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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:07 am
Posts: 49
Hi all,

My nephew is in his last year (actually 6th form) at WHSB and I was having a discussion with my sister about the costs involved of attending grammars compared to other schools. She has said there are alot of trips (day trips out and abroad) and they are top end of costs compared to comprehensive schools she had experienced previously and that each child is expected to attend and some are compulsory.

We are a normal working family and although we could afford it, it could put a strain on us at certain times of the year or if my husbands hours carry on being cut.

Just wondered if anyone had any first hand experience of this too and your opinions?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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I think they really vary - NONE of the "holidays" eg the trips abroad are compulsory. My kids' GS trips abroad were very reasonably priced and they were conscious that people couldn't alwys afford a lot, the local comprehensive however has some eye watering expeditions...

Re trips in school time ie compulsory for the course are not too expensive, and is parents can't afford then the school can sometimes help with funding


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Agree with Herman, varies greatly. Our local comp had a skiing holiday that was more expensive than the prestigious public school down th road! The GS my son is at has the begging bowl out far more often and determined,y than my other sons indie to be honest. The uniform at the GS was more expensive too. Talk to other parents but as has been said, you can opt out of trips etc whether it's a comp or a GS. I am tempted to suggest that those in a comp will say GS more expensive, its part of the slight stand off between them I think. Or just a perception.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:13 pm 
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Don't be put off GS by stories of greater costs. There is no reason for the costs to be any greater at a GS than a non selective state school.
Any trips that are 'compulsory' will have a fund attached to cover those who have difficulty paying but generally they will be less than £20 and infrequent.
More expensive extra trips will be attended by a minority so are really not an issue.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Totally agree with KB. Optional trips can be expensive but not many attend. All of the trips, like those in all state schools, ask for a parental contribution but schools have money to support those who cannot afford to attend. They are also discreet, a private conversation is encouraged if you cannot afford the costs.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:45 pm 
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Our local GS is no more expensive than the Upper school alternative.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:07 am
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Thanks everyone.

Has put my mind to rest that is no more expensive than other schools.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:45 pm
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My son goes to a GS and my daughter use to attend a local comp. I found the trips etc in the comp far more expensive in comparison to GS prices.

The blazer needed for the GS was more expensive but lasted longer and washed well.

The most significant cost difference between the schools was I found, within the canteen though. My daughter can easily spend nearly double on her food at school, with the GS seemingly much more reasonably priced.

To clarify then, in my personal experience, GS are certainly not more expensive for the 'additional' costs. Do not be put off applying.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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I quite often work in a state secondary school and have seen over the last few years the amount/type of fundraising they do. It is not any different really to the amount/type of fundraising that is carried out in the state GS - the events may be different and the capacity of the PTAs to work successfully may be different but the "begging bowl" is out in all schools. I think a lot of parents from state primary schools always seem to be taken aback by this as fundraising in primary schools tends to be quite "gentle" - certainly we never encountered "direct debit" request letters in primary.

Someone upthread commented that their son's GS had the begging bowl out more often than the other son's indie - well, I would expect that - independents have the luxury of being able to include a lot of necessities in the fees and can "simply" (and I use the word advisedly!) up the fees to continue covering these essentials, concentrating their "begging bowl" fundraising activities to the twirly bits on top. GS and other state schools actually have to fundraise for the necessities too, as budgets are streamlined more and more, hence having to be apparently more aggressive in their requests. It always makes me laugh though when I hear parents who have paid for an indie primary all the way through loudly complaining about being asked to pay for a cup of tea/contribute to funding etc at an event at a state/GS.

Generally speaking, the costs in any state school to a parent are about the same as they are regulated to a certain extent - the uniform may be more expensive (but frankly you do tend to get what you pay for and more expensive uniform still looks acceptable in the second hand store); trips that are compulsory are kept to a minimum and minimum cost and there is usually an Access fund of some sort for those parents who truly can't afford it. The fancy trips, e.g. skiing - are not compulsory - the main difference being that you may find a higher proportion of kids in an indie would go on these trips as parents there may well have more disposable income and tend to indulge in things such as skiing anyway. In the state schools, the trips are often opened up to all years as they know that only one or two from each year will go - so if your child doesn't go, they remain in the majority!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:40 pm
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Kenyancowgirl - totally agree - the difference was explained to me as it is often simply "Fun-raising" in Indie Schools rather than Fundraising (that is sometimes fun) in the state sector.


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