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Beginning to regret sending dd to private school

(21 Posts)
Bristowlian Tue 14-Aug-12 17:13:37

We sent her older sister in year 5 and it was a big success, she had not been getting on well at her state school. She is now in year 9 at the senior part of the school - again - big success, she's like a different child, couldn't ask for more etc etc.

Because dd1 had done so well there we decided to scrape together the cash and send dd2 in year 5. I am beginning to wish we hadnt. The money is now my all-consuming thought and it is making me so bloody stressed. We can JUST about afford it (although ds is definitely staying at his good state primary for as long as possible - can't see any way of moving him in the next few years) but it means watching every penny and, to be brutally honest, I just don't see the benefits of it for her. She's been there a year (about to enter yr 6) and although it is a lovely school with some really good teachers, the music and sport is good too, but I regret not keeping her at her state primary which was fine and just 'topping up' with music and sports out of school. Academically she hasn't improved as much as we thought she might (she's pretty bright) AND a lot of girls in her class are very, very well off (stately homes) which often makes her feel inferior :-( (dd1 NEVER had that feeling for some reason, just different personalities I guess).

Anyone else done it and regretted it? It actually makes me feel sick. Dh also permanently stressed about money but he is more keen that they have a private education (he did, I didnt).

Sparklingbrook Tue 14-Aug-12 17:17:47

Would your DD be happier somewhere else? Is there a school she knows children at where she would rather go?

DoItOnce Tue 14-Aug-12 17:19:53

What does your DD think? Have you broached the subject with her?

Bristowlian Tue 14-Aug-12 17:20:13

She's really looking forward to being in year 7 at the 'senior' part and to be honest I think I will 'see the benefit' there more as it is a fab school.

Just cross with myself that I was lured into the prep part as what we should have done is left her at the state school and gone straight to year 7 at private.

0lympia Tue 14-Aug-12 17:21:46

This is the mistake my parents made. They sent my brother to private school and he got great marks and joined chess club and cricket club and book club. I turned up and thought wtf? I couldn't get on there and the teachers were terrible. They really were. Unless you were one of the chosen few in the top stream they let you to ROT. I often think (sadly) my parents should have sent me to local comp and then let me repeat exams in a cram college. That's what a lot of friends of mine did. They didn't get great results the first time round but did really well goinng to cram college.

Bristowlian Tue 14-Aug-12 17:22:22

I have asked her is she is happy as to be honest although she seems really super happy when at school she is quite worried and stressed at home. Maybe it's home not school!!

She says she is happy at school but she also says she'd like to go to another school that her good friend is at but that is astronomically expensive (another 3k a term!!) so that's a complete no go.

EdithWeston Tue 14-Aug-12 17:23:27

I take it she's about to start year6?

It might be worth coping with three more terms (as one term is the notice you have to find anyhow by now). Also, toing and froing when she would change schools so soon anyhow might not be helpful (unless you're in a middle school area).

What school do you want her to go to for secondary?

Bristowlian Tue 14-Aug-12 17:23:42

She has joined every single club imaginable and is really very popular - in fact i have remembered that yesterday she said she couldnt wait to go back - I think it is the money from our end that is making it such a stress rather than her happiness.

LadyKooKoo Tue 14-Aug-12 17:25:27

Speak to the school and explain you are struggling now you have two there. Tell them you don't want to split them up but you can't continue paying for them both and will have to consider removing one or both of them (doesn't have to be true). I know lots of people who have done this with siblings and discounts have ranged from 15-50%.

ClaireRacing Tue 14-Aug-12 19:55:54

It's normal to doubt every so often. With five children in the system, we have doubted now and them - and then reality hits and we are sure we have done the right thing.

happygardening Wed 15-Aug-12 06:45:31

You say she's worried and stressed at home and from reading what you've written it's because your worried and stressed at home because you struggle to pay the school fees or are there other reasons? We've been paying since nursery nearly 13 years and we've had times when we've really struggled and although my DC's know it's an effort and that a large % of our income goes on fees I don't think they've any idea how much we've really struggled at times to pay the fees. How does your DD know?
I now have one in a boarding school one in an excellent state comp. Frankly I couldn't see the benefit of continuing to pay for the older one when he had to move to a senior school at year 9. Like your DD he wouldn't have benefited in the same way as my younger DS is. But we have the counties top performing state school on our doorstep he looked at it and liked it and it suits him. What are you alternatives? And most importantly are there places? How would you DD feel about moving my DS moved when he and his friends left his prep and as it was boarding they were all going to different schools so it was a natural break I don't think I would have moved him early.
You also say she's very happy and popular but feels inferior to others this seems a bit of a contradiction. I personally wouldn't worry about her saying she feels inferior in life we are always going to meet people with bigger homes., people who are cleverer than us more beautiful funnier whatever we just have to learn to accept it. We've friends on that Sunday Times rich list many others living in "stately homes" but this doesn't make them better or infact worse peo

happygardening Wed 15-Aug-12 06:56:04

Sorry pressed wrong button and posted too early!
...worse people and the one thing we've all learnt is that being unbelievably wealthy doesn't make you necessarily any happier or protect you from divorce or death at an early age due to serious illness.
Finally speak to the school if your struggling to the extent you say you aremaybe you can get a bursary this would make you all less stressed and then maybe you could look at the situation more objectively.

MonsPubis Wed 15-Aug-12 07:03:25

Can your older child try to get a scholarship there? I know she is there already but at our school, they can try for scholarships at any time. If you explain that you are struggling financially it might be possible to do this.
I also have 2 in private, one in state, so don't worry about that aspect. DD never wanted to change schools, (thank goodness financially) and is absolutely fine with it.
Scholarship discounts vary, at ours they are between 10 and 50% with one 75% being awarded each year. I haven't looked into it, but would if the finances were giving me the stress that yours are. Good luck.

Sunnydelight Wed 15-Aug-12 07:11:37

I guess the key issue, bearing in mind she's going into Y6, is where would you send her for secondary if you take her out. Is there a good State option? If you would still want her to be where she is then unfortunately you might just have to accept it wasn't the best choice but it should work out in the end.

It's practically impossible to get into our school now in Y7 as it has got really popular. They won't even guarantee sibling preference unless the sibling is in by Y5.

mam29 Wed 15-Aug-12 08:42:53

Hi wondering by your title you possibly based in bristol.

if so colston girls and bristol cathedral are state schools now with very good rep.

or the faith schools st mary redcliffe and ste bedes(catholic)very good.,

outer bristol keynsham , thornbury and wooten under edge have some good state secondries worth a look.

subervs winterbourne academy or kingswood john cabot good.

I think in bristol education is skewed

as not enough state places at primary
few good schools
bristol lea ranked one of worst
south glucestershire lea not as well funded per pupil

this has resulted in bristol having 2 most amount private outside london theres so much choice.

Hubby was like we cant send one and not the other.
but now youngest is growing up, only have 1 in primary right now I can see how different kids can suit different schools.

I would see if maybe can get bursary
but also apply to state senior just in case nothing to lose by appying and veiwing a couple.

assume from yoir post you have 3kids and 1 still in state primary?

Bristowlian Wed 15-Aug-12 09:48:56

We wouldn't qualify for a bursary.

Oldest child has a 10% scholarship and they have offered us a 50% discount on our third child if we move him from state primary which I am reluctant to do at the moment as he is happy and thriving at the state primary.

So basically no more help there!

I spent last nigth looking at our finances. We can just about afford it with clever budgeting from me. It's the constant 'clever budgeting' that is so bloody tiring, buying things from second hand shop/ebay etc which takes time and effort (I work full time!).

Happy gardening yes maybe me being so stressed is contributing to her worries. She is a worrier anyway. Also I know she knows that we think her spelling and handwriting should have improved more than it has sad think perhaps we are putting too much pressure on her.

Thank you so much for all your advice it has really made me think. She has an excellent teacher in year 6 so hopefully this year will be better.

racingheart Wed 15-Aug-12 11:23:53

Bristowlian, can you ask for a raise? Have you checked that your salary is equal to others (men?) doing the same job elsewhere? There was a feature on WH the other day about women earning 30% less than men because we never asked for increases, and undervalued ourselves.

Can you see about promotion within your company or another company?

Can your husband ask for a raise?

Can you remortgage for a while, just to see you through the very tight years when you are paying two or three sets of fees each year?

Can your children get part time jobs - not to help with the fees, obviously, but so that they have their own spending money for treats? The (few) millionaires I know encourage this hugely - they think their children should pay their way in life.

One thing that could take the pressure off you is to value your time per hour in your own mind. Would you rather spend hours on ebay bidding for items, or do a couple of hours freelance work or drinking wine in a market research focus group and go out and spend the money on clothes from shops in a fun trip with your children. That way, you can decide - no I'd rather do some overtime and buy the shoes I want rather than spend hours searching for bargains - hours that could have been spent earning money.

Another thing that can stop it all from feeling so relentlessly grinding, is to allocate a set amount for each outgoing including fun. Even if you only have £10 a week for fun, you can see how far it can go, and make sure you spend it on something everyone savours and enjoys. I was taught that in my twenties, when getting out of debt after uni and it really changed how downtrodden I felt, because I knew a set amount was allocated for pleasure so I didn't feel guilty.

I know these aren't solutions to your main problem, but when I was very hard up these tiny shifts in attitude really helped.

Bristowlian Wed 15-Aug-12 14:45:37

racingheart that is really good advice thank you.

I may get a raise next year which will help.

Allocating money for EVERYTHING is a brilliant suggestion and in fact I have been doing that this morning. Even if we only have £20 a week for fun for a while I can see that being able to take the kids to a cafe or a museum without worrying will really help - the alternative is that I blindly use my debit card then feel sick when looking at bank account...

happygardening Wed 15-Aug-12 21:33:45

You think her "spelling and writing should have improved" more than it has this is a mistake many of us have made, we've been there and got the T shirt, assuming that every child will thrive and do better at an independent prep. Prep schools cannot work miracles OK they have small classes hopefully better behaved and more pushed motivated children but there are other ingredients necessary to enable children to learn and most comes from within the child themselves. Anxiety, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dogged determination general intetest level of intelligence etc are very large contributing factors. If you DD knows you struggling to pay she may feel under great obligation to do well and this may be having a negative impact on her writing and spelling.
I think the advise above is good about putting sums by and as we know from experience there are plenty of free activities walking the dog all watching a film together IME it's not what you spend it the time you spend together getting pleasure from doing something surprisingly simple that builds strong happy relationships with our children. Looking back its often the free/cheap things that have the happiest memories; a walk along the cliffs when we lived by the sea, making snowmen swimming in a river walking the dogs on a summer evening. When your worrying about money all the time working really hard it's sometimes easy to forget these little things and how much pleasure they can bring to all of you.
You say your not eligible for a bursary why not are you absolutely sure or is the playground gossip there is a lot of incorrect info floating around about bursaries there is another thread on here about bursaries with contributions by people who have one so are really in the know. Alternatively what about the other school you mention if it's £3000.a term more expensive then it sounds like a much larger school maybe financially more secure with maybe a bigger bursary pot ring them talk to the bursar as they say if you don't ask you won't get.

CareerChangeMum Thu 16-Aug-12 10:53:06

It sounds stressful OP. It is for this reason we have just decided against private, as though we could just afford it, we would have been constantly stressing about money.

Could you downsize or move to a cheaper area? Are there other ways you could make money? Around here several people have offered a room to a foreign student as that pays very well. I think the mains thing is to try and protect her from the knowledge that it is so stressful for you as that will defeat the object of her going. Good luck OP.

IndigoCat Mon 22-Feb-16 18:05:11

Just wondered how things worked out for you and your family?

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