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AIBU to play the education lottery?

(21 Posts)
AhhhhThatsBass Fri 20-Oct-17 14:01:48

My daughter is due to start in Reception in September 2018. We have a slim chance of getting into an excellent state school nearby, I'd sayy a 20% shot at best - big sibling year, one fewer classes this year than the last 2 years etc. This is the only state option available (unless we start praying and we're probably a bit late to join that particular party..)
The private option is also an excellent school; the non refundable deposit of £5k is due by next week.
We can afford to pay it but like most other people, there are always other things it could be spent on (the colossal mortgage for example).
Do I pay the deposit and be prepared to lose it if she gets into the state school?
Or do I not pay it and hope to goodness we get into the state primary? No idea where she'd end up if she didn't get in as the private school has a huge waiting list too.

Private school is such a huge financial commitment and while our financial circumstances are good at the moment, that might not always be the case.

If anyone has faced a similar decision, I'd love to hear what decision you made and if you think with hindsight that it was the right decision.

slbhill42 Fri 20-Oct-17 14:06:00

If there's only one state school locally that's acceptable to you and you've only got a 20% chance of getting in, then consider the £5k as an insurance policy. You say you can afford it, so pay it.

At worst you spent money on an insurance policy that you didn't need.
Most likely (80% by your odds) you'll need the private place.

Or just accept that the other state schools probably aren't as bad as you think!

superking Fri 20-Oct-17 14:06:08

No experience but... It sounds like you think there is an 80% chance she won't get into the good state school? In which case you think you would be without any acceptable options on the state side of things?

If that's the case then I would absolutely pay the £5k and would see it as insuring against the very likely occurrence that she doesn't get in.

FusionChefGeoff Fri 20-Oct-17 14:12:31

Private education at reception / primary level is nuts.

And I’m from a private secondary.

There must be an alternative state school - why would it be so awful? My sons primary was rated Needs Improvement but over the summer before he started went up to Good.

It’s a lovely school with a huge mix of children (and parents) and is wonderfully child centred and common sense driven. I LOVE it.

Success at primary is heavily influenced by parental support (according to my KS1 and KS2 teacher Friends) so I think you’d be mad spending that money on private primary.

FusionChefGeoff Fri 20-Oct-17 14:13:12

Don’t know what the random capitalisation is all about - auto correct

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 20-Oct-17 14:14:30

£5k deposit???

Most are about £500 from my experience. Are you sure you haven't misread it?

GingerAndPrickles Fri 20-Oct-17 14:21:42

Is the deposit the full first term’s fees? If so it’s unusual (and also fees are high unless you’re in London..?) The deposit is about £500-750 in my area (just outside London) and then the first term’s fees are only payable if you don’t give a full term’s notice if you later decide you don’t want to take up then place - so for you that would mean giving notice by end of 2018 Spring term/start of Easter holidays, and you will know about the state place by then I think?

HaHaHmm Fri 20-Oct-17 14:23:34

£5k is an enormous deposit!

GingerAndPrickles Fri 20-Oct-17 14:27:53

Ah sorry I was wrong - Spring term 2018 ends late March and you would not know about state school place until mid-April, so you would be liable for the first term’s prep fees if you gave up the place after that date to take up a state school place.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 20-Oct-17 14:29:06

Is there really no other state primary school nearby? What would you put down as your other two (or more depending on your LA) state school choices? Have you been to see any of the alternatives?

arethereanyleftatall Fri 20-Oct-17 14:30:17

What is the second state option like? Did you put that down on the form?

afrikat Fri 20-Oct-17 14:31:12

Is the state school literally the only local school or are their others that that aren't 'excellent'?
I'm currently looking round primary schools and some of the 'requires improvements' ones haven't been inspected in 5 years and are now doing amazingly. We could technically afford private but think it's madness for primary level.

AhhhhThatsBass Fri 20-Oct-17 15:35:51

Alas, it is £5000, well, £4895 to be precise. Non refundable. That's London schools for you. £6,100 per term. It really is madness.
To the poster who said to look on it as an insurance policy I might not need, that is most likely the right way of looking at it.

In fact, I would happily look at the other local state options. It's my husband, who had private/public school education from preschool to 6th form, that is pushing for private. He has "conceded" that he will consider that one state option but none of the others. I know that seems a bit crazy but the way he sees it is it is an investment in our child's future whereas I see things slightly differently, ie we could pay down a sizeable chunk of mortgage etc by going down the state route. A few arguments have been had, let's say. He is usually very easy going but on this point, it's important to him and so this is the one thing that he won't budge (much) on.

AssassinatedBeauty Fri 20-Oct-17 15:54:24

What's his rationale for objecting to the other state schools? Has he only agreed in principal to this school because he knows there's basically no chance of you actually getting in?

totallyrandom Fri 20-Oct-17 16:18:59

You asked for people with similar experiences. I have one child in a good independent school (rated excellent by ISI I think it is) and another in an OFSTED "outstanding" church state school (the type that has top SATS in the borough year on year). There isn't much difference at primary level - bit more attention/pastoral support at the independent (smaller classes) and the curriculum is a bit broader (Maths and English very similar). The only thing is that I think Year 6 will be a bit of a waste for my child in the state school as he is bright, will be doing 11 plus with me so covering most of the curriculum beforehand and I hear from other parents in similar position that endless SATS practice in state schools is boring/narrow (probably for all the kids!). At my DS state school, children are streamed on tables and set different type of work. HOWEVER, if your child has a place at one of those coveted private schools (18k sounds like it might be) that is a feeder for a top 11 plus independent school or goes 3/4-18 then think hard as it sounds like your husband will insist on independent at secondary level and going early on, means you don't have to stress about 7 plus or 11 plus (it is a lot of pressure on children and parents even if the child is very intelligent). I know plenty of middle class parents who went state to then transfer at 7 plus or 11 plus and get all stressed about it. For these parents, maybe independent all the way might have been better seeing that they could easily afford it (these are people with no mortgages etc, fancy holidays, private school fees would just have meant less savings).

AhhhhThatsBass Sat 21-Oct-17 10:48:49

AssassinatedBeauty we have friends who could easily afford private education whose children attend the state school I mentioned. In fact, it's likely that most parents whose DC attend said state primary could afford private. Honestly - and I know Mumsnet generally slates views like this - but the state primary is full of people, dare I say, "like" us, which is why he will consider it.

totallyrandom You raise some really interesting points. The independent school send me their list of leavers destinations last week, and you're absolutely right, all of the children continue in independent schools to 18, it's the usual hothouses like St Paul's girls, JAGS, Putney plus Wycombe Abbey etc. I have no idea if my daughter would get into any of these establishments (and I certainly wouldn't be pushing her if she is not as academically minded as these schools would require her to be) but avoiding the stress at 8 would be a reason to consider sending her private now. We're already lucky in that the prep school in question doesn't do an assessment at 3, unlike the other one we are considering.
Thanks all for the input. Food for thought indeed. And some might say, first world problems indeed

AlexanderHamilton Sat 21-Oct-17 10:53:28

That's one heck of a deposit. At the dc's junior school it was £500 but you lost a full terms fees if you didn't tell them by Easter that your child wasn't going.

We did loose a full terms fees at secondary level when Dd was offered a huge bursary at a specialist dance school last minute. It hurt paying that money but it was the best decision.

JonSnowsWife Sat 21-Oct-17 10:57:13

To be honest. I wouldn't rely on the state school chance because there is a sibling there. DD had a sibling in the school we wanted to get her in. It still took months of heartache (she was being badly bullied), double school runs, coupled with a lengthy appeal and very good and expensive education solicitor before we won our appeal.

The LA removed the sibling link the year previously.

If you can afford the £5k can you see it as insurance?

amicissimma Sat 21-Oct-17 10:59:06

My experience:

My DC didn't get into any of the local schools that I wanted and was instead offered a place at a 'failing' school in an inconvenient place. I accepted it, but left his name on the waiting list of my first choice. He was 30-something on that list. He did Reception and I involved myself, volunteered to help and worked on the three Rs at home.

By June he had reached the top of the waiting list at our preferred school and we accepted the offered place for September. Despite my reservations about the other school, he was ahead of his peers in our first choice school at the beginning of Year 1.

So I would say, hold your nerve. Apply for your preferred state school. Accept what you are offered and work with it. Stay on the waiting list for your number one choice and move your DC if a place is offered. They make and break friendships easily in the early years, so I wouldn't worry about that.

JonSnowsWife Sat 21-Oct-17 11:04:11

and I know Mumsnet generally slates views like this - but the state primary is full of people, dare I say, "like" us, which is why he will consider it.

DS is also in a state school like this but its not all flowers and butterflies. A lot of the people 'like you' (generic you) have simply left because of people 'like me' grin that have imposed our DCs on theirs. wink.

DS went to an appalling SS previously and there were plenty of people 'like you' there too.

AssassinatedBeauty Sat 21-Oct-17 12:20:41

If you have no issue with the private school fees etc then send your child there. It sounds like private is the path you both want in the long term, so you may as well start as you mean to go on.

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