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Why do some parents think private school at primary is a waste of money.... but are secretly saving for secondary?

(736 Posts)
Tallandgracefulmum Fri 27-Jun-14 23:55:40

AIBU as my little one is starting prep school in Sept. I was asked by a friend at DD's nursery my plans, said private all the way and was told I would be wasting my money and should save it for secondary when it matters.

I hate this ..most parents I know would send kids private all the way through but cannot afford it so are saving for secondary. But to be honets if your not used to paying shed loads monthly for schooling, you will not suddently 7 years later ( and higher fees) start doing it for secondary.

What some people don't seem to get is that some parents value educational experience over material possessions or fancy homes. This friend in question said she will use the money she saves to provide education experiences for her children and give them a lump sum for uni.

My thoughts are she just can't afford it and wants to make me feel bad for spending my hard earned money.

How many parents actually compare a range of private school fees, then calculate how much it would cost to send one child then save the relevant monthly amount ready to give each off spring at 18? Doesn't happen. What's wrong in providing the best educational experience you can afford for your kids without others constantly telling me I am wasting my money.

FWIW I can understand private school bashers who hate all forms of private schooling, but not those who bash primary but would send kids to secondary in a heartbeat!

blueshoes Sat 28-Jun-14 00:04:55

I personally have not come across people who tell me I am wasting my money to send both my dcs to independent primaries. Then again, most of the parents I know send their children to the same schools. I suppose if I knew more parents who send their children to state primaries maybe?

Are you in an area with grammars? If so, there may be others who take the opposite view that it is better to spend at primary level and then take a breather at secondary if the result is they get into a grammar.

Of course there are parents whose children go to a state primary and still get into a grammar even though they have been saving for a private secondary. That would come close to winning the lottery.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 00:16:07

Blue, i feel I have to constantly defend my choice. Either friends think, thier is something wrong with my DD educational wise, or I did not get in or live near crap state schools or I have employer or GP paying. Yes, live in area where most schools are outstanding or good. Just not right for DD. As good as the grammars are, they take the best of the best students, but still cannot compare even to mediocre private schools. I just think parents should respect other parents choice. So I am ranting on MN as I ready see my DD being left out of things as she not joining the mass to the local state school.

Ladymuck Sat 28-Jun-14 00:19:02

Many children at independent secondary schools will come from state primary schools. Locally to me the proportion from state primary schools ranges from 20-60% of the intake of the independent secondary schools.

I would be hard-pushed to tell at age 13 which children had come in from prep schools and which from state schools to be honest. Similar range of house sizes, cars, parental occupations and extra-curricular interests. I'm not conscious that the lower sets are dominated by ex-state school pupils.

So I would think that if parents are happy with their local state primary school, they may well feel that money would be wasted on private. Facilities etc vary across schools in both sectors. My peers who chose state schools didn't do so because they couldn't afford private, they just didn't see huge value for money given what was on offer at their state school. For some they have put the money saved into a larger home, which has benefited the family, for some it has meant a parent working fewer hours or not at all, others have invested hugely in particular interests of the children (eg one has reached a very high sporting standard with fairly expensive coaching and equipment) and others have travelled more etc.

Your friend may have wound you up, but paying for private education doesn't automatically mean that your child will get a better education, it simply widens the choice of schools available to you.

Ladymuck Sat 28-Jun-14 00:24:47

"As good as the grammars are, they take the best of the best students, but still cannot compare even to mediocre private schools"
Compare on the basis of what out of interest? Why would anyone want to pay for a mediocre private school?

KnittingRocks Sat 28-Jun-14 00:29:15

I love the idea that if we choose to send our kids to state schools we value material possessions over education!

I went to a private school, hated it and left in Y8. Thrashed all my private school friends with my grades at both GCSE and A level.

If you send your child to a bog standard private school and they are just an average kid it will make v little difference to their educational achievement or life chances IMO - just gives them an undeserved sense of superiority!

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 00:40:45

Ladymuck thank you for your post.

I do appreciate that paying for private does not mean ones child will get a better education. I live in SW London and I know many parents whose children attend my local nearest state school and we have similar backgrounds some are even superwealthy etc.

Just remember that not every parent values education. I don't mean if you don't pay private you don't value education, I mean I have some family memebers who are very rich, business owners turning over £1m a year and partners in professionla services, some just don't care about edation and kids just go tot eh local state school, just like you have some parents in lower paid jobs, that scrimp and save to send DC private or to find a way to move to a good state school.

Just now school is soon approching I get the the wasting of money thrown on me all the time. People who have not seen me for ages, I bump into them, they ask after DD and when she is starting school, I mention the school, I get "not necessary", wasting, think about your other 2 DC.

Why the negativity I say?

My friend in particular said she she did not see the value of paying £1250 per month over the local "free" state offering and that the schools were not spectacular for her to stop her luxuries which are gym membership, adult weekend breaks, Strada /Pizza Express/Zizzi eating out weekly, cinema monthly, roots retouched every 6 weeks, weakness for converse trainers (she has all the styles smile) etc as those would be the compromises. I said well if I wanted private I could forgo the above for my DC.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sat 28-Jun-14 00:46:03

But if she does think that the education her dc would get from a state school is equal to that of a private school (at primary level) then why should she give up those extras in her life?

You sound utterly awful in your attitude toward a friend.

She thinks there is no difference. You do. Neither is right/wrong. You have a difference of opinion. Most people dont use their friends alternate opinions as a means to chastise or judge them, which I feel that you are doing.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 00:49:15

Ladymuck - again, for some people sending children private is not for the A* or academics. Some mediocre schools may be ranked 50 -100 are are still good schools, but in comparison to top performing independents seem mediocre. They are still better than many grammars and offer a whole rounded experience that is more than just top mark, enabling children to reach their potential in an environment that suits them. Not every parent wants Colet Court, they may be happier with Staines Prep for example. Just the trend is primary is a waste especially if there are good states available. Or Private school is a waste of there is a good grammar, or why pay for a school that is not top 50?

My experiences in family and friends DO value their material possessions over education and as they have said so.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 00:50:09

sorry about the spelling.

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 28-Jun-14 01:00:26

Also remember many people get help off grandparents with school fees. In that case fees are coming out of a limited size savings fund. Likewise if a family has inherited money saved.

Round here it's extremely common to use the private schools nursery, leafy village state primary and private secondary.

We don't have London salaries and most women round here, don't work full time when their DCs are young. Many people simply don't have the disposable income to pay school fees for 14 years x no. Of DCs.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:01:52

ThinkIveBeenHacked - my attitude is not awful to my friend. Her choice is her choice. I do not make here money for her, her choice to spend on what she likes. I just get flack for wanting to educate my children privately, but will choose the right school for each for them, not just following the trend of follow the eldest. I wanted to find out other people's opinion. My friend should not give up those things if she does not see that her DC will benefit what the state will offer.

When I get the wasting of money, I hate it! Yes our area has great state schools, we have different children and what was on offer locally was not right for my family. What I chose just happens to cost again post tax.

I also enjoy going out, holidays etc and we will still be doing it. I will just forgo my Virgin membership and weekly dining out to enable me to still be able to take DC on holiday, get treats, days out etc. So I valued their education over MY material luxuries. What's wrong in that, is that a waste?

Iggly Sat 28-Jun-14 01:03:30

You sound a bit snobby about it to be honest.

Maybe these people cannot actually afford private school but tell you other reasons as you'd probably judge them for not working hard enough.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:13:26


I know, I know all true. Many of the new mums have trust funds GP paying , but the majority pay out of earned income. Is it a waste that GP are funding education for GC and not using it to travel the world in their later years? What I am trying to say, I am now so sick and tired of being told private primary is a waste of my money, sending the other DC is a waste, the fees will rise ( as if I do not know that) when my attitude is simply, I don't mind spending all of my earning on my DC, I can't take it with me, why am I working if it is not for them, I saw a particular talent in my eldest DC and found the school best for her, its fee paying thats all and in order to send the rest and still maintain same lifestyle I will adjust what I used to value.

Pre DC on pay day, I'd order £500-700 worth of clothes same day. Same week of being paid I'd have spent half my salary. Had to have the latest this and that, any recommendation for new eateries etc, I'd be there. When bonus season came round, I'd have already spent the money before I received it. Then I met DH, we married and we adjusted, we planned for children and planned for education and educational experiences.

I don't spend as much on fashion as I used to, goes all on the kids, don't eat out with the girls as much as I used to, all goes on the kids, don't eat out every week, all goes on the kids. Train in the park and ride my bike, cancelled my gym, it goes on the kids. The kids don't miss out, I just now waste my money on them.

Glastokitty Sat 28-Jun-14 01:19:41

You are upset at people judging your decisions regarding your children's education, yet are judging their decisions based on some pretty spurious evidence. Mind your own business and let people think what they like, they will anyway.

Ladymuck Sat 28-Jun-14 01:20:39

If you feel that your local private prep schools suit your children best, and you're happy to pay for them, then ignore the comments from others. But be aware that at age 11, around half of their classmates at senior independent school will have come from state schools, and to most observers it will be hard to tell which came from which school (even though some prep school parents seem convinced that their children are working two years "ahead" of the state schools). You will be surrounded by families paying the same fees at the same school for the same ethos and opportunities but having come a different route. I

Equally we have gone through prep school and some children have gone onto grammars, others to independent schools. Some have even gone onto comps. Each family has made the best choices for their circumstances. You're making a particular choice now based on your current knowledge of your DC and the available schools. That may also change over time.

lljkk Sat 28-Jun-14 01:22:29

£700 on clothes each month? Bloody hell.

You seem to know an awful lot about the financial circumstances of your friends, TaGM.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:23:27

Iggly . Nope, my father was uneducated as was his father before him and his father before him and my mother was a cleaner till she retrained to be a teacher and worked 4 jobs to send us kids private. Now my eldest brother is a partner in a law firm, my middle sister sells beautiful paintings and my younger brother is currently working in a job that combines his love of sailing with maths and takes him around the world.

All this is possible because my parents valued education when their peers were laughing at them already working for minimum wage. My mum worked at anchor butter, cleaned a law firm still in the city today and from seeing a payslip left on the table vowed her kids will make it, and not empty dustbins, work 3/4 jobs that total one full time professional wage etc and we have now in a generation changed our family's future. So when I have friends who constantly tell me I am wasting my money and why cancel my gym just to send the kids to private school ( that cost helped) they do not know, I can live where I do because of the opportunity that education gave me. Maybe for traditional middle class families, they see private schools as a waste, as they have money I don't.

I know where my family came from and where I could have been had I not had the best education available to me.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:29:12

You are right, but I don't mind other coming from other routes. If you knew me in RL you'd have thought I came from a traditional MC background. Nope, did not.
IIjkk - yes, £700, as growing up I had a good education, but not much, so when I got my first job, I did spend I admit. Karen M, Calvin K, Gucci, Morgan de toi, I spent. Yes, I know a bit about the friend in particular that caused me to post. We are very good friends and just lately we have not been getting on due to schools for goodness sake of all things. She thinks I am stupid to go private for primary, cutting back the mums night out, cut my gym membership etc,she said she could not do that and I was wasting my money. I resent that.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:29:45

not sure what TaGM means though.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:35:00

My mum cleaned, worked in a factory during the week on the weekend worked on a stall on East Street Market. Sunday after church gave singing lessons. Always wanted to go to nursing school, but could not complete the course despite being more than 2/3 of the way through. Got paid to study teaching and train at the same time. Even after qualifying, first time grandparents attended a graduation, she still kept up the cleaning all the way through mine and my younger siblings secondary education. My mum did this,; so what's me giving up nights with friends, or the gym, or buying clothes for my kids? Not snobby, far from it you just don't know.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:42:24

Iggly - maybe you are right with your second point. My friend would want to, but won't give up certain things. She is lucky, she can just give up items she will soon not miss, can dye hair self, can eat out less, can meet friends less doing expensive activities etc. Some people, even working hard cannot afford it. One should never judge a person's choice that's all.

My parents worked bloody hard for little wages to do it, so you can do if you want/ or if you are able to but it is not for everyone. My mum could do so as she had kids young and unemployed parents to provided free childcare so had energy to work all those jobs 7 days a week for 15 years, so our lives would be better. Her peers who laughed, thier kids are not successful, generation of benefits, low paid jobs if working (think Dee White or 13 kids and council house), are still in their council homes etc. She changed her family's future.

Thanks for the posts.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 28-Jun-14 01:44:32

You sound a hoot tall - and not in a good way

Firstly, a businesses' turnover is no indication of its profit. In fact, people who tend to brag about turnover (which I presume your friends do, that's how you know?) tend to be the very ones who have marginal profit. So I wouldn't necessarily assume they can afford private schools

Secondly, as someone who was purely educated in the private sector! I can assure you that there are many very poor private schools out there.

To say that a grammar school is not equivalent to even a mediocre private school is just, well, wrong. Just because you pay for something does not necessarily make it more valuable.

Tallandgracefulmum Sat 28-Jun-14 01:47:47

Glastokitty - Not judging, but if you have people continually tell you you are wasting your money (forget the acquaintances) but friends.close friends, why can they judge and say I am being snobby as primary is a waste, they could never give up the things I have given up just for a school and oh by the way are saving for private secondary, should I not be upset? Anyway, I am a happier person I had the education I did and would do the same for my kids. We all want the best for our babies.

lljkk Sat 28-Jun-14 01:54:16

You are TaGM (Tall & G M).
I would resent anybody telling me how to spend my debt-free money. Is that the kind of friendship you have? maybe she is quite materialistic & you've moved on.

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