stretched like crazy but at the same time i know people who rave about these schools and make me feel like i should push myself to get them in somehow.
Look at the prospectuses of any schools you like and look at the “extras” costs. This could be music tuition, dance, books, lunches, trips (can be very expensive if you want dc to take part) and uniform. Transport to and from school if it’s some distance away and usually more expensive presents for the many birthday parties! We usually got up to £1000 a term but my DC did a lot.
Scrimping is miserable so do your sums carefully. Fees always go up above the rate of inflation too!
As well as fees, there are meals, trips, extra classes such as music, exam fees. Uniform is not the sort you can pick up in Asda. Skirt for my 11 year old is over £50!
Travel, sports equipment
Then there are often social events aimed at parents.
I think unless you are very well off I would try to get into a really good state school. However, we sent our youngest DC to an independent school and it’s worked well. It a sacrifice for us financially but I’m satisfied it’s the right place for her.
Depends on the school. Ours has an “all inclusive” fee and the only extras are music and LAMDA lessons (your choice) and two optional residential trips throughout their entire time at the school, the most expensive of which is £500 and to be fair everybody does go.
The uniform is eye wateringly expensive though. Blazers £80, skirts knocking on £40, not to mention all the sports kit.
Parental contributions are more valued in terms of time than money and there is an unwritten rule on presents that they should cost no more than £10 but ideally around £5. All parents stick to it.
Compare and contrast with my niece’s school - everything is an extra and she ends up with a bill of in the region of £500 a term on top of fees to cover lunches, trips out and “voluntary” contributions to whatever they are fundraising for at the time!!
The most expensive extras for us are breakfast/after school clubs and transport to and from school. Also, bear in mind that some independent schools offer limited or no holiday club provision which is a consideration if you work.
Fees also tend to go up way more than the rate of inflation.
At ours it’s not so bad at primary level, extras would be things like learning an instrument, individual speech and drama lessons, individual tennis lessons.
Trips are included in fees, before and after school clubs are included. Uniform is expensive but there is a thriving second hand shop where I get most of ds stuff.
By the way, of course people will rave about the private school their child is at.
After all, they're not going to say "We spend 20k a year on something that is only slightly better than we could get for free".
Compare your local state offering with the privates you are considering. Then if you can afford it decide whether you think it is good value for money.
Personally I would (and have) save money for extra curricular / tutoring / DC house deposit unless local state schools are awful (in which case I'd probably just move house). Though our local schools are pretty good.
I would say that the biggest expense is uniform. It cost £500 to kit out each of mine - but it does last.
Other than that, extras are usually quite controllable, things like music, riding, LAMDA, etc. that you can avoid if you want to.
Another factor to consider is whether you're going to need paid childcare in the holidays because there are a LOT of them!! Mine get two weeks half term in October, three at Christmas, one in the Feb half term, three and a half at Easter, one in the May half term and then nine weeks over the summer. It's just something to think about
Agree it will vary. Check if lunch, co-curricular trips, swimming lessons, learning support, before/after school care, music etc are included or not. At dc prep we usually had about 10% as extras.
Depends on the primary school, ours includes trips and extras like swimming in the term price, so we've paid very little on top. The uniform is quite reasonable and lasts for a while so we've not found it very expensive
Definitely depends on the school. Our fees include lunch, all wrap around care (breakfast club and tea) plus all in school and after school activities except for music lessons. All non-residential trips are included too. Some schools charge for all of those things which can really bump up the fees.
Uniform is expensive but we have a great (cheap) second hand uniform shop on site which softens the blow.
Check the terms and conditions carefully. Some schools include lunch, and before/after school club in the fees. Some charge them as extras. The before/after school club fees can mount up very quickly!
At my DD's school, some after school activities were included, eg netball, rounders, hockey. You had to pay extra if they brought in an outside teacher, or for materials (eg cookery or needlework club). Nobody ever felt left out if they didn't do any clubs at all.
Uniform can usually be bought second hand, which reduces the cost greatly.
The biggest extras I have to factor in are uniform. Our prep fees seem to include everything such as weekly swimming lessons, group music lessons (i.e. recorder and guitar), drama, sports, and if they go somewhere i.e. trip, as the school has it's own bus, you just get charged for any entry fees, i.e. £5-10.
People mentioning more for birthday party presents... In my experience, my DCs having formerly been at state primary, exactly the same sorts of presents, cost £5-10.
When mine were at state we paid for swimming lessons, 2 or 3 sports per DC and drama for older DC - added up to over £1000 a year - none of which they do now as all included at prep school.
Several hundred for our uniform, blazer alone is just under £100!
DS is shooting up 😩. Bet he goes through 2 this year
Uniform is no more expensive than at the church or selectives that are probably your alternatives ifyou are thinking along independent lines. It lasts and thete's no shame in 2nd hand.
Coaches can be up to £300-£400 per term depending where you live. When lunch at ds's primary was £1.80 I think the new school was either £3.50 or £4.50.
Music lessons are more expensive, think double. You will have to pay for all public exams.
Probably one educational residential trip pa, circa £500, optional ski trips c£1000, sports tours £2-£2.5k. The jaw dropper was a £4,800 tour to the Galapagos Islands.
The tricky bit. When DS was 8 the fees were £8k, when he was 18 they were £19k.
If you need to worry about the extras I think you need to think quite hard. It may be that a really good state school with money for additional stuff would be better. It's not the extras that are the killers but the incremental increases.
I agree it very much depends on the school. Where my DC go costs of trips/clubs etc work out less than what the local state school parents are asked to contribute, but obviously you have to factor in the fees in the first place (again a big variable in itself).
I would agree uniforms are more expensive but there is a second hand facility that is well used by many parents.
I certainly don't spend more on birthday presents for school friends compared to other friends and we spend way less than £1000 per term!
I would say we spend around £600 a year on sports kit, equipment and uniform and £400 on (mostly optional) paid for extra-curriculars and trips. That is for 1 DC.
Extras not bad at DD’s school
Uniform was no more than local Comprehensives and the trips are similar too
I think it’s around £50 for extras per term if I add them up, trips are more but not everyone goes and again they are no more than any other school round here.
From what friends who have kids at other schools say there is much less pressure to have the right trainers and designer gear as well, maybe because they all have them it’s nothing special
Actually the £1000 was at secondary. However, if a child is very keen on things and does a lot, it can mount up. Ours boarded so perhaps extras were higher.
Use your state primary school. It’s primary school not rocket science! If you really think that your local state secondaries are woeful, start saving for secondary school fees and calculate for 5% annual fee inflation.
Thank you all so much for your responses, I think at present this would be unaffordable with two but definitely something I’d consider at secondary somehow. I think I got a bit too stressed by friends who were raving about them and me not wishing my kids to miss out.
Also to mention, which I don't believe anyone has yet, is that another extra is gifts for teachers. My eldest goes to a state school, and parents get their own small gift, and many don't get anything. In private schools I have heard of organised collections, where parents are expected to contribute in the 100s per year, for Christmas and end of year gifts for teacher and teaching assistant. I imagine declining to contribute is a big faux Pas.