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To think instead of paying for DD's schooling we could give her 250K cash for her 18th birthday?

(191 Posts)
LondonMan Fri 17-May-13 14:13:38

DD is about to turn 3. I have looked at on-line info for local state schools and don't like what I see. For three of the nearest primary schools where I've managed to locate statistics, two have over 90% of children with English as an additional language, and one over 80%. The schools all have bottom or (rarely) second-from-bottom quintile performance in all subjects, in Ofsted reports. All local state schools are likely to be similar, because they are teaching the same demographic, children of local social-housing tenants, mostly Bangladeshi. (From long experience living in the area, virtually all non-social-housing parents leave the area once they have children.)

We don't want to move because we are near DW's job.

DW is hoping to get DD into the 14th nearest state school (which is only 0.7miles away) using their religious criteria. That school has excellent Ofsted results, "only" two-thirds of pupils have English as an additional language, though apparently one third arrive speaking no English at all.

There is also a just-opened foundation secondary which might be an OK option later.

I suspect we won't get into the good state primary school and will end up private all the way, which we can afford. There is a top girl's school nearby, and the fees are actually slightly less than the 15K a year we spend on nursery care at the moment.

I've calculated that if we don't send DD to private schools for 13 years, and invest the money instead, with average luck (5% return) we'd be able to give her about £250K cash instead.

The title question is mostly rhetorical. I expect that DD will not end up in the sub-par schools, whatever we decide. I'm just a bit bemused by the situation and thought I'd give you all something to comment on.

NewFerry Sun 19-May-13 08:20:02

Op if I were you, I would leave London.

Buy a house in the country, and buy a pad near work for your wife to stay in during the week.
Use £450k on a country house, and £150k on a flat.

Staying in London for another 30 years after you retire because your wife thinks people look at her in a funny way, is just madness!!

Depending in your wife's job, and future working trends, she may be able to do 4 days in office, and work at home on Fridays.
Leave the madness that is the south east. We are in Wiltshire, 1hr 10 mins to Paddington from Chippenham, and lots of good schools and nice houses in your budget.

megsmouse Sun 19-May-13 06:56:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EatenByZombies Sun 19-May-13 01:52:58

Isn't it terrible Noorny ! And to think so many who come from such scallywag backgrounds have medical degrees and the likes.. shocking! shock


QuintessentialOHara Sat 18-May-13 17:29:16

hopingnothopping I was trying to focus on the polar opposite to what the OP seemed to be focusing on...

Not everybody does that. As any area where house prices range from 600k to 3-4 million, there is bound to be people who do that. Whereas the rest of us drive French cars (as opposed to German or Japanese wink ) and holiday with our folks in Poland, Italy, Norway, Jamaica or take the odd Thomson/First Choice or caravaning holiday.

Noorny Sat 18-May-13 16:55:21

Heavens above you should send a child to a school full of ethnics or those in "social housing".

Racist and snobby.

For the record I went to a city comprehensive and then on to Cambridge University.....but I made sure to stay away from them pesky ethnics and riff raff.

I already PITY your child.

Unami Sat 18-May-13 15:26:30

I also agree with Skinnywhippet, private schools set certain expectations in terms of lifestyle, and if you really want your DD to pick up your saving habit, you might be better off investing in a catchment area, as other parents who bought there are more likely to have a similar financial outlook to you.

I also think that you are way off the mark when you describe your income as "above average". You know that it isn't above average, it's off the scale compared to ordinary people.

Unami Sat 18-May-13 15:24:12

Again, I'd like to say that there's little point in your complaining about the problem, OP, if you refuse to be part of the solution. Your local state schools have a high proportion of kids with English as a Second Language precisely because people like you choose to move elsewhere and go private. That's entirely up to you, of course, but you have to right to complain about the supposed problem if you choose to perpetuate it.

I'd also say that, regardless of the rest of your income, private schools are extremely bad value as far as education is concerned. Never mind giving your daughter £250,000 - think of how you could spend that quarter of a million over her school life on individualised education opportunities, like tutors and advanced music lessons - it would knock a private education out the park. I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but the threshold for what is considered a quality private education is actually very low - three or four As at A-level and some (quite unexeptional) level of extra-curricular achievement. That's actually a very low goal to set for a bright and well supported child when you consider the annual investment in the school. The only objective they deliver on is putting kids in a cloistered environment where their exposure to people from normal backgrounds is limited (this can obviously also be achieved by moving elsewhere, if that's what you really want).

So, yes, I do agree that, in terms of educational attainment, private schools are a massive waste of money, and most parents could do more to enhance their children's education by spending the fee equivalent in a targeted way.

Skinnywhippet Sat 18-May-13 15:13:25

I think you should move.You say you are more savers than spenders. This is really important. If you send dd to city of London girls, then she will be surrounded by girls who parents are much better off than you and this may have a detrimental affect on her. It may cause her to become more of a spender in future life! My DH was sent to an expensive boarding school but never felt he fitted in, despite his parents being fairly well off, because they were very stingy with money.

garlicgrump Sat 18-May-13 15:10:46

What a lively thread! Well done grin

I had one main point to make, which you now seem to have worked out for yourself: Although the lack of English would be likely to hold back results for the first couple of years, most Asian-born parents respect education to a degree that's nearly been lost amongst the natives. They'll be pushing their children to achieve, meaning that once the language difficulties have been overcome your DD will be in something of a hothouse.

I went to a single-sex, selective grammar. It's been 70% 'Asian' for about 20 years now: a reflection of parental dedication, as the demographics of the area haven't changed in this time.

The fact that DD is, presumably, brown of skin could be helpful in terms of integration. I do, sadly, know some white children who were badly bullied in predominantly Anglo-Indian schools (they were the only white children.)

I quite like the buy-to-let idea for DD. After you and DW have kicked the bucket, she'll own two London properties. Lucky woman!

I think I know where you live; it's lovely! You could shift over to Blackheath/Greenwich for a more conventional environment ... but I'm not sure I'd bother; I reckon you should make any such choices based on personal preference, not schools.

CecilyP Sat 18-May-13 14:49:00

But the private school OP favours is highly selective. If your DD fails the entrance exam, then you might as well spend the money you save on holidays in exotic places.

cory Sat 18-May-13 14:38:37

"You say it like it's a good thing but that would really bother me: people who have cash for holidays in Dubai and St Lucia choosing not to spend money on education instead, when clearly they could, signals that their priorities are all wrong, doesn't it? I can't imagine splashing out on long haul flights if the price I paid was to send my kids to an educationally poorer school than I could do if I forewent my holidays."

I would have thought that depends

a) on whether the school their children does attend is providing an inferior education (cheaper doesn't always mean worse)

b) whether the parents spend their money on other ways of supporting their children's education outside of school

Everything doesn't have to be provided by the school. The school I attended was fairly mediocre, but my parents put a lot of time, effort and money into providing enriching activities out of school. They were highly educated people; I learnt more from them than from any teacher I've ever had. I don't see why my opportunities to learn extra languages, instruments etc were less valuable because they did not take place on school premises, nor do I see why my parents cared less about my education because they took me places themselves rather than send me to the kind of school that would have taken me places.

hopingnothopping Sat 18-May-13 14:25:44

Wuldric The OP has not made any sneery comments about immigrants. He has just said he is concerned about the education in his local state schools and one indicator of that is the lack of English as a first language. He and his wife are both immigrants, for goodness sake.

To prove the point, the OP is considering CLSG which is very international and cosmopolitan - with a large number of immigrants - and he is quite happily considering that. It is an excellent school and much better than any of his local schools whilst being equally culturally diverse.

"My dc goes to school in this area, and we are part of this statistics. But all are polite, and well behaved, holiday in Dubai and the St Lucia, and rent Villas in France."

^ ^ You say it like it's a good thing confused but that would really bother me: people who have cash for holidays in Dubai and St Lucia choosing not to spend money on education instead, when clearly they could, signals that their priorities are all wrong, doesn't it? I can't imagine splashing out on long haul flights if the price I paid was to send my kids to an educationally poorer school than I could do if I forewent my holidays.

Tulane Sat 18-May-13 14:24:40

250k is not what it will cost you to provide adequate education

250k is what it will cost you to keep your dd away from the community she lives in

infamouspoo Sat 18-May-13 13:55:32

dont write your dd off OP. You're assuming she'll need the rarified spoon fed atmosphere of a private school but its more than likely she will be perfectly fine. I dont live far from you and 5 of mine have passed through those so called 'failing schools'. Involved parents, a decent mix etc. 3 of mine are at Oxbridge despite the social housing and EAL.
Man up OP.

Wuldric Sat 18-May-13 13:55:31

I am very cross with you still, LondonMan, for the sneery comments about immigrants.

But I have sent my DCs to private schools, and the way I rationalise this in terms of your OP is as follows:

1. I could save the money that I would otherwise have spent on school fees, and buy them their first flat. This is one way of spending £250k. This, however, is SPENDING for them rather than INVESTING in them.

2. Or I could spend the money on their schooling, prepare them for life, and invest in them. As people, free to make their own decisions, and free to become trapeze artists if this is indeed what they want to do.

I chose (2).

HomeEcoGnomist Sat 18-May-13 13:53:07

But OP, you are not really facing a tough dilemma are you?
You think the schools near you are shit, you have the money to pay for private I am not seeing where the struggle is?

I don't have any hang ups about earnings, but I do feel that this thread has the air of me complaining that my Jimmy Choos are a bit tight

ophelia275 Sat 18-May-13 13:48:41

You should do whatever is best for you and your family and most importantly your daughter. It really isn't anybody on MN business how you spend your hard earned cash. You sound like a good and concerned parent and I think that a lot of posters are using their political opinions to push you in a direction which may not be right for you.

hackmum Sat 18-May-13 13:43:49

OP, I would at least visit the local state schools first before you make a decision. You may be pleasantly surprised. If they turn out to be as bad as you fear, then at least you'll know you're spending all that money for a reason.

VisualiseAHorse Sat 18-May-13 13:39:55


(i think that's my first one!)

extracrunchy Sat 18-May-13 13:38:37

This is ridiculous...
Also what do all the pictures of biscuits mean???

wintertimeisfun Sat 18-May-13 13:33:46

blimey OP, i have just read your post. it reads like a neurotic controlling mother, just chill out will you. i live in east london, my dd goes to a state school where it is a growing mix of kids (cultures). so what. she has never had a 'white british bf'. people are people, it doesn't matter as long as they (kids) get on nicely. all this neurosis about schools tutors blah blah ofsted bollocks. my cousins went to posh schools and both ended up with terrible jobs. i can't stand all this tiger mother fussing. you think it is tough now, just wait until it is time for SECONDARY schooling which is where i am at now. actually, i think that where i live the children from another country tend to be harder workers at school and less likely to be so absorbed with boyfriends/dieting & sex. i actually prefer for my dd to go to a school where she is the only white british kid, doesn't bother me a bit. you shouldn't think about such things smile

LondonMan Sat 18-May-13 13:03:50

I've always been more of a saver than a spender, so the cost of private education looked at first glance like a ridiculous level of expenditure to me. I've always felt that I can live a happy life on cost-of-housing plus 15K, if not working. Working adds car and childcare costs to that. I'm someone whose current car increases in value by 10% each time I refuel. I can now afford to spend several times as much as I've ever spent on a used car, to treat myself to a new one, but I can't justify the spending to myself. That's the context that makes this level of spending on education well outside my comfort zone.

It was that sense of "can it really be worth that" the partly prompted me to post, though I also hoped for information to help my clarify my thinking, and have received some.

The following paragraph sums up my conclusion last night when thinking about this. It is going to cause Mumsnetters who don't like to read about people being better off than average to have an apoplexy-induced stroke. You know who you are, so look away now.

Thinking about this thread last night, I realised that though the cost of private education is ridiculous, and it's very uncertain what benefit it will buy, in the context of our finances it does make sense. The fact is that spending it will not make any material difference to what else we will choose to spend money on, and if DD inherits our spending habits, a 250K reduction in her inheritance will make no practical difference to her either. So if we think there's any chance at all that private will be better than state, it makes sense to spend the money.

Apologies to those who failed to take my advice to look away who should have, but this has been a genuine post by a real person contemplating his actual options. His rationale may be of help to someone.

CecilyP Sat 18-May-13 12:46:14

There are loads of leafy places from which your DW could reach Canary Wharf in far less than an hour by train. In villages and very small towns with a station, just about everyone lives near the station, so it makes no odds whether you can drive or not. I think your DW is worrying unecessarily about people staring. I live about as far away from London as could be in an area which has very few ethnic minorities and people don't stare here, so doubt they would in anywhere accessible to London.

hackmum Sat 18-May-13 12:41:04

I've often read and been present at discussions about education where the head will say, "Of course, it's easy for XYZ school to get good results - they have a homogeneous white middle-class intake whereas our school has to take lots of children from deprived backgrounds or who have English as an additional language." Because they know it is harder to teach a class of children for whom English isn't a first language, however intrinsically bright they are. Children from social housing are more likely to have difficult home lives than kids in private housing - that's not to say they all do, just that it's more likely. Because it's harder to teach in these schools, they often find it difficult to recruit good teachers. The whole reason Teach First was set up was as a way of addressing that particular problem.

It's not being snobbish or racist to point out that these schools are not necessarily the best environments for children to flourish in, it's simply stating a fact that most teachers and policy makers will acknowledge. If that wasn't the case, then there would be absolutely no reason for children in Hackney schools not to be doing as well as children in the best state schools in Surrey.

LondonMan Sat 18-May-13 12:16:35

Thanks to many people who gave location suggestions. It gives me a starting point for research so at least I know what the alternatives are.

Thanks also to others that gave constructive advice or support re. my location. There was very helpful posting from people who know the area.

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