I know this has been done to death but should I send ds to private school or state?

(43 Posts)
yummymummycleo Mon 03-Oct-16 21:29:27

We are currently looking at schools for ds. We have two local schools we are considering. One outstanding which we aren't technically in the catchment for but could potentially get in from the waiting list, and one graded good.

Went and looked around the outstanding one and just didn't like it and couldn't see ds being happy there.

Went and saw the good one and loved it. A lovely community feel, impressed with the head and could see ds being happy there. It's a very mixed school in what is classed as a deprived area but right on the edge of an affluent area (where we are I guess) dh and I quite like this as we don't want ds growing up in a little middle class bubble. Ht and staff seem very passionate and dedicated and it has a good reputation.

Most of the neighbours children go there or are likely to go there, it's walkable and I feel like the school has a lovely community feel. It's what I d always wanted for ds. The community feel of all his school friends living around the corner, eventually walking to school together, dh and I hopefully doing play dates and getting to know the other parents are exactly the main reason we chose to live where we do. It would be super easy for pick ups and drop offs as I work two days a week.

However, we are extremely lucky in that my dad has offered to pay the school fees for ds to go to a private school. We went and looked around the school and of course it has amazing facilities. It has amazing results, it has an amazing staff to children ratio and experiences/attention and opportunities for ds our local school cannot offer. But we didn't love it. We didn't get the same community feel. It felt very formal, the classrooms very minimal and businesslike. I didn't naturally see ds there as I could with the local school.

It's a 20 mins commute into town at very busy times so would be stressful for dh who does drop offs on the days I work and stressful for me to collect on working days too in comparison to the local state school. I work term time too and so the overlap for state school and private school holidays/after school
Clubs would be difficult and more expensive to cover financially, this would come out of our own pockets, than the local state school.

But I guess my main concern is the catchment area would be so much bigger so it doesn't have the same community feel, ds wouldn't be able to walk to school with his mates, play dates might be more difficult as other parents live further away. So on a selfish level I feel it would make it more difficult for me to make friends with the other parents and have meet ups. I feel ds and myself would miss out on the social side in a big way as neighbourhood kids and parents become friendly and we aren't involved as ds goes to school elsewhere.

Dsis and BIL are very pleased with the school and feel ds who's now in y1 at the private school is very happy. They feel and have been told by friends their ds excels in reading and maths because of the small class sizes. But perhaps he's just very bright? The small class sizes are attractive but then dh and I are concerned about how much ds would be pushed to achieve. How competitive his classmates and their parents would be and if this is the right environment for him. If he'd be happy in that environment. Would we be happy and fit in amongst these people?

But should we deprive ds of this amazing opportunity other children don't get because of our doubts? If we left it until secondary school would ds get in?

Haggisfish Mon 03-Oct-16 21:30:33

Would fil pay for university instead?

OjosCansados Mon 03-Oct-16 21:34:41

It sounds like you know what to go for already. Can FIL save the money for secondary/university/a house deposit at a later date?

Enidblyton1 Mon 03-Oct-16 21:36:53

How long has your Dad offered to pay fees for? Until 18 or just primary?

Enidblyton1 Mon 03-Oct-16 21:39:02

Btw, I think all of your reasons for choosing the local primary over the private school are very sensible. Private doesn't necessarily mean better (I say this as someone who sends my DC to a private school at the moment)

JasperDamerel Mon 03-Oct-16 21:42:26

The state school is clearly the right choice for your child. Could you ask FiL about maybe putting money into a trust fund for university or a house deposit, and maybe look at private education again for secondary to see if it might be a better choice at that point?

irvineoneohone Mon 03-Oct-16 21:45:20

If FIL is willing to pay for all his education until Uni, it maybe a god idea to take a opportunity.
Is he ok with increase of fees over the years? Are you ok to pay all the extras it may need?
I think it's better to find out all the details about it before send him to private, and avoid ending up moving back to state afterwards, in case of financial situation doesn't work out.

irvineoneohone Mon 03-Oct-16 21:45:48

good! not god!

MrsPnut Mon 03-Oct-16 21:49:42

There is no substitute for attending your local school, being able to walk there and having your friends living around you. At primary level these things are important and make a huge difference. If you feel that the school suits your child then I would send him there,

yummymummycleo Mon 03-Oct-16 21:49:51

It's my dad who's offered to pay. He's putting X amount into an account for education each year so it would cover whatever until it runs out.

Yes, it could be used for uni but then ds might decide he doesn't want to go to uni or perhaps doesn't get the grades for uni. I would then always wonder if this is because he didn't go to private school.

My dad has stated this money is to be used for nothing but education so if that's the case it would be wasted as such.

The other issue is that in this part of the country it historically had some of the worse achieving secondary schools in the country. This has improved a lot over the years but they are still not that great and there is a massive shortage of secondary places anyway. Many people move out of the city at this point or move to the most expensive parts of the city at secondary level to get their children into the good schools. If we put ds into private now we won't have this problem when he reaches 11. Although, we know a lot can change between then and now but then again we could be in a difficult situation if it hasn't. Even saying that, ds might not pass the assessment stage at that point as i bet it's much more competitive because of the secondary school situation at 11 than 3/4.

Haggisfish Mon 03-Oct-16 21:53:49

I agree with pp btw-our local primary in roughish area is so much better at teaching than the private school. And everything costs so much privately-my friend had to buy

Haggisfish Mon 03-Oct-16 21:54:11

An apron for lunchtimes for twenty five quid-it was worn twice!!

PikachuBoo Mon 03-Oct-16 21:54:31

You could always move him into private at 8/9 if you are concerned he might not get in at 11/13.

PotteringAlong Mon 03-Oct-16 21:58:28

Send him to the state school!

If the money runs out before he hits the sixth form can you afford the £30k a year to send him to private school?

yummymummycleo Mon 03-Oct-16 21:58:41

It's difficult to say when it would need to be topped up but it would at some point. Probably around year 3/4. We also have dc who could potentially go. Financially we could afford if things continued as they are but would have to make sacrifices. Dh situation might not always be as it is with his wages.

But then I feel we shouldn't deprive ds of this amazing opportunity because of this or because of our doubts. What if he does rubbish at the local school and we always regret not sending him. It's hard to tell when they're 3 but it seems like he's bright, what if that potential tapped into at the local school and he's overlooked in a class twice as big?

Enidblyton1 Mon 03-Oct-16 22:03:03

In your position I would probably use the local good state school and see how it goes for the next couple of years. You can always move at 8 (year 4), which is the first year of prep school, if you are concerned about your DC not getting into the secondary school of your choice. Meanwhile, you can be squirrelling away the education money so that you can ensure it stretches for the whole of secondary school - as it sounds like that is when you could most need it.

BabyGanoush Mon 03-Oct-16 22:07:41

Send him to state school

Then when he's 8, move him to private

BabyGanoush Mon 03-Oct-16 22:09:02

Bit cynical, but that's what lots of people in your position do!

Offline Mon 03-Oct-16 22:16:06

How are you depriving your DS of an 'amazing opportunity'? You didn't like the feel of the school and couldn't picture him bring happy there! The school run / commute sounds a nightmare.

Meanwhile you have the 'amazing opportunity ' of a good community school on your doorstep, where you would be part of a community based friends network.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

yummymummycleo Mon 03-Oct-16 22:18:07

Thanks for the replies. I hadn't thought of that. Although the two children who showed us around on the open day did say lots of new children join in the later years.

Dh is concerned about moving him once he's got happy and settled at his existing school and all his mates are staying. But then I argued lots of his mates won't go to the same secondary anyway.

Do they test at age 8 though? I worry he won't get in if he's not partially bright and we will have lost our chance. He's not actually passed the assessment day yet anyway so there might be no choice.

I feel worried about telling my dad no though. He puts a lot of emphasis on education and has already said we need to do the best we can for him. Both my siblings have taken up his offer from reception for his cousins. What if he starts to ask why he doesn't go to a school like theirs? I worry he won't do as well as he could do at private school? I worry he would get overlooked in a big class or loose his enthusiasm for learning and switch off. At the moment he's so eager to learn.

Iwantawhippet Mon 03-Oct-16 22:21:42

We could have afforded private but chose our closest state primary. Wonderful community for us and lots of local friends for the children. Private schools have a few intakes 7, 8, 11, 13 - we plan to tutor for two years before 11+ entry point.

DC are doing lots academically. Lots of interesting topics alongside reading and maths. I'm impressed. For reference, School is ofsted good.

yummymummycleo Mon 03-Oct-16 22:25:34

Offline I didn't say we didn't like it. We did like it. There wasn't anything not to like. We could see the vast range of experiences and opportunities he would get if we went there. We could see how the small class sizes, equipment and specialist teaching staff and facilities could do for him. The permanent teaching assistant in every class was appealing.

We just didn't get the sense of passion and community that we got from the local school. It was more formal it was a feeling I guess, which is hard to put my finger on.

We don't want to make the wrong decision and regret it. The few friends we have told about it have said if they had that kind of opportunity they would go for it despite the concerns. It makes me feel we would be mad to say no.

snakesalive Mon 03-Oct-16 22:33:28

Have a look at some other private schools....why does it have to be that particular one

snakesalive Mon 03-Oct-16 22:36:27

Iwantawhippet.where do you live? I have one...tips the bin over at every opportunity,climbs on the table when you leave the room,and needs a lot of walking....free to a good home,if my kids don't kill me first,ha ha

yummymummycleo Mon 03-Oct-16 22:46:53

We are looking at another private school soon but open day at a weekend so won't get to see the children in it. We re looking at 5 in total so it's difficult for dh to get too
Much time off and childcare for dcs

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