Private school fees(191 Posts)
We can't afford them but we want to. How can it be done? Is it true that advertised fees are a 'guide' and that the true fees are established in conversation and schools can be open to this sort of case by case approach? We have four children. Sibling discounts are suggested but are they really applied to any great degree? How is 'middle class' (no trolling please I am generalising) England/Wales affording private schools?
In my experience advertised fees are set in stone unless you qualify for a bursary.
I have never known for fees to be negotiated unless it's bursary or scholarship. I don't think that the 'middle class' can afford it like they used to in the past.
People pay the published fees, unless they qualify for a bursary, sibling or staff discount, or some other scheme or award.
It's not even worth thinking about the consequences if parents found out that fees for some were reduced by negotiation/whim. Instant revolt, and utter wrecking of reputation.
The amount of sibling discount is usually published on the school website. If it's not, it may mean there is none. But if you're hunting for schools with the highest ones, try the long-established Catholic schools.
And most people aren't affording private school. It's 7% across all age groups, which in practice means much lower %age at prep, and considerably higher for sixth form (about 20%, two years only and afforded by years of saving up).
I knew one school that negotiated fees if the child got a grammar place but it was an under subscribed school and frankly was a school of last choice rather than first choice but any decent independent I haven't heard negotiate on fees. They may have schemes where you can pay upfront eg by mortgaging your home but you would still be paying the fees, just for a longer period of time and tied into that school. I want to be able to afford the fees for DD but it looks like we are going to be turning down a place at an excellent independent school as frankly the compromises for us would be too much and we have an amazing state grammar on our doorstep.
I think that you might just have to accept that you can't afford it just like most people can't.
From some threads on here it sounds like people get money from grandparents or remortgage their homes if they have enough equity (not something I'd do even though we actually could).
Agree with Ballet, fees that are advertised are set in stone. At the school my DS school my son attends the discount is only for siblings in excess of 2 so you would get a small discount for child 3 and 4.
We can afford it as we only have one child, which was just how it turned out rather than by choice. We also have to make sacrifices to ensure that he has everything he needs but we believe it's the right thing.
1) Have 1 or at most 2 children.
2) Encourage their intellectual and other talents and aim for a scholarship with bursary.
or 3) live near a decent state school and learn to appreciate state education, which has plenty of advantages.
I think most people afford it by not having four children! (Sorry, flippant but true!)
We knew we wanted to educate privately so this was a big factor in how many children we could afford. It's priorities I think, and this was something we didn't want to compromise for our existing children.
Advertised fees are what you pay, unless you qualify for a bursary,or your dc earns a scholarship.
At dd2's school, sibling discount only kicks in at 4th child attending (I think - not sure, as we can't have our 3 at same school anyway so haven't looked at it in detail) and is even then not generous.
We afford our 2 (third one is at a different school, funded by LA) because we are extremely fortunate.
I've a friend who only had one child as it was so important to her dh that their children went to the same school as they did.
In my experience the advertised fees are the fees. Then there is all the extras on top. Like the blazer at one school we were looking at was £40 and the state school was £12.
Prep school: we had 5% discount for 2nd child, 10% for third.
Senior school: Fees are £7,500 per term per child which is what we pay. The school is very generous with scholarships, and they are each taken individually. So it's possible to have 20% off for a sports scholarship plus 20% off for a music scholarship plus 20% off for an academic scholarship plus 20% off for an art scholarship.
Advertised fees are the fees and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The fees are crippling. On the bill one line is the fees then there is school fees insurance, health insurance, lunches, music lessons, trips etc etc. It's immense and would be crippling for 4. Here people manage by doing state until secondary / relative helps / both parents killing themselves working / not all the children at private school etc etc. I also think once in it would be very distressing all round to move them yet the fees just seem to ramp up every year.
Find the school first and take it from there.
I've never heard of anybody being able to negotiate fees, but you could apply for bursaries and scholarships if your dc are academic or arty.
You need to be very poor and be able to attract schemes, sponsors etc or very rich.
Most middle income families can't afford it.
As MrsEric says, the fees are only the start. My children went to private school and we were not consulted over trips or extras. There would be a note home telling us a mandatory activity was scheduled to take place and the words 'the cost of this will be added to your bill..
Some private schools are struggling, even some quite good private schools. They need more children. So you may be able to get a scholarship at a school in that situation if your child is just a bit bright or talented.
You could also consider working for a private school, to get subsidised schooling.
Advertised fees are what you pay unless you have some kind of remission. There is no room for negotiation.
Join the Armed Forces. You can get help with private school fees.....but you may be deployed into a war zone!
We've had five in independent education, but I got teacher's remission for three of them for a few years, as well as tiny scholarships (5 - 10%).
Even with that, we had to borrow against our house during the peak years.
Fees are set in stone and there are considerable extras such as uniforms and small trips. Including after school and holidays it is getting into the realms of 20k for one child per year in a prep.
"Join the Armed Forces. You can get help with private school fees"
You get help with boarding school fees only. And only for the stages of education when one parent is fully deployable, and the other parent moves house with them every time they are posted (other than to war zones, of course).
No payment at all for day school fees. But if you choose a boarding school near a garrison town, you might be lucky enough to be posted there and have a year or two still covered as continuity.
1/3 of all private school students get some sort of fee reduction be it on scholarship or bursary. Then one can always skip holidays and cut non essential household bills & maybe even get some financial help from grandparents so fitting in one or two bright students at A level or even from age 13 is very doable but to finance 4 over a 7 year period from age 11 would be impossible.
Sibling discounts can apply but ime are 5% for first qualifying sibling and max 10% for subsequent. Some only kick in for 3rd child in same school at the same time and disappear once one leaves. Scholarships and bursaries are often available, and there may be some room for negotiation if a child has more than one offer, but seems less so recently. If a school has an affiliation to a religion and/or Association with Armed Forces, children of serving clergy or Forces families may also be eligible for partial fee remission.
As to affordability, fees are payable out of net income and many forfeit larger houses, new cars, holidays etc to commit to them unless they have received an inheritance, are mortgage free or have family willing to pay. For most it isn't realistic to pay from annual earnings alone.
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