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Private School Fees versus Easier Life?(20 Posts)
My dd is at a private school and in a year's time she'll have to move to a senior school and will be sitting exams for entry next year. We have been very happy indeed with her schooling to date - she's dyslexic and had very low self esteem when she started at this school (where she came from a state nursery). We feel it's been a lot of money (!) very well spent as she's now confident, capable and a lovely well mannered happy child. Our dilemma comes next year. We have really struggled to pay the fees - life has been VERY tough for the past few years and we've got some debts (not massive) but we have survived just about. My dh and I are not young (50) and so the question is should we send her to a local "good" state school or continue with her private education which seems to suit her so well? The state school is OK but it's massive and there are behaviour issues, there's no doubt that it would be a huge shock to her system. I doubt she'd get the on-going pastoral care that we've really valued and in my heart of hearts, I don't want to send her there. On the other hand, if we commit to another 8 or so years of school fees, I'll be nearly 60 by the time that ends, and both dh and I will have to pray we don't get sick/can't work/and the thought of committing to a life time of very few holidays/meals out/and general lack of a good standard of living is one that makes me quite miserable. On the other hand, we'll do anything for our daughter to make her happy and help her achieve her goals. So, my questions is WWYD in this situation? Thank you.
Is it either or???
Is there a state school she could
Travel to which would be better than the local one? Worth examining. Also, scholarships? Moving house?
Have you looked at bursaries/scholarships for the senior school? Sounds like you might qualify for a bursary which would help.
Personally (going on my own experiences as a child) I would stick with private if you possibly can provided that you're happy the senior school you're going for does have the same level of pastoral support and is a good fit for your dd as of course they all vary a lot too.
Our 1400, variable Ofsted (Good, satisfactory, SM, Good again) Comp has guven my dyslexic DD brilliant pastroal support.
To my mind the only question is, despite ber dyslexia, your DD good enough to get into set 1or2 at your local state school? ie did she get L5 in her SATs.
I f yes, state is a viable option. If not I'd think very hard. Sadly, with the best will in the world, behaviour and work ethic starts to slip further down state schools.
I wish MN had an edit button
Not sure what you should do, but my little bit of input is dont think of it as 8 years, break it down as 5 years to gcse's. Then another 2 possibly for A levels only if finances allow.
There is a lot of movement between schools/colleges for the sixth form. Ds1 left his private school after GCSEs to pursue a sports career, and all his close friends left to go to the local non fee paying sixth form college.
Ds2 has just done his gcse's at a different private school, and many of his friends are leaving to go to difference schools or colleges. Although he is staying on.
But it helped me when our finances were looking precarious to just think ahead to age 15/16 and commit that far.
Thank you everyone for your input. I do genuinely feel that she's best off in the private system and if I'm honest, I'm a little bit surprised that you all (so far) seem to feel this too. I thought you'd all think we were mad to be doing this! I like the idea also of thinking ahead only to 15/16 which I hadn't done before. As far as SATS (Elephants) - she's just done some tests and has scored: 5C for Maths, 5C for Science but only 4A for English/Spelling. The school think it's likely she'll get up to 5 in English by the time she leaves this school. She's got another year I suppose although exams for entry to the private schools for 2015 are in January (Not sure if that means she WON'T get 5C by then but she does struggle with English). As I say, she's not SUPER bright so I have no idea what set she'd go into if she went into the state system.
Won't the fees go up as she goes into private secondary?
Yes, they will. I have, however, started a new job and the fees will all be covered by what I earn. All fine so long as I don't lose the job!
I wouldn't put myself through years of scrimping and saving and feeling sick in the way that it sounds like you will. Sounds like you will struggle to pay for extras (more expensive at secondary level) as well. Have you made adequate pension provision for yourselves? What will you do if she goes to university - would you want to support her there?
I'd have a look round at what state alternatives are available - is there anywhere apart from your local school? How do children like your DD do at the local school?
I'm with redsky - you sound like it's a massive struggle to pay the fees, and if something unexpected happens you'll be sunk....
I think at the very least you should look at state schools, with a view to applying in Sept/Oct, to make sure that you have a state secondary place available, which at least leaves all your options open.
Yes, there's no doubt that we will apply for the state school as a back up. I suppose I'm secretly hoping for a miracle on dh's job front. He is currently looking for another role and the hope is that he'll get something that makes life easier but truthfully I doubt it would make a huge difference. We do have pension provision - but not a huge one- we have a lot of money in our house and we would plan on selling, downsizing and moving out of London which is where currently live. I agree that years of worry makes no sense, but equally if my dd hated school/struggled/was bullied/went backwards academically etc etc then life would be more than intolerable for me. I've come from a background of terrible bullying and that's one of the reasons which chose a small prep school for our dd. I do realise we can't protect her from the real world for ever though!
If she's getting those grades in Y5, that should be good enough for decent sets round here.
In the end, like everything in parenting (and life as a whole), you have to come to a compromise that works for the whole family.
Only you can judge if struggling to pay school fees is going to make you and DH very stressed and unhappy.
Only you know if this stress will rub off on your DD (here, DD1 would work it out and be upset, DD2 probably wouldn't).
And lastly of course you need to factor in the ever rising cost of university.
DF has scrimped, saved, borrowed and used the bank of grandpa to give her DCs a private education, but for uni (unless Grandad dies at the right moment with no care home costs) they are on their own.
DH and I are slightly younger than you, we are the last generation to leave uni with no debts. We married as students and were still able to buy a house with his first job. No loans makes a huge difference.
Could you send her to the state school and spend some money of the money saved on fees on tutoring her for English? That way she would be more likely to get the extra attention she needs for that, as long as the pastoral support in the school is decent.
You could send her to the state school and see how she gets on. If the secondary school is not full, you could always move her back to private if she is unhappy at state. Or you could agree with her that she will go to state for 2 years, and then back to private for the important 3 years leading to GCSE. After that, it should be easier to find her a nice state 6th form.
Agree with littleoaktree that you might get help in the way of a bursary/scholarship. Worth finding out at least surely?
Having a ds in private secondary (he started there from state in Yr 5) and having friends with children at the local comp I would (and do) cripple myself to keep him in the private sector. I know this is a hugely unpopular opinion on MN but in my mind there is no comparison.
dd is starting at a private in september, we will be living on a tight budget too but you know what, i wouldn't have it any other way. for many reasons i am thrilled she got into the school she has got into. for us, it will be worth every penny, we don't mind going without
If she is top set or there abouts it's fine to send her to the local comp. if she struggles at all I would be really reluctant to send her.
At A level stage think college as they have amazing facilities and the support they offer is v good.
Ours at at state school. They are bright and will hopefully do well. I went to private schools - one was ok, the other awful. However my brother thought the awful one was ok. Setting does help - check what the comp sets as in ours it's just maths and languages.
We are saving the money so our children can have a loan-free university and no pressure financially - for us now and for them in the future.
I know of two sets of parents who are bitter at the amount they paid for schooling and their children didn't do very well.
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