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 08:50:41

Sorry - just to add - the thread title in the original post should obviously have said 'if you are actually in a position to be considering private education in the first place' but that was far too long a thread title... confused

LaCiccolina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:51:44

No the worlds not gone mad, cvs just start a damn site earlier than u might think.

Depends on the circles u move in. Some then yes, u probably should move very quickly.

More normal schools, even if private, I would start reviewing at about a year.

fufulina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:52:30

Yes. You will need to. I flirted with private school, until reality set in, and when approached, every single private school within three miles was talking about waiting lists for entry for 2015/16 year. This was in 2012.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:25

LaCiccolina - wow... thanks. My godson proudly showed me his (v posh) prep school's promotional DVD a few weeks ago and I think you're right about the CVs. There were 6 year olds on there with more confidence/accomplishments/qualifications than I've got at 36!!!

LaCiccolina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:53

Tbh even state schools people review early. My dd is 2. I did a good sweep round at 1. I'm revisiting to check now. Ill put names down as soon as able.

Really don't get why I wouldn't? Schooling is VIP in my view. U?

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:24

Yes. I worked in a top London private school, we used to get fathers phoning from the delivery suite to register their son. We even had phone calls when scan results revealed a baby boy. We used to need a date of birth though!

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:29

fufulina - good god. Can I ask where you are, exactly? We're Wimbledon, so not exactly hot spot I hadn't thought (plus the state schools are great)

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:56:03

teacher123 - that's amazing. I thought those kind of stories were just urban myths!! I think I need to get a bit less clueless... Was that for senior schools (eg places like Eton, Westminster) or junior/prep?

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:56:17


There are a few (fingers of one hand?) that you need to be registering around e time of birth. There are many non-selectives which have first-come-first-served as part of their criteria, but in practice there is a huge amount of movement on the lists for these as parents put down for several. And for selective preps, you only need to put down the name before the applications deadline (usually the autumn of the school year before proposed entry) to be included in the assessments round.

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:57:33

It was a senior school that has a prep school on site (in SW13, boys only). It was not an urban myth. When I worked there in 2005, they were quite seriously talking about waiting lists for registering for 2014 entry. Crazy crazy crazy.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:58:19

LaCiccolina - it's not that I don't think schooling is v v important it's mostly just that I can't believe I would even need to be considering this at 7m pregnant... Is it not just tempting fate??! All I really care about at this stage (and obviously all I care about would change assuming everything goes ok with birth and baby's health) is getting a baby out of me safely and well... terrifying to even think about whether or not we'd want a certain type of school at this stage, when there are so so many variables to consider.

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:59:09

Though that is not typical for your average indie, have worked in other schools that don't require that, and you start looking two to three years in advance. (Am secondary only though, don't know much about prep schools)

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:59:13

teacher123, ah, I think I know the school... smile Yes, that doesn't surprise me now I know where you're (probably) talking about.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:01:06

meditrina - thanks - this is what I was hoping to hear!! I am quite sure there are a very few that are that hard to get into but they are not the type of places we would even be remotely considering.

wordfactory Tue 08-Jan-13 09:01:45

No, you don't need to, and actually it won't help you gain a place.

Yes, they'll put you on some sort of list, but they will keep that list open for applicants until their closing date which will be advertised on their web site.

Then every child on the list will take the test/assessment...

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:02:43

Thank you wordfactory... I have been hoping wondering if this 'put their names down' thing is just yet another way of parents competing from the word Go... wink

VestaCurry Tue 08-Jan-13 09:03:29

If you don't want to go private, the trick is to live in an area where the primary AND secondary schools are excellent. If you are not in an area where this is this case and can move, then do so, to a property on the doorstep of your chosen primary but also well within the catchment of your chosen secondary too. You then have to hope that a change of head in either doesn't have a detrimental effect on either school. That might mean you'd want to move again anyway.

London and schools = big headache.

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 09:06:04

Some are like this but I found it was the most popular, not necessarily the best. As a rule, those crammed with Americans (central London trendy areas anyway) are hard to get into. Not sure why. Someone told me that this is because of extremely sharp elbows on behalf of relocated parents by companies and professional firms who organise such things.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 08-Jan-13 09:07:04

some of the very old established schools yes but one around here (well known old school) you register the year before in September there is no waiting list I guess they get so many applications they can pick and choose so no need for waiting lists

not all school though and look at the results and what schools the children are moving on to

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:07:18

vesta - yes, I hadn't realised what a big headache until I got pregnant...

We can't currently afford to move to the doorstep of the best state schools in our area but are hoping that at some point in the next few years that may change... either that or hoping that the ok schools that we ARE eligible for will improve and become 'outstanding'!!

It does seem as if you literally need to be on the doorstep, too. We could push ourselves very very hard financially right now and move closer to best school, but even that isn't a guarantee of getting a place, so it seems crazy to stretch ourselves to breaking point for a mere 'chance'...

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:09:33

There are some schools which require several phases of entry which start a good few years in advance and then require common entrance as well. For example at eton you have to do a pre-assessment interview at age 11 even though you don't start until 13 (after common entrance). You have to register by age 10 and 6 months at the latest. However I've worked in schools where everyone registers by the September before you start and that's fine. The uber competitive old fashioned academic schools have quite long winded application procedures, so you do need to look far in advance.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:10:06

Moomin - though I haven't actually heard specifically that about American-heavy areas, it makes perfect sense. The areas where my friends live (the ones who are telling me I 'need' to get the name down) are big on Americans.

Thanks Freudian - that is v helpful!!

Cabrinha Tue 08-Jan-13 09:11:15

Supply and demand... I put my daughter down for her private day nursery when I was 15 weeks pregnant. I got the last space for when she was a year old. I know the owners - it was genuine, and little list movement!

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:11:28

teacher123 - intriguing info thank you!!

Am currently considering move to isolated archipelago somewhere where none of this stuff even registers!! wink

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.

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....

CruCru Tue 08-Jan-13 20:45:38

Yes. It is expensive. Cheapest: The Children's House (£25). Most expensive: Abercorn (£225).

CruCru Tue 08-Jan-13 20:47:41

Oh really? That's good to know. I thought we would mostly lose the registration fees as they all said they were non refundable.

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 20:48:47

registration fees are (almost?) invariably non-refundable, even if you are not offered a place. It's deposits which may, under specified circumstances, be refundable (normally against final term's fees).

EldonAve Tue 08-Jan-13 21:26:23

compared to £12K - £14K of fees a year £50 is nothing

CaptChaos Tue 08-Jan-13 21:33:09

The thing is that a lot of parents look at the long game. Which nursery 'feeds' into which pre-prep, which 'feeds' into which prep, which has a solid history of sending children to the secondary of your choice.

Good independent nurseries which have good follow-on relationships with good pre-prep and prep schools tend to get their lists filled at birth. If you are looking at sending your child to one of the top ten public schools then getting your child into the 'right' prep is very important, especially if you are looking at scholarship places.

Therefore I would say that ime, getting your child's name down for the 'right' nursery is the most important link in the chain, so no pressure then!

Murtette Tue 08-Jan-13 22:00:34

When pregnant with DC1, I worked in London and an American colleague was due to give birth a couple of months before me. A couple of days after she knew I was pregnant, she appeared with a large number of brochures for indie schools in central London and explained that they'd registered their son-to-be for 5 schools. I thought that was keen but almost fell of my chair when she went on to explain they'd also registered for two girls' schools in case the 20 week (and 18 and 24 week private 3D scans) had been wrong! They also had their list of additional girls' schools to register at as soon as the baby was born if it turned out to be a girl! This was considered to be normal. They then moved back to the US so presumably aren't going to take advantage of any of this...

Butkin Tue 08-Jan-13 22:13:42

We live in Suffolk and sauntered into the local, popular, private nursery when DD was a month old to book her in (for when she was 6 months old). Told we could only get 2 1/2 days (out of the 5 we wanted) because most parents had booked their children in when still "bumps".

1991all Tue 08-Jan-13 22:19:31

Hate to tell you this, but the state school application in SW19 is shockingly oversubscribed
Hopefully it should improve in the next couple of years
I could recommend an excellent nursery, if you are interested PM me

WelshWereRabbit Tue 08-Jan-13 23:40:53

I don't know about schools, but you really do need to look into nurseries at an early stage, especially if you are not planning on taking a full year maternity leave - my sons' nursery has an 18mo waiting list, so I reserved his place after my 12 week scan.

I remember at the 20 week scan for my first child the sonographer asked whether we had picked a nursery yet - we thought she was joking, but there is a shortage of nurseries where we live, lucky for us she alerted us to the fact. (We are in SE London).

Having said all that, I know people elsewhere in London who have got places for their DCs at much shorter notice, but usually because a new nursery has opened without a waiting list.

Definitely worth checking what the situation is in your area.

emeraldgirl1 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:31:32

Only just managed to come back on the thread - can't believe how many replies, and so helpful - thank you everyone smile

Though am NOT thanking you for making me realise that I have been quite naive about many aspects of this whole scary process wink

I hadn't even considered the nurseries issue - it's not absolutely vital from my POV as I am self-employed and work from home so don't have a scary return-to-work-on-this-date-or-else deadline hanging over me... but I do want to find a nursery for about 18m time.

I think the reason I'm so reluctant to make proper enquiries about all of this eg calling the nurseries and schools etc is because it feels horribly like tempting fate when you don't even have a healthy baby yelling cooing in a cot next to you. IYSWIM?

Might not be able to do away with the superstition and might just hold off doing anything as dicey as making phone calls (!) until a couple of weeks after baby has arrived.

Would that still be enough time for nurseries do you think?

We are SW19 ( or rather, we will be once we have moved in a few weeks...)

emeraldgirl1 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:32:57

Also: this registration fees thing (non-refundable) sounds a total scam!!! Shouldn't someone be reporting these people to Watchdog or something? wink

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