Is private education really worth the cost?

(145 Posts)
peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:13:23

This is a genuine question. Sorry it's such a open question but I have no experience of private schools. And i just dont know. But I've started to wonder if we should send our two ds.

We can easily afford the costs per month based on our current salaries.

I've worked out that private education for both would be about £300k. With this money we could save and give them a deposit for a house. Or buy a property when they go to uni for them to share as their first property. So private education would need to be pretty amazing.

Dh and I were both state educated and nobody we know was privately educated. Our schools were I would say good at primary and average at secondary.
Dh thinks our dc will be state educated, it's just never occurred to us to use private education. I mentioned the possibilty the other day in front of my pil's and they seemed shocked that we'd consider
The local schools to where we are now are similar to the ones I attended myself, perhaps slightly less good.
One thing that is making me wonder about private education is that I wasnt all that happy at my secondary. I was sporty, but sport wasn't encouraged or cool. And I think private schools might be nicer places to be?

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 21:06:53

We could move, but the best state school in the area would probably mean spending £200-300k more on the house.
I am considering this as an option though. Although I love our current house.
A compromise would be state primary, private secondary.

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 21:09:47

That are my Mum's words, she was a teacher and taught at the school we were on catchment for when I was secondary school age. If I hadn't got into my public school (exam and interview) she was thinking about baptising me catholic (I'm nothing after she turned her back on the contraception issue).

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 21:11:31

Our experience of moving into good school catchment is you have to live less than one mile from the school...

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 21:11:46

Sorry, half a mile...

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 21:15:07

The retrospective baptizing wouldn't have worked. I've been told that it had to have been done near the time of your birth in order for a Catholic school to recognize it as far as admissions was concerned.

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 21:24:59

Probably 28 years ago it would have, but I passed the exam, so didn't have to test it out.

suebfg Sat 04-May-13 21:26:41

My DS is being educated at a selective independent prep school. We made this decision based on:

- smaller class sizes
- better facilities
- children are 'prepped' to get into the senior school without having to do extra tutoring out of school
- free from the meddling/interference of government in education
- high expectations of pupils and the school (from parents who are paying high fees and expect a return)

The downside is that if your child seems to be struggling or has special needs, you will find out about it pretty quickly. They don't want to jeopardise the teaching of the majority of the class in order to support the child who needs extra help.

suebfg Sat 04-May-13 21:32:20

Peanutbuttersarnies, I think you would need to visit the schools. Although we opted for an independent, there were some independents that we visited that we felt would not have provided a better education for DS than the local state schools (although we are quite lucky in that we have a number of very good state schools in the area).

11112222 Sat 04-May-13 22:07:18

OP - only you can answer your own question.
Go and look at all your schools state and private and see what kind of vibe you get from them. Then look at what sort of school would suit your dc, then think about what you as parents want out of education. Then decide.
IME, you don't really know a school until you're in there, so be prepared to change your mind after dc have started at your first choice school.
Good luck.

conorsrockers Sat 04-May-13 23:25:14

I don't think it's something any of us will ever know, because we can never 'compare' - children need different things at different times, and when we look at prep schools when they are 2/3 we are looking at somewhere that suits us, so by 8/9 it may become apparent that they would fit in better elsewhere. On this basis I think the state till 8 is quite a good idea - you can then fit the school to the child. However, all my 3 have always gone independent (because I was privately educated and I 'don't know' anything else - I looked around the local primary when DS1 was 4 and it all felt alien). Just makes me confused when DS's teachers say to me now 'oh, your boys would do well anywhere'. That's great - just don't tell me! You will know when you walk around the school if it is for you or not. In the same way that your children will for secondary. In hindsight, if I had a good local primary I would have started there and then moved over when it became necessary. Secondary is more important I think - as someone else said "the old tie is still very much alive and kicking".

That was all a bit muddled, but you catch my drift!!

Jinsei Sat 04-May-13 23:40:05

Depends on the schools. Some state schools are fantastic, others are dire, and there are lots inbetween. Same goes for private - you can't assume they're all good just because they are expensive. Go visit them and have a look.

The only thing I would say is that you shouldn't bank on private schools being full of "naice" kids who don't smoke in the toilets. I spent my gap year with a girl who had attended one of the most famous private girls' schools in the country, and I was rather shocked to hear her talking about her school days - smoking, alcohol and drug use were clearly rife, and made my old comp look very tame! I can only guess that the difference was that the kids at the private school had more cash to spend on stuff like that!

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 00:46:39

Yup, poor people don't do drugs or alcohol.

Jinsei Sun 05-May-13 01:05:08

That's not what I said. Merely that it's wrong to assume that rich kids don't. Far from it.

timidviper Sun 05-May-13 01:17:07

We sent our DCs to private school as we couldn't get them into the local high school and it was good for us.

Looking at them and their friends I do think they come out with more confidence and "polish" than their friends from the state school. The trouble is that you don't know how they might have been otherwise.

I agree with the advice of go to the school that feels right

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 01:24:06

You said that, unlike your comp, there was a lot of drugs and alcohol at the private school and you attributed this to the fact that rich kids have more money to indulge these vices. I was merely pointing out that you don't need rich parents for this.

conorsrockers Sun 05-May-13 06:24:03

Well, you certainly get a better 'class' of drug at private school .... wink

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 07:21:53

I think that my DSs girlfriend's saying is very true 'the posher the school, the harder the drugs'. A lot of them have far too much 'pocket' money to spend.

Snog Sun 05-May-13 07:31:30

I went to private schools from 7 - 18 and would definitely have preferred the money instead!

Weegiemum Sun 05-May-13 07:42:53

We could probably afford it but have chosen not to.

Our dc are getting a fantastic bilingual education in the state sector - there's nothing comparable in the private sector.

I went state, it was a good comprehensive, and dh went to an all boys grammar. We'd rather use the money for enriching things as a family.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sun 05-May-13 07:49:53

"there's nothing comparable in the private sector"

Lovely sweeping statement.

muminlondon Sun 05-May-13 11:12:46

I've trundled this out before but the OECD found that in general in the UK state schools outperform private schools once socio-economic advantages are stripped out (para 53). That's going to vary so much depending on area, academic ability, personality and needs of the child, etc. Near me there are some highly selective private schools where both socio-economic advantage (connections) and good standard of teaching and other opportunities are hard to deny. I also see the rest, which vary, and sell themselves as an option for the less academic, for those can afford them, who would benefit from smaller class sizes and a certain pastoral ethos. Personally I think the economic value is less proven there but it's a personal choice. Finally, there are some good state schools in between, most of which are good enough for me and certainly get better results than some of the non-selective private schools. But you may not have that choice, so good luck whatever you decide.

Triumphoveradversity Sun 05-May-13 11:26:30

Dc can still get bullied at private school and struggle to make friends. I think private education can optimise a child's chances of good educational outcomes. Your working with raw material though. DH was sent to private school because he had massive potential it was deemed a waste of money sending his dsis as she was deemed a bit dim by her parents. That's a horrible thing to have happened, whatever you do give them the same chances.

11112222 Sun 05-May-13 16:18:05

We moved our dc into private so they could learn in a nicer, more spacious environment, with more facilities like a science lab and cricket nets etc. Also, in ds case, so he could learn with like minded cohorts (a very unusual intake year in his primary). He has been there 4 years now and is really happy, so for us, yes it was worth every penny.

Gilberte Sun 05-May-13 16:30:58

I went to a state comprehensive- never came across any drink/ drugs and rarely saw anyone smoking. I fufilled my potential there even though I never found it easy to make friends and experienced low level bullying for some of the time.

Although at the time, I yearned to go to private school because I thought I would have been happier, I think if you are a quiet, shy rather awkward individual you will probaby struggle a bit socially whever you go.

So much is down to the individual child and their personality.

11112222 Sun 05-May-13 17:22:21

Whereas I went to state comp and experienced drugs, smoking, knives and other weapons, as well as a wave of suicide attempts by slitting wrists in the toilets. State or Private isn't the issue, it's good or bad school that you have to sort out.

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