Read this interesting article on financing the cost of a private school for your children, it may give you some idea on whether you can or cannot afford this !
By Michael Challiner
According to new research, children attending private schools have more chance of outshining their state-educated counterparts when it comes to qualifications and eventually high paying jobs. They also stand an improved chance of winning Oxbridge places and are admitted with lower grades.
There are around 2,400 privately run and privately funded schools in the United Kingdom. Children as young as two years old can be enrolled into pre-prep school nurseries before going on to prep (or preparatory, to give it the full name) schools when they reach the age of five. Preparatory schools are so called because they prepare children for entry to senior independent schools when they reach the age of 13 or 14. Many senior schools require children to pass an entrance examination.
Some schools offer special facilities for children gifted in a particular area and can offer special training in addition to wider academic curriculum. Others simply offer what the parents see as a better all round education and an improved start in life for their offspring.
Disillusioned with state education, many parents make considerable financial sacrifices to send their children to private schools. Around a quarter of these parents have average or lower than average incomes.
The cost of this education for a two to seven year old is around £1,000 to £1,500 per term or £3,000 to £4,500 per year. As far as boarding schools are concerned, the average fees of girls are around £20,400 per year and for boys a slightly higher £21,600.
Parents have differing views on the right age to get onto the private education ladder. Some parents start off hearing glowing reports of the local kindergarten and may feel that a year or two there will give their child a head-start when they take their place at state primary school. Some decide to go full-on from the start and plan their child's education soon after birth. Probably many more become more and more disillusioned with their child's progress and opportunities at the local state school and turn to the private sector for help. Parents who were themselves products of private education are probably more likely to choose this route for their child at some stage.
It should be noted that the curricula set by the UK education departments are looked upon as a minimum requirement by most independent schools.
Roughly 620,000 children are now being educated in private establishments. A representative for Sainsbury Bank says there has been a marked rise in applications for loans to help with school fees in the past year. They, in line with other lenders, fully expect to experience a growing number of parents taking out loans for this purpose.
When it comes to funding, unless you've planned ahead and made some provision for the fees, some help is going be needed. Even parents who have made plans via various schemes may find they need topping up with the increased costs of private teaching. If you can't afford to pay the fees out of income or by robbing your savings, borrowing may be the solution.
Assuming you're a homeowner, remortgaging to release money is normally the cheapest option. Mortgage rates will usually be lower than those on credit cards and personal loans and equity in your home could be exchanged for a lump sum, which could then be invested to cover the fees over a period of time.
If you're not a homeowner, or would prefer not to go down this route, then an unsecured personal loan may be the answer. Loans can be used for almost anything and repayment periods are flexible. Log on to the internet for more information on the subject - an on-line broker will be able to offer all the options and advice that you need, with a minimum of fuss and form-filling.
Whichever way you choose to go, what better investment can there be than your children's future !
A word of warning for your youngster though - as a teacher once said to my own son, "Just because your parents can afford to send you to a private school doesn't mean you don't have to put any effort in. Believe me, you will !" - And he did.
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Some reasonable parents with adequate finances may consider enrolling their child in a boarding school in the expectation that this may provide a higher quality education.
The educational issue should be examined closely since boarding schools, like other schools, can range from the very good to the very bad. They are not all better just because they are more expensive.
However there is also a major issue of ensuring that your child does not see it as simply child abandonment, since substantial child abandonment by parents or friends can be very traumatic and undermining for a young child. Adults may have, or may think that they have, good reason for some child abondonment, but abandonments can be the worst of events in a childhood.
Of course 'child abandonments' can range from minor temporary 'abandonment' to baby-sitter care for an evening, to permanent abandonment. And boarding school can seem to a child as being anywhere between the minor and major extremes, depending on how parents handle it.
Boarding school is more difficult for children below the age of 8, and these days the child should have a mobile phone and be told that they can phone a parent any time - but mostly once a day and mostly in the evening. They should also be assured that their return home in school breaks will be much looked forward to and will include some special family activities.
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