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Parents with kids in senior indie school (who are not millionaires!!)

(31 Posts)
shushpenfold Fri 26-Oct-12 04:06:20

Did you go for the cheaper indie's or go for broke with the best in the area? I'm awake as I'm going over the choices in my head and they won't stop moving....barely, barely afford or most definitely go over savings and then some?

We've saved, have been given some money (my parents), both work (damn hard), extremely cheap holidays, terrible car etc etc and now have the choice of a really good/great school or decent school for dc1 in 18 months time. All 3 dc are at a fabulous prep now and we're vaguely covering the fees. Dc2 and 3 have better options as we can get reduced fees for them at a great school (not possible for Dc1 as single sex) Dc1 is the one who could bankrupt us fairly effectively.....Did you afford for the yr 9-11 and then do college for 6th form (good ones near to us) What worked for you, didn't work for you....did you go for bursaries, did you get them? We earn a decent bit between us, although nothing near the amount needed for full fees for 2, never mind 3.

Please no comments about state v indie.....the story of why we went down this route is far too long to write!!

kerrygrey Fri 26-Oct-12 07:37:49

Try for a bursary - they can only say 'no'. Often the famous (great) schools have more to give away than the more local ones. I would always try for the best as first option.

eatyourveg Fri 26-Oct-12 08:06:17

We are not higher rate tax earners one holiday in UK one car no xbox and ds1 had 2 scholarships and a bursary. The bursary application was very thorough but once he was awarded it, they gave it to him for the duration of his time there, no need to reapply. If you do go for one it is always best to state what your dc can offer the school as well as what the school can offer your dc. When it was time for 6th form he got a place at the local grammar but decided to stay put when school said he could keep his music scholarship even though he wasn't doing music A level.

ds2 at sn school so not an issue. ds3 went to the indie simply because the grandparents offered to subsidise his place having seen how well ds1 got on. They pay 50%. He gets a siblings discount (not much) but for 3 years we were paying for 2 boys and that was tough. Now ds1 has left we only pay for 1, he still gets the siblings discount and a reduced subsidy from the grandparents. He won't stay for 6th form as they don't do his course (he's more a BTEC boy than a prospective RG entrant) and although school have offered to run it, the nearest college that does it happens to be one of the best in the region.

At the end of the day its a question of priorities - how much can you afford whilst retaining the style of living you want? Will your quality of life suffer in a way that is genuinely detrimental for the dc as well as the rest of the family negating the advantages of being at the school. ds3 says we are the only family in the school without a second car and he is the only one in his year not to have ever been in an aeroplane. Thankfully he doesn't care and sees his background as something to be proud of. I do think my 2 are more grounded in the ways of the real world than a lot of their peers for whom affluence is a given and having the latest gismo is almost a right.

middleclassonbursary Fri 26-Oct-12 09:29:27

We decided that if we are going to cripple ourselves then we would only cripple ourselves for the one of the best schools in the UK which by the way is single sex but boarding. We only applied to two schools both we knew before applying offered generous bursaries although we were advised by our prep head that we could have gone down the scholarship road at a selective rather than a super selective but we didn't feel it would have been money well spent. We are on a reasonable income although not enough to pay the huge coat of boarding.
We live reasonably one cheapish holiday a year fairly crappy cars one 7 yrs olds ones 14 yrs old but we don't shop in Netto. We have almost everything things that we want but we are not materialist and if we need something save up for it. We live in a small house in a nice area. I will be relieved when we stop paying fees because it is a huge commitment my DH works 60 hours a week to pay for it but not once have I ever regretted it in fact the more i see off state ed and we've got "fantastic" state school in our area and friends with DC's at selective independents especially day schools which we could afford without a bursary the more I know Im doing the right thing.

propatria Fri 26-Oct-12 09:51:33

mconbursary spot on,-always go for the very best you can,otherwise whats the point,you know if you go for the decent rather than the great you will always be asking yourself -but what if we had gone for x...

sue52 Fri 26-Oct-12 10:39:12

We went for a mix of grammar and then independant for 6th form. We only looked at top end public boarding schools as I couldn't see that bog standard private schools were any different or superior to DD's grammar. Only paying for 2 years meant it was affordable and didn't reduce our life style.

goinggetstough Fri 26-Oct-12 10:51:24

I agree with previous posters and say that it is sensible to go for the best school you can afford but can I add the proviso that it has to be the best school for YOUR child. Kudos/grades/position in league tables may be the overriding factors to some but it can leave a child in a very unsuitable environment if they are not capable of attaining those grades.

Great schools IMO are those that help a child realise their potential. So if the school you are looking at OP does this then it would be worth the money.

sue52 Fri 26-Oct-12 10:58:37

independent not ant

middleclassonbursary Fri 26-Oct-12 11:07:33

"I do think my 2 are more grounded in the ways of the real world than a lot of their peers for whom affluence is a given"
I agree my DC is definitely more grounded and although he's never experienced real poverty certainly is aware that many do and whats its implications are.
Going is also right making a very valid point only choose a super selective if its right for your DC. But if my DC has not got offers at the two super selectives we choose Im not sure if we would have carried on in the independent sector the £16 000 PA that we would gave saved by sending him to our "outstanding" local comp might have swayed our decision! I suspect the exam results would have been the same which ever one we choose because he's that kind of child! On the other hand there are other independent schools which are not super selective but that having other stirling qualities not found in the state sector. Fortunately we did have to make that decision.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 26-Oct-12 13:48:37

Ask people who live in Portsmouth or on the Waterside - cheap houses BECAUSE the State schools leave something to be desired.
So middle income parents pay school fees in exchange for low mortgages.
Its a lot more common than MN poster demographics would have you think!

3nationsfamily Fri 26-Oct-12 14:53:13

It is worth checking out the Bursary options, they always take into account any fees (school or Uni) being paid for siblings in other schools as part of the (very detailed and invasive) calculations. For our DS (in the gifted range) we looked around at the various local indies and compared them against the great local State school where our older DD is doing very well.
The State school doesn't provide much in the way of extra curricular activities/ trips /sports etc but we compared the two systems by factoring in what we do outside of school in the way of travel/ music/ sport/culture and the arts as a family anyway. In the end we reckoned that there was nothing in it worth the money for DD and for DS looked at the two local Boarding schools which are significantly more expensive but offer a completely different and better package of benefits both academic and otherwise that made us believe it is worth the money (we did get a part busary as he is on an academic scholarship). Both kids are thriving in their respective schools and get parental and financial support for their academic and non academic education from us. So I suppose the answer is- it depends on the child as well as the school!

JoanBias Fri 26-Oct-12 15:19:13

Is a £20k day school normally better than £13k day school?

MaureenCognito Fri 26-Oct-12 15:20:05


what the fuck is that

JoanBias Fri 26-Oct-12 15:24:45

I think this is an indie:

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 26-Oct-12 15:31:28

I went for the one which would meet ds's needs. Please don't rely on a bursary. They have just pulled ds's, so I'm left in a very huge hole. He'll struggle in the state sector (SN) and they left it too late so there's no bursaries left in the one other private school which offers financial support here.

middleclassonbursary Fri 26-Oct-12 18:03:51

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley this is a very very sad situation for you and your DS but I think it needs to be said not that common. We have been receiving bursaries for over 8 years now and know of other also of others in a similar situation I don't know of one who has their bursary "pulled".

MaureenCognito Fri 26-Oct-12 18:04:54

Kids survive in the state sector with sn, even do well. Really.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 26-Oct-12 18:31:29

This has happened to him twice! middle. We've been through 5 different schools and thought that this one was great.

He wouldn't cope with the sizes of the secondary schools here, Maureen. He has sensory issues (noise) and problems with social interaction, not to mention the mobility problems that he has. I've tried a state primary school, he was bullied within a week of starting. The headmistress said that he was 'odd'. I know this is unusual, but he starts his GCSEs next year and I can't move him to another 5 schools in the hope that one is OK.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 26-Oct-12 18:38:10

are you sure ....
there are specialist units within certain state schools that are under the umbrella of the main school but actually quite separate
- a girl who was at primary with DD is in a specialist class of 7 and only goes to the main school for Art - at which she excels.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 26-Oct-12 18:43:14

I've looked at the class sizes, and the sizes of the school. The smallest is 780 and I travel on the bus with some of the pupils. They fight on the bus, and all they talk about is who has had a fight with whom. The largest is 1,300. He's at a school with 350 pupils. I am, however, new to the area so wouldn't have a clue about specialist units. I am assuming that a 13 year old who refers to other people as 'one' would get the crap kicked out of him on his first day though.

I can sort something out for next term, I can't earn all that I need for this term though. sad

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 26-Oct-12 18:54:00

I've just looked. There's a boarding school for children with aspergers, nothing else. I'll keep looking.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 26-Oct-12 18:58:16

Go talk to your County Council / LEA. Turn up at their office and sit there till they run through the options for you.
Its the "units" within the schools that will be your answer.
Another friends daughter is taxied to a school that is particularly wheelchair friendly - and with that stress out of the way is now heading for 10 A-C's !

Feel free to PM me with your 'rough' area if you like - data mining is rather a hobby of mine

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 26-Oct-12 19:01:48

Will do smile

eatyourveg Fri 26-Oct-12 19:18:33

LadyMary you will normally have to have a statement to be able to access the specialist units unless you are there on an emergency or assessment placement. They are however fab. ds2 was able to do 2 afternoons in main school and had the best of both worlds

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Fri 26-Oct-12 19:20:55

He's incredibly bright, so I doubt he'll be able to access a unit. sad

Sorry for the thread hijack blush

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