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School Fees 'cheaper Than Moving'

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Sending children to private school can cost parents less than buying a house near the best local authority-run schools, a think tank has claimed.

A study carried out for Reform Scotland looked at house prices in the catchment areas for state schools.

It suggests homes near eight of the top 10 performing schools cost at least 34% more than the local average price.

Reform Scotland said that in some cases it would be more cost effective to pay thousands of pounds for education.

...

The think tank said that with properties in this area £101,382 more expensive than the average in the capital, it could cost house buyers £127,000 to borrow this extra amount at a competitive mortgage rate.

However, it would cost about £123,000 to send two children to a private school - such as George Heriot's or George Watson's in Edinburgh - for six years of secondary education.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-25889354

I wonder which private schools funded that particular press release?.

Reform Scotland is a public policy institute or 'think tank' which was established as a separate Scottish charity, completely independent of any political party or any other organisation and funded by donations from individuals, charitable trusts and corporate organisations.

Edited by oligotroph

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Well an extra bedroom in London will now set you back £200,000. No wonder the city has gone loft conversion mad - extra space for a fraction of the cost.

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I wonder which private schools funded that particular press release?.

They're not wrong whoever they are. The counter is that you might get the extra money back again if you move to a cheaper area once your kids have finished at school whereas the school fees are gone forever. On the other hand you could lose it all and then some if your timing is bad.

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School holiday dates also contribute. Paid school's holidays are normally different enough to state schools that parents aren't shafted for the school holiday premium on holidays

I learnt this last year talking to the parents of the only 'family' at the hotel we were staying at. Their paid school broke up a week earlier than state schools and their holiday was costing them £1750 less than the same holiday the following week...

And it rained for four days from the day after they went home!

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Lets not forget that private schools are better than state schools. Not a miracle really, they have that much more money to spend, and are run for parents, not government targets.

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Lets not forget that private schools are better than state schools. Not a miracle really, they have that much more money to spend, and are run for parents, not government targets.

I went to one of the best state schools in the country and there were several girls there from a not too good private school .... they seemed to think there wasnt much difference.

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I went to one of the best state schools in the country and there were several girls there from a not too good private school .... they seemed to think there wasnt much difference.

I think there's plenty of overlap in the middle but there's no real doubt that, on average, private schools are better and that most of the very worst schools are in the state sector. Which is, of course, why parents want to live close to the good state schools.

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This seems a bit weird. The report's talking about Scotland, but there isn'y huge number of private schools there, and most of the ones that do exist are in affluent areas of Edinburgh and Glasgow (plus a few boarding schools a la Gordonstoun). Wikipedia says that there are 628,000 children at private schools in the UK, of which 31,000 are in Scotland, so it looks as if the rate of private school attendance in Scotland is about half that of the UK as a whole.

Edit. Not sure what point I'm trying to make here...

Edited by Scunnered

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Lets not forget that private schools are better than state schools. Not a miracle really, they have that much more money to spend, and are run for parents, not government targets.

At the risk of going off topic - how exactly are private schools funded?

Take our local one, about a thousand pupils, 10k a year. That's only about 10 million a year in fees. What would the budget be for a state school with 1000 pupils?

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At the risk of going off topic - how exactly are private schools funded?

Take our local one, about a thousand pupils, 10k a year. That's only about 10 million a year in fees. What would the budget be for a state school with 1000 pupils?

Depends if its in an area of high deprivation, facilities, how much they can blag from various funds. But approx £8058 for a kid in Tower Hamlets.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12175480

But the state system has the entire education system bureaucracy to pay that surely does not come out of school funds, so no doubt it costs more then 10K on average once all these charlatans wages are taken into account.

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Party last week with adults and kids - some parents there who send their daughters to private school - £10k+ per term, one girl who goes £35k per term. Snort!

Some talked about reduced fees through scholarships, which I guess is a way of preying on the parents' pride/ambition. All they talk about is the league table of schools published in the Times.

The daughters do financial-type work experience - JP Morgan popular because its admin HQ is local. But the thing that really gets the girls' attention is the injustice done to Justin Bieber.

I say help the child identify what she enjoys, what she's good at, and what's useful - then combine the three for the optimum choice. Doesn't attract much enthusiasm because financial stuff is just ... the only choice.

The parents and kids are a pleasure to be around, except the education thing gets boring.

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At the risk of going off topic - how exactly are private schools funded?

Take our local one, about a thousand pupils, 10k a year. That's only about 10 million a year in fees. What would the budget be for a state school with 1000 pupils?

It's around £4500 per pupil in my children's school. That's less than the Local Authority average though.

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At the risk of going off topic - how exactly are private schools funded?

Take our local one, about a thousand pupils, 10k a year. That's only about 10 million a year in fees. What would the budget be for a state school with 1000 pupils?

Private school prices vary quite a lot. Anywhere near London will be over £15k:

Sevenoaks - £19,300, KCS Wimbledon, £18,900, LEH (Richmond) £16,200, St Swithun's Winchester £17,500, etc.

But as you get away from London fees drop significantly:

King Edwards VI for Girls (Birmingham) £10,935

Loughborough - £10,600

Withington Girls (Manchester) - £10,440

Manchester Grammar - £11,000

State school funding is surprisingly varied too. Your typical desirable comprehensive with an affluent catchment will spend ~£5k.

Examples:

Harrogate Grammar School, very white English (2.2% English as a Foreign language), middle class (3.7% on free school meals) - 41% of kids enter with 'level 4' when tested at age 11 (=expected progress, 5 GCSEs at A*-C, including Maths + English (this is what shows up on the league tables and gets parents paying high prices for housing) should result, not certain, but it's a normal result), 53% above level 4 (unless it's f***ing Beirut, these kids should pass 5 GCSEs with no effort at all) (the remaining 6%, below level 4, are almost certain to fail)

Their 2012 spending: £4,672 per pupil, of which £2,740 was on teachers. 2012 GCSE pass rate - 91% (very high, but actually not amazing considering the intake).

On the other hand, Mossbourne Academy, Hackney, much more diverse, 39% EFL, 33% FSMs, 53% of kids enter with level 4, 28% of kids enter with level 5+, and hence 19% below level 4 (= likely to fail)

Here the spending was £8,628 per pupil - 85% higher, spending on teachers was £4891, 80% higher. The GCSE results here were outstanding, 89% passing, although that doesn't necessarily mean that if you are a middle class parent wanting to spend a fortune on a house that Mossbourne is better, since they almost certainly focus a substantial portion of their resources on things like remedial maths classes and very specialized resources to get Hassan from Somalia his C in English and Maths, and it doesn't necessarily mean they have any more money to teach Shakespeare to middle class kids. Also, as an aside, they operate a lottery scheme, so unlike most successful comprehensives, you can't simply buy a place with a pricey house.

If you want to compare like for like, then by far the most successful state schools (cf. private) are grammar schools.

These are some the most high-achieving state schools in the country:

QEB - Barnet £5,874 spent in 2012

Tiffin Girls - £5701

Wilson's Sutton - £5671

King Edward Vi Camp Hill for Boys - £6069

Pate's Gloucester - £5509

So you are looking at £5500-£6000 annual spend per pupil for these schools, with around £3200 going on teaching.

Not like-for-like cost basis possibly perhaps, but Eton spent £14.45 million on teaching (staff costs for teaching only, pastoral staff listed separately) in the same year . Since they have 1300 boys, that is £11,000 spend per pupil, on teaching alone - approximately 3.5 times higher.

Of course Eton have a lot of spare cash, and also charge over £30k in fees (though much of this is spent on boarding facilities).

To take a London area (more expensive) day school, comparable in terms of academic ability on admission to a grammar school, Hampton School (fees £16k/year) spent £8.84 million on teaching, and £17.3 million overall spend. This appears to include both their senior school (1213 boys) and prep (221 boys age 7-11), I couldn't quickly see if they were split up between the two schools. The spend works out as over £12,000 per pupil, including over £6000 per pupil on teaching - essentially double the state spend.

For Manchester Grammar, which charges £11k/year, expenditure was £15.3 million, among 1522 boys (again including a junior school 7+, not sure the numbers, but they are never as popular as 11+), so £10k/year spending per boy, including £8.5 million on teachers, around £5600 per year.

So if you compare like-for-like funding, i.e. how much will be spent on a nice middle class kid at a state school and a private school, then you are looking at spending from something like 75% more at the more frugal northern/midlands schools, 100% more at London day schools, and then hugely more at somewhere like Eton (which is well known for paying its staff very well - it's an amazing school, with amazing facilities and opportunities though the top few American schools have still more cash).

A few private schools are for profit and/or very marginal in terms of their academic results, and I really have no idea how much they spend. It's possible that they don't spend more than middle class state schools, but I don't know either way.

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Party last week with adults and kids - some parents there who send their daughters to private school - £10k+ per term, one girl who goes £35k per term. Snort!

£10k/term is for boarding schools. There aren't many of these around. I

The only way you could possibly spend £35k/term is if you had multiple severe special needs, we are talking almost no function at all.

Some talked about reduced fees through scholarships, which I guess is a way of preying on the parents' pride/ambition. All they talk about is the league table of schools published in the Times.

Hmm yes some people do get excited about these. They are increasingly being toned down to mere baubles, or in some cases no remission at all, with the money diverted to means-tested bursaries instead.

The parents and kids are a pleasure to be around, except the education thing gets boring.

Friends of ours had their children at a suburban London primary school, one of the ones you (literally) have to pray to get in, in an expensive area. Nice middle class parents, the kids weren't rough by any means, but they were getting a little bit unruly as they got older. Oldest has just gone off to a private school, the change in six months was very stark, he was shaking my hand 'Nice to meet you again' (he is 11 when we left) , his mother agreed, said she should have sent them off before, but the cost of several sets of school fees out of taxed income is ludicrous, especially if you do it from age 5.

My son has been private since age 5, we moved out of time for a state school place so just went private rather than faff around. Daughter has followed suit, almost out of inertia really. Lots of money spent, but happy with the outcome. Nice not to have any kids of parents who go to school with a fag sticking out of their mouth swearing at their kids (I have literally not seen a single parent smoke), and the parents aren't absurdly competitive but they do give a f***, and sign the kids up for activities on so on, so it keeps me on my toes to follow suit.

I just totted it up, it's £185k in today's money we will spend from 4 to 18 for one child, which is a lot of dosh, but that plus a house in Dullsville buys my children a nice privileged existence, which you definitely don't get when you spend £2m to live in say Islington amongst all the druggies and nutters.

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Wasn't one of the things Labour talked about, before getting elected 1997, was increasing the spend on state school pupils so it was the same per pupil as in the private sector. It's a long time ago now, but I'm sure they did say something along these lines.

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Wasn't one of the things Labour talked about, before getting elected 1997, was increasing the spend on state school pupils so it was the same per pupil as in the private sector. It's a long time ago now, but I'm sure they did say something along these lines.

Yes I believe they did in fact do this, certainly in nominal terms comparing 2010 state with 1997 private, but there are some nice graphs that show the problem with this.

Here's one for health:

http://bp1.blogger.com/_mJmwQtPmusk/R6CDbHKPwJI/AAAAAAAABYs/dBeD2-hDgvE/s1600-h/NHS-productivity--ons-2008.jpg

Basically when the government increases spending, only a fraction of the extra spending goes in the form of useful output/service improvement, and most of it is absorbed to things like higher salaries.

In the education sector, teachers salaries rose massively as a result of the Labour education spending boom. It is doubtful if the quality of the teaching improved at all in spite of this.

As a consequence of higher state sector salaries, the private sector had to increase salaries as well - when the government is the health sector, the education sector, etc., they control salaries, and whatever they choose to pay, the private sector has to compete against.

So as state education spending was spiralling, so too were private school fees.

For example, in 1998/9 Eton charged: https://web.archive.org/web/19990508092530/http://www.etoncollege.com/prospectus-appendix.html £4,932/term

For 2013/14, the fees are: http://www.etoncollege.com/currentfees.aspx £11090/term

That's a real increase of around 53% for the term fees (obviously much more for the one-off fees, but I think this is because of increased demand, trying to deter people from registering without being committed)

On this topic:

http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/media1/press_releases/2012_press_release_brands/ltsb/2708_school.asp - other schools have increased the same sort of amount.

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£10k/term is for boarding schools. There aren't many of these around. I

The only way you could possibly spend £35k/term is if you had multiple severe special needs, we are talking almost no function at all.

Thanks. £35k looks correct for the entire year - the figure per term was confirmed after I said Wot! I guess it gushed around the room after a few bottles of vino (one of which cost $585 - but I'll have to check that figure too).

Here's the school, and its involvement in a cartel in 2005:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canford_School#School_fees_cartel_.282005.29

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Sending kids to boarding school when both parents working can be better and cheaper than childcare. :blink:

I don't have children, but yes, it;s better for them to be beaten by a stranger! :blink:

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Private school prices vary quite a lot. Anywhere near London will be over £15k:

Sevenoaks - £19,300, KCS Wimbledon, £18,900, LEH (Richmond) £16,200, St Swithun's Winchester £17,500, etc.

But as you get away from London fees drop significantly:

King Edwards VI for Girls (Birmingham) £10,935

Loughborough - £10,600

Withington Girls (Manchester) - £10,440

Manchester Grammar - £11,000

State school funding is surprisingly varied too. Your typical desirable comprehensive with an affluent catchment will spend ~£5k.

Examples:

Harrogate Grammar School, very white English (2.2% English as a Foreign language), middle class (3.7% on free school meals) - 41% of kids enter with 'level 4' when tested at age 11 (=expected progress, 5 GCSEs at A*-C, including Maths + English (this is what shows up on the league tables and gets parents paying high prices for housing) should result, not certain, but it's a normal result), 53% above level 4 (unless it's f***ing Beirut, these kids should pass 5 GCSEs with no effort at all) (the remaining 6%, below level 4, are almost certain to fail)

Their 2012 spending: £4,672 per pupil, of which £2,740 was on teachers. 2012 GCSE pass rate - 91% (very high, but actually not amazing considering the intake).

On the other hand, Mossbourne Academy, Hackney, much more diverse, 39% EFL, 33% FSMs, 53% of kids enter with level 4, 28% of kids enter with level 5+, and hence 19% below level 4 (= likely to fail)

Here the spending was £8,628 per pupil - 85% higher, spending on teachers was £4891, 80% higher. The GCSE results here were outstanding, 89% passing, although that doesn't necessarily mean that if you are a middle class parent wanting to spend a fortune on a house that Mossbourne is better, since they almost certainly focus a substantial portion of their resources on things like remedial maths classes and very specialized resources to get Hassan from Somalia his C in English and Maths, and it doesn't necessarily mean they have any more money to teach Shakespeare to middle class kids. Also, as an aside, they operate a lottery scheme, so unlike most successful comprehensives, you can't simply buy a place with a pricey house.

If you want to compare like for like, then by far the most successful state schools (cf. private) are grammar schools.

These are some the most high-achieving state schools in the country:

QEB - Barnet £5,874 spent in 2012

Tiffin Girls - £5701

Wilson's Sutton - £5671

King Edward Vi Camp Hill for Boys - £6069

Pate's Gloucester - £5509

So you are looking at £5500-£6000 annual spend per pupil for these schools, with around £3200 going on teaching.

Not like-for-like cost basis possibly perhaps, but Eton spent £14.45 million on teaching (staff costs for teaching only, pastoral staff listed separately) in the same year . Since they have 1300 boys, that is £11,000 spend per pupil, on teaching alone - approximately 3.5 times higher.

Of course Eton have a lot of spare cash, and also charge over £30k in fees (though much of this is spent on boarding facilities).

To take a London area (more expensive) day school, comparable in terms of academic ability on admission to a grammar school, Hampton School (fees £16k/year) spent £8.84 million on teaching, and £17.3 million overall spend. This appears to include both their senior school (1213 boys) and prep (221 boys age 7-11), I couldn't quickly see if they were split up between the two schools. The spend works out as over £12,000 per pupil, including over £6000 per pupil on teaching - essentially double the state spend.

For Manchester Grammar, which charges £11k/year, expenditure was £15.3 million, among 1522 boys (again including a junior school 7+, not sure the numbers, but they are never as popular as 11+), so £10k/year spending per boy, including £8.5 million on teachers, around £5600 per year.

So if you compare like-for-like funding, i.e. how much will be spent on a nice middle class kid at a state school and a private school, then you are looking at spending from something like 75% more at the more frugal northern/midlands schools, 100% more at London day schools, and then hugely more at somewhere like Eton (which is well known for paying its staff very well - it's an amazing school, with amazing facilities and opportunities though the top few American schools have still more cash).

A few private schools are for profit and/or very marginal in terms of their academic results, and I really have no idea how much they spend. It's possible that they don't spend more than middle class state schools, but I don't know either way.

This is very interesting, thanks.

Do you have any info on how much each private school place is subsidised by the state in terms of tax breaks, grants, etc? It would be interesting to compare how much the government subsidises private school places against how much they pay for state school places.

Anecdotally I have a good friend from Pakistan who was sent over to a British boarding school and apparently the British miltary used to come to his school and do regular training days with them (because they were looking for "officer potential", personally I think it's a bit offensive that they don't apparently think this can be found in state schools as well) and that he was as a result profficient in the use of several military grade weapons despite the fact he was clearly never going to go into the British military as a foreign national. This to me seems like a waste of tax payer's money dry.gif

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This is very interesting, thanks.

Do you have any info on how much each private school place is subsidised by the state in terms of tax breaks, grants, etc? It would be interesting to compare how much the government subsidises private school places against how much they pay for state school places.

Private schools don't get much in the way of tax breaks, though lefties make a disproportionate noise about it. As charities they don't have to pay tax on profits, but then they aren't making profits because they tend to spend what they receive in fees.

The bigger problem for them is that because they are legally enshrined as charities, it's basically impossible for them to stop being a charity, because their buildings, etc. are owned by the charity. So threats were made that they would have to do more to justify themselves as charities.

As I understand it,the value of tax breaks relative to total fee incomes very small, and private schools do already provide more support than that in terms of bursaries for less well off families, partnerships with state schools, and so on. But they basically were sabre rattling for a while and saying that the schools would each ave to individually justify their public benefit, and they would have no alternative but to comply. I think they have given up on this idea now though.

There aren't any grants, though some lefties want to put VAT on fees

Obviously if you send your kid private, you aren't getting a refund on the cost of educating them in the state sector.

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Depends if its in an area of high deprivation, facilities, how much they can blag from various funds. But approx £8058 for a kid in Tower Hamlets.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12175480

But the state system has the entire education system bureaucracy to pay that surely does not come out of school funds, so no doubt it costs more then 10K on average once all these charlatans wages are taken into account.

These figures are the basic amounts per child - you then have pupil premium and other's on top so it can reach almost £10k when all funding is added in for a place like Tower Hamlets which has the highest funding per pupil (apart from the Corporation of London! but it only has about 50 school kids living locally).

There are some big differences in state school funding - some inner London boroughs get up to twice the funding per head of some wealthier shire counties. However a lot of that is due to funding for pay differentials (inner London boroughs get a 25% top up for the cost of teachers pay and rates costs). deprivation and historically ethnicity (low achieving ethnic groups and English as an additional language).

But then private schools in London cost more too - so the differential is probably maintained.

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I don't have children, but yes, it;s better for them to be beaten by a stranger! :blink:

....not had experience myself of boarding school but there is a demand for it, mainly by the parents I would have thought not the children......corporal punishment was banned years ago. ;)

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Private schools don't get much in the way of tax breaks, though lefties make a disproportionate noise about it. As charities they don't have to pay tax on profits, but then they aren't making profits because they tend to spend what they receive in fees.

The bigger problem for them is that because they are legally enshrined as charities, it's basically impossible for them to stop being a charity, because their buildings, etc. are owned by the charity. So threats were made that they would have to do more to justify themselves as charities.

As I understand it,the value of tax breaks relative to total fee incomes very small, and private schools do already provide more support than that in terms of bursaries for less well off families, partnerships with state schools, and so on. But they basically were sabre rattling for a while and saying that the schools would each ave to individually justify their public benefit, and they would have no alternative but to comply. I think they have given up on this idea now though.

There aren't any grants, though some lefties want to put VAT on fees

Obviously if you send your kid private, you aren't getting a refund on the cost of educating them in the state sector.

Thanks this is very interesting having come from a comprehensive background myself.

I'm still a bit confused though, weren't the private schools being threatened with losing their charitable status? If that's their biggest problem and they don't need to pay much tax anyway why didn't they jump at the chance? The government could hardly strip an organisation of its charitable status and then claim their assets still belong to the now defunct and non-existent charity that they once were, could they? Seems implausible, even for this lot...

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Thanks this is very interesting having come from a comprehensive background myself.

I'm still a bit confused though, weren't the private schools being threatened with losing their charitable status? If that's their biggest problem and they don't need to pay much tax anyway why didn't they jump at the chance? The government could hardly strip an organisation of its charitable status and then claim their assets still belong to the now defunct and non-existent charity that they once were, could they? Seems implausible, even for this lot...

Not sure if they thought it through that far.

It didnt happen in the end.

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