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?

LIZS Sat 04-May-13 19:16:03

If you are going from 4 -18 I fear you've rather underestimated the cost .

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:17:10

I guess what i am asking is- is the whole experience nicer in private? Nice friends, supportive teachers, better access to sports facilities? My school was inner city. And quite 'rough' so was at times intimidating. I used to hate going to the toilet at school cos they were always packed with intimating girls smoking. I think our local school here would be similar.

I wish I could send DFD to the wonderful private selective my niece goes to, but sadly it's too late for her now and in the wrong part of the country anyway. IME, the benefit educationally depends on the quality of the local state schools and of the particular private school, but the social benefits for my niece have been huge. She's come out knowing her own mind and exactly the same person she was before secondary, which sadly cannot be said for all of her friends from primary who went to the local (dodgy, not all comps are like this) state secondary and conformed to fit in. You also have the added parent of smaller classes so more individual attention and easier socially, a narrower ability range meaning lessons are more focused (like in grammar schools but none in their area) and in general, all the kids and parents have their best interests at heart and want to be there. I'm absolutely not saying that's the same for every private secondary, but in some cases it is.

Based on my teaching experiences I really wouldn't waste money on prep schools, but that's just me.

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:22:31

Fees at the local private school work out about £130k per child for primary and secondary. I added extra to account for trips and uniform etc.

Timetoask Sat 04-May-13 19:30:16

In your calculations did you include an annual fee increase? In my ds's prep fees have increased by 4.5% for the past three consecutive years.

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:31:38

I did wonder about fee increases.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sat 04-May-13 19:32:57

It all depends on the child.

I agree entirely about the investment. But if your dc are unhappy and you can't move them elsewhere or somewhere suitable, then it might be worth it, or if they have a special talent, sport music academic, whatever.

Tbh, if they are motivated and supported, they should do well in most circs unless something awful happens.

We do send our Ds to private school, for a number of reasons. But one of them is that he is dyslexic and didn't get into the only grammar school in the area, and the local school was pretty dire. It was then a question of spending about 400k to get into the catchment of the next reasonable school, actually a v good one, or working out for what appears to be short term benefit but is doing him well. It ends up being baked beans for supper either way.

His class is prob more diverse than the local one would be (masses of bursaries) and the facilities are good. The teachers vary, tbh and in any case you get on with some and not others.

He does go to a pretty selective school. Again, tbh, I would think twice about sending a child to a private school just because it is private. There are quite a few that are worse than nothing special. And don't assume that just because the facilities are there your dc will use them, they may or may not. If your dc shows a talent for something or has issues like ours, then fine.

But tbh, if he had got in to the grammar I would have been delighted, banked the money and spent it as you suggest or supporting him on other things, eg on trips abroad to learn French etc.

It's certainly not worth putting yourselves under stress for if you have other reasonable options.

And I was privately educated....

Sorry this is long.

SanityClause Sat 04-May-13 19:33:21

What you need to do is look at all the schools available to you, private and state, and choose the best one.

Just as some state schools are amazing, and others are rubbish, some private schools are amazing, and others are rubbish.

So, choose the best school you can for your DC, from those you can afford to send them to.

My view is that if I prepare my DC well, they can earn money to buy a house, or not, if that is their decision. If they have a good education, they will have choices. If their education is not as good, their choices will be limited.

exoticfruits Sat 04-May-13 19:33:58

You have to allow for all the extras- trips etc that won't be cheap.

Tincletoes Sat 04-May-13 19:34:36

It's impossible to say! We don't know what your local state schools are like. I would generally "prefer" to send my children to state school, but without knowing your local area and local schools, who can say? There are amazing state schools and atrocious private schools (and the exact opposite)

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 19:34:48

It depends upon the quality of the state education where you are and whether this meets the needs of your child. If you have a great state school on your doorstep them no, it's not worth it. A lot of children don't have access to a great state school though and a lot of parents in the private sector are just trying to do what's best for their child. If they are good at primary then use them for primary and move them into the private sector for secondary. If you have a child who needs the small classes/teaching that a private school offers then move them earlier.

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:44:33

Thanks. A lot of people aresaying depends on the local school. I think Local state secondary has 10 percent achieving top grades. Local private has 70-80 percent. So private is much better in terms of qualifications. But my own secondary was similar and I did well. The teachers were still good, just not so many high achieving pupils.

MrsShrek3 Sat 04-May-13 19:50:54

I was privately educated from 7 to 18. imho no, not worth it. Yes I have good qualifications but I an not honestly say the teaching was better, I have met many more inspirational teachers in state schools during my career in education . I was sent to private because local state schools were absolute crap and my older siblings insisted to my parents that they should find me somewhere else.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 19:52:40

At secondary level I do think it depends upon the attitude of the children and the behaviour in the class. If the children are engaged and keen to learn then they will. Problems arise when you have a mixed class; those who want to learn and those who don't. The ones who don't can disrupt the class so much that no learning is done. The teaching in private schools is also different, ds is spending three years going his GCSE's rather than 2. I know that some will find an excuse to get rid of the weaker students as well. sad Exam results shouldn't influence your choice.

DebsMorgan Sat 04-May-13 19:57:37

Friends of ours have just made the decision to send their dcs privately between the ages of 7 and 11 and then return them to state education for secondary. They asked me if I thought this was advisable, I thought perhaps not but have no experience of private so have no real idea. Anyone have any experience of this?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 19:59:46

A lot of parents at ds's prep school did this, Debs. I've no idea why as their primary schools were great, as was the secondary. They seemed to think that it gave them the advantage as they were use to homework every night etc. confused

SodaStreamy Sat 04-May-13 20:17:24

I would say yes.

I'm basing this on own my experiences of people who were my friends as a child, around half of us went to the local school and around half to private schools.

And I can honestly say the one's who attended private schools are now more successful in monetary terms as a rule than those of us who didn't

Also in my previous career (financial services) there was a larger amount of people in higher positions who had been privately educated than had attended non private schools

I'm not entirely convinced that means those privately educated are cleverer (although some may be) but do believe the 'old school tie' network is still very prevalent in business and if I could go back in time I would have changed my decision to have sent my eldest to the local school

SanityClause Sat 04-May-13 20:25:47

You also need to realise that there are lots of expensive trips at state schools as well as private school.

DD1 is at a state school. She's in year 9. So far, she's been to Residential trips to Paris, one at a PGL, to the Black Country for several days and skiing for a week in the French alps. She has been on various day trips, including one to the Somme, and is shortly to go to another trip to Paris on an exchange.

Her uniform was slightly cheaper than DD2's who is at a private school, but if it was more than £200 less, I'll eat my hat.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 20:28:50

Debs - a friend of mine placed hers in prep with the intention of going for the local superselective state school at 11. They can't afford to do both so this way the prep will give their DCs a fighting chance for the superselective.

Other parents do it because they reckon that the early years are the important ones and once the work ethic is instilled then you can place that child in any school and that child will do well.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 20:29:57

Ds's uniform is a John Lewis job but I can get it from anywhere. It's the PE kit that's a killer; cricket set, rugby kit, hockey kit, athletics kit... All academic trips are included with the fees.

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 20:30:34

All trips are included in our prep school. Neither of my boys got into our local state infants, and recently DS1 didn't get into our local middle school. So for us private school is worth it. I'm not prepared to send my boys to a failing school. But each to their own.

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 20:34:05

Oh, and I went to a public secondary school, I would have got eaten alive at my local comp. But then my parents were lucky to move to a village before I was born and my primary school had 90 children, and 3 classes, perfect first school IMO.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 20:39:24

"I would have got eaten alive at my local comp"

Willaby - Run fast, run long coz they are coming to get you smile The last person to say those words on a similar thread got shish kebabed on the front lawn.

ISingSoprano Sat 04-May-13 21:04:23

Why don't you move to an area where the state schools are better?

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.

everlong Sun 05-May-13 18:06:57

The thing with private schools ime is that you are the customer.

You are paying for a service, they want to keep you. They listen to you straight away and act on any concerns.

Ds' age 6 and 13 are at private. The 13 year old went private at year 7. His struggle with maths that had been fobbed off at state primary was picked up immediately, he has great support now and is catching up. He is in a class of 12 with a lovely teacher that has gelled with him.

The younger one has been private since reception. He's doing well and progressing in a class of 18.

I know there are some fab state schools but the one ds went wasn't in many ways and I'm happy with my decision to opt private.

Gilberte Sun 05-May-13 18:10:37

11112222- That's grim- no wonder you sent your DC to private school and very depressing.

I agree it is individual school and individual children who go to that school rather than area you need to be concerned about. As I've sent DC to school in what would be classed as a "deprived area" and I can't rate it highly enough.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 06-May-13 08:12:54

It will depend on your children and the school. I went to a lovely 3-18 girls school, that my parents decided on when I was 18mths old (they picked it out for my older sister). It was, in my opinion, the best thing they ever did for me.

The school is (was?) supportive, kind, challenging and character building. Around the time I was 11 and progressing to the senior school, the school hit its academic stride and is now one of the top in my country (school is not in the uk, but "British Style").

However, I can't speak about the school your children will/would be attending. I suppose I could pm you the link to my old school if you want to compare it with the school you're considering (so you know where I'm coming from).

One thing I would mention- the extra expenses are hideous. For example, these were my "extras" for one term in Fifth Form (UK yr 11):

Netball Participation:£80
Netball Uniform: £110
Trip to Asia: £4100
Stockings (ripped, had to be replaced same day, accumulative): £20
Flights and Accommodation for Neuroscience competition: £135
Duke of Ed tramping trip: £34
Badminton Racket: £14
Maths Club Fee: £18
Music Lessons: £150
Winter Tie: £25
Exam Entrance Fee: £10
French Catch-Up Tuition: £85
Sports Registration Fee: £50
Fifth Form Camp: £340
Ski Trip: £220

Total (minus Asia trip): £1271
Grand Total: £5371

As you can see, for a 10 week term, that is one heck of a lot of money! That being said, extras don't get racked up at that rate until about Year 10 and that was an unusual term (hence why my family kept the statement of accounts). Usually, extras would cost about £250 a term + uniform items.

The work ethic you learn at a private school is astonishing. Many people claim children are spoon-fed at private schools, I believe this is not true. IME, when everyone around you is getting top grades, you push yourself until you achieve them as well. It sets you in good stead for university.

Are there kids there who don't do well? Yes
Are there bullies? Yes
Are there bad teachers? Yes
Are there leaky corridors? Yes


Are there great exam results? Yes
Is there a good pastoral care and anti bullying system? Yes
Are there amazing teachers? Yes
Are there great facilities? Yes
Are there opportunities that other children simply don't have? Yes

Is it a better education than the local state school... ? In my case, yes it was (nearest state school 40 minutes away, anyway), in your families case, maybe not.

Investigate all your options before you pick and remember, you can always change schools.

almapudden Mon 06-May-13 08:26:15

OP, what are the primaries like where you live? You say you're worried aboht sending dc to a rough school where learning isn't valued; in my experience this is much less of an issue at primary level but really rears its head at secondary.

If the local primary school (or the one you're likely to be allocated) is okay, save money and move the dc at 11 - or, if the private secondary is selective at 11 and you're worried about exam prep, you can move them at the start of Y5 and they'll have two years fo prepare.

chickydoo Mon 06-May-13 08:38:35

Cost in Sw London ;(secondary)
6.3k a term. ( from 11-18)
= 21 terms
= 132k
Before extras.
So probably nearer 150k before tax.
A higher rate tax payer would be looking at having to earn close to 300k to pay for one set of secondary fees. Most private schools in and around London cost around the same.

Your question OP is it worth it?
Answer. I bloody well hope so

I think you and your DH both have to be happy with whatever option you chose, because it is a huge sacrifice and DC are at school for such a long time.

DS is at a prep school. I wanted him to go to the local ofsted outstanding state primary with his friends but DH won the argument. The private school is killing me. Any small issue related to the school upsets me in a hugely disproportionate way. I think because we are paying for it I expect it to be perfect, but like any school, it isn't.

peanutbuttersarnies Mon 06-May-13 10:48:55

Icantotallydance those extras are scary!
Our local primary I quite good. I think I am leaning tirades state primary, private secondary.

peanutbuttersarnies Mon 06-May-13 10:49:31

Leaning towards that should read

peanutbuttersarnies Mon 06-May-13 10:55:47

We are in Scotland and the fees aren't as much as those being quoted for the London area, thankfully. Fees like that soul not be an option to us I think.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 11:08:44

ICanTotally - I too have never managed to understand the 'spoon fed' argument either.

My DCs have to research a topic at home in preparation for the lesson. So instead of the teacher reciting facts at the front of the class he is instead leading a discussion of what the kids have prepared for the lesson.

At my nephew's comp they are given printed notes and the teacher spends the lesson going through the notes which are complete with 'conclusion'. That to me is spoon feeding.

Some people have no idea what goes on inside a highly academic school. Instead they jump on sound bites about spoon feeding and the like.

MrsFrederickWentworth Mon 06-May-13 11:23:39

It depends on the school and the child.

You can indeed change schools. We did. Apparently good primary didn't suit Ds. He was bullied v badly. Sent to poor academic but happyish prep, with a bit of tutoring, not much. Got on to academically selective school, good pastoral side. Not happy for first three years but had huge support for both pastoral and dyslexia, which secondary picked up.

Now thriving again.

I would normally never pay to send a child to an academically mediocre school, but he needed happiness and stability at that stage, and that is what he got.

Gilberte Mon 06-May-13 11:40:49

You also need to ask yourself if you'd be happy to spend lots of money on your DC education and then accept that they might not want to be suited to a well-paid high flying career, might not be very academic, might struggle with exams.

If they do end up in a low paid job or deciding to give up work to bring up their children they might be glad for some help with a deposit.

I say this as someone who has a couple of degrees, DCs and a averagely paid part-time job.

hardboiled Mon 06-May-13 16:46:16

Chickydoo, you add the total cost from 11 to 18 but then mention the salary of ONE year. I don't understand your numbers. You do not need to earn 300k to pay for one set if fees !!

cory Mon 06-May-13 20:04:00

everlong Sun 05-May-13 18:06:57
"The thing with private schools ime is that you are the customer.

You are paying for a service, they want to keep you. They listen to you straight away and act on any concerns."

Cuts both ways though. If your dc should happen to develop some SN or personal problems which means they may disrupt the lessons or won't be able to keep up with the class, the school may also remember that the parents of the other children are customers and boot you out.

State schools have less leeway in these matters.

May seem like a remote risk, but we didn't know when dd started junior school that she would be disabled 6 months later and with an attendance record that made the HT's hair stand on end.

Wuldric Mon 06-May-13 20:13:54

In my experience (and I have one DC at a state school and another educated privately) the spoon-feeding happens exclusively at the state school. It is in fact a national disgrace. Teachers, unashamedly, teach to the test. My DD has no knowledge or insight into any of the subjects she is learning. My DS does. She is, if anything, academically brighter than him.

Take GCSE French, for an example.

DS can converse quite happily, on a range of topics in French. He has been taught to conjugate his verbs, learn his vocabulary and learn a range of expressions. He is the one being educated privately.

DD has been 'taught' by a succession of fairly dubious supply teachers. She has learned nothing. I became concerned, but I was assured she would get a good grade. Her French oral consisted of learning responses to 5 questions, set in advance. She wrote the script (well actually I wrote the script, I had to, being as DD knows no French) and learned it parrot fashion and recited it. If this were not easy enough, she did it with her French teacher, rather than an external examiner. If this were not easy enough, she has unlimited goes at this 'test' for two years until she gets her A*. What a joke. What a ridiculous waste of time.

Fairylea Mon 06-May-13 20:21:20

Purely on my own experience and the people I have met I would never send my dc to private schools.

My step brothers all went private. My ex dh and his family all went private. I went to state school and won a scholarship to a private school. I hated it. Lots of reasons really but I just hated it and left after 2 years and went back to state.

I did extremely well and was offered 6 top university places. My step brothers and ex dh and all his family all ended up with awful exam results and none went to university or even pursued places.

I did move up to Norfolk for a better quality of life for dc as the class sizes are smaller etc but I like the mix state schools give and I think it's more representative of the real world to mix with all types of people, not just those who choose private schools.

Again, just my own experience but I would always go for providing dc with a house deposit or savings rather than schooling.

everlong Mon 06-May-13 20:22:19

I agree cory, I have seen this first hand at ds's prep. The little boy was disrupting the class, couldn't keep up with the work and it transpired had some behavioural problems. School put this to his parents who felt they should take him out of the school, he went to a tiny state school where he has some one to one help.

He's now much more settled and happier. Not having the pressure of being in a selective school.

Wuldric Mon 06-May-13 20:27:26

Well that is your experience but that is how many years ago? And were you comparing like with like? There are private schools for the unacademic as well as academic private schools.

By the way, I was comparing like for like. DS's school is academically selective, as is DDs. DDs school is actually academically super-selective (ie they only take the very brightest on the entrance examination) so notionally has a better intake than DS's school. They achieve worse examination results at GCSE though, despite years of teaching to the test.

It is a proven fact that a private education leads to substantially higher earnings on average. So your sample size is (a) too small and (b) out of date and (c) skewed for the fact that you and your friends might be an awful lot brighter or more determined than your exdh

Fairylea Mon 06-May-13 20:35:14

As I said, that's personal experience and I'm saying it's the same for everyone. This was 2001 for me. So yes some time ago. However because of the jobs I have worked in I have often worked with people who have gone to private school or send their dc there and I have to be honest and find them all a bit in a bubble... I'm probably going to offend a lot of people but I do think those who educate privately tend to think themselves and their dc more intelligent and of a better class than others when having good exam results doesn't necessarily mean someone is more intelligent. Sometimes life situations get in the way but people don't tend to make allowances for this.

But I'm probably all kinds of wrong as I'm sure people will come on to tell me but I'm as entitled to my opinion as everyone else even if it is made through personal experience.

rabbitstew Mon 06-May-13 20:49:45

When it comes to private education leading to substantially higher earnings on average, you can't help but think that this may partly be due to the need to earn more if you are to repeat your own experience for your children - you only have to look at the thread, "Think Carefully Before Opting for Private Education" to wonder about that...

Jinsei Mon 06-May-13 21:02:38

YY rabbit, plus the kind of people who can afford to send their kids to private schools are much more likely to be well connected, and able to fund unpaid internships in the holidays etc. The higher earnings may have very little to do with the schools themselves and everything to do with the families who use them. I've seen this time and time again.

Pyrrah Mon 06-May-13 21:33:22

Depends on school and depends on child.

We're hoping to do state primary followed by selective indy secondary.

I went to state primary then moved to hot-housing private prep and then super-selective state grammar.

DH did state primary, 2 years of private tutors and scholarship to super-selective indy.

Not all state schools are bad and not all private schools are good.

What are you wanting? Great academic results? Great sport? Good all round and a happy atmosphere and not too pushy?

If I had a not very bright DC then I would definitely try and get them into a private school that would do their best to get them a decent crop of exam results and into university without making them feel useless and bottom of the class (these schools do exist).

If I had a very bright but rather lazy and inclined to coast child I would be looking for a school - state with proper streaming, or indy that would mean they had to coast at a high level and so still did well.

Also depends if child is v sporty - private schools have better facilities and more time spent on sport on the whole; or if v geeky - might be happy amongst similar peers where academic success is celebrated rather than ridiculed.

In my experience, going on the skiing trips or the trips abroad is not essential and the vast majority of DCs at a school don't go. A lot of parents can just about manage the fees and couldn't begin to find thousands for an overseas trip - it's not mean to say no to such things.

If money was no object, I would send DD private throughout because I personally believe that on the whole good private schools provide a better all-round education.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Mon 06-May-13 21:59:53

Fairylea - I just love it when posters go on about how great they are doing and how crap their ex private school friends/relatives are doing and from that concluding that private school is a waste of money.

You have demonstrated that you are a very open minded person that is not given to generalisation or drawing conclusions based on a limited sample. You are a credit to your school.

chickydoo Mon 06-May-13 23:00:17

Hard boiled
Each term costs 6.3K
So 1 year is 18.9 k

Lets say maximum of 1k a term extras. ( that would include lunch & transport)
Making a yearly bill of 22k approx
If you are a higher rate tax payer you would need to earn around 40k to pay for that. ( approx)
40k x 7 years at secondary is 280k

Not including any school trips

cory Tue 07-May-13 08:47:51

I am not in a position to send my children to private school and possibly wouldn't anyway.

But I don't think it's as clearcut as private school=you will end up this way, state school= you will end up this way.

Schools are all different, private or state, children are all different and respond in different ways.

I wouldn't necessarily even suppose that the school with the highest results would be the best fit. We didn't apply to either of the two secondaries with the top results in town, because (highly academic) dd didn't think they would suit her, and we felt she was right.

The thing to remember is that your child will not be leaving the school with the average GCSE results for that school, he will be leaving with his own results and they will depend on how well the school has done for him, not for some other child.

happygardening Tue 07-May-13 11:20:51

"I think because we are paying for it I expect it to be perfect, but like any school, it isn't."
OP this is what you have to remember no where is perfect and there isn't a school out there thats perfect for every child.
Its all about what you want and expect from education versus how much money you've got. We believe in boarding we personally like what it offers I'm aware that plenty don't that's their choice and this is ours we also believe in super selective education probably less controversial but still not everyones choice. Combine the two together and we're happy to pay for it. I personally wouldn't waste my money pay for a selective independent day school let alone a non selective independent day school but then we've got good state alternatives on our door step. Again thats my choice plenty happily do.
"You also need to ask yourself if you'd be happy to spend lots of money on your DC education and then accept that they might not want to be suited to a well-paid high flying career,"
I may be in a minority but I don't give a toss about these things its not what I'm paying for.
Regarding spoon feeding I've absolutely no idea if one sector spoon feeds more than the other a lot probably depends on the individual school/child/the subject and even teacher.

MRSJWRTWR Tue 07-May-13 11:30:15

For us it is.

DS1 (Y9) went to the big (3 form entry) local state primary which suited him just fine. He is bright but tends to coast a bit so he took the entrance exam for a local independent secondary and is now doing well.

DS2 (Y2) started at the same local primary school but started to struggle pretty much straight away. We decided to move him to the prep school attached to DS1's school and with only 15 children per class, he has improved hugely in all areas.

One mother I spoke to whose child started after DS2 said "Oh well, DS was not being given enough work that extended him - just like your DS I suppose...." and I had to explain that actually, it was for totally the opposite reason that I moved my DS. Although, I suppose, it all boiled down to the 'individual' attention that this school could give to both our DS's.

We are nowhere near London so for the two of them it costs approx 20K pa. At the senior school there are expensive trips that the pupils can go on but many dont. The uniform can be expensive but both schools have very well attended second hand uniform sales.

wordfactory Tue 07-May-13 12:07:00

Absolutely no school is perfect.

Even when you pay top dollar, there will always be things that you'd like to change!

You have to ask yourself what you really value about a school. That might be selection, or sports, or good after school care, or outdoor space etc etc. If a school ticks enough boxes and doesn't tick any of the 'over my dead body' boxes, then it's probably going to work out dandy!

Abra1d Tue 07-May-13 12:15:55

Some of the differences can be subtle but profound.

For instance, my son is currently sitting his 10 IGCSEs. Ten, all at the end of year 11. No modules, no coursework, no resits, just pure examinations. It is a tough business. They expect a lot. A B is considered a disappointing result.

everlong Tue 07-May-13 12:27:00

The price in the north is so much cheaper

Prep is £7041 a year plus lunches and clubs
Main school is £10,000 plus £650 for bus fare and about £300 ish for music lessons.

The uniform isn't much different to a state school.

GooseyLoosey Tue 07-May-13 12:30:32

I agree with wordfactory - there is no such thing as educational nirvana.

I also agree with all the comments that it depends on the child and the local schools.

Mine were in state primaries until 7 and 9 and moved a year ago. The state primary they were in was lovely and many children flourish there.

My reasons for moving them were very different for each child:

Ds (then in Yr 4) did not fit in and there was a lot of low level bullying and exclusion by his peers. He was assessed by an ed pysch who said he was functioning about 7 years ahead of his peers and recommended (off the record) that if we could afford it, we should transfer him to the most selective school we could find as he would stand a much greater chance of fitting in there. We did. Ds still struggles socially with some things, but he does not stand out so much and the school are much more on board with helping him and stamping out any bullying. He is a much happier child.

Dd (the in Yr 3) was a quiet, well behaved child. She was in middle groups for everything. However, when doing her homework with her or looking at her books at parent's evening, it was apparent that often she had no idea about what was being discussed in class and relied on copying from the other people on her table. School were quite clear that although there might be a problem, as she was in the middles, they had niether the time or the resources to help. I moved her to a single sex school with much smaller classes and she too is much happier and coping much better.

From my experience so far, it has been worth cost.

Mumzy Tue 07-May-13 12:56:24

DS1is in he first year of selective independent secondary and we think its worth it. All 3dc went/ go to the same inner city primary. What I wanted foremost for ds1 at secondary was the fantastic academic teaching I recieved at my state grammar in the 80's. looking at the national curriculum now He wouldn't get that in any state school including the grammars as they have to teach what the government prescribes and imo it is very dumbed down. dS1 school being independent doesn't have to follow the national curriculum and I'm very pleased with the what he's being taught and how he's taught. However we have found there are a few badly behaved dcs in his class and some low level bullying but it is dealt with swiftly and parents are quickly called in if there is a problem.

Dozer Tue 07-May-13 20:54:07

"educational nirvana" grin

AlienAttack Wed 08-May-13 19:31:21

I agree with everyone who says it is about understanding the needs of the child and what each specific school can provide. I have a friend whose first and third children are at the same prep school but she moved her DS2 in year 4 to the state school which her youngest DD attends. All about what works for certain children. I went to a selective private school and my siblings went state. Again all about my parents thinking about what made more sense for each of us. I also know some of my friends from my private selective school tell me that they would have preferred to attend a school where they weren't in "the bottom groups" the whole time.

sashh Thu 09-May-13 05:01:17

Surely it is which school is best for your child. And one child might suit one school rather than another.

Also do your children have any hobbies or talents? You can buy a lot of sports coaching or travel for that money.

Have you considered a governess? They are making a comeback, popular with Russian families.

Basically what do you want your boys to get from their education? What do they want, if they are old enough to articulate.

Elibean Thu 09-May-13 10:47:16

I agree with the last few posters.

In answer to the OP, 'it depends'. There is no one better option.

motherstongue Thu 09-May-13 13:15:16

Peanuts - the thing is, in Scotland where you live will depend on what private education is available and also the quality. You have posted that it would need to be pretty amazing to be worth the money so you would need to really consider if you are wanting a prep school environment with the ability at age 13 to choose a school that suits your DCs at that stage in their development or if you are looking for a 3-18 school which would primarily be day schools with a few exceptions.
Many of the day schools do the same Scottish Curriculum as the state schools but most of the boarding schools follow the GCSE/IGCSE and A levels. A few schools do the IB, state & Private. If you decided on a prep school, there are very few in Scotland to choose from. However, that would always be my prefered route rather than a 3-18 as it allows you the freedom to see how your DCs develope and to choose secondary based on the facts you have at age 13. Your DCs needs will change between 3 and 13 and in my opinion (fwiw) once they are in a 3-18 you are less likely to concider a move so you would need to be pretty sure the school can deliver all the way through.

My experience was this, local state school until P4, moved to prep school for P5 onwards as lots of travelling was required and I wasn't prepared to do that with a child younger than P5. At age thirteen we opted for full boarding (that is what DS wanted) as he chose the school based on what he and we felt was right for him. By the way we are in Scotland too but my DS school is in England.

musicalfamily Thu 09-May-13 13:19:44

I also think that going state or independent prep for primary gives you the chance to really choose the secondary that fits your child and they will also get a bit of a say in which school they like/feel comfortable going to.

Haven't read the whole thread, but I would echo what SanityClause said - given that you can afford it, the best thing to do at each stage is to look at all the local options, state and independent alike, and choose the right school for the child. If an independent school is the right place and your DC thrives then it is worth the investment. That in no way at all means that all independent schools are worth it, or that DC do not thrive in state schools.

On a lighter note I agree with others - DC's uniform is probably cheaper than most state options (especially as I can and do get most of it secondhand) but as DD gets older I am becoming SportsDirect's favourite customer, and I suspect that the cost will get a lot worse as he starts to make it into teams which have "special" (chosen and supplied by the school) kit.

peanutbuttersarnies Fri 10-May-13 17:41:32

Thanks. I havebeen reading replies but haven't had a chance to post. Interesting what you say about the lack of prep schools in Scotland. It is true that the schools I am considering are from 3-18. There is only one private primary school I know of and it's not supposed to be very good. Although better on pastoral side.

losingtrust Sat 11-May-13 18:33:13

Am considering state and Indy secondary for dd. She is struggling with concentration but is very well behaved. My ds at state secondary and happy although he does say some most of the kids seem to be thick. It is streamed and they are changing the groupings round next year as some will move up and others down. Overall happy with the school. Teachers seem to know the kids really well and level of language learning in particular has really impressed as I have language degree. Not sure with Dd though due to concentration and confidence issues. Am considering private girls school for these reasons plus the performing arts is much better. Never considered it for primary although now I think a private non-11+ chaser but supportive school may have suited her better. Again each child is different and the point people have outlined with How would you feel if child under performed your expectations is probably the best. One of the downsides to former privately educated friends of mine is the feeling that they let their parents down by not getting top jobs.

Zigster Mon 13-May-13 22:57:15

Just spotted this thread as I was browsing mumsnet.

Felt quite relevant - we are just having a "wobble" about DD-squared's education. They are currently at a reasonably prestigious pre-prep and we've always been quite clear that we're prepared to make sacrifices to give them the best possible education.

But the reality is kicking in. Yet another inflation-busting fee increase, but my pay has been flat for a few years (negative once tax rises are taken into account) and there doesn't appear to be much in the way of pay rises (or bonuses) for some time.

We've got a "spreadsheet" which tells us that total fees for 4-18 for the two of them will be in excess of £500k if fees keep going up at this rate - starts off at about £8k pa per child and rises to well in excess of £20k for day pupils at the moment. That means it averages out at the best part of £3k per month out of net pay EVERY SINGLE MONTH FOR 14 MORE YEARS, with extras on top! You'd have to be earning well over £200k for that not to hurt.

I have a decent income, but £3k per month is a good chunk of that. It means that we rely on bonuses each year to make ends meet - and that makes me very nervous. It also means that we have to economise on holidays and some stuff around the house gets put off. I can do "sacrifices" for a few years but 14 years (followed by university!) takes me almost to retirement.

We're currently looking at the local State primary (short walk from our house). It's a sweet little school in a very nice area but currently full to the brim so we have no option to get out of the private school system.

I don't want to be too negative about private education - there are lots of positives about private education - but if the question is "Is it worth it?", I think you have to be very clear about just how much it really costs.

Wuldric Mon 13-May-13 23:01:41

I'm counting down the years ...

Only 6.5 more years of school fees (2 for one and 4.5 for the other). Then university kicks in. I'm budgeting for 4 years of that. So that's 8 years.

<tears hair out>

MomOfTomStubby Mon 13-May-13 23:25:23

We've budgeted for up to 6th Form. Thereafter it's student loans for my DCs while I try to save some dosh for me and my retirement.

I've known parents who financed their kids uni costs. One went to uni, did a Women Studies degree and coasted for three years. She was a bit rudderless but since her parents were willing to finance it why not be a carefree student for another 3 years. Another, free from student debt, spent all his post grad income on lots of holidays and a new car every 18 months.

I don't think parents who finance their kids for uni are doing them any favours. Better to put the money aside without them knowing about it and maybe give it as a present when they need a deposit for a house or similar.

Wuldric Mon 13-May-13 23:29:51

I'd feel guilty if I weren't to fund their university fees.

There's a whole generational inequality thing going on here. DH and I had free (ish) university educations, and our DCs are going to have to pay for a qualification that is worth less (as far more people have them). It doesn't sit well with me.

I have, however told them, that Terms And Conditions are attached to parental funding of university fees. Namely, arsing around degrees can be self-funded. Arsing around of any description will be self-funded.

MomOfTomStubby Mon 13-May-13 23:42:36

I can't remember the rules in detail but your DC only needs to pay it back once their income reaches a certain.

Keep your money invested and in a couple/several years time pay off the loan for them if that is what you want.

losingtrust Tue 14-May-13 19:11:17

I will get my dcs to take out loans but save and pay them back if they finish the course. My retirement now well funded as started young and house will be repaid so feel I owe it to the dcs for the same reason. I had a full grant for uni so I don't want to leave it all up to them. Used state schools though and have always topped up when needed for tuition and extra curricula.

losingtrust Tue 14-May-13 19:12:24

Oh and they need to earn some money in the holidays. The experience will do them good. No money from me in the vacs.

lottieandmia Tue 14-May-13 19:38:33

I haven't read the whole thread, but it's impossible to know if your child is at a private school, whether they would have done as well in a state school and vice versa. And of course, private schools are all vastly different from one another as are state schools.

My dd is currently in year 4 at a prep school. She has done very well there socially, emotionally and academically and is well above average on the NC levels. Would she have done as well in a state school? I have no idea.

The main advantage of a private school is smaller class sizes. No school is ever perfect, ours included.

Different schools have very different ethos. My daughter is at a girls schools where the ethos is about girls believing in themselves which a strong pastoral approach. There is another private school nearby which I wouldn't dream of sending her to because I don't think it would be right for her.

Bonsoir Tue 14-May-13 19:41:24

It's impossible to know if your child is at a private school, whether they would have done as well in a state school and vice versa.

No, this is just not true. Private schools do not offer the same curriculum as state schools (they offer much more) so it is pretty easy to measure what a child has learned above and beyond what was on offer at a state school.

losingtrust Tue 14-May-13 19:49:21

Not in all areas. Some private schools are very poor compared to the state equivalent and therefore I don't agree that just because it is private you would have had a better education. Don't get me wrong there are some really good private schools but some of the ones I looked were very poor and it depends on the child.

Bonsoir Tue 14-May-13 19:54:22

Why would parents shell out £££ for private school if it didn't offer more than a free state school? Parents are stupid...

lottieandmia Tue 14-May-13 20:03:26

Bonsoir, yes in a private school you tend to get more subjects and activities - but some children might have done as well academically and emotionally in state school, by which I mean GCSE results etc. I know quite a few people who did very well at state school and went on to Oxbridge or had a great career.

lottieandmia Tue 14-May-13 20:05:06

As I said, the main advantage is smaller class sizes. That's what you pay for imo.

losingtrust Tue 14-May-13 20:16:36

It sounds silly but some parents just like the posh uniform!

lottieandmia Tue 14-May-13 20:21:02

It's not just about what you learn academically though, it's the school ethos that shapes what you are going to do when you leave and how you feel about yourself.

losingtrust Tue 14-May-13 20:44:04

Lottie. That is why I choose the state school as the private ones I looked at were just GS training academies with a bit of swimming thrown in and the emphasis on academia seemed far more the prime objective at the private school which was not for me but each to their own.

MomOfTomStubby Tue 14-May-13 20:55:01

'posh uniform'?

Blue shirt and grey trousers from Tesco. Badged jacket from school shop £80.

We don't all wear boaters and tails smile

losingtrust Tue 14-May-13 21:18:02

Sign of a good school that they don't worry too much. I refused to put my ds in a blazer at 4 like the schools near us. Oh and they all have boaters even though it is 2013.

lottieandmia Tue 14-May-13 21:30:25

My dd has to wear a boater - I really resent having to pay out for a silly impractical hat that gets bend out of shape easily and serves no purpose. The new head of the school wanted to do away with boaters but the parents complained about it hmm

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 21:38:09

I think it is such a shame that small DCs have to wear all the gear that they can't get away with on older DCs these days because they 'look cute'.
They could have a dressing up box-take a photo on the first day and then get down to wearing something practical, easily washable and easy to manage.

Whatalotofpiffle Tue 14-May-13 21:49:42

I loved it smile I was super geeky so found I fitted right in and was supported

Zigster Wed 15-May-13 08:51:53

Bonsoir: "Why would parents shell out £££ for private school if it didn't offer more than a free state school? Parents are stupid..."

Surely the question being asked here is not whether it offers more but whether the extra is worth the enormous financial outlay?

For very wealthy who wouldn't notice a few thousand a month, it probably is worth it - what do they have to lose? The lower the level of income, the greater sacrifices which have to be made and then the question does become whether the approx £250k cost per child of private education could be better/more enjoyably spent elsewhere.

I'm happy to accept that private schools offer more than State schools (although I know this isn't a truth universally accepted) but I would have to (and currently do) economise on holidays to afford it and defer some non-essential renovations around the house. I'll probably also have to defer retirement for a few years.

In addition, I'm stressed about being able to continue to afford private education - it would be difficult for all the family to be forced to move the kids in, say, 5 years time if I lost my job and had to take one with reduced salary. Or if the current trend in my industry continues of fixed base pay and reducing bonuses (coupled with forever increasing school fees). Would my children benefit from less stressed parents?

But that's just me - others might be more or less concerned about these points.

greenformica Sat 18-May-13 15:46:09

Move to an area with really lovely state schools?

teacherwith2kids Sat 18-May-13 16:21:34

I'm with Zigster, in that the answer to the question seems to me to depend on the family, the schools involved (both private and state alternatives), thc child, and to some extent the local community.

If a family has a sufficiently high income that the cost of private school does not entail significant sacrifices (e.g. simply that holidays are scaled back or cars not updated as often), then the additional benfit of the private school dores not have to be very large to be 'worth it'. However, if the sacrifices are very large (e.g. risking losing a house, not leaving enough money for food), then there is almost no degree of additional benefit that makes that sacrifice 'worth it'.

Equally, there are schools where the difference between the state and private options is vast, and therefore the private option more 'worth it'. Faced with the choice between the worst school in my neighbouring town vs Winchester, then the private option is worth it. Faced with the choice between my local private secondary and the local comprehensive (which gets the better results of the two), then the private option is not.

Equally, if a private school is the only way of getting your child something that they need - a minority sport, say, or a particular subject, or simply the chance to be away from a specific peer group - then that might be worth more to you than if the child would in reality take advantage of exactly the same options in both schools (I mean, the private school may have a fantastic drama hall ... but if your child has no interest in or aptitude for drama, and is in fact a keen footballer while the private school does rugby, then the advantage of the private schools' additional facilities TO YOUR CHILD is nil).

Finally, the local environment plays a part. My town has, for example, outsatiding community facilities for many sports, for drama and also for dance - e.g. for the latter, gifted childrendo not use 'in school' facilities but take classes in the community dance schools. In other areas of the country - for example where we used to live - such facilities are ONLY available within private schools.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 19-May-13 16:55:20

I'm with zig and teacher too, and we were/are in one of those quandaries. Ds is dyslexic but articulate and,was branded stupid or idle because his primary did not bother to dx him despite me asking (pushy mc mum syndrome). Local school dire, and I mean that, failing school for 20 years. All the rest over subscribed and he wouldn't get in.

Therefore private. Decided against Winchester, who were prepared to take a risk on him, because he didn't want to board and was seriously ill, so local private.

I do regret the winchester decision on one level, but our car is already only fit for scrap atm and the financial pressure would have been considerable.

Current school has done wonders dxing that there was an issue within 2 days of arrival and being really supportive. So a compromise really worth doing. But if he had got into one of the really good local schools, which would have meant is moving, he might have done as well.

BoffinMum Tue 21-May-13 22:31:58

I've used both sectors for my kids, taught in both sectors and attended both sectors.

I would say that in a lot of cases it's not really worth the kind of money schools are charging these days, unless there's a particular reason, such as the only other state option being completely unsuitable, needing extras such as boarding or extended days that you can't get locally, or a child being very musical or needing ballet training, and needing copious timetabled opportunities for practice.

Otherwise I actually think the state sector currently has the edge for a lot of children.

musu Tue 21-May-13 23:44:23

lottie I'm not surprised that parents didn't want to get rid of the boater. I see a child every day I do the school run. She wears a straw boater. I have no idea which school she goes to but I know from her hat that it is private. Just like stripey blazers. To some parents it matters that others know which school their dcs go to.

happygardening Wed 22-May-13 07:12:00

Years ago DS1 spent a short period at a horrible pushy little prep the head proposed a complete uniform change. Two parents rather than complaining that they'd just shelled out a considerable sum for the current uniform and were being expected to do it again 4 months later were mainly concerned that when they took their DC's to Sainburys after school that other parents would be able to instantly recognise that their children were privately educated.

namelessposter Wed 22-May-13 07:36:42

Depends on the area and the quality of local schooling. We're in central London and the answer for us is yes. If many rural areas, quite possibly the local primary is great and you can save your pennies.

HabbaDabba Wed 22-May-13 08:39:07

grin at all the snobby parents/snobby uniforms comments.

Ladies. If the parents can afford £30k plus pa fees then I suspect that impressing their fellow Sainsbury shoppers is not top of the list of things that they obsess over.

Also, MN is full of rants about the school imposing a uniform policy that is unpopular with parents. So I'm a bit hmm about the post where the parents overruled the HT decision to get rid of boaters.

lottieandmia Wed 22-May-13 10:28:28

'To some parents it matters that others know which school their dcs go to.'

Really?? How odd confused

lottieandmia Wed 22-May-13 10:31:19

HabbaDabba - what I said is true, I don't have any reason to lie hmm

HabbaDabba Wed 22-May-13 10:41:09

Sorry Lottie. I didn't mean to call you a liar. The confused smiley was probably more appropriate.

lottieandmia Wed 22-May-13 10:47:19

It's ok - what happened at our school was that the head was new and she proposed a complete uniform change but she agreed to consult with parents about it throughout and listen to their views. So I think she just asked if we could do away with the boater and most people said no.

The new head came at a time when a lot of people were leaving the school and since the uniform change lots of new people are enrolling their child (the old uniform was very old fashioned). I have spoken to people who actually said the old uniform put them off.

Zigster Wed 22-May-13 11:11:38

I confess I've come to the same conclusion as BoffinMum - i.e. the extra cost of private education isn't worth it. I look at our local State primary and about the only differences I can see are smaller class sizes (which can actually be a double-edged sword) and more emphasis on sports (which is easily fixed outside the private sector by using lots of after-school clubs).

But I am currently feeling quite negative towards the pre-prep my DSs attend so it's likely that my view is at least partially clouded by that negativity.

lainiekazan Wed 22-May-13 16:41:08

I think it's true that some parents want others to admire their kids (and by default, them) in their private school uniform.

I live very near a posh little prep school. The uniform is kilts, boaters, caps, etc etc. The parents - when I pass them - are not exactly top drawer . But their noses are stuck high in the air.

A while ago there was a bit of a stand off when dd and I encountered prep school mum + offspring on pavement. Mum said in uber-loud voice, "Don't you step on the verge, Hermione - you don't want to spoil your uniform." As opposed to dd's sweatshirt and M&S school dress.

HabbaDabba Wed 22-May-13 16:57:29

"boaters, caps .... Hermione"

Do these kids wear the cap on top of the boater or vice versa? confused

And why is it whenever people recount these anecdotes they invariably insert a stereotype posh name?

musu Wed 22-May-13 19:47:13

Habba at ds's school boys wear caps and girls wear boaters. Mind you ds 'lost' his cap fairly early on in the school year saying it was 'too small' for his head. It fitted him perfectly the month before so I assume he has lost it deliberately. At least he wears a normal plain colour blazer. At his previous school he wore a stripey blazer. When we were looking at changing schools I recall taking him to visit a very posh school indeed where every single person we met commented on his blazer (I lost count once we'd reached 30 grin).

Stripes, caps etc do make children readily identifiable as being at private school since none of our local state schools do this. Interestingly a local new academy school has a stripey blazer as part of its uniform.

SoggySummer Wed 22-May-13 19:53:37

I would say some schools are worth every penny. Others a total waste.

Its not is private education worth the money type of question really its more is this school worth £x for my child.

lottieandmia Wed 22-May-13 22:16:03

I think it does depend on the child and the school.

exoticfruits Thu 23-May-13 07:10:37

You have to get out if the idea that private = good.
Private schools are like any other and have the entire range from excellent to dire.

lainiekazan Thu 23-May-13 12:26:28

Actually I used the name "Hermione" as it seems to have caught on with people who are aspirational rather than straight posh. Probably the Harry Potter thing. Same as Lily, Amelia/Amelie... but this ain't a baby names thread.

cory Thu 23-May-13 16:42:15

Personally I am very pleased that no school fees has meant I am now in a financial position to allow dd a very special educational experience this summer that I think will be important to her- just had the letter that she got in, very excited!

As others say, if you have pots of money it doesn't matter, because you can do both the fees and the things you want to give your child outside of school. If you have a very limited amount, you have to choose. As far as I can work out there isn't a private school around here where she could have had this opportunity and I'm so glad the money is there!

But these are the things you won't know beforehand. When dd started school I had no idea where her talents would lie.

Lizzzar Thu 25-Jul-13 05:09:11

It obviously depends on the child and the school. And sending every spare penny you have on private education is probably not worth it - although if you have to do that you may well be eligible for a bursary - I don't think they are well publicized enough. Christ's Hospital's endowment is apparently somewhat reduced, but will still offer up to full fees to eligible children, as will very well known schools like Westminster and Eton. Obviously many children do perfectly well in the state system and still get to Oxford or Cambridge.But reading some of these threads, I will say that my personal irritation would be reasonably well off parents congratulating themselves on moving near to well known grammars or comprehensives and saving on school fees as well as stating that their children are bright enough to do well practically anywhere. This may be true, but it doesn't mean that children with learning differences are "thick" and at the moment it tends to be true that they tend to be better supported within the private system, as are the very bright or the very bright with learning differences frequently are too.

Lizzzar Thu 25-Jul-13 07:20:11

If you think you can afford it, but it might be a bit of a strain, I would personally try to find a state primary that is doing reasonably well and wait to pay fees until secondary. Bursaries usually expect that your child will initially be in state education as well. As far as sports go, almost all private schools do quite a lot of sports and there are some that specialize like Millfield (it also offers sports scholarships, as some independents do) but again state schools can be reasonably sporty. But some do have problems like lack of good access to playing fields or funding for a lot of different sports.

pixelchick10 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:27:19

Apart from one year, I've always sent DD private and don't regret any of the fees. It's obviously expensive though, and as others have said, fees go up and there are extras - though these IMO aren't any more than my sister's kids pay at their state schools. The uniform costs more but there is a thriving secondhand shop. Advantages are smaller classes, and more one-on-one attention, and the school really puts it all into getting the best from your child and pushing them to the top of their ability (when my DD was at state school, they only seemed bothered about getting kids up to an average standard). Schools vary obviously and there are good and bad private and state schools so you need to look around and talk to other parents who have kids there whatever you choose.

pixelchick10 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:29:53

Coincidentally my DD's private girls secondary takes loads of girls from primary state schools so if money is tighter you can certainly save by sending state for primary and supplementing by extra curricular activities/tuition if you feel its needed ...

rabbitstew Thu 25-Jul-13 08:43:19

Private education is worth the cost if you think it is. It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.

poppydoppy Thu 25-Jul-13 13:36:10

All my children are privately educated but I would say that things are definitely changing, so many children are tutored outside of school the teachers have cottoned onto this which has resulted in sub standard teaching. You are then could up in a catch 22 do you tutor to keep up with others or let your child fall behind, considering the fees I pay it drives me crazy.

I would stay in state education and tutor after school if I had my time again.

moonbells Fri 26-Jul-13 14:43:14

DS is going into Y1 in Sept at a boys-only London pre-prep, and the fees are already eye-watering. We only planned one child so we could do this (I think my reaction at my first scan was thank goodness there's only one! grin) but it's still a struggle. He's there for the extended day Boffinmum mentioned, but in retrospect it was the best school for him, too, as he's a very boyish 5yo and can't stand girls! (Apart from me, apparently, as I'm not a proper girl! even bigger grin)

But we did take financial advice to minimise outlay by going for tax-efficient plans, we remortgaged, we are so far scraping paying out of earnings (not very tax-efficient!) but once it gets to the point where we can't, due to fee increases and the like, then we have a reserve to use which should allow us to get him to Uni.

If it's any help, my total projected fees-only outlay for YR to Y13 is £299,150 (assuming 6% rises and that he goes to a local Indy senior school).

If I thought DS was not happy there, I'd have him out in a heartbeat and stuff my job. But so far, so good. If he's being a horror and refuses to get up for school, we ask if he'd prefer the local school instead. Oddly, he then gets up very fast!

So far extras have been very small: £20 for the school trip, and some items of uniform that are customised. Blazer (yes, it's stripey!) was an extremely stupid price, but I have two secondhand ones in the cupboard waiting for him to grow into them. I have secondhand scarf, tie, art apron (yes you even have to buy those!) and anything else I can get my hands on. Y3 (Prep) is where things go up and when you get the specialist sports equipment to buy. Again we're planning on inflation-proofing by getting stuff years in advance - fees go up but so does kit! I also am always very polite to the Bursar!

My best advice to anyone is plan ahead (with professional advice if possible), and always overestimate cost increases.

AlienAttack Fri 26-Jul-13 19:46:46

moonbells I'm hoping I misunderstood your point about "we ask if he'd prefer the local school instead. Oddly he then gets up very fast"? That sounds like you're using the local state school as a threat...surely not a great way of teaching your child the importance of community inclusion, that some people have less money than others etc etc.

moonbells Fri 26-Jul-13 21:54:24

Sorry Alien yes that does sound a bit odd! blush

He doesn't know that there are different types of school, just that the local one has girls in as well as boys and he hates playing girly games! He's at holiday club this week and is complaining bitterly that he's having to do dance...

Coming from a state background myself (comp all the way) and having parents who were born and brought up WC in council houses, and then only going to uni because it was a grant, he is definitely going to know when it's age-appropriate that he is extremely fortunate. Don't worry about that...

Anyway he came home today and announced he had two girlfriends. grin so I guess the club is doing its job!

AlienAttack Fri 26-Jul-13 22:06:58

Thanks for clarifying moonbells. We walk past a boys pre-prep on our walk to my DD's state school and she is fascinated by the idea that there might be a school where no girls are allowed! She keeps talking about all her friends who are boys and saying " but they wouldn't have me at their school?!" I just keep emphasising that different people make different choices and different children like or need different things.
I was really unnerved by the idea you might be using the local school as a threat...

moonbells Fri 26-Jul-13 22:15:10

I shall have to be more careful with phrasing and not ask if he'd prefer one with girls in!

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