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to ask if it's SERIOUSLY true that in London you 'need' to register for private schools at BIRTH???

(86 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:49:11

Haven't even had our first child yet AND we're fairly sure we won't be able to afford private schooling 3-4 years down the line... and even if we could, we'd very likely decide against it.

However some friends (who live in much posher postcodes than us in London) are telling me in apparent seriousness that if we were even half-thinking about private education we would need to register our interest as soon after BIRTH as possible.

I think this must just be for a handful of very posh schools in very posh areas (Hampstead, Chelsea etc) but am I wrong about this?

Not to mention, has the world gone mad etc etc?

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:50:41

Sorry - just to add - the thread title in the original post should obviously have said 'if you are actually in a position to be considering private education in the first place' but that was far too long a thread title... confused

LaCiccolina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:51:44

No the worlds not gone mad, cvs just start a damn site earlier than u might think.

Depends on the circles u move in. Some then yes, u probably should move very quickly.

More normal schools, even if private, I would start reviewing at about a year.

fufulina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:52:30

Yes. You will need to. I flirted with private school, until reality set in, and when approached, every single private school within three miles was talking about waiting lists for entry for 2015/16 year. This was in 2012.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:25

LaCiccolina - wow... thanks. My godson proudly showed me his (v posh) prep school's promotional DVD a few weeks ago and I think you're right about the CVs. There were 6 year olds on there with more confidence/accomplishments/qualifications than I've got at 36!!!

LaCiccolina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:53:53

Tbh even state schools people review early. My dd is 2. I did a good sweep round at 1. I'm revisiting to check now. Ill put names down as soon as able.

Really don't get why I wouldn't? Schooling is VIP in my view. U?

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:24

Yes. I worked in a top London private school, we used to get fathers phoning from the delivery suite to register their son. We even had phone calls when scan results revealed a baby boy. We used to need a date of birth though!

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:54:29

fufulina - good god. Can I ask where you are, exactly? We're Wimbledon, so not exactly hot spot I hadn't thought (plus the state schools are great)

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:56:03

teacher123 - that's amazing. I thought those kind of stories were just urban myths!! I think I need to get a bit less clueless... Was that for senior schools (eg places like Eton, Westminster) or junior/prep?

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 08:56:17


There are a few (fingers of one hand?) that you need to be registering around e time of birth. There are many non-selectives which have first-come-first-served as part of their criteria, but in practice there is a huge amount of movement on the lists for these as parents put down for several. And for selective preps, you only need to put down the name before the applications deadline (usually the autumn of the school year before proposed entry) to be included in the assessments round.

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:57:33

It was a senior school that has a prep school on site (in SW13, boys only). It was not an urban myth. When I worked there in 2005, they were quite seriously talking about waiting lists for registering for 2014 entry. Crazy crazy crazy.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:58:19

LaCiccolina - it's not that I don't think schooling is v v important it's mostly just that I can't believe I would even need to be considering this at 7m pregnant... Is it not just tempting fate??! All I really care about at this stage (and obviously all I care about would change assuming everything goes ok with birth and baby's health) is getting a baby out of me safely and well... terrifying to even think about whether or not we'd want a certain type of school at this stage, when there are so so many variables to consider.

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:59:09

Though that is not typical for your average indie, have worked in other schools that don't require that, and you start looking two to three years in advance. (Am secondary only though, don't know much about prep schools)

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 08:59:13

teacher123, ah, I think I know the school... smile Yes, that doesn't surprise me now I know where you're (probably) talking about.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:01:06

meditrina - thanks - this is what I was hoping to hear!! I am quite sure there are a very few that are that hard to get into but they are not the type of places we would even be remotely considering.

wordfactory Tue 08-Jan-13 09:01:45

No, you don't need to, and actually it won't help you gain a place.

Yes, they'll put you on some sort of list, but they will keep that list open for applicants until their closing date which will be advertised on their web site.

Then every child on the list will take the test/assessment...

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:02:43

Thank you wordfactory... I have been hoping wondering if this 'put their names down' thing is just yet another way of parents competing from the word Go... wink

VestaCurry Tue 08-Jan-13 09:03:29

If you don't want to go private, the trick is to live in an area where the primary AND secondary schools are excellent. If you are not in an area where this is this case and can move, then do so, to a property on the doorstep of your chosen primary but also well within the catchment of your chosen secondary too. You then have to hope that a change of head in either doesn't have a detrimental effect on either school. That might mean you'd want to move again anyway.

London and schools = big headache.

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 09:06:04

Some are like this but I found it was the most popular, not necessarily the best. As a rule, those crammed with Americans (central London trendy areas anyway) are hard to get into. Not sure why. Someone told me that this is because of extremely sharp elbows on behalf of relocated parents by companies and professional firms who organise such things.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 08-Jan-13 09:07:04

some of the very old established schools yes but one around here (well known old school) you register the year before in September there is no waiting list I guess they get so many applications they can pick and choose so no need for waiting lists

not all school though and look at the results and what schools the children are moving on to

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:07:18

vesta - yes, I hadn't realised what a big headache until I got pregnant...

We can't currently afford to move to the doorstep of the best state schools in our area but are hoping that at some point in the next few years that may change... either that or hoping that the ok schools that we ARE eligible for will improve and become 'outstanding'!!

It does seem as if you literally need to be on the doorstep, too. We could push ourselves very very hard financially right now and move closer to best school, but even that isn't a guarantee of getting a place, so it seems crazy to stretch ourselves to breaking point for a mere 'chance'...

teacher123 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:09:33

There are some schools which require several phases of entry which start a good few years in advance and then require common entrance as well. For example at eton you have to do a pre-assessment interview at age 11 even though you don't start until 13 (after common entrance). You have to register by age 10 and 6 months at the latest. However I've worked in schools where everyone registers by the September before you start and that's fine. The uber competitive old fashioned academic schools have quite long winded application procedures, so you do need to look far in advance.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:10:06

Moomin - though I haven't actually heard specifically that about American-heavy areas, it makes perfect sense. The areas where my friends live (the ones who are telling me I 'need' to get the name down) are big on Americans.

Thanks Freudian - that is v helpful!!

Cabrinha Tue 08-Jan-13 09:11:15

Supply and demand... I put my daughter down for her private day nursery when I was 15 weeks pregnant. I got the last space for when she was a year old. I know the owners - it was genuine, and little list movement!

emeraldgirl1 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:11:28

teacher123 - intriguing info thank you!!

Am currently considering move to isolated archipelago somewhere where none of this stuff even registers!! wink

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