To think this is cheeky(116 Posts)
Also a WWYD
So we have our son down for three (the only three) prep schools in our area. One of the (A) is very good sendingchildren to Eton and Stowe and what not. This our first choice. The second one (B) belongs to an averagely good public school. It seems fine, I would be happy for my sons to go there but our hopes lie further afield for senior school. Third school (C) belongs to as less good private school. We do not want our children to go there long term but the junior school seems fine. Son is on the nursery department there and we are quite happy with it. He is garunteed a place in the junior school as a result.
School B has just sent us a letter offering DS a place for next year requiring a response and a non-refundable deposit by 28th of September. September! School A doesn't even offer places until January. We have every reason to be hopeful about obtaining a place at school A but the school is selective so we are worried that we may fall short as far as nursery reccomendations etc go.
The deposit the school B is asking for is £500. It's not a huge sum of money but we have had a lot of financial difficulties and burdens recently so it's not a small sum for us at present. WWYD pay the deposit at risk of loosing it or defer accepting to offer at risk of not obtaining a place at schools A or B being left with C?
If £500 isn't a lot of money to you, and the guarantee of a school place is worth more then I'd do it.
Depends on the level of risk though I guess.
Yes it is cheeky but it's a money making opportunity for the school and a private school is a business at the end of the day.
Not cheeky, they're a business, they can do what they feel is best to generate the most profit.
If you worried about £500 how will you afford Eton?
We are not worried per se although it would be nice not to throw away good money. It just feels like offering placesso early is an attempt to fleece parents and I don't like being fleeced. But then again it may be fairly standard practice? DS is our eldest child so I am not sure how it works except that most schools we have spoken to seem to offer places in January-but it may be a fluke?
Bit of a joke that they expect you to pay the money with such short notice. I'm not sure what I would do. Probably pay the money if I had it but then feel really pissed off about it.
I think if you'd prefer him to go to A, but would be happy enough for him to stay at C, then I wouldn't contemplate paying the deposit for B.
I agree with you in that they're trying to get parents to pay now to guarantee a spot and are hoping that some then don't come - free funding for them.
Yes, the short notice also made me a bit . It feels like the prep school equivalent of those Nigerian prince scams. I'm not sure the school is as good as it seems now.
I don't think it's cheeky, it's pretty standard isn't it and as a business they need to make as much money as they can.
I know people who have spent thousands in holding deposits for schools their kids never went to. It's the same at senior when certain private schools require confirmation of place pick up and payment of deposit days before the grammar school allocations are made. They do it because they can.
The only way you can make this decision is to imagine how pissed off you'll be if you don't pay the deposit and your son ends up going to school C. If it's really pissed off, pay the deposit. If it's fine, don't.
I don't think it's especially cheeky. They want to retain their applicants.
(you may also want to find someone with a child at that school and enquire whether places really are at such a premium. Our school gave us all that flannel, but there hasn't been a term in 5 years where a child hasn't arrived from Australia / Singapore / wherever and been found a place. Classes are elastic in size, they will always squeeze one more in these days when more people are backing away from private primary education. Probably only a small handful of preps which are genuinely oversubscribed)
It feels like the prep school equivalent of those Nigerian prince scams.
How? If you pay the deposit, your son gets a place. .
Let's put it this way. I'm now a bit worried that they won't prepare or DSs for 13+ properly in a attempt to grab more money and I am debating whether I should send them there at all. If it was just as good as school A but not our first choice I would put the money down happily. We've already spent a more on enrolments etc that we don't care about not getting back. I've only just got the news but I am just beginning to feel increasingly suspicious of the whole thing. I mean I expect a little bit more integrity. Has anyone else received offers this early?
They want people who want to send kids to their school.
Not those holding out for a better private offer, or those hoping for a state place and using them as fallback. So perfectly reasonable if you think of it in that context I think.
Does School A also have a 7+ and 11+ intake? You might be able to make the hop later on.
We stuck with School B (or one like it) rather than going for a recognised feeder prep for the public school we really wanted. It was a mistake and we regret it now.
They have a small intake at 7+ but we would rather have both boys in one school. We would probably make the hop as you say. But we could equallly make the hop from school C
I'd say this is fairly standard for private schools, they all try and manoeuvre their dates so you will have to pay a deposit just to keep your options open. Is is good money for them bearing in mind some schools are very oversubscribed. I would not read more into it than that though.
I guess school B probably has a lot of parents in your area who use them solely as a back up for school A, if they do get a place with A they whip them out of B. I imagine B is sick of this so introduced a deposit scheme with an early confirmation date.
I don't really see anything wrong with it, they are competing businesses after all. It must be annoying for B to fill their places and have to turn others away, only to then have some of those kids whipped out later on because they've had a better offer at A.
If your pontificating about £500 how on earth can you afford to pay school fees (not to mention all the other stuff you will be expected to buy) for your dcs to go private. In your op you mention financial difficulties and burdens, all sounds pie in the sky to me
They will almost certainly do their best to prepare DS for 13+ as their reputation depends upon it. However, be aware that many people are now moving boys at 11 and many schools that previously took the majority of their boys at 13 now have a bigger intake at 11. I agree with Teen in that this is their way of determining whether they are your first choice or your back stop.
Ttbb, that's what I meant...if he stays at School C and for some reason doesn't get a place at School A for the coming year, he could just stay where he is and you could try for School A later.
I wouldn't compromise too quickly, nor would I (now) get involved with a school that plays on parental anxiety like this.
Completely standard, particularly for schools that are seen as back-ups as lots of people will accept places then withdraw. It is very common to lose a four figure sum at the time of moving schools due to having to pay a deposit on one school before you've heard back from your preferred one.
If £500 is going to put you in financial hardship, is private education really for you?
Ok. The point about loosing a lot of children to school A seems a good one (although they could equally wait until after school Ahas made offers to avoid the problem). My concern about a failure to prepare for 13+ arises from something similar happening at my husbands prep but that was many years ago so maybe things have changed. Mrs Pots-its hard to explain but we've essentially had one problem after another financially and depleated our savings so money is coming out as soon as it is coming in even though turnover is back to normal. We've also had a few one off payments cone up recently, paying for visas, building a house overseas, buying a house over here etc and £500 would provide a welcome cushion. It's not a big deal but it's not like we're blowing the equivalent over the weekend these days so it's had me thinking about the opportunity cost.
If you don't want to be fleeced, are you sure private school is the right option for you?
Dd1 (state school) went on a school trip the other day, bumped in to her friend from private school on exactly the same trip. So, cost friend £70 (daily fee at school) to go on the exact trip dd went on for £0.
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