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Independent School Fees? Help?


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#1 ShamelesslyPooks

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

Yeah I know I'm jumping ahead a bit, but if we are going to send DS to an independent school we probably need to start saving now.

I was intending to send DS to a local public school, not thinking much about it. But I ran into an old school mate who is now teaching in the area I live, and she diplomatically strongly suggested either traveling out of the area, or going to one of the two local independent schools or a Catholic school. She suggested that was particularly so in terms of the highschools... And from my chat with her, alone, I'm pretty much convinced. Violence, bullying, underfunding, crowding and a 50% attendance rate in the later years... I mean, I went to the local public where I grew up which was low socioeconomic, but the school had a good culture and some great teachers... This is a whole different extreme and so here I am, wondering if we can afford it. My partner and I would not be comfortable sending DS to a Catholic school for a range of reasons. We could look into traveling out of the area.

A few questions.

One, are fees starting at about $3,500 a year in prep, up to about $5,500 in year twelve, considered to be high, or low, or what? I've nothing to compare it to.

Two, the school I am most interested in has prep-12, would you start your child there at prep or do you think switching them across in later years is okay? I worry that most of the highschool kids would have been there since prep so maybe it would be hard for a student to come in at say year 7. And do you think it's worth it for a primary school aged kid?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated original.gif

#2 Isolabella

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:56 AM

Those fees would be low.

Prep is $10k up to $20 k for year 12



#3 Isolabella

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

Those fees would be low.

Prep is $10k up to $20 k for year 12

Our local Catholic school is $3k a year (ok only $500 a year extra for additional kids).

#4 Sentient Puddle

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

Those are low fee paying schools - the ones in our area start at $15 grand for prep.

#5 MarigoldMadge

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

That's very low - are you in a capital city?

Most of the schools we looked at for DD were @$22,000 by Year 12. I haven't come across any private schools that are that low in Melbourne.

Have a look at the class sizes for primary school vs Year 7 at the school you are considering. I went to a private school from Yr 7, and it went from @25 students in Grade 6 to @ 120 in Year 7, so the vast majority of the secondary students did go to a different primary school.

#6 TillyTake2

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

Those fees are low (as independent schools go). In line with catholic & some of the cheaper Christian schools.

Our kids will go to an independent school for high school. They'll go to the local primary school as we couldn't afford private for primary.

#7 Dionysus

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

I would say those fees sound very reasonable.  Our 'top' independant school runs to about $20,000 for Year 12.  That's in SA - I know that schools in eastern states run to more than that

I was looking at FYOS - 12 school for DD at one stage that went up to $12,000 for Year 12, which was much more palatable.

(I have since gotten over my obsession with private schools - good thing as I am a state school teacher  wink.gif.  We are lucky in SA though, that the majority of our primary schools are not particularly tightly zoned, so (relative to eastern states) easy to pick and choose, within reason)

I currently work in a FYOS - 12 state school.  DD will start there in 2015 and I am seeing a lot of advantages to staying at the same school all the way through (though, if I stay there, I will give her the option to do middle and senior school at another school if she wants)

The most important thing I wanted to say, though, is that schools do change.  A new Principal, a few new programs etc can cause significant and quick change.  Keep an eye on your local school to see if it becomes more desirable



#8 mum850

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

low fees
look at your primary decision separately to your secondary decision.
put your child's name down now.
in our area for example, public primary schools are great and public high schools are terrible.

#9 tel2

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

I have a private prep -12 Cathloic school only a 15 minute walk from my home in one direction, than in the opposite direction 10 minute walk from my house I have a public primary school.

Both schools are great and we can afford to send my DD to either however we did decide to send her to the public primary school as we feel a private education in primary school is just not worth it the money you pay. Also if she doesn't like primary school - what a waste of extra money it would be.

Once our DD gets to the end of her primary school yearswe will then reassess where she will be sent for high school. If she loves school and she has applied herself and everything has gone well, she will be send to the private Catholic school. If she hates school and hasn't applied herself and it's been a nightmare, she will be sent to a public high school.

#10 noi'mnot

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:07 PM

Where I am we have a slightly different situation. We have a great selection of public primaries but the public secondary situation is dire. So, we'll enrol our girl (when the time comes) in a public primary and wait and see what happens with the secondaries, because she's two now and as PP said schools can change quite dramatically with a new leadership team, or a change in demographic, or various other things.

Perhaps you could do something similar? Place him in a public primary, waitlist for year 7 private, and see what happens locally.

Where are you, OP? I'm sure you are right to respect your friend's opinion on the schools, but getting some alternative opinions on the ones local to you might not be a bad thing...

ETA - I started at a P-12 private school when I was in year 10. These schools often have new kids starting every year (just like any other school), I didn't really feel that it affected me that much to enter into this situation.

Edited by noi'mnot, 07 January 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#11 roses99

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

Firstly, if you can put your child's name down on the wait list for a reasonable fee (up to $100) then considering doing that soon so that you can at least keep your options open.

Secondly, those fees are cheap. My son goes to a Prep-12 independent school and his fees for Grade 1 are about $4.5k. It increases to about 6-7k by Year 12.

We chose this school for a variety of reasons. It's a Christian school and we are Christian, however our priority is the education he'll receive. He had 19 kids in his Prep class and a full-time teacher aide. We like that the school is relatively small (our local state schools have great reputations but are huge and our son is a quiet little guy who might get a bit lost in that environment). Our teachers are great and our school leadership is strong. These things can all change over time, so it's best to investigate it fully.

It's good to have spoken to your friend and learned from her experience, but I would never discount the public schools on one person's opinion. The public high school I went to had a bad reputation locally, but was actually a great school and hadn't quite managed to shake off the bad rap. My dad was a guidance officer and knew the schools at a professional level so knew it was ok. It ended up being a great school for us.

My concern with independent schools are resourcing (in QLD the state schools tend to be better resourced - better staff PD etc - than the smaller independent schools). Also, find out what learning support is available should your child need that. Do they have plenty of teacher aides?

Finally, find out what the values/ethos of the school are and decide whether you agree with them or would be willing to tolerate them. If it's a Christian school, expect that your child will be doing Christian studies, attending chapel etc. If you're not prepared for that, don't send them to that school.

Edited by roses99, 07 January 2013 - 12:39 PM.


#12 ShamelesslyPooks

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE (mum850 @ 07/01/2013, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
low fees
look at your primary decision separately to your secondary decision.
put your child's name down now.
in our area for example, public primary schools are great and public high schools are terrible.


Yes, she was a highschool teacher so I might look into it more.

QUOTE (tel2 @ 07/01/2013, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a private prep -12 Cathloic school only a 15 minute walk from my home in one direction, than in the opposite direction 10 minute walk from my house I have a public primary school.

Both schools are great and we can afford to send my DD to either however we did decide to send her to the public primary school as we feel a private education in primary school is just not worth it the money you pay. Also if she doesn't like primary school - what a waste of extra money it would be.

Once our DD gets to the end of her primary school yearswe will then reassess where she will be sent for high school. If she loves school and she has applied herself and everything has gone well, she will be send to the private Catholic school. If she hates school and hasn't applied herself and it's been a nightmare, she will be sent to a public high school.


I'm actually thinking the opposite, almost. If he is quiet and studious like me, he would probably do ok in a low socioeconomic public school like I did, so long as he somehow avoids the bullies and social problems like I did. If he struggles, like his dad did, I am much more worried for him in a rough public school. I often wonder how DP got through highschool in one piece, and a good part of the answer is that he left ASAP. There are no boys in either of our families who have finished year 12 or gone on to uni even when they wanted to, and I'm one of 3 girls who have. I don't want that for DS. The independent school has impressed me so far as they offer side-by-side TAFE courses to older students and the Victorian program for more "hands on" year 11 and 12s called VCAL if he is more like his dad and not academically minded, but brilliant with the practical stuff (unlike me original.gif)

QUOTE (noi'mnot @ 07/01/2013, 01:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Where I am we have a slightly different situation. We have a great selection of public primaries but the public secondary situation is dire. So, we'll enrol our girl (when the time comes) in a public primary and wait and see what happens with the secondaries, because she's two now and as PP said schools can change quite dramatically with a new leadership team, or a change in demographic, or various other things.

Perhaps you could do something similar? Place him in a public primary, waitlist for year 7 private, and see what happens locally.

Where are you, OP? I'm sure you are right to respect your friend's opinion on the schools, but getting some alternative opinions on the ones local to you might not be a bad thing...

ETA - I started at a P-12 private school when I was in year 10. These schools often have new kids starting every year (just like any other school), I didn't really feel that it affected me that much to enter into this situation.


I will look for some more opinions, for sure. It worried me a bit because she went to my school, which had a good culture but was pretty rough around the edges, and said that the local public highschools (there are 3) we're much scarier, and she has worked at 2/3. The only reason I'd consider the primary school thing is for continuity, so he is not the only new kid in year 7, I'll look into it more because if there are lots of kids starting the same time it's not such a drama.

QUOTE (roses99 @ 07/01/2013, 01:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Firstly, if you can put your child's name down on the wait list for a reasonable fee (up to $100) then considering doing that soon so that you can at least keep your options open.

Secondly, those fees are cheap. My son goes to a Prep-12 independent school and his fees for Grade 1 are about $4.5k. It increases to about 6-7k by Year 12.

We chose this school for a variety of reasons. It's a Christian school and we are Christian, however our priority is the education he'll receive. He had 19 kids in his Prep class and a full-time teacher aide. We like that the school is relatively small (our local state schools have great reputations but are huge and our son is a quiet little guy who might get a bit lost in that environment). Our teachers are great and our school leadership is strong. These things can all change over time, so it's best to investigate it fully.

It's good to have spoken to your friend and learned from her experience, but I would never discount the public schools on one person's opinion. The public high school I went to had a bad reputation locally, but was actually a great school and hadn't quite managed to shake off the bad rap. My dad was a guidance officer and knew the schools at a professional level so knew it was ok. It ended up being a great school for us.

My concern with independent schools are resourcing (in QLD the state schools tend to be better resourced - better staff PD etc - than the smaller independent schools). Also, find out what learning support is available should your child need that. Do they have plenty of teacher aides?

Finally, find out what the values/ethos of the school are and decide whether you agree with them or would be willing to tolerate them. If it's a Christian school, expect that your child will be doing Christian studies, attending chapel etc. If you're not prepared for that, don't send them to that school.


You've given me some great points to work with for research. Yes, it's a Christian school, it's a demonization I am pretty familiar with and they are quite liberal so I guess if I were going to go with a religious school, this would be it. Personally I would prefer that he did not have religious instruction in primary school years, I'd rather he had a better developed critical thinking capacity and had been educated about diverse cultures and religions first to give it context. But if in the scheme of things it was better for him in other ways, I would probably just make an extra effort to help him with the subject matter.

I do worry about him only knowing other children from relatively privileged backgrounds, but I might look into it more, as people say its on the cheaper end of things.

I can't believe so many pay so much for schools! God! If we had 2 kids that would be our annual income, gone!

#13 Dionysus

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

QUOTE
...



You've given me some great points to work with for research. Yes, it's a Christian school, it's a demonization I am pretty familiar with and they are quite liberal so I guess if I were going to go with a religious school, this would be it. Personally I would prefer that he did not have religious instruction in primary school years, I'd rather he had a better developed critical thinking capacity and had been educated about diverse cultures and religions first to give it context. But if in the scheme of things it was better for him in other ways, I would probably just make an extra effort to help him with the subject matter.

I do worry about him only knowing other children from relatively privileged backgrounds, but I might look into it more, as people say its on the cheaper end of things.

I can't believe so many pay so much for schools! God! If we had 2 kids that would be our annual income, gone!


my bold

LOL

#14 ShamelesslyPooks

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE (**Mel** @ 07/01/2013, 02:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
my bold

LOL


Wow, that's a pretty good autocorrect! biggrin.gif

#15 ~~HappyMummy~~

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:39 PM

Sounds like low fees.  We have booked DD into the same private school I went to and fees are much much higher.  I can't recall offhand the exact amount but maybe $12000 for year 7.  I'm in Sydney.

I went to local primary (good school) then private high school (20 min bus ride).  I liked it that way, esp as it meant I had local friends.  My kids will do the same.




#16 Expelliarmus

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

I would not be trusting the word of one person about the local schools. If I listened to half of what one or two people said about the schools around here my kids would never leave the house! Do some more independent investigations.

#17 jm3

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

I'm starting to shift my thinking that private primary school is almost more important than private high school for a few reasons.

Those early years of learning the fundamental skills of reading, writing, maths and problem solving etc are so so important and in private schools where class sizes are typically smaller and resources higher (due to high fees) and in some cases (generalisation I know) less behavioural issues to distract your children I believe private might provide a better education.

My experience in public schools is that class sizes can be as many as 30 students and quite often with resourcing issues and only one teacher plus many different behavioural issues this can be to the detriment of the student who really needs help learning and applying themselves.

Again, my generalisation, I believe that a reasonably bright child will achieve good results at any school but the student who struggles with learning and staying on task could benefit from the advantages that private school provides.


#18 Ally'smum

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:51 PM

QUOTE (tel2 @ 07/01/2013, 12:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a private prep -12 Cathloic school only a 15 minute walk from my home in one direction, than in the opposite direction 10 minute walk from my house I have a public primary school.

Both schools are great and we can afford to send my DD to either however we did decide to send her to the public primary school as we feel a private education in primary school is just not worth it the money you pay. Also if she doesn't like primary school - what a waste of extra money it would be.

Once our DD gets to the end of her primary school yearswe will then reassess where she will be sent for high school. If she loves school and she has applied herself and everything has gone well, she will be send to the private Catholic school. If she hates school and hasn't applied herself and it's been a nightmare, she will be sent to a public high school.


Going off on a tangent, but I would do it the other way around. For children who are going to do well regardless of their environment, will be able to do well in any school. If she needs extra help with her education then the private environment with smaller class sizes would probably help her. You may not agree but I would never consider an investment in education a waste of money. original.gif

#19 TeaTimeTreat

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

We are looking at 15k for grade 4 up to 19k for grade 12 (the school is P - 12 but we do not want single sex from Prep) or 8K - 13K (Anglican v Catholic) so I would say yes those fees are cheap. We decided to send him to public school from P - 3 which is the early learning stage and then private for 4 - 9 which is classed as the middle years of schooling by Ed Qld, which is when the benefits of a stricter private school really kick in IMO. Grades 10 - 12 we will review and decide whether to keep him there, switch to a state school that offers the IB, apply for one of the Academies or look at TAFE options.

It doesn't have to be P or 7 as the only entry points  original.gif .

Edited by sparkler, 07 January 2013 - 01:58 PM.


#20 WakingUpTired

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:04 PM

No experience kids wise, but DH went to private school just for 11 & 12, good primary but bad high school where he was.  And heaps of kids entered the school just for years 11 & 12, so no problem making friends or not knowing people or anything.  I think a lot of families tend to just do it for senior years.

#21 *LucyE*

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

As PPs have said, those fees are cheap. The ones we are at/considering is 9k for prep up to 30k for yr12 and then you need to add in the price rises which have been about 3-5% per annum.

Another cost to factor in, is the uniforms, text books, excursions and extra curricula activities which may add up to be a substantial amount.

As PPs have said, don't rely on just one opinion. Do your own independent research. A Private school may be the best for your family. But then again, the financial pressure may be detrimental. Only you can weigh it up and decide.

My concern with some of the lower fee private schools is that they can sometimes be under resourced. One that I know of, don't have music or art programs for the lower primary grades. They have multi age classes (brain freeze and can't think of the term), not for philosophical educational reasons but due to budget constraints. They don't offer swimming lessons as part of the sports curriculum. And the list goes on. They are religious and many of the families we know who attend the school are very happy none the less.




#22 Daisy Goat

Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

QUOTE
Both schools are great and we can afford to send my DD to either however we did decide to send her to the public primary school as we feel a private education in primary school is just not worth it the money you pay. Also if she doesn't like primary school - what a waste of extra money it would be.

Once our DD gets to the end of her primary school yearswe will then reassess where she will be sent for high school. If she loves school and she has applied herself and everything has gone well, she will be send to the private Catholic school. If she hates school and hasn't applied herself and it's been a nightmare, she will be sent to a public high school.


I personally think you have that the whole wrong way about.
By providing the best environment both academically and socially and facility wise in the formative years may be the difference between Liking primary school" or not. It is common knowledge that private schools have the funds to provide so many more learning opportunities and services than govt schools. SHould your child require any extra help  or show any extra skills this will be accommodated so much more readily in private. Thus influencing her response and attitude to education and utlimately your choice of secondary education.

I would be more inclined to send a child Private for primary school for their education foundation  and then public for secondary if they have little to no interest in school. But if at all possible to do everything that can be done to foster this interest in the first 7 years not the second 6.

ETA: oops jut saw previous responses!Snap. Thats what i get for having atopic open without refreshing

Edited by Daisy Goat, 07 January 2013 - 02:20 PM.


#23 DS1979

Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:07 PM

Those fees would be considered very low in my area too; catholic school this year in my area is about $2500 for primary/$4000 for high school and private schools are around $10,000+ for primary/$20,000 for high school. Lucky for us we have amazing public primary schools so that is where my son goes saving us thousands of dollars.

#24 libbylu

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

Assuming your little one is still a toddler - there will be 10 years to go until she starts secondary school. As others have said, the demographics of an area and the quality of a school can change enormously in 10 years depending on the principal, the support from the parent community etc..  We have great primary schools and the secondary schools I would class as average but improving.  Hence, DS is at a local primary school and we will make the decision about high school closer to the time. We do have his name down at a couple of places to cover our bases, but there are no good independent schools close by us either, so if he did go to one it would probably be from year 9 rather than year 7 when he can travel across town independently and cope with the travel time more easily.
Most private schools have a huge year 7 intake, so new kids starting in high school won't be left out, but you can always enquire at the particular schools you have in mind.
As others have said, depending on how many kids you plan to have, it may be cheaper to move to an area with really good public schools than pay several lots of private school fees - although the school you have in mind seems extremely cheap compared to any I know of.

#25 becstar101

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

Yes, very low fees.

Bear in mind that schools can change quite rapidly. My dd will start prep (fyos) this year, at a public school I was adamant she would only attend over my dead body four years ago. A new principal started four years ago who has built an amazing team of dedicated teachers with an extremely forward thinking, tolerant and accepting philosophy that supports all the students. The ratio for fyos is 1 teacher to 15 students.

I have to admit to being obsessed with canvassing opinions from every parent I ran into at parks, fetes, daycare and kinder. Choosing public education does not mean you don't care about your child's education.

Unfortunately we're in an area where options for secondary school are pretty poor, so I'm hoping either the local schools make a Great Leap Forward as the primary schools have, or the government decides that one of the five schools they closed in the '90s needs to be reopened.




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