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Cost of state secondary education(25 Posts)
Now that we've got DD's place at a (state) secondary school confirmed, I've started to think in more detail about her moving up. I'm sure we'll get a full uniform and kit list from the new school in due course but it may not be until the induction days in the summer term, and as money is quite tight at the moment, I'll need to budget carefully and try to put some money away each month ready for the shopping spree over the summer. Obviously, there is new uniform to buy, but I remember my parents having to buy quite of lot of other things when I started secondary school (private if that makes a difference), so my question is what do you need to buy & how much do you think it all adds up to? Here is my working list so far - have I forgotten anything major or is there anything on here that you wouldn't expect to buy?
Rucksack/bag for books
Sports kit - not just clothing but equipment - hockey sticks, tennis rackets etc?
Aprons for domestic science, CDT?
Protective eyewear for CDT?
Dictionaries for English and foreign languages
Pencil case & stationery
A4 ring binders?
Laptop (for use at home)
Any ongoing expenses:
Ingredients for cookery practicals
Lunches (pre-paid card system)
We should be ok for free transport to school so that's not on my list.
Any info, tips or advice, gratefully received. Thanks.
school should have lab coats for science and protective eye wear.
Shoes & coat only need replacing if she's outgrown hers, otherwise black shoes and sensible coloured coat will be fine.
Dictionaries - if you have internet, use that or an app for a phone.
A4 binders - depends on the school and subject. Some subjects will still use exercise books and text books, and some schools may provide binders - so I'd wait and see once she starts.
Phone is important - as is a cheap data plan, do you know if the school has wifi? If it does then she'll need less data.
Added things to budget for - she'll want to start going out with friends more - set a budget for cinema/social time - know how much she can spend in advance.
DD’s uniform prob cost us about £250 with shoes and including PE kit & trainers and Superdry rucksack.
The uniform shop near me lets you go in, try on, then bag up everything you want for a deposit. They then store it and you can pay off weekly bit by bit and change any sizes should a growth spurt happen.
Dinner money is pre-paid on card and I give her £10-15 per week.
Food tech cost about £5-10 each time but she only did 5-6 practicals in first half of year and now food tech has stopped.
School offered a great deal in GCSE calculator and maths kit in first term for about £7 so was well worth it.
I bought English and french dictionaries off eBay for a couple of pounds.
No trips so far but DD isn’t in to them so doubt she’d want to go.
One tip... don’t overbuy uniform. You can always top up in the first term as you know what seems to get washed the most
There is a thread called "school expenses" which was posted a few days ago. That covers some of the unexpected things (other than uniform) that you might not think of.
Unfortunately schools vary wildly in what they expect parents to buy, but I wouldn't expect a state school to expect multiple items of kit for different sports, nor sports equipment like hockey sticks. my DC's school also provide items such as lab coats and aprons.
My DC only has standard PE kit in drawstring bag. If they need football boots school lends them. My DC don't use them out of school
Lab coats, food tech aprons all provided.
Our school charges a small amount for Tech subjects every year, so they can take their things home. It covers resistant materials, textiles etc as well.
Coat, mine won't wear a coat to school!
We bought as we go along.
The uniform was the biggest expense and we bought it from the school in the summer. And PE kit from the school too.
Shoes and socks, tights etc. bought during summer.
We had dictionaries and thesaurus at home, didn't spend money on them initially however after the school started and we found out which books they are using, we bought the textbooks for Science and the books plus cds for foreign languages from the school.
In our school all school purchases, books-dinners-school trips etc are via an online payment system called Tucasi. Your school might be using them, it's great convenience.
Food and nutrition (cooking) supplies were approx 30 pounds for the year. Paid to school in September via Tucasi.
Topped up dinner money on Tucasi. There is a daily cap you set for your child and they can't spend more than that amount daily. Top up online as and when needed.
Scientific calculator, maths set and pencil case etc again we bought them in summer. Also bought various stationery, notepads etc. After we bought the maths set and the calculator in the summer, we noticed that the school sells them very slightly cheaper too. It's good to know if existing ones get lost or damaged, it would be easy to replace from the school office.
Laptop is a big expense if there isn't one already.
Mobile phone: some kids have quite decent ones but some are happily use more basic, old leftovers, at least in year 7. Dd got a very cheap and basic one at first as PAYG but then upgraded to my old (still quite basic) android phone with internet connection.
Also, we live in London and we made sure we got an Oyster travelcard issued and made sure to do several trial school runs by public transport in summer. I realise it's not an issue for you. Secondary school is the first time dd went to school alone, as we used to do the school run by car in primary.
School trips are very expensive compared to the primary. They have smallish day trips to a nearby places, for geography or history, which costs around 20 to 30 pounds. Not compulsory to send your child.
There is PGL type residential trip within the UK, costing hundreds. Not compulsory. Usually takes place in June- July months.
Also there are other PGL type holidays abroad which costs an arm and a leg. More than the cost of a package holiday for a couple! And it takes place in the summer holiday when schools are closed.
Also Skiing trip to the USA in either winter half term or christmas break, i can't remember which, and we will not be sending dd. It costs nearly 2000 pounds which is absolute madness!
Foreign language day trip to Germany or France or wherever, again not compulsory to send your child. Usually takes place in summer term. If it involves Eurostar, it will be expensive. All these trips are good but many kids don't join them. Mostly they do the local area geography day trip and maybe UK based PGL residential too.
Schools do theatre trip etc which could be subsidised heavily and might cost little.
Our school arranges extra curricular activities such as music lessons, sports coaching with extra costs but i don't know the going rate as we don't utilise them. For that reason i wouldn't know the additional cost of special sports gear and equipment either. My dd does some specific sports outside the school, her school doesn't offer those sports.
You asked apron, lab coat, protective eyewear etc. We didn't need to purchase those. School provided them.
Our school does lots of lunchtime and after school clubs, appealing to variety if interests. I'm sure your DD will find something she likes too.
From your list we didn't needed to buy:
New shoes - used the ones from y6 that still fitted
New coat - used the one from y6 that still fitted
equipment - hockey sticks, tennis rackets etc? - supplied by school
Boot bag - no (but have a DD and they only do outdoor on astroturf)
Aprons for domestic science, CDT? - supplied by school
Lab coat? - supplied by school
Protective eyewear for CDT? - supplied by school
A4 ring binders? - no, only school supplied exercise books
Things you didn't list
- CGP science book for KS3
(and later copious guides for GCSEs)
- A4 plastic wallets for getting loose papers to and from school
Brilliant. Thank you all. I must have missed the other school expenses thread as the education threads seem to move quickly at this time of year!
It's reassuring to know that lots of the extra things that I had though about seem to be provided by the schools as they all would add up to a not insignificant sum. We all had to have our own sports kit and tech kit at the school I went to. (I guess private schools can expect parents to pay for everything whereas in the state sector they can't always do that.)
I seem to remember at the open evening that the school held for Y5s in the summer term, there were some Y6 parents there buying maths sets and dictionaries in those departments so that will be a good time to get those at hopefully reasonable prices.
I hadn't thought about cost of the extra socialising that teens do (other than the increased taxi-ing I'd need to do) but she has her own money for that & we can set sensible limits.
Her current coat is a very bright colour & the secondary school may need a dark one - I can't see anything specific on the uniform list but all the examples they show of acceptable coats are dark. I always assume that we'll need to buy new school shoes (and every other type of shoe) each year.
Superdry seems to be the rucksack of choice for teens at the moment so we'll look at those.
I'd love DD to go on as many school trips as possible so I will budget some money for those (though possibly we won't stretch to a £2k skiing trip - we could all go skiing for that! ). Hopefully, some of those costs can be spread over the year a bit.
Don't buy an expensive rucksack!!!
Buy a fairly cheap one, your DD will be highly likely to decide she wants a different style of bag after a few weeks. Having the right bag for her crowd is far more important.
For cheap stuff do look at Tescos/other supermarkets. They have a lot of cheap stuff at the end of the summer term/beginning of the holidays. And it is generally pretty good quality.
I wouldn't buy a coat! Teenagers often won't wear them. Again I'd wait and see rather than waste money (a cheap Cagoule is plenty for wet days in the first few weeks).
Rather than buying ahead I would squirrel away some money into a savings account to help budget for expenses.
Again to say there really is no norm. School trips at Dc's school, at least the ones most go on, are still what I'd consider reasonable. At least more like £15 than £150!! And no increased increased costs round socialising particularly yet with eldest in year 9, "hanging out" is still social activity of choice!
If the uniform includes a blazer, really don't bother with a coat, just a pac-a-mac will do, and they won't wear that!
State secondaries provide exercise books and sports equipment. Sometimes text books will be class sets kept at school for use during lessons and not taken home at all. You won't pay for text books unless you lose them. Revision guides however...
Logoed sports uniform can be expensive. Get it fairly generously sized and hopefully you'll only need to replace it every other year. It only gets worn 2 hours a week. The PTA might have secondhand sales of uniform. Good for replacing lost or outgrown stuff. Personally I liked to start with new at the start of Y7 but after a few months secondhand is as good as they're wearing!
Thankfully our comp specified a plain black or navy rucksack or bag with no visible logos so no ‘paying for brand’ at our school.
Ditto the coat: it was plain black or navy.
So do check before you buy anything.
Our all-polyester blazers were £27, and there were specific jumpers and a tie. PE shorts and T shirts. (Cheap). Everything else could be supermarket bought.
Many schools are very specific about the black shoes: nothing trainer-like, nothing canvas.
Kickers were the shoe of choice by most kids, (boys and girls) very expensive but practical and lasted really well.
I did make a concession on the blazer for DD. I wanted her to feel great when she started so bought her a smaller size that fitted perfect and looked great. She can be funny with clothes and I didn’t want her to feel self conscious in anything too oversized.
It was my one concession and I know I’ll have to replace it much sooner but I’m still glad I did it to help her confidence.
My youngest DD has never worn a "new" blazer, she always preferred to use a second hand one (from her older brother or sister).
Uniform we need are: special school skirts or ordinary trousers, Tie, Blazer, and generic white shirts. PE kit= polo shirt, jogging bottoms, shorts, hoody, football socks, trainers and for boys football boots.
All of mine started with cheap backpacks. DS kept with them (the one time he got a more expensive one it broke). One DD went on to big Accessorise type bags, the other has used a few messenger type bags. Neither has gone for labels but more "quirky".
A calculator (can also be bought at the Supermarket in the summer), and a language dictionary are the only equipment other than pens and pencils etc. that are needed. Until you get to revision guides and home copies of set books (pretty cheap - and they can write in them).
They will specify calculator, too, probably a ‘Science calculator’ so wait til you are sure.
Building up a savings pot is a good idea and then you can get things once you have the full list. And check at the Induction Meeting, if they have one.
We are in Scotland so might be different but had to buy very little.
Certainly nothing like goggles to protect eyes, lab coats or hockey sticks.
We did have to get a calculator, but that was about £6. We needed PE kit but just shorts/t-shirt and a hoodie for winter and trainers, which I would have been buying for primary anyway. And a blazer and a tie.
We bought a cheap supermarket scientific calculator, only to be told a few weeks into term that it had to be a Casio, so check before you buy.
The biggest expense for us was a residential bonding trip two weeks into the first term – it was about £200.
Have the school said you need everything that you've listed here? I would have thought they would have most of these
Thanks all. This is so helpful.
Gosh £200 is a lot to find at the start of the year for a residential. I will definitely ask about possible school trips in the first year when we go to the open evening for Y6 parents next term.
I will also be able to confirm then, what exactly new starters need.
I'm not going to buy anything until we get the official lists from school but I shall start putting away some money each pay day from now until the end of August and researching some suppliers.
The uniform and official supplier seem reasonable (we have the same official supplier for our primary school logoed sweatshirts) & I don't think there is too much that has to be bought from the official supplier anyway.
School is very strict about uniform & proper shoes, so I will double-check with them about winter coats & bags.
Usedaname01 As far as I know, we won't get any more information from the school until the summer term, so I was just trying to brainstorm now based on my own memories of what my parents had to buy for my school (some years ago) and work out how much money I would need to put aside for DD. I'm pleased that PP have said that schools provide many of the things I'd thought of. School trips are a hidden expense though.
I am dreading buying DD's school uniform. Blazers are £60, skirts are £40, plus blouses and jumpers. Add to that the sports uniform (which we have to get embroidered with their initials in their house colour and I am expecting it to add to £300 not including shoes (and it can only be bought from one local provider).
I have started putting togehter a few smaller items already to spread the cost, hype backpack which was half price, sports kit bag in Nike sale and bootbag from sports direct. Will get other bits when we get the full list from school.
For us on the open evening there were calculators to buy so everyone has the same one, language dictionary and uniform. It had a try it on stand so with girls lots of them wore leggings to make trying shorts on over the top easier.
My eldest son is in year 10 and he is only on his second set of sports kit. Football boots are from SportsDirect and are Nike, they were around £25/£30.
There will be lots of deals on stationery nearer the time but we have 2 pencil cases, one for every day and the other with coloured pencils in and maths equipment. These live in the school bag and are never taken out at home so my children never turn up without equipment.
They have 2 pens, an automatic pencil (no time wasted sharpening) pritt stick, ruler, rubber x 2 and highlighters. They are provided with a board pen and a purple pen for "purple zone" work (independent work) and a green pen for "green for growth" (expansion work.) They have spares from us just in case one goes "missing" in class in the secondary pencil case.
Coat is Costco £20, rucksack is actually a laptop bag off Amazon.
We paid £10 tech fee as they provide all cooking ingredients. Both my children have school dinners and the children take their own drinks in. School charge £1 for Oasis I can buy it for 65p from Costco. Same with water, school is 65p Costco is 24p for SmartWater.
If there are any parents at your current school who have older DC just ask them too for any inside info
Oh the most useful extra thing I bought was a set of "clip lock" type food containers, for taking ingredients in for food tech. If you see a set of them on sale in the supermarket it can be a good buy.
Bekabeech funnily enough, I did just that last time they had some half-price clip lock box sets at Sainsbury's, thinking they could be useful for taking ingredients to school. If they're not needed for school, at least we'll use them at home.
You're right about them having the right bag, etc, to fit in. I remember my friend & I sticking out like sore thumbs in our first year at secondary & feeling so awkward. I think we may 'borrow' my friend's daughter, who'll be a Y9 and know what's socially acceptable, when we go bag & coat shopping.
One of the largest expenses for us is the canteen, which is expensive – a snack at break and a couple of things for lunch can easily be £4 to £5, more than twice as much as primary school lunches cost. He was spending more but he's no longer allowed to buy drinks but takes water in. He takes a packed lunch in once a week which helps with the cost but it still all adds up.
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