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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?

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 08-Jan-13 10:31:41

You might want to put this on Primary Education too. My children are at state school but my husband had a lot of colleagues who privately educate saying similar things to your friends.

As I understand it some schools do assessments and for these you can register at any time up to a set closing date. All children are assessed and the ones the school thinks have most potential get selected. For these there is no need to register at birth but competition is often intense.

Other schools do just take on a first come first served basis and as some people do ring literally from the maternity ward they can get booked up early so may be worth doing a bit of research now if you're serious about private ed.

Alaska77 Tue 08-Jan-13 10:34:31

I live in Surrey and I've had my son's name down for a local independent school since he was a few months old. He's due to start in September 2013 but we won't find out until Easter whether he's actually got a place

valiumredhead Tue 08-Jan-13 10:42:07

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

That's what we did. I am so pleased we don't have to go through it all again when ds goes up to high school, he'll automatically go to the one near us!

Emsmaman Tue 08-Jan-13 10:45:35

If you're in SW19 you need to register for nurseries pretty much at birth. My friends that did that got a call offering them part time places when their DC's were 18mo. And this is in the middle of a recession! However in Surrey we found all but one nursery I visited had space.

Tailtwister Tue 08-Jan-13 11:18:31

Where we are, many do register at birth. However, they are all selective so the child needs to pass an entrance test anyway. Your place isn't guaranteed even if you so register early.

5Foot5 Tue 08-Jan-13 13:30:30

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."

You don't have to be American to be befuddled by it! I live a long way from London and I thought these sort of tales were just the amusing stuff of novels and over-excited journalists. Am gobsmacked that it is really so stressful.

DD has had excellent state schoold, both primary and secondary, and we just filled in the forms with them as our first choice and no problemo. Admittedly we played the RC card a bit but in all honesty all the schools round here are very good so it wouldn't have been an issue. Even the local independent schools are based on entrance exams so there is no waiting list as such that I know of

EldonAve Tue 08-Jan-13 13:34:52

yes it's true
we are in zone 3, registered at 18 mths and was lucky to get in anywhere
many places had closed their lists
birthrate has risen since then so it's much worse now

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 14:41:26

Where abouts are you OP?

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 14:43:43

I remember calling one school when DS was about 2 to be told that the wait list was closed until 2010. This was in 2006. I snorted 'my god, are these kids even conceived yet?'. The admissions dragon didnt find me very funny. Not a 'top' but 'popular' school.

JeezyOrangePips Tue 08-Jan-13 14:47:25

Threads like this make me grateful I live where I do. Children go to their local primary. If you wish you can choose for them to go to another, further away, school, as long as that school agrees.

It's simple and it works.

I have huge sympathies for parents that have to go through this whole rigmarole to get their child a primary school place. A lot of hassle for something that, IMO, should be straightforward.

Pixieonthemoor Tue 08-Jan-13 14:57:55

OP, yes you absolutely do. I put DS's name down when he was a year old at the local, decent private schools. I thought I was so organised!! Every receptionist laughed at me - I was far too late!! Only got in by the absolute skin of our teeth.

If you want to save yourself a lot of stress and heartache, put their names down as early as you possibly can. Then at least you have a choice.

ethelb Tue 08-Jan-13 15:04:22

but what does 'registering' for a private school mean?

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 15:09:18

Just getting your registration form and cheque in!

happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 15:12:01

My mum registered me at three months and I didn't get in that was many moons ago!

NaturalBaby Tue 08-Jan-13 15:13:44

I live in the midlands and almost laughed at myself for being so silly when I put ds1's name down for private school at a few weeks old. Ds2 is an August baby, there was an open day in October and when I phoned up I was told they would fill his year at the open day.

weegiemum Tue 08-Jan-13 15:28:42

Very glad I live in Scotland (where -yes- EVERY child gets a place at their catchment school.

Also glad we didn't go private. We chose GME (gaelic) which has our children bilingual and getting a private style education for free.

I like London but I think living there would do my head in?

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Jan-13 15:38:45

It's worth also remembering that most preps take them from 2.5 years, not 5, so it's not as early as it sounds...

Also, there's a lot of movement on a lot of these schools as well, they might have a set number they can take for preschool and have to assume all will move up, but a lot of people move schools at 5, and a lot will move again at 7. Some people put their DCs down at 2-3 schools. If a school is less 'favoured' you are more likely to get a place.

For nurseries, that's a little different because they dont have set intakes (as in, regardless of DCs age, everyone starts in September), it's worth checking, I was 10th on the waiting list for a place for DS for the January when he'd turned 1, but when I enquired again, there was no waiting list for a december place - so I paid from December. Most nurseries run a 'first come first served' that also involves them not leaving places empty for months until they get to the next required list (so if they've got someone who wants to start in October, even if they have 20 people on a waiting list wanting to return to work in January, they will take the person in October and just have one less place in January). Worth asking how long a month earlier lists are...

moonbells Tue 08-Jan-13 15:55:56

We're in outer NW London and there are quite a lot of preps in the area. The assessments for their nursery schools happen when the children are between 2 and 3 - DS (autumn born) was just past his 3rd birthday when he went for assessment and we'd registered him when he was 2. The conversation in the area for waiting parents during the assessment was (to me, who was totally state-educated and trying to pretend I knew what I was doing grin) astonishing - most of them had put their DCs down for 3-4 schools and several already knew each other from previous assessments. They were discussing how many were likely to get in at each of the schools, ie this school only has 6 places as all the rest are being taken by siblings, or that school might be better as if you get in nursery then you're guaranteed to get into the pre-prep... I'd only applied to one school with no guarantee of a Reception place and I left afterwards feeling like an idiot that we'd not applied to the rest of them as well. Thankfully he got in.

A year later, the 4+ assessment had a ratio of about 10 boys per remaining reception place.

So it may not quite be name-down-at-birth in this area, but certainly by 2!

CruCru Tue 08-Jan-13 19:50:54

There are schools who specify when they want the applications. For instance, one I've applied to (Arnold House) wanted the form when DS was between one and two. Others won't accept forms more than a year beforehand. You need to check the requirements for the schools you are looking at.

Many of them do want the forms as early as possible.

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 19:54:42

'Many of them do want the forms as early as possible'.

Missed a bit: 'Many of them do want the forms and non-refundable registration fee cheques as early as possible'.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 08-Jan-13 20:02:55

How much are the registration fees? shock

happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 20:06:13

Registration fees I've seen are between £50 and £200 and that was for cheaper end.

EldonAve Tue 08-Jan-13 20:06:40

£50 to £100 ime

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 08-Jan-13 20:19:12

And people put their dc down for several schools? shock.

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Jan-13 20:44:51

Iwushiwas - yes, but if you don't get a place they give you the money back, and normally the knock it off your first bill. If you can afford a couple of grand a month, then losing £200 doesn't seem that bad....

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