state v private - is it worth scrimping and scraping to go private?

(97 Posts)
sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 16:44:46

We have moved area and I am really not happy with school here. Not a bad school, but DCs were in an excellent state school before and I have to say I am really disappointed with this one. We are considering a move back but the old school is full. I have wondered about trying an independent school(in Andover)but we would really have to scrimp and scrape to afford this and I would have to go back to working full time, long hours etc. Is private education really so much better considering it might mean missing out on other things eg holidays, extracurricular activities? Would I feel out of my league with other wealthier parents? Also I would like one of my kids to try for grammer school(Salisbury)and thought independent ed might be better springboard for 11 plus. Anyone any comments?

Kaz33 Sun 08-Jul-07 16:51:19

As you say there are good and bad state schools and I am sure that is true of private schools.

Only way to find out is to go and look private schools and see what you and DC's think, and hang around and see the parents at drop off etc...

Personally I am against private education on principle - education has to be "good enough" as there is a lot that you can do at home with the kids etc.. Exam results are not the be all and end all and hopefully in the state system they will gain other experiences.

Good luck, luckily I am not in your position.

Elk Sun 08-Jul-07 16:53:07

The eleven plus in Salisbury is supposed to be changing from verbal and non-verbal reasoning to a more knowledge based approach. My theory is that the independant primaries will be better geared up to teach to this. (could be very wrong though)
The catchment area for the Salisbury grammars is quite small so people from a large distance away do get in (eg Andover!)
I have made the decision to go private for primary as I didn't like the local primary for a variety of reasons ( and my nearest school is in fact a private school).

NKF Sun 08-Jul-07 16:56:31

For some people it would be. Definitely.

LIZS Sun 08-Jul-07 16:56:38

Depends on the school tbh and what you are looking for in terms of "better".

Extra curricular activities are part and parcel of the day as the faciltiies and specialist teachers are on site and clubs run before/after school or in breaks. The longer school day also allows for a more diverse curriuclum and are not necessarily tied in to National Curriculum and KS2 tests. If you live in a state grammar school area you could probably focus on their 11+ entry. At ours there is a split in year 6 between those who are planning to leave at 11+ (about 1/3) mainly to independent schools as no state grammars here and those staying until 13, and adapts teaching accordingly.

Ours has a cross section of wealthier and less affluent parents, latest 4wds and beaten up superminis share the car park !

ScummyMummy Sun 08-Jul-07 16:59:30

You say potato and I say potato.

GrowlingTiger Sun 08-Jul-07 16:59:47

There isn't a single answer to this:- access to private education simply extends your choice of schools. It isn't always the case that private schools are "better" or even value for money. So the decision will be different depending on where you live and what you value in schools.

Does the school your dcs attend have a track record of getting pupils into the grammer school? If so then there are presumably some parents around who know the drill ie if and when they starting coaching/tutoring. If you want your children to go to the grammer school but the primary school doesn't have anyone going there, then I'd look around to be honest. Ot at least decide whether you are happy with the route that most children from your priamry school follow.

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:00:59

aha the grammar schools in Salisbury
Get a tutor

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:02:24

there si no catchement area fo th grammars as far as i knwo and there is no way the prep schools are better for 11 plus practise at all
our local state school runs and eleven plus cluba dn has a 30 % sucess rate

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 08-Jul-07 17:02:27

It all depends in the private school and what you are expecting from it.

In our case the thing was clear, the state school in whose catchment we live has no policy to keep severely allergic children relatively safe, the private one have a zero tolerance to nuts.

Regarding feeling out of your league with wealthier parents... hmm... I was VERY afraid of the same, until I went to the parents evening of both schools and realised that I felt more at home with the group of parents at the private school.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 17:03:12

this will only be an issue if we move back, and if I could get them into their original state primary I would, but as I say, full. Yes, that previous one did have a record of at least as few kids each year getting into grammer. I think though that is not the only issue. if we do move I feel i've got to get it right this time,

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:03:22

Also i dont knwo of any really good private schools in this immediate area
a lot of them cater for the cream of salisbury - " rich and thick"

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:04:29

oh and the 11plus att eh moment as far as i am aware is thus IQ tests then fo borderline folk a timed piece of writing under timed conditions.

seems the way to get girls in

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 17:18:37

SOS, sounds as though you know the area/system well. Does one of your children attend the grammer?

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 17:21:23

no but we face the hwoel thing soon

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 17:21:34

adn i wnet to it

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 17:34:29

I went to grammer as well. Always thought I'd avoid single sex schools, but question is, really, what's the alternative around where you live. Good comps are also getting more difficult to get into. However TBH I am really more concerned about the quality of the primary, as if the basics are high quality I believe you can then cope with a less academic secondary and still do well. Hence the thought of trying private school. Wondered what other people's experiences were, and whether anyone either regretted making the sacrifices and didn't feel it made a lot of difference, or wished they had got their DCs educated privately. suspect that looking back most people will be happy with their choices either way, which probably says something in itself. But I would love to be surprised by some unexpected answers!

Judy1234 Sun 08-Jul-07 17:47:23

Our children went to private schools and we met many parents over the years who did make sacrifices to go there. Lots of parents do and feel it's worthwhile. But I don't know about the private schools in your area. The only I've heard of is Salisbury Cathedral School.

muppetgirl Sun 08-Jul-07 17:54:01

My son is starting a mixed private school in sept -nursery 1st - I did feel a little out of my league with the other parents. We have money -I just lack confidence with it!

Our local schools are 'interesting' (Swindon) and although a lot of regeneration is going on in Swindon with new schools being built they still seem to have the old 'problems.'

We have a lively, bright boy who isn't really a sheep -more of a leader and we feel that he needs a firm hand which I'm afraid some schools just aren't able to do (I am an ex teacher who has taught in a special measures school as well as supply taught in loads of difficult schools in Reading)

Our local primary already has children stating they 'know their rights', refusing to leave the room when asked 'go on, make me.' and Our frind who's a TA has had a stapler thrown at her by one child. PRIMARY!!

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 18:16:38

It's not just about academic results either is it? Something about wanting a certain ethos, and your DCs being in a class with other children who want to do well. You shouldn't have to go private/grammer to get that, but unfortunately it seems that too often a small minority in the state sector are allowed to spoil it for everyone else. My DS is a bit of a follower, not a leader, and I can easily see him getting distracted if he is in the wrong environment. Not behaving badly but just not learning. He will behave beautifully with other well behaved children. Not so much of an issue for my DDs. I may be wrong in thinking private ed is more likely to deliver this, but I assume that as parents pay, and most parents want these things, there is a lot of pressure for the school to deliver them.

Judy1234 Sun 08-Jul-07 18:39:48

Definitely. The parents are paying. They are all therefore interested in education and want their money's worth and support and encourage the children. In a school where no one pays fees there are bound to be more parents who aren't so interested in education.

(Also 7% of children are at private school and 50% of those getting into good universities come from private schools and 43% of parents would send children privately if they could afford it). But just be careful - some private schools are not very good. Look at where the leavers from the school get into if it's primary. Are the schools they get into for the very thick or do they get scholarships to some of the best schools. That says a lot about the academic standard.

Caroline1852 Sun 08-Jul-07 19:05:09

Independent School parents are no more likely to be of a type than parents at any other school. At my son's Independent there are extremely wealthy parents (who probably pay the fees out of the petty cash tin) and parents who make sacrifices to meet the fees. There is new money and old money. Doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, teachers, professors, gov workers, sercretaries etc.
I am a bit surprised how many of you went to grammar school but still can't spell grammar !

wordgirl Sun 08-Jul-07 19:07:26

I went to a comprehensive and can spell grammar

ChipButty Sun 08-Jul-07 19:15:57

QED, Caroline!

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 19:50:02

very good Caroline, lesson learnt! Why did you use the private system. Silly question I know but I'd like to hear it anyway - I agree parents aren't going to be "of a type", but surely of a type in the sense that they expect more from the school than non-fee paying parents.

mummytoamonkey Sun 08-Jul-07 19:55:41

My daughter went to the prep department of a private school and it was awful. Fees were a fortune and they only had a teacher in the morning, in the afternoon till 2 the had nursery nurses who just didn't care and they just played , hey I understand that they are little and need play but what really bugged me was that from 2pm onwards they went to the tv room and were there when i picked her up at 6pm (apart from tea) every day either watching tv or drawing on scrap paper. My daughter just didn't progress at all and got no s.e.n intervention, she came home with one picture in six months which staff had stuck stuff on and she had just drawn over the lines on her name (her s.e.n is related to her speech and not other abilities so this wasn't the problem). Just seemed a lot of money for four hours a day in a tv room.

The state school she is at now is fantastic, the staff really care and she gets the intervention and education she needs but then again its a small village school with low class numbers in a wealthy area so basically its runs on the same idea of a really good private school with lots of financial input from the well off parents in the school.


I guess it depends on the individual schools quality. I went to an independent school and did pretty well academically but it hasn't really assisted me since leaving school. In the higher education that I did everyone else was state school grown.

I'd have a look round the private school and the state schools, my dd goes to a primary 7 miles away cause they are in a village and they aren't enough kids in the village to fill school places so we were lucky and got in. Maybe its worth having a look at schools in any nearby villages.

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 19:59:11

Can I be frank and suggest that the competition for Bishop Wordsworth is so fierce they won't be looking at 'followers' at all? Unless your child is truly gifted he'll struggle at BWGS- or a DD at SWGS for that matter. The Salisbury Grammars aren't like your Kent/Bucks type at all in that they're alone is a sea of what the ed authority like to call 'Comprehensives' but OFSTED correctly calls Secondary Moderns. If you truly think your DCs are grammar material in the Salisbury sense, go for it but you really have to go private to learn the 11+ tricks. State schools are not officially allowed to tutor for 11+, but if you feel your DCs will only get in as a result of intensive tutoring, are they grammar school material?

I believe the grammars don't have catchments at all, just 'reasonable travelling distance' which can be 50 miles for the determined parent. That's a LOT of competition. I'm surprised the Salisbury tax paying parents put up with it, tbh, but that's another issue. I do understand what is said about wanting a particular educational ethos which might be found in a grammar or a private, but if it's 'bought' at the expense of a child struggling to keep up, is it worth it? Have you considered the Winchester comprehensives? There's a reason there are no private secondary schools there (I'm not counting Winchester College or St Swithuns because the DCs who go there's parents would never consider state anyway- different league!).

Finally, I AM an ex SWGS girl (73-80) and am frankly appalled by the way the schools have become the cheap private option for parents who can afford to effectively buy their kids in via prep schooling.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:14:44

only thinking of grammar for one of them, not the other two who would be happier in less academic environment. I think unlikely they would be able to get into Winchester comps- from other parents experience I think they are oversubscribed.
As far as the morals of the situation, I can't believe i am even thinking of sending them to private ed having always had faith in the state system - but it has been knocked. but I have never critised other parents for being "selfish" for going private, so I wouldn't feel to hypocritical in doing so. As a parent your duty is to do the best for your child. The only one to blame is the government for not supporting teachers and not allowing them to deal effectively with bad behaviour.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:16:16

in case any more spelling corrections - "too" not to.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:16:16

in case any more spelling corrections - "too" not to.

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 20:16:41

Can I be frank and suggest that the competition for Bishop Wordsworth is so fierce they won't be looking at 'followers' at all? Unless your child is truly gifted he'll struggle at BWGS- or a DD at SWGS for that matter. The Salisbury Grammars aren't like your Kent/Bucks type at all in that they're alone is a sea of what the ed authority like to call 'Comprehensives' but OFSTED correctly calls Secondary Moderns. If you truly think your DCs are grammar material in the Salisbury sense, go for it but you really have to go private to learn the 11+ tricks. State schools are not officially allowed to tutor for 11+, but if you feel your DCs will only get in as a result of intensive tutoring, are they grammar school material?

I believe the grammars don't have catchments at all, just 'reasonable travelling distance' which can be 50 miles for the determined parent. That's a LOT of competition. I'm surprised the Salisbury tax paying parents put up with it, tbh, but that's another issue. I do understand what is said about wanting a particular educational ethos which might be found in a grammar or a private, but if it's 'bought' at the expense of a child struggling to keep up, is it worth it? Have you considered the Winchester comprehensives? There's a reason there are no private secondary schools there (I'm not counting Winchester College or St Swithuns because the DCs who go there's parents would never consider state anyway- different league!).

Finally, I AM an ex SWGS girl (73-80) and am frankly appalled by the way the schools have become the cheap private option for parents who can afford to effectively buy their kids in via prep schooling.

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 20:18:36

me too miljee 1984 - 88
they werent so clever then
agree re travellling and agree that oyu ahev to be REALLY clever to got there these days

NKF Sun 08-Jul-07 20:20:02

As to whether it's worth the scrimping and saving, the answer can only be individual. How much scrimping? How much do you hate scrimping? Will things get easier or are you looking at years and years of unpalatable scrimping?

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 20:20:07

the girls school is much more of a hot house than BWgs

If i had a girl and she failed the 11plus i'd be more than happy wiht st Eds tbh

Quattrocento Sun 08-Jul-07 20:25:45

LOL at the cream of Salisbury being rich and thick.

Don't know anything about the area at all so cannot comment on either the state or the private schools.

I am a firm believer in obtaining the best possible education for your children. If this is not provided through the state system then I would probably vote for scrimping for a couple of years ...

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 20:25:55

Sorry, didn't mean to post twice! Looks like I'm really trying to make my point! I just hit the rtn key to wake my screen back up and it was over the post message box!

No, I can see why parents, when 'allowed' to use the tricks that so many parents employ to gets their DCs into the Salisbury grammars go right ahead and do so. It's just that it does seem so wrong! I'm not 'anti-private' as such, just anti taking the state grammar school place of a state educated child of lesser means by buying one's own child that place. Might I say I believe it IS rather selfish to send a child privately just to 'ensure' a grammar school place that one's DC may not necessarily have attained without the spoon feeding? There's 'wanting the best' for one's child and there's 'riding rough-shod over everyone else to get it'!

I live near Romsey are there are quite a few DCs from here getting onto buses to Winchester every day, so there must be a way!

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 20:31:32

Cod, when I was as SWGS St E's was considered a good SM school back then, too. Interestingly it was about the only SM that fed anyone into our 6th form! I gather it's still considered good- possibly one thing that has happenend in Salisbury that many parents take one look at the GS situation and decide not to put their 'above-average but not brilliant' local primary schooled child up for the 11+ at all so as to avoid likely failure when up against The Cathedral, Chaffyn Grove, Leaden Hall etc etc. Thus schools like St E's get some brighter girls as well. As for the BOYS, well, is there hope in Salisbury??

PS 'The Best' won't be a grammar for a less than bright child!

katelyle Sun 08-Jul-07 20:31:46

A simple answer to the OP - In my opinion, no.

pyjamaqueen Sun 08-Jul-07 20:34:28

I would say, if you're not happy with the school nearby, then definitely YES, it's worth paying to go private. I wouldn't be worried about what the other parents are like - there's normally a really good mix!

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 08-Jul-07 20:46:10

Actually, many doctors, lawyers, as well as council house tenants send their children to the state school DS won't be attending.

As I said in my last post, choose what suits you better. In our case it was the private school but it would have taken very little things to be different for us to opt for the state school nearer to us.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:49:44

Of course it will depend on the quality of your nearby state/private schools. i was just interested to see whether there was anyone who felt they might have done things differently given the choice again. Don't know how we will make the decision in the end, and really I am just gutted that there are no places in there previous primary school. Private wouldn't have crossed my mind if there had been.

NKF Sun 08-Jul-07 20:51:22

I think with schools, people tend to be pleased with their decision if only for the reason that it was their decision and it's too late to worry about it now.

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 20:56:44

there may be hope for boys in abotu 2 years
the new head at wyvern is improving it but tbh he can't make it much worse
it was a shockign state thats chool and i odnt know how ANYONE let it get so far down the drain.
imo id shove all the schools on the laverstock site into one and have done.

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:56:55

your kids will hate you at 15 anyway. so i personally would go for quality of life - they either
a) won't appreciate your martyrdom
b) feel obliged to be a top calss lawyer out of duty to your martyrdom and be completely headfucked and endd up resenting you and spitting on your grave

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:58:47

and you will have to pay for "headfucked" therapy - and get another job being a prostitute in the evening

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:58:59

and you will have to pay for "headfucked" therapy - and get another job being a prostitute in the evening

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:59:11

and you will have to pay for "headfucked" therapy - and get another job being a prostitute in the evening

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 21:10:26

Cod- I agree re Laverstock!

And Custardo, though I couldn't have put it as eloquently as you (lol), I think there IS a risk of a parent who has really had to sacrifice to get their DC into a private school feeling quite resentful when the DC shrugs and reminds DP it was THEIR decision!

Hulababy Sun 08-Jul-07 21:32:33

Seeing as the private fees go up well above rate of inflation/cost of living each year, average is 6-7%, then don't chose private if you are having to scrimp and scrape in the early days. As time goes on it will become relatively more expensive and harder to pay for.

FioFio Sun 08-Jul-07 21:35:45

Message deleted

islandofsodor Sun 08-Jul-07 21:50:35

For me, scrimping and saving is worth it. My decision was based on the schools in my area. However there are private school I wouldn;t touch with a bargepole too.

Although secondary education is a considertaion, our local secondaries are dire, my main concern was finding a school that I felt was right for dd now at primary level. The lack of SATS, wider curriculum and standard of behaviour were major factors in our decision.

I find that although there are lots of very rich parents at dd's school, many are just like us struggling. It doesn't bother me or dd that most of her classmates are off on holiday abroad to exotic places and we are going on a week's caravanning in Devon.

Nightynight Sun 08-Jul-07 22:04:29

dont put your family under stress for a private ed. It really isnt worth it. I speak as the child of parents who did the scrimping and saving, no holidays, no new clothes thing. All it taught us, was that we couldnt succeed if left in the big, wide world, and how to be poor.

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 08-Jul-07 23:21:38

I think that's a very good point Nightynight, don't put your family under stress to the point that your children are self concious about it.

I attended an independant primary, a state secondary, a very competitive pre universitary school (state one), and a state university that, in terms of expenses, for me was private as I had to pay the fees as an international student (and a nagging mother who was not very helpful because she didn't aprove of my choice), Anyways....

The primary was hard, as my parents had decided to focus on "the important" and set a war against superficialities (If you remember the movie "about a boy"... well, imagine the boy -without that mother- and that was me!). My parents thought they were helping but they just made of us outcastst not having much to in common with other children. I still don't think this was based in economic problems, as they both were doing quite well, but the effect may have been the same.

Having said that, I almost starved myself to get through University. It was a difficult time, many times I had to decide between having lunch or using the money to get the materials that I needed and yes, I have learned how painful hunger can be. It was hard but well worth it, and I ended up my studies with a feeling of self worth I had never had before, but this may have been due to the fact that, unlike at primary, this was self inflicted, so instead of feeling like a looser I felt I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was prepared to work hard for it.


Obviously all this babble is irrelevant to the thread but...




but nothing... I have no excuse

sanae Mon 09-Jul-07 08:04:15

thanks, I'm still listening - will give the prostitution a miss though

Beetroot Mon 09-Jul-07 08:12:05

It really depends on how much you will be scrimping. Mad to 'suffer' imo.

Agree with tutors in year 5 if you need.

There are osme very dodgy private schools around

any chance of scholarshiops? Salisbury choir school?

TranquilaManana Mon 09-Jul-07 08:16:54

i heard on radio 4 the other day that 12% of people are privately educated and about half of all people in good jobs are from private schools.. so the odds of doing well academically and career-wise are v much in favour of those who go privte.

then again, theres more to life than careers, theres more diversity in children than that takes account of, statistics can say anything you want them to and i cant really remember the details of what was said anyway memory like a seive).

still, it made me feel good about being fortunate enough to send my dc to alovely local private school. its down to me to teach them about RL now, andthe school to get the school stuff right, rather than the other way around (as was the case in Hackney where i went to school, and failed a lot). am more comfortable with it that way round tbh.

krispiecakes Mon 09-Jul-07 08:47:12

a close friend of mine (who is not wealthy) has her dd in a private school and ds in state (dc's choices). although she says the standard of education, opportunites, facilities etc are far superior at dd's school, she is at her wits end with her dd's attitude towards money/ material things. dd feels constantly 'hard done by' because her mum cant afford the same holidays/cars/clothes as her peers. In fact their relationship is at breaking point as dd believes her mum and dad are 'losers' for not achieving a standard of living comparable to other parents at her school. now this kid might have ended up a revolting brat regardless of the school but i would bet my life that the chip on her shoulder has been borne out of a "small fish in big pond" syndrome.
im not against private by the way, just think its something to take into consideration.

yoda Mon 09-Jul-07 09:00:49

This is all to come in our ds future, and yes we will pay to go private. We live outside Salisbury and the Secondaries are pretty poor at this time, and we will not play around with our ds education.

Unfortunately, the boys grammar school does have a catchment area - which they seem to have specifically excluded our area

http://www.bws.wilts.sch.uk/Policies/Admissions/catchment%20area.htm

I know of a couple of boys from our road who do go, so it is possible - but i had heard that tutoring is the norm to get in, and to be honest I don't want to go down that route. If my ds is bright enough i want him to get in on his own merit, not to be tutored, struggle and be miserable. But that is just my opinion.

Beetroot Mon 09-Jul-07 09:04:32
Beetroot Mon 09-Jul-07 09:05:28
oranges Mon 09-Jul-07 09:07:30

god, i think custardo's hit the nail exactly. i went to a private school with parents making loads of sacrifices and i could never have the latest clothes or trips etc and it made me very shy.

by the time my brother was born, they were worn out and he went to the local comp, but had a much better childhood, with camping trips, holidays, cool clothes etc. it all came out in the wash - we are both doing fine, but he had a lot more fun getting here!

Oenophile Mon 09-Jul-07 09:10:12

My first question when I saw the title was 'it depends what the state schools in your area are like' but I see you've answered that and are not happy with the schools in your new area which does weigh in. I was only going to say that one shouldn't fall for the feeling and the hype (obviously well-supported by private schools, which are a business after all and rely on people believing that) that all private schools must offer something much better than all state schools and that your state-school child is automatically getting a lesser deal.

My DD1 attended a very good private school and had all the trimmings you could want, which much impressed me (idiot that I was) - oh, the beautiful swimming pool, the posh Speech Day picnic, the labs, beautiful chapel and school buildings, the tiny class sizes! But she was never happy there, never fitted in with the rich-girl cliques which this school was quite prone to. She begged us to take her away pre-6th form, but she had been on a very generous music scholarship which the school threatened to make us pay back if she left (it was in the small print) and it ran to a huge amount we couldn't afford. She had to stay, but to this day resents the school and blames some of her later problems on the unhappy time she had there. (It was an excellent school in many ways. Just not right for her.)

DD2 was given a major academic and music scholarship to the same school, coupled with a bursary which would have reduced her fees to a minimal amount. How tempted was I! but we also have an excellent state grammar in the area and we turned down the private school and sent her there, and it has been the best decision we ever made. No frills, big classes, but a much more 'normal' environment and my only regret is that we didn't do the same for DD1. In fact, I wouldn't do the private route ever again and think it's highly overrated, unless you have absolutely no half-way decent state options in the area.

curiouscat Mon 09-Jul-07 09:15:06

This thread's fascinating as we're considering moving our 3 dc's from lovely state primary in SW London out of town (Farnham/Guildford) to get decent state secondary schools.

We could go private if necessary but if possible would prefer to save cash for 1)their university fees 2) house deposits for them 3) pensions for ourselves. These 3 items were not an issue for our own parents' generation but are for us!!

DH and I were both privately educated (expats with dad's company supporting fees) but not convinced it should be necessary for 'bright' kids. Maybe we're deceiving ourselves but the thought of 3 sets of school fees would keep our noses to the grindstone well into our sixties

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Mon 09-Jul-07 09:16:38

I do not quite understand yet how scholarships for very young children work.
Would they be too disapointed at being refused an scholarship after preparing hard for the test/trial?

If they have a bad moment in school for x,y,z reason (as they all may have), would they loose the scholarship? I supose they would do but then, how do a child survive the burden of being responsible for "paying" for his own education?

Anna8888 Mon 09-Jul-07 09:19:36

Nightynight's point is an excellent one.

There is more to life than school . It's very important to teach your children that.

expatinscotland Mon 09-Jul-07 09:20:32

Only read the OP. Answer to thread title question: NO.

akaJamiesMum Mon 09-Jul-07 09:21:30

Personally, in answer to the OPs post I'd say it's not worth it. If you have to scrimp and save and miss out on other things with your children then I feel any benefit of the private system would be lost as they'd miss out on seeing you.

I am not against private education but if you have to miss out on other (fun) things with your children by working long hours to afford the fees then IMO it's not worth it.

fairyjay Mon 09-Jul-07 09:36:59

It so depends what area you are in.

But.....look at all the possibilities, state and independent, putting the cost issue to one side. Which school 'feels' right for your dc? Then - if there is cost involved - decide whether you are able to go for that option.

There is an excellent girls state school in our area, but it would have been far too academic for my dd, who does not cope well with pressure. She might have got in (only might!), but would not have suited her character at all. Unfortunately the other state options would not have been our choice.

Beetroot Mon 09-Jul-07 10:51:45

It is unusual to get a scholarship in the junior school part form - as far as I know - choristerships and some music. Academic ones work mainly in the lower/senior schools.

Yes it can be disappointing if you don't get in. My ds1 didn't get in first time as a chorister but he did second time.

For chorister scholarships you are offered a pre audition which can be informal.

or music scholarships your child will already be working pretty hard and showing amazing promise anyway.

HOpe that helps

islandofsodor Mon 09-Jul-07 11:50:08

Because of the changes in charitable status regulations, prep schools are having to offer scholarships and bursaries. In dd’s school they are done by an entry test at 7plus, I have noticed a lot of private school advertising new bursaries for 7 plus entry recently.

Reallytired Mon 09-Jul-07 12:10:48

My parents nearly killed themselves to send my brother and I to private secondary schools. The level of guilt that it put on my brother and I was ridiculous. Neither of us had the brains to meet my parents' high expectations.

My parents sacrificed a lot of other stuff to pay school fees (they never planned to - they had assumed we would go into grammar schools but they disappeared!) - but never made us feel guilty about it.

My aim for my DC is to choose the right school for them as people regardless of whether that happens to be state or private. Hard to do, since money is inevitably a factor, but that's the aim.

I would be inclined to look more closely at the private school options before you beat yourself up too much about whether to do it or not - as others have said, there may not be anything worth paying for.

BTW - MuppetGirl - I empathise - we moved away from Swindon to escape the schools there - which private school have you gone for?

OrmIrian Mon 09-Jul-07 12:26:37

milijee - "I think there IS a risk of a parent who has really had to sacrifice to get their DC into a private school feeling quite resentful when the DC shrugs and reminds DP it was THEIR decision"

I couldn't agree more. I got a 'good' education at a girls private school. Ended up with good A levels and on course for Cambridge. But flunked the entrance interview by being terrified and deciding to change my subject from law to English. So ended up at a less prestigious uni and getting a third rate degree. My parents never expressed their disappointment in any clear terms but as they years go by they say things from time to time that make it clear And I do feel guilty.

mslucy Mon 09-Jul-07 12:35:15

My parents still drone on at my brother and myself about all the sacrifices they made to educate us privately - the subtext being that we're both a bit shit and should have done better considering all the cash they spent on us.

Which is ridiculous as both of us have decent careers, families etc.

This has quite frankly put me off private education, coupled with the fact that I loathed the school I went to in 6th form. I was badly bullied - most people find this very hard to imagine as I don't take any shit - and I had nightmares about the place for a good ten years after leaving. I occasionally bump into other people who went there, who I always assumed were "cool" and "popular" and they loathed it too for a multitude of reasons.

There was a massive drug problem at the school with people taking LSD and cocaine on the school premises - this was in the late 80s, so god knows what it's like now as drugs are far more readily available (and relatively cheaper) than they were then.

I also think that people who think it's just a matter of saving enough money to pay the fees have got it badly wrong. It's about where you live, what car mummy and daddy drive and whether you go to Barbados for your hols. I was thought of as a complete pikey at the school I attended, which is insane as my dad was a university professor.

I think it highly unlikely that I will ever have anough money to compete with the global super rich who send their kids to private school in London. I have lived here all my life and like living here so moving is not really an option.

I'm afraid it's state schooling for ds, which doesn't really bother me as I've learnt that where you went to school is not what makes you a happy or successful adult.

I think the idea that private school = a happy or succesful child is a fools paradise.

NKF Mon 09-Jul-07 12:43:43

I think you do need to feel relaxed about your choice for it to work. Accept that if you've chosen to pay, it really is your choice, not some sort of carrot/stick combination to make the kids do well. If your child mucking about for a term or a year would make you see pound signs, then I'd wonder if it would be a good thing.

I agree, MsLucy, but then the opposite assumption (private school = screwed up child) is equally not true.

Maybe just because we were lucky, or because my parents chose well on our schools, or because we didn't rebel, but I and my 2 DB's both survived fine in private schools when our parents could only just (with the help of scholarships) afford the fees - we never went on school ski trips, or had the cool clothes / holidays / whatever but it genuinely never bothered us or resulted in bullying.

I think what I am trying to say is that it can work and can be the best decision for your DC..

sanae Mon 09-Jul-07 13:02:08

good points to think about. I hate the thought of parents making their children feel guilty. If you pay then you have to take the decision that you've made the decision yourself, then let go of the consequences once thet are adult. on the other hand I hate the thought of my kids not getting a good education. At least it's their choice then if they want to do something low key/low wage. Not a choice forced on them through lack of opportunity.

ebenezer Mon 09-Jul-07 13:12:53

Probably not worth it if scrimping and saving means seriously going without. Your children may not appreciate the opportunity you're giving them, but WILL notice the things they're having to go without. Also, I'd never advise anyone to buy into the independent sector unless you can guarantee you'll be able to afford it for the duration. I've seen friends who've started off but then had to pull their children out because they can't afford it. Fees tend to go up radically from junior to senior school for instance, plus you never know how much above inflation the annual fee rise will be. Some schools have 'hardship funds' which may tide you over temporarily in an unexpected situation, but these are very hard to access and ultimately, the school won't keep your child there if you can't pay. My children are currently in the independent sector and tbh the only reason is dp teaches in the school,so we get massively reduced fees and a guaranteed 'cap' on how much they will rise for us. I really don't think I'd take the risk otherwise.

OrmIrian Mon 09-Jul-07 13:34:17

I would also suggest that you don't underestimate the miseries of scrimping and saving. Not having enough for a foreign holiday is one thing, or not being able to replace your car every few years, but if life becoming duller, narrower and more stressful because of it is quite another.

ebenezer Mon 09-Jul-07 14:04:59

OrmIrian - wise words. I think you describe it excellently. I for one wouldn't be that fussed about not being able to afford exotic holidays, but the depressing reality of wondering whether you can make this months mortgage payment, or of simply wondering whether you can afford a night at the cinema, or a paperback book - that would seriously get to me.

scienceteacher Mon 09-Jul-07 14:09:55

I say it's worth it - obviously it depends on the choice of schools you have.

I have returned to work so we can educate 5 children privately.

Judy1234 Mon 09-Jul-07 19:44:33

I would never see it as something the children had to pay me back for. Like someone just below I have 5 in private education (or now the older ones are at university) but we used to have five and it is entirely up to them how they choose to lead their lives. The private education has given them a lot of choices and chances they may not otherwise have had but if that makes them choose a life of seclusion in a monastery or a McJob, so be it. I don't control them.

On scrimping etc some people are in careers where earnings rise as you get seniority. I earn about 10x in real terms I used to earn 20 years ago so the early sacrifices to pay fees I could tell in due course all would be well. Also as children get older you need to pay for less childcare so that expense goes down.Many a person paying a full time nanny finds 2 children at private schools is actually cheaper!

satine Mon 09-Jul-07 19:57:48

All to do with your local schools. My niece taught at 3 state secondary schools that I wouldn't have sent my kids to if they were the last schools on earth - huge classes, thoroughly exhausted and demoralised staff, a sausage-factory approach to teaching (imposed largely by the National Curriculum) in each. But then again, where I live there is one really good state secondary that I would happily send my children to.

We're sending our ds to private primary - because every state school round here shoves two or three years in together, resulting in chaos and attention naturally being focussed on the noisiest/most troublesome child. Whereas the private school has small, nurturing classes with a big range of subjects, sports and extra-curricular activities. So we think it's absolutely worth the financial sacrifices.

(Also, I've noticed how few male teachers we seem to have in our local state primary schools. In two, quite large schools, there are no male staff members at all )

Whooosh Mon 09-Jul-07 20:01:33

OrmIrian and Ebenezer-agree totally.
Depends on ones' definition of scrimping and saving.

Screw "feeling out of your league"-your kids,your money,their education-try not to care.

If by sending them privately,you have no life to speak of ,then no,otherwise-yes.

hedidit Sun 02-Sep-12 08:33:55

If you can afford it go private. The classes are a lot smaller (8 or 9) so your child gets far more teacher attention. Some private schools are huge but there are lots of smaller ones where there is a real feel of community. You wont find just rich parents, there are the ones making sacrifices to be able to afford it, sometimes children of parents in the armed forces and often children whos parents are on fixed term contract with a company not based in the uk such as Japanese companies, they pay for their employees children to go to private school while their parents work for the company over here. Also you can apply for a bursery or a scholarship, scholarships are usually judged on an individual school level. You can pay the yearly fees up front or you can pay term by term or have the fees spaced out and pay monthly. They are very welcoming and treat your child as an individual, not just lump them in with all the rest which I found with some state schools who have just too many children per class for a teacher to either cope or to pick up on individual issues

hedidit Sun 02-Sep-12 08:35:20

its a bit like buying a mac, you put it off and put it off by when you finally do it you wish you had done it years ago and cant imagine ever going back

ColouringIn Sun 02-Sep-12 08:40:02

If you can afford to scrape by and pay for private schooling then it would be worth doing. I think if schools are mediocre then many parents would opt for private if they had the means to do so.
Only you can know how doable it is financially though.

hedidit Sun 02-Sep-12 08:40:10

Regarding the scrimping and saving, think hard and plan properly. Once you put a child in private school and you see how well they do and how well they are treated it would be an awful wrench for you but especially them to have to be pulled out and put into state school again...worth every penny

EdithWeston Sun 02-Sep-12 08:48:50

As thread is 5 years old, I dare say OP made her choice some time ago...

Ariadne78 Mon 03-Sep-12 14:00:35

Are you considering Rookwood or Farleigh, OP? I know families with kids at both. Farleigh is far more for the uber-rich and lots of "frightfully"-type mums there IYKWIM. Also, from my observation of the kids that go there, if your child is fairly able academically, it's fine, but if they struggle a bit, they will need extra help. A friend of mine does private tuition and has a steady stream of Farleigh kids coming to her for extra help and/or to prepare for common entrance. If I was paying £6k per term for prep school fees, I'd be pretty hacked off at having to pay £30 an hour to a tutor on top to pick up the slack!

Rookwood is a lot less expensive and the parents there seem a bit more grounded in normal life. I know 2 familes with kids there and both are very happy with it.

moutier Fri 08-Mar-13 13:09:02

My kids are boarders at Rookwood and love it. Go and have a look at the school. Very good results. The boarding house is like no other....

Kenlee Fri 08-Mar-13 13:36:37

I actually made a choice to send DD to private because it is much better than the state system. It sounds elitist but I dont care I want to make sure my DD gets the best I can afford. It is not only about money it is also about wasting time.

This is a Zombie thread it was started in 2007

Talkinpeace Fri 08-Mar-13 23:11:06

just marking place as still wondering what prompted the op ....

Pretzelsmakemethirsty Wed 13-Mar-13 22:40:02

It is definitely worth scrimping and saving for your child's education! If you do not make sacrifices for this, what would you make sacrifices for? Being realistic, independent schools have way better facilities for extra-curricular activities and they usually offer a much more rigorous academic curriculum - hence, if your child is bright, they will thrive there; if your child is not academic, they will delight in the broad range of facilities/activities on offer there. I know that a lot of people say that their state schools are marvellous and that they are better than their local independents...but, if you had first hand experience of what is on offer at an independent vs. state, you would know better!

tiggytape Thu 14-Mar-13 09:23:36

Definitely. The parents are paying. They are all therefore interested in education and want their money's worth and support and encourage the children. In a school where no one pays fees there are bound to be more parents who aren't so interested in education.

This comment earlier on made me chuckle. Some parents (and I know a few which is why I laughed when I read such an optimistic post) use private primary school as glorified day-care. The children can start at 8am and leave at 6pm with no pesky inset days or short school hours or childcare to be arranged.
The parents fully expect the school to take over every aspect of their child's education - reading is done daily with the teacher and parents do not expect to be filling in any gaps at home at all. They pay their money and wash their hands of the whole thing. If the child falls behind or is badly behaved or has any problems, they are furious that the school feels fit to inform them – after all what’s the point of paying all that money if the school keeps bothering you every 5 minutes?!

Of course not all parents are like that but the thought that private schooling buys you a more dedicated cohort to study alongside is quite funny when you know the motivations some people have in paying for education

As others have said - there's good and bad schools everywhere and what one parent deems good another might not be happy with. There are state schools with wonderful teaching and facilities but not everyone is lucky enough to live close to one. There are private schools that are probably no better than the school you're in now. You'd have to weigh up your options and see if the difference is such that it is worth paying for.

Habanera Thu 14-Mar-13 10:10:20

This zombie thread clearly still lives-has much changed post-2008 crash? I read of independent schools having trouble as parents pull DCs out- but the grammar applicants numbers are heaving. Afaik the high performing Indys still have plenty of applicants to turn down. We are in herts but within reach of north London so lots to choose from if you have the cash.
Does the argument of Indys filled with rich but dim DCs abandoned educationally by their parents hold for secondary level? Is there a way to see this from league tables etc.? I don't want to send my dd to one like that!

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