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to switch my 13 yo son from private school to state

(60 Posts)
SkoolRules Sun 28-Jun-20 19:41:40

We have 3 kids, school years 5, 8 and 10.

The oldest two are at a private school, but went to a state school for primary. The youngest is at a state primary now, and we were intending to send her to the private school for secondary education like her siblings.

My wife has lost her job due to Covid, and my business has been crippled by it. I’m hoping I can get it back on track in the future, but at the moment things are financially awful. Even when they were good it was a real strain paying for two sets of private school fees, and I’ll probably take a couple of years to have a chance of getting back to that level.

We need to keep our eldest at the private school as she is mid GCSE. The state school doesn’t even follow the same syllabus or use the same exam boards.

Would it be unreasonable to take our middle child out of private school and send him to the local state secondary (Ofsted says it is “Good”)? Or will he get eaten alive transitioning from private to state at that age? He is a bit of a geeky kid, likes computers and hates sport. He is very bright (would probably get all 7s, 8s and 9s at GCSE at the private school).

I’m feeling really guilty at the thought of taking him out.

We originally sent my eldest to the private school as she fell in with a really nasty crowd at the state school.

OP’s posts: |
RedHelenB Sun 28-Jun-20 19:45:11

If you really cant afford it you have jo choice, but it's a bit if a shitty thing to do otherwise Could you speak to the school.about your financial difficulties, do you get a sibling discount?

Twizzleisadancer Sun 28-Jun-20 19:45:29

i think ultimately it boils down to cost. if you can't afford it you can't afford it... they will have to get on with it

the vast majority of kids go state school, they will be fine i'm sure

Janleverton Sun 28-Jun-20 19:49:20

Well what’s the alternative really? If there isn’t the money, there isn’t the money.

I get though that it will have to be broached very sensitively. I’m Not so much concentrating On the change from private to state, but on changing schools at that age full stop. Mine are all at local comprehensive and they’d be equally upset at prospect of moving to another state school OR a private school because they’re settled where they are.

I wouldn’t worry about academics. Dd got mostly 9s and a couple of 8s at GCSE at her comp and ds1 on course for similar.

I’m sorry that the shit has hit the fan for you financially, and don’t envy you the tough decision. Hopefully someone will have better guidance about how to smooth the transition/how to deal with it. I just wanted to reassure you about the academic side. NB ds1 v unsporty and a total geek, but the advantage of the school he is at is that they stream rigorously, and it’s big, so there’s a good pool of likeminded people in his classes.

CreditCrackers Sun 28-Jun-20 19:50:07

The private school will have bursaries and grants and scholarships - this is the exact reason they have them. You're a prime candidate because they'll recoup the money in fees once you're back on your feet.
I went to a very, very, very good state comprehensive school - my now husband also attended that school. He was offered multiple scholarships at private schools but resisted his parents' attempts to send him there because he preferred where we were. We both ended up fine.
Whether he'll settle in really depends on who he is as a person and what the school is like - there are computer nerds everywhere. In my experience, the main benefit of a private education is that it often instils a work ethic that state schools don't - he'll retain this.
If he doesn't want to move then speak to the school because they have an obligation to protect his interests.

TerrapinStation Sun 28-Jun-20 19:50:45

Obviously no one's going to be able to tell you what will happen to a particular child at a particular school but I don't see anything wrong with the theory of what you suggest.

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it, most state school pupils are perfectly nice you know, it's not a bear pit.

Janleverton Sun 28-Jun-20 19:51:41

And while you’re at it, I would sort of prep your Dd for state sixth forms - end of GCSE is a good time to transition for her.

SunbathingDragon Sun 28-Jun-20 19:53:01

Speak to the school about your finances and see what they can do to help. If they can’t offer a bursary or another way to make it financially affordable, then you don’t have a choice.

Comefromaway Sun 28-Jun-20 19:54:51

I took my son out of a private school aged 13 (end of year 8). The reasons were he wasn’t happy there but he spent half a term at the state school known as the posh kid, promptly lost his accent and made the best group of friends he ever could have.

GreenCoxing Sun 28-Jun-20 19:56:31

Speak to the school. You have 3 kids. I presume no 3 would have gone to school (but for this pandemic)? I think you may find they offer to help you out for a year or so (bursary etc), because in reality if you can get back on track by next year they are looking at 3 sets of fees for a considerable period.

laudete Sun 28-Jun-20 19:57:17

If you can't afford it, it's not really a choice. Yes, it's easier to go from state to private than vice versa. If you're only worried about bullies, it won't be because of your reduction in circumstances. Don't feel guilty about that, please. Bullies always find an unjust excuse - whether it's the "wrong" shoes or the way you cough. He will fare about as well as the rest of his new peer group.

EveryDayIsADuvetDay Sun 28-Jun-20 19:57:57

I'm sure he'll be fine; if you're struggling financially its an enormous pressure for the next 8 years, with Uni to come, and on top of that you'll feel guilty about the youngest not being treated the same as the others.
I agree sensible to try and keep the eldest in her current school - enquire about bursaries for her maybe?

Boscoismyspiritanimal Sun 28-Jun-20 19:58:19

As one mindful that you won’t have an automatic right of entry into the various year groups at the state secondary. You might find there are no spaces. A good idea might be to visit a range of secondaries.
Best of luck with it, I can’t imagine how stressful it must be.

underneaththeash Sun 28-Jun-20 19:59:24

Well if your daughter has tried it and it wasn't great, it's unlikely to be any better now......but if you can't afford it, you can't. Is there another state option?

Noconceptofnormal Sun 28-Jun-20 19:59:26

I think the first step is to speak to the school(s) and ask them about bursaries and hardship funds. Is your son bright enough to apply for a scholarship?

I would exhaust all options before making the decision to move him out, not because he won't be fine, as I'm sure he will be, but because it would be a shame to make that decision when in 12 months time your situation might be better, eg if your wife ends up getting reemployed quickly.

State schools have geeky kids by the way, I went to a really poor, rough one and there were still geeky quiet types. Do you know anyone with kids at the school?

Solasum Sun 28-Jun-20 20:00:06

You probably have to pay next term’s fees at this point anyway? I’d speak to his school first and see what they say

LokisLover Sun 28-Jun-20 20:01:05

There are bursaries etc at private schools but the money may well have already been allocated and there is usually only a certain amount they can award due to their own costs and budgets. I would also check your terms as it may be you are now liable for the first terms fees in September. I work in a private school and although budgets may have been set do think it is always worth contacting the bursar in case there is any help.

Waveysnail Sun 28-Jun-20 20:01:53

Speak to the school. If middle ds is that bright then perhaps scholarship?

Nosuchluck Sun 28-Jun-20 20:07:02

Take him out, he's only had a couple of years at private school. There are nasty kids and geeky kids in both sectors.

Ifeelfat Sun 28-Jun-20 20:10:31

My very bright, nerdy son was very sad and often bullied for being clever at his outstanding selective state school. It took him until y11 really to enjoy school. He’s now leaving and has got a scholarship to an excellent independent school for sixth form.

I would do anything I could to keep a bright young lad out of a large state secondary school personally, and this would include downsizing my house. The level of aggression in and out of the classrooms can be damaging. The middle school system doesn’t suffer so badly IME.

Speak to the school first though, they will have other parents in your position.

SkoolRules Sun 28-Jun-20 20:11:07

Re: scholarships, we/he did apply, but he missed out (just found out on friday) - he’s one of the brightest, but not THE brightest, and he’s not particularly socially confident.

Re: grants/bursaries - we have applied for a hardship grant and are waiting to hear back.

Re:needing to pay for the first term of next year, I have a suspicion that schools aren’t going to be going back full time then anyway, so I’d be tempted to wait until the January term anyway (the private school is functioning amazingly well by remote learning, I doubt the state school can compete, and in fact I’ve heard it is struggling).

Re: the state school itself, I think it’s generally okay. There is another nearby (it’s where my eldest will go for A levels as the private school stops at 16) which is perhaps a shade better (and it’s the one I attended many years ago, and some of the teachers there are friends if mine) but we are out of catchment.

OP’s posts: |
Macncheeseballs Sun 28-Jun-20 20:12:19

You could have given the eldest important life skills about how to navigate a 'nasty crowd'

SunbathingDragon Sun 28-Jun-20 20:13:04

SkoolRules

Re: scholarships, we/he did apply, but he missed out (just found out on friday) - he’s one of the brightest, but not THE brightest, and he’s not particularly socially confident.

Re: grants/bursaries - we have applied for a hardship grant and are waiting to hear back.

Re:needing to pay for the first term of next year, I have a suspicion that schools aren’t going to be going back full time then anyway, so I’d be tempted to wait until the January term anyway (the private school is functioning amazingly well by remote learning, I doubt the state school can compete, and in fact I’ve heard it is struggling).

Re: the state school itself, I think it’s generally okay. There is another nearby (it’s where my eldest will go for A levels as the private school stops at 16) which is perhaps a shade better (and it’s the one I attended many years ago, and some of the teachers there are friends if mine) but we are out of catchment.

Catchment shouldn’t matter as it will be down to space. If there is space and you apply, your child gets to go. It might be worth checking the admissions policy to see whether or not having a sibling there increases the likelihood of your younger child getting a place there as well.

RivetingRushes Sun 28-Jun-20 20:15:49

@SkoolRules try and get a bursary or scholarship if possible. If not, I'd recommend seeing if there's a space in his year at a local grammar (he could do an aptitude test) before I'd recommend state.

At primary level, the quality of education isn't all that different, bit at secondary level a private or grammar education is leagues ahead of a state education in terms of expectations/resources/bullying control ...etc

bestbrowsintown Sun 28-Jun-20 20:17:21

Personally I'd try everything possible to keep him at private school now. I went to an excellent state school in a very wealthy area and the 1 girl I remember starting at 14 after being in private school was bullied because of it.
This is the main reason my kids won't go to private school, we can afford it now but I'd be worried about not being able to continue and the huge change that would bring to a child's life.

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