Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

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crashbang
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Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby crashbang » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:08 pm

My husband is very keen that we send our 2 children to private schools (he went to one, I didn't). We can't afford to do this out of income but do have some savings. I think that we should keep this money, he would like to spend it on education. I am worried that it won't stretch to cover everything but he seems to be under the impression that if we find ourselves in financial difficulty that the relevant school would help out. Is this the case?
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jg75
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby jg75 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:02 am

Hi, I’m in a very similar position. Have some savings, definitely can’t pay for it out of income and don’t have enough savings to pay for it all so really in two minds about whether to do it or not. I can’t speak from experience as my 2 are still at (state) primary but I did visit a private school recently and asked a similar question to the bursar. I was told that the bursary systems are set up to support kids who apply for a bursary at the start. And not people who encounter financial difficulties once the child has started school. They have emergency funds if there is a sudden bereavement or one or both of the parents lose their job. But they are temporary in nature. In other words, if you’re in doubt about your ability to afford it, you should apply for a bursary at the beginning and not rely on some help further down the line.

I suspect there are quite a few people in the same boat. Personally I don’t think I feel able to take the risk and am unlikely to put my kids forward for independent schools.
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dudette
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby dudette » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:38 am

Why don’t you ring up a few schools you might be interested in and ask them?
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Lola123
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby Lola123 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:23 am

My understanding is that if you have a change in financial circumstances you may apply for a bursary and I would be surprised and quite frankly shocked if it was just because savings had been depleted! It is generally based around income and as said before loss of employment and/or bereavement but this generally covers j t the end of the academic year and then one would need to leave the school.
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Denwand
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby Denwand » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:25 am

When my husband became ill we approached our son's (he had been there for 3 years) private school expecting them to be flexible and thinking there may have been a "hardship fund" of some sort.

We were  disappointed to find that, although sympathetic the message was - no -  no real help at all, even the bursary arrangements didn't allow for existing students whose parents were having payment difficulties.

If you simply tell them you have used up your savings I've a feeling they'll run a mile!
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sloaney donkey
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby sloaney donkey » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:37 pm

Also, budget for a VAT being applied to private skools fees under a Labour government, I went to skools with one John MacDonald (Northampton Comp, if you must know) and he promised me he would put VAT on school fees. He even bet me £5 he would do it when he becomes chancellor. And give the money to state schools.
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sloaney donkey
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby sloaney donkey » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:43 pm

I have had a few PMs doubting my statement

To be clear it is

Two

Zero

20%
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NoodleFan
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby NoodleFan » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:44 am

Bursaries are also only given to super bright kids (not saying yours aren’t). There has to be some return (A*s) for the school.

Friends of mine didn’t realise this and put their child through the pain of tutoring and exams with no real chance of being able to afford it if they got a place. Not fair on the child really.
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Southsider
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby Southsider » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:18 pm

One other thing to consider when budgeting (on top of a potential 20% VAT hike!) is that school fees tend to rise every year - typically 4-5%.  And that's compound interest so does rack up quite quickly.
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mum_1980
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby mum_1980 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:01 pm

If you can't afford it don't send your kids there as you risk having to pull them out. Private schools will not bail you out if you run out of money. The bursary is a bit like a scholarship so your kid has to be amazing in a certain subject. And as someone said before, they can help you till the end of the year if something sudden has happened, but running out of savings is not a criteria for getting funding.

I asked about this at the private school my kid previously attended and they said that to apply for financial assistance you have to, quite rightly, disclose all your finances. They come to your house to see what your house looks like and if you can remortgage it. Also, they ask about your parents finances and if they can chip in or if you can take out loans. Also, in this case the bursary didn't pay all the fees even if you did get it, it just discounted them and not by a huge amount either.

If your husband really wants to send the kids to a private school, then consider options for secondary and then see a wealth manager who can advise you how to best invest your savings in order to save enough to pay for them. Patterson Wealth Management do this. I have not used them, but there was a piece on them in the last schools guide, if you are interested: https://nappyvalleynet.com/schools/securing-the-future/

Also, do call the private schools you are interested and ask them what their policy is, but it's not as easy as your husband thinks to qualify for bursaries.
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Historytutor
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby Historytutor » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:29 pm

Good on him!
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adamdsouza
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby adamdsouza » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:53 am

I’m a teacher at an independent school and I’ve also been involved in the management of a schools group, so I hope I can give you some clarity. The TL;DR answer is: it depends. 

Many London day schools, especially the smaller, less academically selective ones, are owned and operated by for-profit companies, e.g. Minerva Education, Bellevue Education, GEMS. The margins on running a private school are pretty tight, and it’s only going to get tighter with rising compliance costs and a huge increase in contributions to the teachers’ pension scheme. (Teachers at the very august St Edward’s in Oxford went on strike over this recently.) These schools are unlikely to offer hardship funds, although a few may have nominal income-assessed bursaries; this is not going to be much more than a token fee relief.

However, many of the larger schools in our area are operated by charities. Many of the girls’ schools are run by the GDST, a Victorian charity, and several schools in Croydon by the Whitgift Foundation, which is a medieval trust supported by huge land/property holdings. These schools are much more likely to be generous in giving bursary support. To justify their position as charities in a hardening political climate (as mentioned by other people in the thread) these schools are having to bend over backwards to "demonstrate public benefit”. What this means in practice is that scholarships (merit-based) and bursaries (financial need-based) have been de-coupled, but your children will need to score very highly on entrance tests to make the case of how they will “gain” from the school’s charitable purposes (read: get top exam results which make the school look good).
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MichelleStickney
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby MichelleStickney » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:57 pm

Fee paying schools offer help if you know that you can pay it back. 
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LadyGardener
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Re: Do fee paying schools offer help if you get into financial difficulty

Postby LadyGardener » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:00 pm

I have a son on a bursary and a scholarship at one of the large Foundation schools in Dulwich. He has been on financial assistance since the start of his Prep at age 7. I would seriously say that you shouldn't start this expensive and long educational route unless you feel you have the resources and time to commit. The overall costs per year are probably double the actual fee. If you do struggle along the way, it is known to be very tough on the child to parachute into state from private. I suggest you start the whole process by looking at assistance, so you know exactly what is ahead and how much support. In my experience it takes a drastic change of circumstances (death or divorce) for the school to step in with financial support. There is always a waiting list of pupils with affluent parents for every place they have. Good luck, but do do your homework on each school individually, and on your own likely income for the next decade! 
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