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Choice to make - better catchment area OR private school?

(38 Posts)
Tasmania Mon 11-Mar-13 20:25:14

If you had the choice, would you spend £££ for a house in a better catchment area (we're talking at least £100k+ more) or opt to spend the money on private school?

We are currently house hunting, and are contemplating moving to a small village with a few houses on the market, and and superb state primary school options where the results pretty much speak for themselves (*way above the national average*). However, such a move would add at least another £100k to the cost of the house.

We can also move to another place just 15 minutes further away, where the schools are at best "satisfactory" according to OFSTED and the results at Key Stage 2 results are well below the national average.

If we moved to the latter, we would have to either go private from Day 1 or opt for the local Catholic school that is one of the best-performing in the area (which would be a bit of a lottery, whether DC would get in).

What would you choose?

iseenodust Tue 12-Mar-13 13:09:46

If you feel you are going to need flexi-boarding then I would be aiming for a school that provides that soon so your DD is settled and has lots of friends before that comes into the mix.

sunnyday123 Tue 12-Mar-13 17:52:04

Personally I think the benefits of sibling far far outweigh the benefit if private education so don't let that be a choice. If going private stops you having a wanted second child then don't go private. If moving to another area will get you into a good school then that's better value money wise as you'll be investing that £100k not just paying it out. That way you get the best of both- no point paying for private if you can get a good school plus the benefit of a larger or nicer home!

There's a vey popular private school near me and my friend sends her child there despite the fact its actually only 'satisfactory' compared to the 'outstanding' state school! She also has accepted only one child to do this which I honestly think is madnes! The best thing I have ever done for dd1 is give her a sister as they'll be best friends for life! .... Hopefully!

Milliways Tue 12-Mar-13 18:02:41

We moved for the same reason. Catchment school pre-move had 7% A-C grade GCSE passes, and has since closed down! We decided we would all benefit from the nicer house/garden and the mortgage payments, over time, became more manageable and dropped whereas school fees would have gone up. New school was Outstanding and DD did extremely well. However, that same school is now on "notice to improve" so, as everyone says, nothing is guaranteed.

BooksandaCuppa Tue 12-Mar-13 18:50:19

I think newgirl's figures sound a little OTT for day schools (were you looking at boarding fees?).

Ds's secondary school is a touch shy of £12K per year and that includes lunches, books and textbooks, most educational trips and all after school clubs, but excludes buses, uniform, external exams and music lessons. But, yes, historically, the price increase per year seems to average at 3-5%, which is certainly above the interest earned on our savings!!

Fluffy1234 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:58:08

Not so sure. My local prep charges 4.5k per term and nearest secondary private school over 6k a term. It depends where you live.

BooksandaCuppa Tue 12-Mar-13 19:04:32

It does, of course, but I believe the averages are much lower than that. The average senior fees I hear quoted are around £11K which is lower than our school (and we're in an inexpensive area of the country but the school has no competition as such). Many of the London schools are cheaper than this.

That's all irrelevant though if the OP's area is expensive or has no competition, though!

Tasmania Tue 12-Mar-13 19:43:19

Over here it's cheaper when you have a girl. Also, sporty private schools (lots of land) are generally dearer than the more academic ones...

I guess, there is a bit of choice. DC could go to a private secondary (still a long time away!) that currently costs around £12k per year or another one that costs around £21k per year (both day schools)!

KateShrub Tue 12-Mar-13 19:55:06

I'm not entirely convinced by the 'better schools add £100k to house prices' argument. I mean it MIGHT be true, but very often the more expensive area is better in other ways - greener, better housing stock, lower crime, better rail connections, and so on, and the school is actually incidental.

TBH I think that these abstract questions are slightly pointless and it would be best if you just named the actual areas/streets you are looking at.

BooksandaCuppa Tue 12-Mar-13 20:43:36

To some extent you might be right, KateShrub but I'll give you one little example in our rather ordinary county.

In my village, in catchment for an Ofsted 'Outstanding' comp (but that is really only 'good' in most people's opinions it's fine, nothing too special, with average results), my 4 bed house is valued at £190K.

8 miles away; another village, exactly the same size, equally pretty/not, same facilities (perhaps slightly worse transport as no train station), same crime levels, but with a genuinely 'outstanding' and highly-sought after comp with results bettering many selective schools, the house exactly the same as mine is £240K.

So £50K difference for the exact same house in a totally comparable village other than the school.

(Add onto that the cost of moving, and we decided to go private, as it's much more suitable to ds's AS - pastoral care and size of site/classes etc, but with more than one dc I can see why people are tempted by the move. However, the schools may very well change over the next seven years or so, and so your house price 'investment' is not guaranteed either).

KateShrub Tue 12-Mar-13 23:16:54


Like I said, rather abstract....

Habanera Thu 14-Mar-13 11:25:49

We moved to get near an outstanding secondary, to a house in need of updating - very optimistic that will happen in my lifetime - meanwhile I am not pleased with how the school is panning out for DD1 - lost in classes of 33, picked on and feels we still aren't "local" 4 years on, very cliquey kids only interested in posing, hair, makeup, boys. she's a fish out of wayer right now. She turned out to be grammar school material but we aren't in catchment. Anyway the grammars are also very large and she might feel out of it there too. A nice indy would be ideal but she won't abandon her one friend even if we cd afford it now we've spent so much to move. but DD2 is even more quiet academic and geeky and I hate the idea of her in the comp. Plus, I'm falling out of love with the area myself. It costs a fortune commuting.

Habanera Thu 14-Mar-13 11:29:26

League tables are a very rough guide, ofsted not v useful either, and visits, open days very limited-- you can't predict the future can you? Your DC is so unique.

newgirl Fri 15-Mar-13 14:05:47

Fees here are 15k year - not including lunches, uniform, trips etc

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