Having to pay just to look round a school(34 Posts)
Good heavens - none of our local private ones do that - I've been round 3 - they usually have open days.
does seem a bit cheeky, but maybe they have loads of people just ringing up to have nose round?...maybe
I've looked at loads of private schools. The registration fee is usually when you have looked round and want to be offered a place.
Very very very cheeky indeed. Nice to see you here though Pamina.
Thought I'd heard everything. Unless you've heard great things about it elsewhere (Good Schools Guide?) I would just take this as a foretaste of things to come - ie extras for music, swimming, trips out, ticket charges for the nativity show, etc. - and avoid.
Our most famous local private school lets you look round for free, but if you want to put your childs name down you have to pay £50 - even if you decide not to enrol.
Its to stop the non-serious lookers. Don't know where in the country you are, but its getting more and more common. A smallish fee to look around, a slightly larger one (Up to £100 usually) to sit the entrance assessment, and then a holding deposit if you are lucky enough to win a place (up to £2000). When the places are as oversubscribed as they are in our area, I can sort of see why they want to cut down the applicants. One of the preps we applied to only offered eight places (out of several hundred applicants), but you can imagine the work in assessing all that lot. I was stunned by how competitive it all was. Hope you found a place you liked!
hi jan, which schools are you looking at, out of interest?
pamina - we have been to one well known prep so far. we didn't have to pay a fee to look around, but they will want one if we register for a place. none of the info i've got so far for other schools says there is a fee to look around.
hi pamina, are your local state primaries no good? or just very oversubscribed?
Bossykate we looked at all the usual suspects in the Dulwich area. We were put off some by the attitude of some of the older children I know who go to these schools, whose own parents were being told to "park the car around the corner - I don't want the others to know we drive THIS", and "I really can't have anyone come home to our place - we live in such an AWFUL house" etc. I couldn't cope with being not good enough! And I didn't want that kind of attitude in my child. So we chose not to apply to some of the ones that everyone raves about. In the end we went for a very small fairly traditional school, and heard yesterday that we have one of only eight places offered. Am I allowed to say on here? Don't know what the policy is on naming establishments? You can ask Miss Bridget which child has just had a school offer and where for - she'll tell you! The whole assessment thing has been a nightmare though. I have some tips if you need them, and will happily share!
jan, i think attitudes are like that are far from uncommon in private schools, and i also fear ending up not good enough for my own child! we've also been looking at the dulwich "names" - but i had resolved to look at the smaller and less well known schools, but haven't done anything about it yet. i should ask the head at ep where all the kids go from there.
oh, just in case anyone is tutting, i really don't want to go down this route, but both our local (excellent) state primaries are so over subscribed, you'd have to be nuts not to look at the private alternatives, if there's even a chance you might be able to afford them.
pamina - yes, it's crazy, and dh wonders why i want to consider moving out of london (although i'm sure there are problems outside london too).
I think it's truly awful that private schools charge parents for looking round. Why not just invite interested parents to free open days, held a few times a year? That would cut staff admin time.
I took my 9 year old to an open day at look at one of the best private secondary schools in our borough. We were definitely window shopping only, and my son was under no illusion about that. Even scholarship pupils still have to pay 50% of the fees and I explained how hard they have to work to get there.
So why did we go? well, I wanted to do something to put local secondary education choices in context for him. He's visited some state comprehensives and I wanted to show him how a private school might differ (for better or worse) - and the similarities too. I soon hope to take him for a look round a couple of grammar schools. OK he will only get a vague overview, but hopefully we will both see why (or why not) he should work to pass the 11+ - or any scholarship exam. I wanted him to see these schools way before we have to start choosing them in year 6. My thinking is that if he is to have private tuition, he has to see what the point of it is before he begins to do that extra work. In my opinion, if you wait to look at schools in year 6 only, it's too late.
I feel I have a right to choose how I educate my son and I object to paying for the basic information that I need to make that choice.
I have never heard of having to pay just to look round - that is shocking and would simply put me off. We have looked at several private schools for DD and not been asked to pay anything at all. She also has her name down on two lists for September 2006 intake and still we haven't paid anything. WE do pay a registration fee eventually but not yet. She will do an entrance 'interview' and session and if accepted after that we pay a registration fee, and not before.
Also, don't be put off by one or two poor attitudes with students. Having visited several, as I said below, we never came across begative attitudes from the pupils (lower and upper schools). All were lovely. WE avoided open days where possible and just went on normal school days. They couldn't have made us feel more welcome. Also, having taught in state schools you get the poor attitudes just as much there. Certainl;y at the very good state school I taught at I saw much more snobbery there then at any provate school I have visitied.
All our local private schools have open days - usually in October/November. There is no fee to attend these and they are a great opportunity to look around the school. Pupils and teachers are there to talk to parents.
Some of the existing parents use this as an opportunity to look around the school too.
At the Open day you can choose to register your child for a place and there will be a fee for this. Entrance exams, where relvant, are usually held in the following Jan/Feb.
Another way to get a feel for the school is to look out for other public events they are having e.g. school fayres at Christmas/summer or other fundraisers.
We drove past a large private girls school today and I noticed they have erected brand new signs outside. The first line says 'XXX School for Girls' and the next line reads 'Every Day Is Open Day'
Batters I know what you mean. I had hoped that these attitudes were a thing of the past too, but they seem all too common in some of the schools. The other horror that I couldn't have faced was the "I want to go to boarding school. All my friends are going!" Sorry, but that one is definitely NOT on the cards! We will be poor forever just managing the fees for a day school, and I am not having my child grow up a stranger to me!!
BossyKate I have looked through the rules and I don't think there's anything to stop me from saying the names of schools as I'm not commenting on them at all. So here goes. Of the children DD had started off with at nursery (all going to school at different times as there was over 12 months in ages between them), here are the schools they have gone to: Alleyns, Rosemead, Oakfield, Rosendale (x2), Christ Church, White House (x3), Streatham and Clapham Girls, Streatham Wells, Belleville, Hornsby House, Newton Prep. Hope this helps!
janinlondon, that is very kind of you. i really appreciate it. thank you so much
Gosh Pamina, I've come a bit late to this but am awestruck. There are obviously hotspots even within London...we had no problem with getting in to see the independent school we had in mind for ds and our registration fee and deposit will both be refunded from his final fees (by which time they will be worth 2p I should think). Where we did have problems was getting to see round the two local state primaries before we put his name down for them. That's where we were treated like timewasters...we didn't expect a personalised tour, just any info on open days/evenings. They are both very oversubscribed, but we still felt this was an unhelpful approach. They also declined to send any details about their school, which I *think* they are supposedly obliged to do. I didn't push it because by that time we had a place at the independent school where an interest in their pastoral policies is actively welcomed.
that's interesting about the oversubscribed state schools, marina. we've found the local state primaries with good reputations are also the most efficient and welcoming when it comes to open days and visits.
i'm trying very hard not to write off one of our local state schools which has appalling results in the league tables (ok teachers, don't all shout at me, i know league tables have their limitations and am trying to see past them), and am keen to go and visit it. but guess what? they are vague and unhelpful on the phone on the two occasions we have phoned to find out about visits. it reinforces the impression created by the league table results, tbh.
I am still elated that after about 3 years of putting his name down (ie I had to register when he was aged 1!!) and taking ds to assessments at age 3, visting 6 schools and getting prospectuses from 10, he has got into my favourite primary school. When things are so competitive, I understand why you (like me) feel like there is no choice but to pay up for all these fees (though I never had to pay to look around). But, one of the things that really impressed me about this school was that I rang up one spring when there were no open days scheduled for months, and the Headmaster made an appointment to see just me, we talked for one hour, when ds was aged 1 and I asked lots of silly questions, and then he showed me around the school personally. I got totally put off another really popular rival school by the Headmistress's bossy dismissive money-minded manner, although I had been impressed at the open day a few years earlier. As well as keeping an open mind, I'm sure your gut feeling means a lot too.
Re refunds, I was looking at the website for DD's school recently and saw again (had forgotten) that should she go onto the senior school, the Entrance Fee i.e. the £100 we paid on accepting a place, will be credited against the £600 Entrance Fee there.
Of that £600, £300 is repayable on entry and £300 when leaving the school. If she doesn't go onto the senior school, the £100 will be credited against the final term's fees at primary level.
My boy's school has no fee payable at all - until the fees are due!, it is an excellent day school with a great reputation and v. oversubscribed, but we are in ther provinces so i guess that is the difference. Still think they should be offering free open days though - we have 2 open saturdays, several open mornings, information evenings etc each year, but we didn't know about those being a bit out of area, so when i rang up i was offered an individual tour at my convenience - tbh any school that doesn't have the coutesy to do so would have to be supra good in all other respects to persuade me to send my children there.
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