to ask if it's SERIOUSLY true that in London you 'need' to register for private schools at BIRTH???

(86 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:49:11

Haven't even had our first child yet AND we're fairly sure we won't be able to afford private schooling 3-4 years down the line... and even if we could, we'd very likely decide against it.

However some friends (who live in much posher postcodes than us in London) are telling me in apparent seriousness that if we were even half-thinking about private education we would need to register our interest as soon after BIRTH as possible.

I think this must just be for a handful of very posh schools in very posh areas (Hampstead, Chelsea etc) but am I wrong about this?

Not to mention, has the world gone mad etc etc?

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:12:27

Cabrinha - oh, God, I hadn't even thought about nursery places... Again, do you mind if I ask where you live? Am assuming central London-ish?

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 09:14:03

If you are a hedgie and being relocated for a few years to London part of the package is a big house within a short stroll to Norring Hill and a Good School. It hacks me off as the prices of evertything has shot to crazy amounts.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:15:37

Moomin - oooh, don't get me started on the prices of everything... wink

tharsheblows Tue 08-Jan-13 09:16:03

At non-selective primary schools, where it's first come, first served, it's more likely you need to get the child's name down at birth (or whilst pregnant). If a parent knows they want the child to go private, then it's a backup for the selective schools as well.

Around here (Hackney), it's name down at birth. Also, it snowballs -- if you know you have to have your child's name down early, you try for earlier, etc etc. I know the local indep primary school headmistress LOVES it and definitely plays it up. (The waiting list can be very fast moving though...)

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:18:31

tharsheblows - again, I am so ignorant of all this... I hadn't even realised there were selective and non-selective junior schools...

cluttercluttereverywhere Tue 08-Jan-13 09:18:41

Yes, I put DS down for his school when he was 11 months old, and even then I only got bumped up the list as it was my old school. He won't start til he's 3, but it guarantees him a secondary school place there if he passes the 11+ and that is the main thing in this area with a lack of decent schools and a baby boom.

Friends who have sent their kids to Eton, Harrow etc said that you need to get their names in at birth, (which was what scared me into looking into schools for DS so early, not that we could ever afford those sort of schools) but on the other hand, my cousin who is in his teens just had an interview at Harrow after giving them a call to see what their admissions procedure was!

Cabrinha is right about the day nurseries - the really good ones round here (SW London/Surrey) are impossible to get into if you leave it too much longer after birth to register.

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 09:19:31

If in 2005, they were registering for prep school entry in 2014, then they are talking about parents putting down children before conception

If you are sure you are going to stay in the same area, there is no harm in an early registration for a non-selective school (and registration fees only ever go up, so the earlier the cheaper). But don't buy into the wider insanity: you have no idea what sort of nursery or pre-prep will suit your DC, let alone prep. There is always a lot of movement in and out of London preps (as families relocate etc), so getting a place is not as scary as it looks from the outset.

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 09:20:54

For Eton: the cut off is the month when your DS turns 10 1/2; and all candidates are assessed. You do not need a birth registration.

VestaCurry Tue 08-Jan-13 09:22:43

It does begin to dawn on you how tricky it all is!

From our experience, we found that with (luckily) very bright children, they did well anyway in a primary school that was overall judged 'very good' by OFSTED. Also, a school considered 'outstanding' may not feel right for your child, it's important to get a feel for a place by eg going along to the school fetes well in advance, basically any opportunity to get a foot in the door and see what it's like. You won't get the sense of a place at one 'official' open morning.

We were on the doorstep of the best school in the borough but did not think we should suddenly all become Roman Catholic, attend church and get ticked off on the priest's church attendance register for 3 years prior to application hmm.

Same problem with secondary school, we were in catchment for the best - different religion ( C of E), but again this meant becoming C of E and proof of 2 years attendance at church. The other secondary option was dire.

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:23:35

Haha! Indie schools are so varied, there's no one approach to them. Prep schools have their own kind of madness to admissions as they are judged on which senior schools they get their students in to, so they can be quite extraordinarily competitive.

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:25:57

meditrina I worked in the senior school, not the prep bit. I don't know whether the system remains the same now.

inchoccyheaven Tue 08-Jan-13 09:26:35

Blimey I and glad we don't live in London and have sent our dc to the local schools,as it was just a case of have a look round, fill in the form you get sent by the council ( not even sure where it came from actually ) put our top 3 choices and then wait to hear back.

RyleDup Tue 08-Jan-13 09:26:42

Yes it is true. I put dc's names down for private school at birth, even though I wasn't sure if I was going to go down that route or not. And we're not even in london, although the school is a very popular one. Same goes for the popular nurseries.

Adversecamber Tue 08-Jan-13 09:27:06

No idea about private but a neighbour here in the midlands said she actually left London due to the ridiculous scramble for primary school places.

Ihatepeas Tue 08-Jan-13 09:29:23

I had a friend who called a top London school when her baby was 3 months old to be be laughed at by the receptionist and told in a very patronising way that she was much too late!!
I have another friend who filled in all the forms for best boys and girls schools in her area while she was pregnant (she didn't know what she was having) and packed them in her hospital bag! Once the baby was she filled in baby's name and dob on the forms and sent her DB off to post them through the schools doors! Baby was an hour old!

Yet again I'm so glad I don't live in London. I didn't consider which school to send my DS through until we got the pack reminding us to register.

Ihatepeas Tue 08-Jan-13 09:30:04

I had a friend who called a top London school when her baby was 3 months old to be be laughed at by the receptionist and told in a very patronising way that she was much too late!!
I have another friend who filled in all the forms for best boys and girls schools in her area while she was pregnant (she didn't know what she was having) and packed them in her hospital bag! Once the baby was she filled in baby's name and dob on the forms and sent her DB off to post them through the schools doors! Baby was an hour old!

forevergreek Tue 08-Jan-13 09:30:33

Yes. Youngest registered at 12 weeks and only got a place ( for 2015), as older brother already registered ( for 2014). This is primary.

tharsheblows Tue 08-Jan-13 09:33:14

I know! I am still somewhat befuddled by the whole system, but then again, I'm American and it was completely unfamiliar to me.

I don't know that there are any non-selective independent secondary schools. Does anyone know? There are ones with varying degrees of selectivity around here (East / Central London) - pretty much anyone who wants to send their child to an independent secondary school can find one that suits them. I don't mean that in a bad way, they all seemed lovely to me when we looked and I know people whose children are happy at most of them. But they do have an application process, make offers to selected students and it's not first come, first served.

tharsheblows Tue 08-Jan-13 09:35:07

And agree with everyone who is saying that nursery places are madness.

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 09:35:54

Opening registration for 2014 13+ CE entrance in Sept 2005 makes some sense, as that would be the term when children for that entry start Reception. But it's not the opening date which matters for selective schools; it's the closing one.

If you hold your nerve, you will find that all (yes, all) London preps have leavers and joiners every year from state school equivalent 1-5 and again in 7. For secondaries, I can't think of any 'first come first served' schools, so you only need to meet published deadlines.

tharsheblows Tue 08-Jan-13 09:45:46

Agree with meditrina -

Around here, children move because they: now have a state school place or got into a selective school or moved to the country to avoid this again in secondary school or couldn't afford it anymore or have had enough of the school and just switched.

In the primary schools (non-selective independent) my sons have attended, there is almost always space in the upper upper years (5 and 6) and a good chance of getting in well before then. It's about holding your nerve and, sometimes, biding your time in a different school for a year or two.

ErikNorseman Tue 08-Jan-13 10:06:23

Am I in a parallel universe???

thehappycat Tue 08-Jan-13 10:08:10

yes a number of private schools in SW19 ask you to register at birth or shortly thereafter. some are entry by assessment at 4 (a whole other thread) and others ballot. and don't forget nurseries! it' s nothing to do with competitive parents - if everyone else registers at birth and you like a school and don't, your child may miss out on a place. plenty of good primaries too but heavily oversubscribed.

I would be worrying much more about nursery space, if you want a place for a baby.

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