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Is it worth taking DS on a tour of the school?

(17 Posts)
stirling Mon 12-Sep-16 10:32:35

If i don't know whether I'll be able to afford to send him there?

Hello all,

In a real dilemma about schools in general, DS has just started y6 and is v bright. The local state school up the road where we're more or less guaranteed a place is an ok school, formerly good reputation but lots of unhappy parents - staffing shortages etc.

I have a small amount of money saved up and a fairly low income, my ex husband and I are separated and he still contributes. We've been struggling financially so it's beyond me why I'm even considering an independent school. But I just feel worried that the local school could be his downfall. He's very much inspired by a stricter regime. The local free school for brighter pupils is virtually impossible to gain a place (qe boys) and H and i would prefer a mixed school for our children. This leaves only Highgate and Aldenham as possibilities but only under the condition that we'd have fees discounted - I have no idea how likely this is.

DS is a sensitive boy and I am more inclined to send him to the local state school, for convenience (it's a minute's walk away) and also my health isn't great. He's ok with the fact that the local school is where he'll probably go. But I can't help but feel that he should be given other chances - even sitting the qe boys test.

Anyway I realise I'm rambling, we have a tour booked for Aldenham tomorrow. Is it worth going along with him if we most probably won't be sending him there?

Apologies if I come across as woolly, that's how I'm feeling!


Cherryskypie Mon 12-Sep-16 10:36:40

I don't really understand why you are planning to take him. If he likes it you can't afford to send him.

titchy Mon 12-Sep-16 10:47:00

Complete waste of time if you can't afford it. You may get 10% off the fees but no more than that unless he's an England under 12 champion in something.

I'd like to live in a mansion and drive a £100k car. But I can't afford it so there's no point looking.

AnotherNewt Mon 12-Sep-16 10:55:33

You need to look at the school's bursary policy carefully. There will be something on the website, but you probably need to talk to the bursar as well. You could do this when you go - alone - and look around.

Only take your DS if there is a chance that he would qualify for a bursary and if the awards they make are large enough to make it affordable.

oklumberjack Mon 12-Sep-16 10:55:39

Have you at least looked at the state school?

In my experience (dd just started secondary) people love to tell you all their grumbles. If I had listened to most people I know I would never even have considered the school my dd is at.

Have a look at least.

Cherryskypie Mon 12-Sep-16 10:57:21

I'd try and find out if he has any chance of getting into qe. That might mean paying a tutor who has experience of getting boys into there to see him a couple of times to find out if your DS is in the ballpark of what the school is looking for. There's no point in making him sit a test if he's very far away from the kind of marks needed.

I'd also start being very positive about the local school. If he's bright and sensitive he'll pick up on your ambivalence towards it. The chances are that he'll end up going there. It would be a bad idea to have him feel that he's going to a school that's the least desirable option.

rightsforwomen Mon 12-Sep-16 11:00:39

You need to find out about bursaries before you go any further. Just call them up, they should be able to give you an idea of what's available.

I got a very large bursary for my son to attend a private 6th form. I started the process not having a clue about it all, but it all worked out very well ignoring the god awful early starts to get him to the bus

Blowninonabreeze Mon 12-Sep-16 11:06:51

I wouldn't take him if you can't afford it. It's unfair on an 11 year old.

I would go myself with the aim of being fully informed on their bursaries and assistance available for someone in your situation. I expect they are extremely competitive and difficult to obtain - but worth a try.

stirling Mon 12-Sep-16 11:10:15

Yes, all making v valid points - thank you enormously for the swift replies. Got to be more positive about the local school, and will go along tomorrow alone. Did ask bursar over the phone but she was vague.

drspouse Mon 12-Sep-16 11:11:43

Is the free school a new grammar school? Are they allowing those now?

If so, aren't the tests all done and dusted/about to happen in the next week? So it's too late to go in for it now?

iwillnevereatspaghetti Mon 12-Sep-16 11:15:42

Don't take him on the tour. Y6 children will all fall in love with shiny facilities, making your decision more emotional than it should be.

PatriciaHolm Mon 12-Sep-16 13:08:20

presumably you've registered him for the QE test? Registration closed in July so I hope so... Definitely sit it if you have, what harm could it do?

ClaireBlunderwood Mon 12-Sep-16 13:35:36

I know someone on a 100% bursary at Highgate. Not genius bright, I don't think, more bright enough to get in as with any child. I think Highgate very keen to offer bursaries to pupils who don't fit the usual profile of the school ie from different ethnic groups. Certainly this child features very prominently in their marketing videos...

Suspect though that a bright supported boy will do well in a reasonably state school though and I wouldn't underestimate the joy of a short commute.

Badbadbunny Mon 12-Sep-16 15:48:21

Don't take him on the tour. Y6 children will all fall in love with shiny facilities

My son found the "feel" far more important than the superficial appearance gimmicks. The two he liked were both very old, dark and austere. He didn't get a good feeling from the two bright and shiny new schools due to the staff who just ignored us and carried on chatting amongst themselves. He loved the oldest (with leaky roof and cracked windows) simply because the teachers were really engaging and enthusiastic towards him. In my opinion, the people are more important than the surroundings.

stirling Tue 13-Sep-16 10:53:14

Thanks again, went on the tour alone this morning. Stunning school and the pupils that took me on the tour were very content. I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy. Unless heavily subsidised, don't think I could afford it at all. There's so much more than fees.

Thanks for the reassuring point about school commute. It does make a difference, my drive to the school this morning was semi stressful.

Thanks again

Offline Tue 13-Sep-16 16:41:17

And now go and look round the closest school!

Iwantawhippet Thu 15-Sep-16 22:53:26

The fees at Highgate include all compulsory extras, I think. So trips and lunches are covered. It is pretty wealthy in terms of funds and is able to offer a relatively high number of burseries.

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