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When did starting secondary become so expensive?

(71 Posts)
privitandpetunias Sat 28-Jun-14 11:41:36

My DS1 went for his induction this week and came home with a letter detailing £50 worth of items that are compulsory to pay the school for before he even starts. That's in addition to the Uniform with logo's and two lots of PE Kit also with logo's which can only be purchased from their specified supplier. We have also been supplied with a list of other visits and activities that occur during year 7 that will also need to be paid for at various points during the year.

I am really shocked at all the additional costs we are a family of average income with 4dc's and I can't see how we are going to afford to pay for all this without it impacting on the younger DC's.

Anyone else experiencing the same?

Artandco Sat 28-Jun-14 22:13:21

Luggage - there isn't a state school with space, that's the point. At our nearest apparently there's 350 children trying to get into the school with 60 spaces this year.

DramaAlpaca Sat 28-Jun-14 22:21:08

We are in Ireland & I will have to spend about €350 on text books for DS3 for next year, for his Leaving Certificate (A Level equivalent) on top of the usual costs for uniform, sports gear etc.

His school doesn't require pupils to have iPads and ebooks, unlike the Irish poster above. I was shock when I read that.

For parents on a low income there are back to school grants to help out with the costs. If you can't get a grant, you just have to suck it up. I don't even want to think about how much I've spent on school books and equipment for three DC from the ages of 4 to 18... And what is really annoying is that many of the books can't be passed down, as the schools insist on the most recent version. It makes many parents here very cross indeed.

3littlewomen Sat 28-Jun-14 22:30:36

To my fellow Irish mums, I have just shelled out €330 on DD1 school books (no copies, hard backed books, toppers, pencils etc bought yet!) Have to also pay for all copies etc for kid in 6th class and two younger ones in national school - close to €1200 I reckon. Also have to spend close to €750 on new uniform (all logo and very specific) for DD. Thankfully two younger ones can be clothes in M&S.

Kids go to what is now a state school (but wasn't up until recently).....

Let's not even get started on doctors bills (lucky to have change from €100 by the time we have paid fee and for meds!)

kilmuir Sat 28-Jun-14 22:33:42

Kids are expensive

Luggagecarousel Sat 28-Jun-14 22:40:38

Artandco, you say there is a state school with space, but you don't want to do the school run.

You have chosen a private education, don't pretend otherwise.

BackforGood Sat 28-Jun-14 22:40:50

Not my experience at all (3 secondary dcs at 2 different schools).

What are these things that cost so much that they have to have ???

CheapBread Sat 28-Jun-14 22:55:58

If a state school was demanding all this rubbish I'd complain! I remember the list of things I should've had for secondary school but I didn't give it to my parents as I didn't want them forking out for all manner of tat I knew I didn't really need. The only thing I actually needed was a scientific calculator. The lack of 'scientific stencil' didn't stop me from passing my GCSEs.

lljkk Sun 29-Jun-14 08:59:04

This is my thread from last yr. I don't see a lot of rubbish on it.
Later in yr7 I had to buy 2 more pairs of trousers (got the wrong size initially, argh!!), a better pair of shoes (bought cheap to start with), quite a few pairs of tights and a single polo shirt. DD now moaning that her blazer looks tired but I am steadfastly brushing that complaint aside; hoping her blazer gets to end of yr8 at least.

Artandco Sun 29-Jun-14 18:18:43

Luggage - ok we have chosen. The option for us is private and we work, or the state school 4 hrs travel so can't work, so will become homeless, jobless, and live off benefits. Not the most free choice imo

ephpa95 Sun 29-Jun-14 18:25:10

Do get in touch with your school and enquire about second hand sales - there must be one or two per school year, specially at the beginning of therm, generally organised by parents. If you can get hold of the parent running 2nd hand sales now, before school breaks up, I am sure they will be more than happy to help you out (we do that at our school all the time and noone will find that odd).

I think it is unfair to immediately accuse private schools to have expensive uniforms, It is not true. My child's (private) school has very reasonably priced uniform and requires only minimal logos. And pretty much everyone goes to the second hand sales as stuff constantly gets outgrown or lost.

Many trips are not compulsory, just offered, so you can opt in or out and we opted out of many trips and no, my kids have not felt deprived. Some schools include compulsory trips in the fees and some don't (which generally leads to lower fees).

derektheladyhamster Sun 29-Jun-14 18:35:07

We don't have to pay for ds1's school uniform (included in the bursery) and we've used the second hand shop for all his sports clothing. I am gob smacked by how much I have to pay for DS2's state secondary uniform. It'll easily come close to £200 and I imagine that folders and files are not included either sad

Ludoole Mon 30-Jun-14 23:26:21

Ds1's school are a nightmare!.

In year 7 they had a sweatshirt as part of the uniform
In year 8 they changed sweatshirt to a smart jumper and tie
He's currently just ending year 9, and we are required to buy new jumpers and full pe kit for September due to a school name change angry

To top it all off ds2 starts September too...

pointythings Tue 01-Jul-14 09:15:45

It's horrendous what schools can get away with. There needs to be legislation mandating a sensible, affordable uniform with schools forced to provide sew-on logos at cost price. Or no uniform at all, which would be my preferred option though it's unpopular on MN.

We're lucky. Our local secondary only requires the pupils to buy a blazer, clip-on tie and house PE shirt - the rest can be bought in the high street as long as it meets specifications. No massive equipment costs either, nor monthly contributions. We're in a very mixed area, some quite affluent but large sections very deprived, so maybe that's where the common sense comes from.

HercShipwright Tue 01-Jul-14 09:52:36

Art - you can't be buying a 4 year old a flute! He won't be able to hold it. Even with a curve head. His hands will be too small.

Artandco Tue 01-Jul-14 10:20:45

Herc - it's on the list. He seems to find it fine to hold when we tried in the shop

HercShipwright Tue 01-Jul-14 10:35:02

My DDs could barely hold theirs at 7 and 8. I was the same. I would never ever give a 4 year old a flute, not even one of the £100 jobs from china off eBay. Flutes are delicate instruments, the keys etc are not designed for little hands, they can get damaged easily and they are not light - it's very difficult for a small child to maintain the right position for any length of time. I would be looking like this hmm at any school that suggested giving a 4 year old a flute.

MillyMollyMama Tue 01-Jul-14 14:25:39

Can I just add that I was referring to the average salary when I posted, not the minimum wage. This is, of course, lower and I do not deny people struggle on that level of income. However, very low income families will get other benefits so that is not an accurate indicator of uniform costs as a percentage of income.

To put it into a more accurate context, the Office for National Statistics says the average weekly wage in 2013 was £517 per week. I realise many people are below average (or it would not be an average) but that is the figure I was using, not the minimum wage which affects a lower number of parents. Obviously plenty of people get more than the minimum wage or the average would not be £517. Therefore Uniform is probably a lesser proportion of family income now than it was. Also the uniform shop where you must buy the approved uniform has gone for many schools and parents get some choice. I accept that some schools are taking away that choice but very few state schools are approaching several hundred pounds worth of uniform (except inNI - I am staggered by these figures!).

Heels99 Tue 01-Jul-14 14:37:12

You are getting 14 years of free education for 4 children. Probably worth half a million pounds in total. Stop moaning about pe kit and pens

Luggagecarousel Tue 01-Jul-14 20:33:03

Luggage - ok we have chosen. The option for us is private and we work, or the state school 4 hrs travel so can't work, so will become homeless, jobless, and live off benefits. Not the most free choice imo

Artandco, the vast majority of the population cannot afford private education. You are part of a privileged few. The rest of us juggle working/ bus timetables/ after school club/ breakfast clubs/childminders/ fa vour swaps/ extracurricular activities/ etc etc etc to mange the pick up and travel time to school.

You have the PRIVILEGE of CHOOSING to pay to send your DC to a private school instead, which is your right, but please stop pretending it is anything other then a CHOICE, that you are incredibly blessed to be in a position to make.

One hour either way every day is a plain fact of life for some, and they just have to get on with it.

lljkk Tue 01-Jul-14 20:33:47

(Outside of London) per pupil grant is about �4400. So 12 yrs x �4400 x 4 = �211,200. Half a million might be right for London folk, I guess.

MillyMollyMama Tue 01-Jul-14 21:38:04

Secondary is more than primary surely? Why 12 years? What about 13 and Reception? I am confused?

Heels99 Tue 01-Jul-14 23:10:10

I am not talking about per pupil grant, I am comparing free education with fees for 4 kids to go private

VivaLeBeaver Tue 01-Jul-14 23:21:02

ArtandCo, do you really live 2 hours away from the nearest state primary?

steppemum Tue 01-Jul-14 23:27:25

well primary was fine, quite cheap, and clothes are cheaper than non uniform clothes.

ds starts secondary this sept, it is standard black trousers and white shirts, logo blazer, and pe kit

The pe kit is huge! indoor kit (white shorts, house colour T -shirt, white socks and trainers) and rugby/football kit (rugby shirt, dark shorts, dark socks and football boots)

I reckon school shoes, trainers and football boots alone are going to cost me £150. (ds has size 9 feet, expensive)

When we got the information pack it had a trip letter for a trip to space camp in Florida, £1,500.
My jaw hit the floor

lljkk Wed 02-Jul-14 00:57:22

Don't make the mistake I did & put the rugby shirt in his kit before he needs it, DS's rugby shirt went missing in first week. angry For DS2 I won't buy any rugby/footie kit until he says he absolutely needs it.

Education only compulsory up until end of yr11, MillyMM. In theory some kind of education/training is compulsory for a yr after that, but there's no teeth in the law (they don't do anything to punish NEETs). Even so, adding yrs 12-13 would only raise the bill by 1/6, right? to 246k. I think in London the bill must go up to only 330k or so (for 4 kids for 14 yrs). Could add on extra 5% for nursery, I suppose.


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