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Oxfordshire private school waiting lists

(8 Posts)
Am3d3o Fri 12-Jun-15 04:25:37

Hi all.

We are moving to Oxford with our eight month old son next year and will (probably) be in that region for the foreseeable future.

We have read a lot about over-subscribed independent schools in Oxfordshire, putting boys' names on waiting lists from birth, etc. However, we would like to get a feel for when this actually needs to be happen to be confident of gaining a place at our chosen school.

We're tempted to submit registration forms now to the main players who are presumably the most likely to be over-subscribed in a few years time. However, we would be doing this without visiting (we are overseas until next year) and don't know with confidence where we will be when our son is 4, 8, 13, etc. We haven't yet made up our minds about state primary vs independent pre-prep but will probably assume the latter for now as we don't know what catchment area we will land in.

What is the general feeling in terms of how early we should begin this process? And is it expected or bad form to spread our net very widely by registering at multiple schools...?

We would be grateful for any advice.

mummytime Fri 12-Jun-15 10:42:02

I think you are panicking unnecessarily. Most schools do not just take children from their waiting lists, most have some kind of "selection process". If your child can pass those they will be offered a place. There is a lot of movement in Oxfordshire, which means school paces do become available.

Rather than panic I would look carefully at your finances, school fees tend to rise by 5% per year roughly, in addition to fee increases with changes in stage (eg. Pre-prep to Prep).
Oxford and Oxfordshire have a number of very good state schools, most academics send their children to state schools, so there is an excellent group of peers. You can't apply for State schools until October- January the year before your DC starts school (and as long as you apply by the deadline when you apply makes no difference).

AliceAnneB Fri 12-Jun-15 13:20:11

If you have the money for the registration fees then there is no harm in putting his name down especially at the ones that are very over subscribed. We put our son's name down at 4 months for certain schools and I'm now very glad we did. You will feel better knowing you've done it but do make a spreadsheet or it's hard to remember which ones you've done in a few years time.

1805 Fri 12-Jun-15 14:44:36

as far as I know, the only one that you would be advised to register "from birth" so-to-speak is Radley, which starts from age 13. All the others you can leave for a few years and decide which one you like and whether ds would fit in, and pass any entry requirements.

I think the good state schools in Oxford are more oversubscribed than the privates.

I hope you enjoy Oxford. Whereabouts are you thinking of living?

roguedad Fri 12-Jun-15 17:57:07

1805 is spot on. I also heard early registration can help for the Dragon, but can't pretend to have much evidence for it! For Year 7 entry for Abingdon Senior, we registered around the start of Year 5, i.e. about a year before the admissions process really kicks in. With the exception of Radley, I think most schools pay more attention to the ranking on their entrance tests than who got in early, and there can then be a different waiting list for those who do not get an offer in the first round following the exams. You might also consider trying to get in-catchment for Cherwell. So you pay for a more expensive house rather than fees!

Am3d3o Mon 15-Jun-15 03:20:36

Thanks for all of this advice. We don't know where we'll be living yet - I will be based at the John Radcliffe but don't know the area well enough to have developed any other preferences.

We'll probably register for a couple of schools but then not think about it again for a little while. The 5% compound fee increases certainly make frightening reading on a spreadsheet. Lynams>Dragon>MCS come to £342,194 for any child that's six months now, assuming that fees rise by 5% each year.

1805 Mon 15-Jun-15 10:14:38

well, if you're based at the JR, you could look at buying close to the Cherwell secondary state school. Summertown is £££££, Marston cheaper. Watch the catchment area v carefully though. Don't stray too far from the school!
Dragon is more expensive than other prep schools in Oxford by the way. Lynams > MCS would be slightly cheaper.
Good luck!

mummytime Mon 15-Jun-15 10:38:37

I would be looking at Marston area, very convenient for JR, and just make sure its in Cherwell catchment, if you are going to stay that long.

I really would be looking to invest in property rather than schools like the Dragon, at least with property you can cash it in later.
Your DC is very very small, and if he would benefit from/need private school, there is plenty of time to look into that later.

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