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Think Carefully Before Opting for Private Education

(1000 Posts)
PRMum2012 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:50:44

i am a mum of two (23 months and 3 in august)I am self-employed, part time and married to a lovely architect. We have a great life and two happy kids.

On paper I would say I have not done too badly with my life and my aim is to work full time as soon as possible now my kids are a bit older. If the work was available I would happily work full time now.

Despite setting up my own business I can't help feeling like a failure that I can't afford for my own children, what my parents did for me.... It annoys me that I put so much importance on it ... I am now passionate about finding a decent local primary school for my children so they don't feel the same pressure i do now, when they are older and looking for schools for their kids ....but i'll be honest ......assuming i can afford it i would try and do it from 11 if i can....!!!!...

Hopefully by then, my kids will have an input too and they will be forming their own opinions on the issue.

Depending on mortgage and family support I can't see that it's possible for anyone with two kids earning under £80,000 - £1000,000 + (as a family income) to afford private education anymore, my advice is unless you have a thriving business or two, work as a dr, lawyer or banker.... Forget it.

It's really hard to watch my younger sibling do it for her kids, they are paying for private prep while we cant afford it.... But it really upsets me I feel like this... why can't I just be happy for them and quietly satisfied that I don't need to pay on top of my taxes for my kids education.

For my own primary education i went privately, tried the local school for secondary education but was bullied so moved back to the private system.... I had a mix of private and state during secondary - my second private school was amazing but the second state school I attended for 6th form (my choice) was great too so why is this all having such an impact on what I want for my own kids.

My DH is much more laid back, he went privately all the way through but doesn't place as much value on it as I do/did....I wish I felt the same way but all I feel now is pressure to earn more money so I can pay for them both from 11.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 12:01:52

Is that £80k pre-tax? DH and I earned just that combined and we can't afford private schooling for two. (We aren't even in London or the home counties). I don't know how anyone does it. We only have one DD now and I don't plan to send her private. Don't feel bad about it. As someone already said, 93% of people go to state schools.

hatsybatsy Tue 30-Apr-13 12:09:15

ROFL at the idea that a qualified doctor cannot afford private education....

OP - you seem to be getting some good persepctive on this? If you can't afford it, then there are other ways to enrich the children's education that are equally as valid.

QuintessentialOHara Tue 30-Apr-13 12:22:15

I think it is a question of prioritizing. Some people have large houses, big mortgages, many expensive cars, and complain they cannot afford private education.

Others live more modestly and rather pay for good education than luxurious living. wink

secretscwirrels Tue 30-Apr-13 12:46:53

It seems to be where you choose to live. Like Llareggub I live in an area with no Grammar schools and the nearest private schools are a long distance. Therefore everyone uses the local schools which are on the whole good. You would never get this if you live in the south east.

I also think it's about how much you as parents are prepared to put into educating your children. Not in tutoring or helicoptering but as others have said, spending time on enriching their lives yourself.
If you are rich you pay for others to do it for you, that's all.

mummytime Tue 30-Apr-13 13:06:56

Hatsybatsy I know a lot of Doctors who can't afford private education: all the GPS at my surgery and several other GP friends, and at least two Consultant surgeons. My Dentist does afford it, but he has v. Few NHS patients (we are part of that select band).
A friend who was privately school educated said that the local exclusive prep has gone down hill as it is "full of builders children" nowadays. No idea why she said that to me, but .....

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:11:17

"I think it is a question of prioritizing. Some people have large houses, big mortgages, many expensive cars, and complain they cannot afford private education.
Others live more modestly and rather pay for good education than luxurious living. "

grin always good to see the old "beaten up old Volvo/camping holiday in Cornwall" trope turning up again!

schoolchauffeur Tue 30-Apr-13 13:18:38

I was state ed all the way and went to RG uni, DH went to convent, local comp and then boarding school for A Levels. Our two DCs are both currently at private schools, but they have attended local state primary and DS will attend local state school for post 16 education. The reasons for the choice of all these schools is that they were the best solution to domestic issues and needs of the children at the time- not because they were state or private.

So the only question you need to worry about is finding the best school that you can- that is all you can do. And as many people say private doesn't necessarily guarantee the best results, the happiest kids etc. It is not about private vs state but one school against another.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:20:24

I think this is very geographical. In many senses.
Houses in the SE and Home Counties are very expensive. I can't see how anyone on £60K could afford 2 x £10K ( guesstimate) for private schools if they have anything like an average mortgage.
A day prep school for 1 child- say @ £7K might be possible.

The only people I know who can afford private schools for 2 or more children are seriously rich- earning over say £300K combined- and for whom £30K a year is small change. OR families where both parents work full time and scrimp and scrape to afford it on less.

This puts a huge pressure on parents to keep their jobs, and on the children to do well, as their parents sacrifice so much.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Tue 30-Apr-13 13:23:53

My DS is a med student. If we were not helping him out he would be racking up a huge student debt over the five years of studying and starting salaries are really not that great. confused He didn't choose medicine for the money sad

infamouspoo Tue 30-Apr-13 13:24:11

it always looked liked a vicious circle to me. Private education to get a high paid job so they could pay to send their kids to private school to get a high paid job to send their kids to....etc
Where's life n fun? And you can get good grades and go to good universities without private school. 2 of mine went to Cambridge. Apparently thats considered 'acheiving'. Personally I think its over-rated, full of drugs and angst and its pastoral care is shite.
But what they make of their lives is up to them. One is going to be a scientist. Poor pay, short term contracts but she is happy. The other is pushy and into theatre and is off to New York. You dont need private education, you need interest.

newgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:33:52

My dd got a place at very academic private school but we were lucky to get a place at state good/outstanding school. I would have liked the private school as it would have appealed to my ego (hey I'm being honest) but tbh the state school suits her more. It's better for sports, it's mixed, good music etc. Private is not always best - but because you pay for it people think it is - not that simple.

QuintessentialOHara Tue 30-Apr-13 13:36:19

Seeker - you called?

Not a Volvo, but an old Peugeot! grin

JuliaMB Tue 30-Apr-13 13:36:50

We could probably afford to send our 2 privately but have decided not to as we both have done very well from our own state education, went to a top Uni and now have professional jobs with good salaries. We chose to save our money to pay for the activities they may have got at private school such as rugby, swimming, tennis lessons. And then we can still have nice family holidays, allow me to work part time and most importantly show them that not everyone is as materially well off as they are. I think it's so important that they don't spend their lives surrounded by only middle/upper classes and nagging me for a pony or something in the future but to have a balanced view of the world and people so they appreciate what they have and that you have to work for it, it doesn't just fall in your lap from above.
And with private schools, even if you can stretch to the fees, can you afford the expensive trips and keeping up with the Chalfont-Smyths?! (apologies if I just criticised your surname!)

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:41:04

I don't drive, we take the bus! I only have 1 child so one sent of school fees is manageable. There's only so much stuff you can put in one house so apart from holidays what else is there to spend money on? confused

JuliaMB Tue 30-Apr-13 13:44:38

HatsyBatsy stop ROFL, how much do you think doctors earn?
Clue - nothing like what it says in daily mail. I am a GP and do ok but hospital doctors' salaries are a lot less than you think for terrible hours too! I know plenty that couldn't even consider private school.

motherinferior Tue 30-Apr-13 13:46:02

Er...what exactly is your point? That private schools cost money? That's what they are, businesses that you pay for.

Even I can work that out and I went to a comprehensive and send my lovely daughter to a school that half of you lot would consider rough as a badger's arse.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:48:53

Errrrrrrrr...driving lessons and a car perhaps?

I think the cost of the house is the factor. In the SE where I am you can't get anything for much less than £200K where I live for a 1 bed terraced cottage.

A 'normal' 3 bed house is around £350K.
A 4 bed family house is £500K.

Figures are half these in some parts of the north.
So many couples are working simply to buy a house.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:50:23

Why do I need a car when it's quicker to get somewhere on the bus? confused I can't drive anyway (illness).

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:54:54

"There's only so much stuff you can put in one house so apart from holidays what else is there to spend money on? "

Ooooooh, I don't know. Food? Electricity? The occasional pair of shoes?

QuintessentialOHara Tue 30-Apr-13 13:55:25

Seasonal curtains and cushions?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Tue 30-Apr-13 13:57:53

Why do you think I don't eat, pay the bills or buy shoes? confused

Curtains? Who needs those? Just nail an old blanket across the window, that will do. wink grin I could spend it all on handbags and Jimmy Shoes I suppose. hmm

MTSgroupie Tue 30-Apr-13 13:58:46

Make your mind up people.

Either private education is inequitable because Oxbridge and top jobs are biased towards ex indie pupils


Private education is a waste of money because it conveys no benefits.

You can't have it both ways.

By the way OP, thanks for the great advice. I'm sure a lot of parents decided to spend £15k pa times x DC times y years without thinking things thru [sarcasm emoticon]

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 13:59:48

Just in case you aren't joking-

<I was going to explain, but I find I can't be bothered>

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 14:04:17

People round here just seem to put them in private education from Year 10 onwards.
Not sure whether that is because of money [though even the GPs do that], or because the schools round here are reasonably good.
Also, our area, is quite an inclusive area, and most people of whatever means and status like that.

FadedSapphire Tue 30-Apr-13 14:12:13

Op- as others have said- do the best with schools you have. My children go to a primary some sniff at but it is a lovely school and they are thriving. The catchment secondary is a school which had only about 50% a-c [including maths and English] I think but at moment not writing it off as children can and do do well there. Also my eldest only seven so will watch how school develops.
We couldn't possibly afford private school. My brother could but has stuck with state as feels he did well in life [so far!] and can mix happily with people of all backgrounds which he feels his education helped with.
My cousins have gone private [one parent works as teacher in the school]. They are desperate to have all their 3 children there. Their eldest was ill with stress of 11plus and I found it hard to watch his sadness. They are panicking as their younger children not so academic and may have to go to local state. They really are stressed.
I think as you cannot afford private just try to go with the flow and realise it is not the be all and end all in life.
Good luck and keep calm!!

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