Relocate to afford private ed? WWYD?(46 Posts)
We currently live in the South East with a large-ish mortgage (£230K). Our local secondary schools are dire. Really dire. Despite really liking where we live, we are considering moving back up North to go mortgage free, which then, at a stretch would allow us to put our 3 kids through private secondary school. Eldest currently struggles with schoolwork, is not particularly academic and is quite impressionable. Really would worry about this in secondary. So confused. Wwyd?
It really, really depends on the school, tbh, along with what other opportunities there are for teenagers where you'd be moving to.
A grammar area does not sound like it would help in eldest's case, but perhaps an area that has good comprehensives?
Fees for three would be more of a stretch than a £230k mortgage (or was 230 a typo?).
For comparison, the mortgage payments on £230k would be the same per year as 1 child's fees at most day schools outside London.
Which part of the North are you thinking of moving to? For instance you could move to Otley or Ilkley, both one-school towns so you're certain to get in and both schools very good. Just to prevent confusion -they are called grammars but are comps.
Thanks for your replies. Yes, kids are spaced out so not too much overlap on fees. We do have some more equity and residual income so have looked and could just about manage it. Areas such as Stokeon Trent are very cheap. Just not sure it is the right way forward - whether it would be better to put that money into property and go for a good school locally instead.
There are very good state schools. Why not move somewhere with those available? Why assume private is the answer?
I'll probably offend half of MN, but Stoke-on-Trent is not somewhere renowned for good schooling AFAIAA. Nor is it somewhere I would want to invest in property.
I would move to an area with good state schools. Would fee paying school be a good investment for your eldest? If he isn't academic?
Agree with pp - relocate for better state schools - even if there isn't overlap, independent school fees really add up over the years.
undersmile - 4 hours in and it seems you are safe!
Good question touched - we never previously considered private - both feel would prefer state. But good friends have opted for private and kids are blossoming. I think this has forced us to reevaluate or at least consider how we might make it work. Also, 2014 - good point. But from what I can see, private schools seem to instill some kind of confidence into even the less academic and this seems an important gain in them achieving a fulfilled happy life. Obviously not a given, just an observation on those adults I know who were privately educated and not perhaps the brightest at school. Thanks all
If your DS isn't very academic you need a school that deals well with less academic kids. My DSD scraped in to an academic private school and it has been anything but good for her confidence. She's always aware that she's not as bright the others and struggles to make friends with super bright confident kids. (In contrast, it's been great for our more academic DCs). There are some like that but often smaller and less well known.
But somewhere with a good state school would give you more options, at least at primary age. Housing is cheaper up north, bit be wary of anywhere with very cheap prices, as there will be a reason why people don't want to live there.
I also think its a bit of a false economy - the cheaper the area, the less desirable it is and a big factor in that is the (state) schooling on offer. But yes, if you want to live in a cheap area and send the children to private school so are not concerned about the state sector, then yes, that would be viable.
Having said that, you still have to live in that area. Your children have to get to school / see friends / maybe socialise in the local town and (sweeping generalisation) would not be terribly comfortable living in a rough area and trying to give children independence at the same time.
I agree that you need to be careful about assuming that private schools will be better - there are good schools and bad schools and some will fit your children, some won't. Its not always a case of private = best.
And I would not live in Stoke.
Never in a month of Sundays. I would move somewhere with good state schools, absolutely, but would not go and live somewhere small and grotty to then send my children to a school with some of the richest children within a thirty mile radius!
I'd relocate for good state. Three DC in private would be a huge amount to find.
Come a bit further up, we have some fantastic state schools in Lancashire and Cumbria!
Yes to South Cumbria/North Lancs - we are so lucky up here! There are brilliant comprehensives which cater well for all abilities as well as two very academically successful grammar schools in Lancaster.
PS dont tell everyone as they will all want to come and live here!
PPS no point paying for your bog standard private school, I don't think. Worth it for a really good one.
Thanks for your comments. Good stuff. Funny how kids change things. I would never ever have considered private previously. Which is why your thoughts are so helpful. It really wouldn't make financial sense and may not guarantee a better experience of education for our kids. I see Rightmove might become a new best friend as I scout new areas. Thanks all x
On a practical note:
Im a natural nomad and have voluntarily moved around quite a lot, not for schools I hasten to add, just the inate desire to keep on the move and experience new surroundings. I love moving around and making friends (I'm naturally friendly) and then moving off and saying goodbye usually for good and making new friends. Do you? Do you have connections with Stoke on Trent, family/friends?
But there are down sides, my DS's dont know one set of grand parents very well, they were very elderly when we started moving around and travel was becoming difficult for them. We also lost the support/child care that often comes with living close to family. As our parents have aged and become unwell living 160+ miles up the road has become increasingly difficult.
Secondly paying doesn't mean better. You could move with a view to paying for education and find it's no better or even worse, you must research your local independent schools very carefully. I'm also not convinced that the money you save on your mortgage payments would put three children through independent ed however big a gap you've got. If the school is very cheap there might be a reason for this. Fees go up often considerably at secondary level.
I agree with others move to a cheaper area with good state schools, much of Wilts and Gloucestershire has good schools and significantly cheaper houses, on the M4 so the journey back to the south east for family friends etc isn't so daunting. Or maybe further west Bath is very nice friends live there and talk highly of the state schools. I could happily upsticks and move north but frankly not Stoke On Trent! I stayed near there once I wouldn't go back, further north is a different matter but then I'm am a lover off wide unspoilt open spaces.
Yeah, I think moving for a good state school would be a better option for you too. Even if you managed to get the money together to pay the fees, your children could feel like outsiders as you wouldn't be able to afford the same lifestyle . You would also need to consider that fees do go up, uniforms and lunches are much more costly than in a state school and there might be some other extras that would be on top too. Not to mention that your salaries could be lower in a poorer area of the country.
I can only speak from my experience we don't have the money many of my DS's friends's parents have by any stretch of the imagination but they and indeed us as parents have never felt like outsiders. Those few that did care about how wealthy you are were generally disliked by everyone else.
I also didn't find trips etc were more expensive than friends paid in the state sector, one friend with a DC in an excellent state school received a letter along the lines on 'congratulations your DC has been chosen to represent the school on a jolly to China this is such a privilege blah blah blah cost a mere £3500". The most I ever paid for a school jolly was £600 for a week in Italy all inclusive, flights, hotel, food, including a meal every night in a restaurant, one night in a top restaurant, entrance into all museums etc including the Uffizi, transport that included a water taxi in Venice from airport to hotel I don't think I could have organised it for less.
Have you looked at state boarding schools? You only pay for the boarding fees not the education so are more affordable.
It might also be worth looking at commutes eg you mentioned Stoke - it's 45 mins by train to Birmingham which has grammar schools. Obviously the child would need to get to the station and from station to school at the other end so not ideal.
Not my area of expertise but the OP says "eldest currently struggles with school work and is not particularly academic" that to me reads like he wouldn't pass a grammar school entrance test.
OP Gloucestershire has a mixture of excellent comprehensives and super selective grammars a friends sends 1 DC here and another one here.
There are the usual preconceptions about Independent schools here. They are not all selective and they are not all stuffed full of families with personal helicopters.
I would do what you are considering in a heartbeat. However, I would do it to get away from the SE and you say you like it there.
We moved from just outside the M25 (naice area) to the SW and I have never been happier. So much space and air- and the lack of pretentiousness is liberating. DS is at a gorgeous, free-range, country prep school and, as you put it, blossoming. Nothing 'bog standard' about it. It's glorious.
Just move to Hampshire and get your kids into one of the good Comps
places like Petersfield and Alton are lovely, not eye wateringly dear and the schools cover all types
Sasha, I really don't think the Bham grammars are the way forward, they are super-selectives. Plus the commute would be a nightmare, as none of the schools are remotely near New Street.
Likewise, state boarding is out- the costs of the boarding element would exceed servicing a £230k mortgage p.a.
An area with good, supportive state schools is the best bet, particularly as they can afford to shop around as they have no particular preferences.
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