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?

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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