Think Carefully Before Opting for Private Education

(1000 Posts)
PRMum2012 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:50:44

i am a mum of two (23 months and 3 in august)I am self-employed, part time and married to a lovely architect. We have a great life and two happy kids.

On paper I would say I have not done too badly with my life and my aim is to work full time as soon as possible now my kids are a bit older. If the work was available I would happily work full time now.

Despite setting up my own business I can't help feeling like a failure that I can't afford for my own children, what my parents did for me.... It annoys me that I put so much importance on it ... I am now passionate about finding a decent local primary school for my children so they don't feel the same pressure i do now, when they are older and looking for schools for their kids ....but i'll be honest ......assuming i can afford it i would try and do it from 11 if i can....!!!!...

Hopefully by then, my kids will have an input too and they will be forming their own opinions on the issue.

Depending on mortgage and family support I can't see that it's possible for anyone with two kids earning under £80,000 - £1000,000 + (as a family income) to afford private education anymore, my advice is unless you have a thriving business or two, work as a dr, lawyer or banker.... Forget it.

It's really hard to watch my younger sibling do it for her kids, they are paying for private prep while we cant afford it.... But it really upsets me I feel like this... why can't I just be happy for them and quietly satisfied that I don't need to pay on top of my taxes for my kids education.

For my own primary education i went privately, tried the local school for secondary education but was bullied so moved back to the private system.... I had a mix of private and state during secondary - my second private school was amazing but the second state school I attended for 6th form (my choice) was great too so why is this all having such an impact on what I want for my own kids.

My DH is much more laid back, he went privately all the way through but doesn't place as much value on it as I do/did....I wish I felt the same way but all I feel now is pressure to earn more money so I can pay for them both from 11.

SingingSands Tue 30-Apr-13 00:11:16

My friends parents mortgaged their home 4 times to pay for his and his sister's private education. That's hardly "affording it". The only person putting pressure on you to privately educate is yourself.

caroldecker Tue 30-Apr-13 00:56:02

trouble is private is the only way to go unless you happen to live in the exact right place for the right state school.

MirandaWest Tue 30-Apr-13 01:03:54

Private can hardly be the only way to go seeing as about 93% of school places are in the state sector.

caroldecker Tue 30-Apr-13 01:09:05

Best secondary school in my catchment area has less than 50% a-c gcse - even with fiddling the results with non subjects - what is my choice?

MirandaWest Tue 30-Apr-13 01:15:30

That's an overall percentage - some will do better than that, others worse. My secondary school probably had a fairly low percentage of gcse passes but I still got very good exam results. Most people can't afford private schools so they make the best of what they have

givemeaclue Tue 30-Apr-13 05:50:12

You are disappointed you can't afford private education. But with the money you save you can do a lot of other things with you, kids

PRMum2012 Tue 30-Apr-13 08:15:34

Thanks 'givemeaclue' - very true

mumsneedwine Tue 30-Apr-13 08:17:02

I have lots of friends who have felt like you. However, using the state system has not proved as scary or meant their kids are on the scrap heap. My husband & I both went to comps, both went to Oxbridge and have raised 3 kids who are now there too. 2 more to go (if they want - one wants to be a painter). Never paid a penny for their education - it is possible and there are many, many good schools. I know, I work in them ! Don't be envious about what others have or you will miss those lovely school years watching your kids achieve and grow. Do the things they don't do at school as fun clubs - swimming, rugby whatever. Let them climb trees and explore with freedom - find a nice school you like (at senior I agree this is important but there are lots out there). It will be ok because you care and will support your kids.

mirai Tue 30-Apr-13 08:20:29

Totally agree OP. Without winning the lottery there is no chance our kids will be privately educated and it does disappoint me that I will actually be providing less to my children than my parents did for me. I also have a residual guilt that despite the thousands they spent on my education I haven't managed to get myself into a position where I am one of those high earners - mostly due to an awful lot of bad luck on my part. But that's another thread. Anyway I do feel your pain.

Llareggub Tue 30-Apr-13 08:21:25

I live in an area where there is just one private school, no grammar schools and everyone uses the state comps. It's liberating to live in an area without the angst of deliberating over school entry.

I don't know anyone here that would pay for the private school. It doesn't get the grades the others get!

givemeaclue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:36:32

Also op only 7% of kids go to private school,

AuntieStella Tue 30-Apr-13 08:59:51

And that's 7% over all age groups. It's much lower at primary age, and much higher at sixth form.

Just do the best with the choices that are available to you at the time you need to choose. And the input from the home environment will be a huge factor, whichever school they end up in at whatever point.

wordfactory Tue 30-Apr-13 09:02:08

I am a firm believer that there is no point worrying about things you cannot afford to give your DC. It is utterly corrosive. One has to concentrate on what one can give.

And I say this as someone who very happily sends their DC private: do not allow it to become an issue!

wordfactory Tue 30-Apr-13 09:04:51

But I should say it is very silly not to give your DC somehting you can give for fear that they might feel bad if they can't.

You could say that about anyhting. Oh better not buy that nice house in case it makes my DC feel sad if they can't afford one. Oh better not go that nice holiday...better not buy decent food...

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 09:13:18

Even with an income of £80,000 to £100,000 we could not afford private school for our children. Especially if you factor in private school fee rises of 5% or more a year.
The one friend who I know who does manage it, has no pension.

Afford a good house in a good area near good schools, at least you can sell the house at the end to help with: retirement costs, university costs, your children buying their own homes/cars, and the unexpected.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Tue 30-Apr-13 09:15:19

I think the option to find a decent local school and top that up with some tutoring can be very viable. It depends on your kids and your local schools.

We can afford to pay private but have chosen not too as our local schools and colleges are good. I like being able to help the DC's out now that they are at University. Private schooling is extremely expensive.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 10:09:30

I agree with your maths OP. We live SE, have always had a reasonable mortgage- not horrendous and possible to cover on one salary- and a similar income. We could have afforded 1 sec school privately but not two without me working full time and for various reasons I couldn't.

However, what we did was live in a house in a very good area where we were in the catchment area for 2 good schools- single sex former grammars and excellent primary schools. We topped this up with tutors when necessary at A level, and the usual extra curricular activities.

My DCs have done very well- both going to 'top 10' Russell unis and now have good jobs.

Your priority should be to find the best schools you can even if this entails a house move.

To give you the other side, we have friends and neighbours who spent small fortunes on private education and their DCs have done no better- and often worse - than ours.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:24:50

Mumsneedwine you said Never paid a penny for their education

Let's not forget that we are all paying for education very heavily through our taxes, whether we use it or pay again to go private!

PRMum2012 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:38:38

7% is very low .... that certainly puts it all in perspective, not feeling so wound up by it all now. Cheers

harryhausen Tue 30-Apr-13 11:43:45

OP I can kind of see how your feeling.

My Dsis, is an expat and has 3 dd's who all go to a very expensive private international school. The facilities they have is unbelievable. My dcs on the other hand go to the local primary in a fairly un-affluent area. Both me and my Dsis were state educated.

I will openly admit to bring jealous of my Dsis and her posh school. However, my kids are doing very nicely thankyou and in fact dd is currently racing ahead with literacy especially.

My eldest neice did well in her GCSE's but by no means straight A*'s like many would expect. She's now looking at a non-Russell group university. I think she's done as well so far as any other engaged and bright pupil from a fairly decent comp. She's a lovely person which is the most important. She's made lots of 'social' ties though that have a very international feel that will stand her in good stead.

In my circle of friends I have 3 friends who went to private schools. One of them was a teacher (she gave up when she had her dc3) and the other two are happy but career-less. A private school is no guarantee of academic/career/life success.

What exactly stresses you about a state education?

I had a wonderful education at a good comp. I went to school with children who went to Oxbridge and children who went to prisongrin. I even went to school with some now famous people.

In my job, I visit lots and lots of school children and talk a lot to them. Some children in private school seem unhappy as well as some state school children - and vice versa.

State education does not mean some drug riddled sink ghetto in a city.

We have not been able to afford private primaries for our two sons. They have a full life, with activities and interest, and plenty of time to play and have fun, and just be. They are happy and well adjusted boys. Our oldest is going into a private secondary next year, he passed the exams without problem. Save your money to have a good life with your children, and prepare to put money aside for secondary if this becomes necessary.

TuffEric Tue 30-Apr-13 11:55:44

Just wanted to say, I'm a doctor and couldn't afford private schooling for mine. Please don't put us in the same bracket as lawyers and bankers: those of us who work for the NHS are public sector workers with significantly lower salaries (although a decent pension, I'll grant you). We'll be going with the house-in-a-good-cachment-area option!

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 30-Apr-13 11:58:21

We have a family income of around £60k abd currently have two children in private education (we earn too much to qualify for a bursary). It's not easy and I would never criticise there's for making different choices.

Our local secondaries GCSE results (including all these vocational qualifications is around 40%. When we first decided to go private it was 36%.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 11:58:38

Not all private schools cost a fortune.

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