School Fees… the nightmare continues.

We received word from the kids school regarding the amounts we will be required to pay for their education this year. For the youngest the base figure is $11,672, for the elder, $15,668. So just for their basic day to day education we’ll be shelling out nearly $28,000.

When we add in the ‘extras’ the kids want to participate in the number spirals to dizzy heights. Additional music lessons for the eldest (flute, piano and singing) along with the additional subject ‘Musicology’, add another $1,000. What’s more, *stationary* is an ‘extra’ despite consisting of ‘required items’. Add in the cost of the occasional ‘out of school care’ they need, the cost of trips and excursions and I doubt if we’ll pay out much less than $35,000 this year alone. And, believe it or not, we’re told this is quite a *reasonable* amount compared to the fees other similar schools charge! It’s quite frightening!

While I’ve never been into the ‘lifestyle politics’ of some parts of the political spectrum I occasionally find it *very* hard to reconcile my socialist leanings with the clear fact that we are spending as much on our children’s education as some families over here have to support themselves in all areas. I’m not sure what the ‘average wage’ is in Australia currently but I’m sure it is still below the $50,000 mark.

I also question the relative values and wonder how much better off we’d be ‘as a family’ if that money was put into ‘us’ to fund holidays abroad, skiing trips or, more pertinently… into the wife’s pension fund! 😀

It’s a concern, but I’m not sure there is much we could do about it other than pull the kids out altogether and send them to state schools, and that option is something neither we, nor the kids, have ever seriously considered. Besides, looking at it realistically, I can’t see how switching schools would enhance their educational outcomes. I’m afraid we’ve locked ourselves into a pattern that will have to be maintained until they both complete their secondary education. Assuming they stay as long as possible, then the eldest has a 5 years left until year 12, the youngest 9 years. If the either or both decide they’d like to continue to university… this pattern could be continued into the foreseeable future!

Life is full of interesting choices but the decision how to educate our kids is one of those choices I’d rather not have had to make. In Wales they both would almost certainly have gone to state schools and we’d have been happy for them to do it. Perhaps not in London… but that’s another issue. Either way we’re in Australia and the die is cast. Will it be worth it in the long run? Obviously we have no idea, but can only hope it will. In the meantime… I sit and look at these bills and cringe.

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