Lately we've been talking to some of you about how the classes are chosen, how the class fees are set, and how it all works, so we thought we'd take a moment and share some information on exactly how the group is run ...
(This doesn't include Gymnastics/Sports run by YMCA. YMCA have a set price per child and we simply take bookings for their classes and hand the money over).
Our costs per term are around $7,500 to $8,000. This is made up of:
Misc. (e.g. playroom gate / cleaning materials)
Resources (extra costs to buy resources for classes - art paper/paint/folders etc)
Having a website means that new families can find us easily and we love the flexibility it provides for families who can now book their own classes. A website also gives us a place to present the awesome creative work happening on Fridays. All this convenience comes at a cost, as does art equipment, Karate certificates, other resources.
Student's fees ONLY JUST cover our costs. We can receive funding for the Playgroup (this is specific to the playgroup and goes towards the hire of one half of the Don Buck Room for the time that it's occupied by the Playgroup) .
We work on a break even basis. Why? To provide quality, affordable classes for homeschooling families.
To put the cost of classes into perspective, the average class cost here is $47.70 per 8 week term ($5.96 per week).
Looking at a few (similar) after school program alternatives out there, here's some comparative pricing:
Class After School Program Here at The Homeschool Group
Hip Hop $108 (8 x 1hr sessions) $40 (8 x 1hr sessions)
Toddler Music & Dance $85 (8 x½ hr sessions) $38.50 (8 x ½ hr sessions)
Visual Art $160 (8 x 1 ½ hr sessions) $57 (8 x 1 hr sessions)
Karate $120 (8 x 1 ½ hr sessions) $49 (8 x 1 hr sessions)
Jnr Art $135 (8 x 1hr sessions) $45 (8 x 1 hr sessions)
Being part of a collective group gives more opportunities to do more activities with our homeschooled children, at less cost. Having more classes in one place has cost savings with travel and time.
And for a further perspective, figures released this year show a huge rise in the cost of "free" state education, with reports of school related costs of up to $40,000. That's around $4,000 per year (a rise of 15% in the last 10 years). Click on the link here to read the article. *
The way our Westgate group works, is that the more families who are involved, and the more children who attend, the more classes we can run. Apart from the YMCA, who will charge us a cost per child, all our tutors are paid per class. So the challenge for us is to make sure the classes are filled. This way, we have a better chance of covering our costs, and making the whole thing work, so that families have more options.
When classes aren't filled, we have to balance this out with classes that are. And yes, it sometimes feels like a juggling act. But "break even" is the only way to go when we want to be all about affordability.
How can families support this? It helps when families commit to a class and stick with it. We strongly encourage checking out classes before the new term starts to try to get a better idea of whether it's a good fit for your child, reading the class descriptions, talking to the tutors and asking us questions if you're unsure. Refunds are a real problem for us. If a student pulls out of a class part way through the term, or decides at the last minute they don't want to be there, it can sometimes mean we lose two class spaces - the space for which a refund is expected and the space that someone else could have filled. For sports, the YMCA invoice us for all the children on their class lists in week 1. After that, there are no credits. So please make your decision in the first week otherwise we get charged for a full term.
Your feedback is really important. And, as always, we are here to discuss and help. Thanks to all the wonderful families who are part of this group!
From Nikki & Rae, The Admin Team