At this time of year many are considering which school to send their current primary school child to. We are now pretty good at checking league tables and Ofsted reports. But how often do we consider the seven financial implications to consider when choosing secondary schools.
Parental choice is brilliant – but just how available is parental choice to everyone? I know of families that chose a school, only then to realise that they could not afford to use that school. However I am not talking about families that had chosen a private Education I am talking about state funded education. Therefore you need to know the seven financial implications to consider when choosing secondary schools.
Why is September so expensive? I seem to have waved the children off to school and then they come home with letters for everything from new Art books to building fund requests. When I chose to send the older two children to a school a few miles from where we live, I knew this would have a travel and cost implication for us. When I applied I just didn’t realise just how much this would cost.
I was shocked that first year when I discovered that the yearly bus pass is over £750. I knew that I would end up with two children at the school and as such we would be paying out £1500 a year. However the costs do not end there with extra equipment being required, this takes the forms or Art folders and in our case a voluntary contribution to the building fund where the ‘suggested donation’ is explained and even an envelope provided for bringing in the money. Children can return an empty sealed envelope if the parents wish but I wonder how many parents do that.
Financial implications to consider when choosing a a secondary school.
- Research the travel options. Working parents may need to use school buses and these cost a significant amount either weekly, termly or yearly.
- Ask other parents who have children there about how often they are paying for other things. School trips, residential’s and after school activities quickly mount up.
- Does the school have an active PTA as they often can soak up some of the extra costs? They might have second hand uniform sales etc.
- Is the uniform all branded as that increases the cost of the uniform? Often now PE kits are also branded with logos’s and that reduces competition and leads to more expensive clothing.
- How will your child eat at school? A packed lunch is usually the cheapest option for those not entitled to free school meals. However this can soon add up. My children’s cashless system does mean that I can give them some money to spend. I find this compromise works well.
- Schools will provide lists of books and stationery that is required. But watch out for the extra’s needed for practical lessons or where you need to provide additional equipment. One local secondary school here insists or students have a school issued laptop which parents pay for on a monthly scheme.
- Speak to school if money is a concern as there are some ways schools can help if they know about your needs.