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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 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:32:57

Also: this registration fees thing (non-refundable) sounds a total scam!!! Shouldn't someone be reporting these people to Watchdog or something? wink

emeraldgirl1 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:31:32

Only just managed to come back on the thread - can't believe how many replies, and so helpful - thank you everyone smile

Though am NOT thanking you for making me realise that I have been quite naive about many aspects of this whole scary process wink

I hadn't even considered the nurseries issue - it's not absolutely vital from my POV as I am self-employed and work from home so don't have a scary return-to-work-on-this-date-or-else deadline hanging over me... but I do want to find a nursery for about 18m time.

I think the reason I'm so reluctant to make proper enquiries about all of this eg calling the nurseries and schools etc is because it feels horribly like tempting fate when you don't even have a healthy baby yelling cooing in a cot next to you. IYSWIM?

Might not be able to do away with the superstition and might just hold off doing anything as dicey as making phone calls (!) until a couple of weeks after baby has arrived.

Would that still be enough time for nurseries do you think?

We are SW19 ( or rather, we will be once we have moved in a few weeks...)

WelshWereRabbit Tue 08-Jan-13 23:40:53

I don't know about schools, but you really do need to look into nurseries at an early stage, especially if you are not planning on taking a full year maternity leave - my sons' nursery has an 18mo waiting list, so I reserved his place after my 12 week scan.

I remember at the 20 week scan for my first child the sonographer asked whether we had picked a nursery yet - we thought she was joking, but there is a shortage of nurseries where we live, lucky for us she alerted us to the fact. (We are in SE London).

Having said all that, I know people elsewhere in London who have got places for their DCs at much shorter notice, but usually because a new nursery has opened without a waiting list.

Definitely worth checking what the situation is in your area.

1991all Tue 08-Jan-13 22:19:31

Hate to tell you this, but the state school application in SW19 is shockingly oversubscribed
Hopefully it should improve in the next couple of years
I could recommend an excellent nursery, if you are interested PM me

Butkin Tue 08-Jan-13 22:13:42

We live in Suffolk and sauntered into the local, popular, private nursery when DD was a month old to book her in (for when she was 6 months old). Told we could only get 2 1/2 days (out of the 5 we wanted) because most parents had booked their children in when still "bumps".

Murtette Tue 08-Jan-13 22:00:34

When pregnant with DC1, I worked in London and an American colleague was due to give birth a couple of months before me. A couple of days after she knew I was pregnant, she appeared with a large number of brochures for indie schools in central London and explained that they'd registered their son-to-be for 5 schools. I thought that was keen but almost fell of my chair when she went on to explain they'd also registered for two girls' schools in case the 20 week (and 18 and 24 week private 3D scans) had been wrong! They also had their list of additional girls' schools to register at as soon as the baby was born if it turned out to be a girl! This was considered to be normal. They then moved back to the US so presumably aren't going to take advantage of any of this...

CaptChaos Tue 08-Jan-13 21:33:09

The thing is that a lot of parents look at the long game. Which nursery 'feeds' into which pre-prep, which 'feeds' into which prep, which has a solid history of sending children to the secondary of your choice.

Good independent nurseries which have good follow-on relationships with good pre-prep and prep schools tend to get their lists filled at birth. If you are looking at sending your child to one of the top ten public schools then getting your child into the 'right' prep is very important, especially if you are looking at scholarship places.

Therefore I would say that ime, getting your child's name down for the 'right' nursery is the most important link in the chain, so no pressure then!

EldonAve Tue 08-Jan-13 21:26:23

compared to £12K - £14K of fees a year £50 is nothing

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 20:48:47

registration fees are (almost?) invariably non-refundable, even if you are not offered a place. It's deposits which may, under specified circumstances, be refundable (normally against final term's fees).

CruCru Tue 08-Jan-13 20:47:41

Oh really? That's good to know. I thought we would mostly lose the registration fees as they all said they were non refundable.

CruCru Tue 08-Jan-13 20:45:38

Yes. It is expensive. Cheapest: The Children's House (£25). Most expensive: Abercorn (£225).

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Jan-13 20:44:51

Iwushiwas - yes, but if you don't get a place they give you the money back, and normally the knock it off your first bill. If you can afford a couple of grand a month, then losing £200 doesn't seem that bad....

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 08-Jan-13 20:19:12

And people put their dc down for several schools? shock.

EldonAve Tue 08-Jan-13 20:06:40

£50 to £100 ime

happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 20:06:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 08-Jan-13 20:02:55

How much are the registration fees? shock

meditrina Tue 08-Jan-13 19:54:42

'Many of them do want the forms as early as possible'.

Missed a bit: 'Many of them do want the forms and non-refundable registration fee cheques as early as possible'.

CruCru Tue 08-Jan-13 19:50:54

There are schools who specify when they want the applications. For instance, one I've applied to (Arnold House) wanted the form when DS was between one and two. Others won't accept forms more than a year beforehand. You need to check the requirements for the schools you are looking at.

Many of them do want the forms as early as possible.

moonbells Tue 08-Jan-13 15:55:56

We're in outer NW London and there are quite a lot of preps in the area. The assessments for their nursery schools happen when the children are between 2 and 3 - DS (autumn born) was just past his 3rd birthday when he went for assessment and we'd registered him when he was 2. The conversation in the area for waiting parents during the assessment was (to me, who was totally state-educated and trying to pretend I knew what I was doing grin) astonishing - most of them had put their DCs down for 3-4 schools and several already knew each other from previous assessments. They were discussing how many were likely to get in at each of the schools, ie this school only has 6 places as all the rest are being taken by siblings, or that school might be better as if you get in nursery then you're guaranteed to get into the pre-prep... I'd only applied to one school with no guarantee of a Reception place and I left afterwards feeling like an idiot that we'd not applied to the rest of them as well. Thankfully he got in.

A year later, the 4+ assessment had a ratio of about 10 boys per remaining reception place.

So it may not quite be name-down-at-birth in this area, but certainly by 2!

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Jan-13 15:38:45

It's worth also remembering that most preps take them from 2.5 years, not 5, so it's not as early as it sounds...

Also, there's a lot of movement on a lot of these schools as well, they might have a set number they can take for preschool and have to assume all will move up, but a lot of people move schools at 5, and a lot will move again at 7. Some people put their DCs down at 2-3 schools. If a school is less 'favoured' you are more likely to get a place.

For nurseries, that's a little different because they dont have set intakes (as in, regardless of DCs age, everyone starts in September), it's worth checking, I was 10th on the waiting list for a place for DS for the January when he'd turned 1, but when I enquired again, there was no waiting list for a december place - so I paid from December. Most nurseries run a 'first come first served' that also involves them not leaving places empty for months until they get to the next required list (so if they've got someone who wants to start in October, even if they have 20 people on a waiting list wanting to return to work in January, they will take the person in October and just have one less place in January). Worth asking how long a month earlier lists are...

weegiemum Tue 08-Jan-13 15:28:42

Very glad I live in Scotland (where -yes- EVERY child gets a place at their catchment school.

Also glad we didn't go private. We chose GME (gaelic) which has our children bilingual and getting a private style education for free.

I like London but I think living there would do my head in?

NaturalBaby Tue 08-Jan-13 15:13:44

I live in the midlands and almost laughed at myself for being so silly when I put ds1's name down for private school at a few weeks old. Ds2 is an August baby, there was an open day in October and when I phoned up I was told they would fill his year at the open day.

happynewmind Tue 08-Jan-13 15:12:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Moominsarehippos Tue 08-Jan-13 15:09:18

Just getting your registration form and cheque in!

ethelb Tue 08-Jan-13 15:04:22

but what does 'registering' for a private school mean?

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