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if you could afford to go private, should you?

(475 Posts)
tankerdale Fri 27-Jan-17 12:37:41

Sometimes I worry that we've got our priorities wrong. We've ended up in a lovely large home with high running costs, we've got some but not loads of savings, most of our 'wealth' is in our house. Income is very good on paper but month to month we only manage to save a small amount, if any. I work 2.5 days, DH is full time. We have a nice lifestyle and I guess eat out a bit but I don't think we're otherwise extravagant, don't spend much on holidays, run 1 car, don't spend loads on clothes etc.

3dc, 2 already at primary school. We live in the catchment of what is considered a very good non selective state secondary but it is massive.

As it stands we couldn't afford to put 3dc through private secondary (there's a nice one nearby). But have we got it wrong? Should we move to a more modest home and prioritise paying for their education?

Feeling a bit guilty that we're not putting them first. Dc1 seems v bright and will probably be ok anywhere, dc2 I'm not so sure about and too early to tell with dc3.

If they go to the state school and have any problems I'm going to wish we made a different choice I think.

So - in principle, if you can pay for private - should you?

sleepwhenidie Fri 27-Jan-17 12:42:25

Well it's an interesting moral question wrt pressure on the state system - I'd imagine the arguments would get vicious here!

But in your case, don't make the mistake of thinking private=better. And I'd say your choice of how to use your money is as valid as anyone else's. I would stick with where you are, stop worrying. Deal with issues if and when they arise. Nothing is set in stone, you can change things around if needs be?

Spam88 Fri 27-Jan-17 12:45:08

As sleep said, private doesn't mean better. I'd second just seeing how things go and if you feel a move to private is necessary further down the line then you can deal with it then.

mouldycheesefan Fri 27-Jan-17 12:49:39

No. If your local schools are good, spend your money in something else. I spend mine on holidays, extra curricular activities and property. I don't think my children would get significantly better results if I spent £250k on school fees.

nuttyknitter Fri 27-Jan-17 12:59:22

Private doesn't mean better education but it does mean you potentially buy privileged access for your DCs to attend better universities, get better jobs etc. Morally shameful.

happygardening Fri 27-Jan-17 13:11:54

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.
On the one hand we have friends from India/Asia etc they see education as the most important thing and often the way out of the gutter or preventing yourself form ending up in the gutter at worst or very poorly paid job at best so they and channel all their money into their children education s a priority over other things. even those who are poor will channel everything they have into education. Also even amongst those who are already paying fees there is a massive culture of tutoring after school as well. They also frequently expect their DC's to look after them in their old age, therefore they are investing in their future; a comfortable home, servants etc in their old age etc. I think many would find our attitudes surprising.
Secondly I agree paying doesn't always equal better. I personally think a lot depends on where you live, what your DC's are interested in and what you would like your DC to get from education and what sort of school you are able either to afford or consider if your able or willing to think about boarding then your paying for a very different education than a child gets in a day school.
Thirdly for me and many who live in very affluent MC areas with "outstanding high achieving state schools" it's not about exam results, I certainly did not pay for better results, we might prefer the general ethos that can be found in some independent schools, or we might be looking for things that the state sector cannot provide (no criticism intended) simply due to lack of time/resources/facilities.

ithakabythesea Fri 27-Jan-17 13:16:45

The more intelligent articulate & privelaged people use state, the greater the drive to improve education that benefits all. Withdraw into private & you contribute to sink schools for those who do not have that option. it is not all about you.

happygardening Fri 27-Jan-17 13:18:20

"you potentially buy privileged access for your DCs to attend better universities, get better jobs etc. Morally shameful."
I can't speak for other parents but thats not why I paid. I actually don't believe that you do get "privileged access" "to better universities".
A few weeks ago a friend (an old alumni of a very big name school) who recruits undergraduates for the famous company he works for said that first and foremost in potential recruits he looks for a 2:1 from a good university and then something a bit different that will imply that you can get on in the world of work e.g. be team player, have initiative are happy to work hard etc so he looks at what you've done even if its sweeping the roads, not where you've been to school.

BROOKSFAMILY Fri 27-Jan-17 13:19:53

@ithakabythesea - that's just silly. When I was picking my child's school, I didn't think about the other children - why would you? You pick the one you think is best for your child!

happygardening Fri 27-Jan-17 13:21:30

"The more intelligent articulate & privelaged people use state, the greater the drive to improve education that benefits all. Withdraw into private & you contribute to sink schools for those who do not have that option. it is not all about you."
1. I don't have any "sink schools" where I live all are outstanding and high achieving.
2. I actually think this is just a romantic fairy tail, a few intelligent articulate people are not going to change a school.
3. When the chips are down I like most other will do what is right for my DC"s I genuinely admire those who don't.

Oly5 Fri 27-Jan-17 13:25:17

We're in your shoes and I'm planning on paying private for A levels with the hope of good universities off the back of that.
Until then they'll stay in good state schools

ithakabythesea Fri 27-Jan-17 13:26:44

Actually a few articulate and intelligent people can change the world - who else do you think does it? I do consider wider issues in the choices I make because I believe as a society it is important we recognise our interdependencies. It should not just be 'I'm all right, jack' that is not how you create a fair society.

walkinginto2017 Fri 27-Jan-17 13:31:01

Private doesn't equal better.

We fell into that thought pattern and went private. It was not better and not worth the money. Very much smoke and mirrors to get people to keep paying the money when in reality, it wasn't that different to state except smaller classes (which aren't always beneficial). We've moved to a good state and the children have thrived much more than they ever did at private. That's not always the case but just to illustrate that private doesn't equal better.

walkinginto2017 Fri 27-Jan-17 13:31:26

Private doesn't equal better.

We fell into that thought pattern and went private. It was not better and not worth the money. Very much smoke and mirrors to get people to keep paying the money when in reality, it wasn't that different to state except smaller classes (which aren't always beneficial). We've moved to a good state and the children have thrived much more than they ever did at private. That's not always the case but just to illustrate that private doesn't equal better.

QuiltedAloeVera Fri 27-Jan-17 13:37:00

Could you really afford it, even with downsizing etc? 3 kids, full fees, plus uniforms, extras, trips..... £40-100k a year, depending.

Sunnyshores Fri 27-Jan-17 13:55:23

My 2 DC are private and it is better for them, but it took alot of effort and moving across the country to find the right private school for them (one has slight SNs and the other is very arty but not academic).

Although their new Prep is better for them and if you spoke to locals they'd say its a "very good private school", but I dont think it would suit your very bright DC at all, nor would it suit any very sporty children as its too small to have a decent football or rugby team etc.

And then theres affordability and choices around priorities etc. Im satisfied mostly with our choice and sacrifice foreign holidays, brand new cars, but I wouldnt live in a smaller house or in a worse area.

My point is, if possible, pick a school that suits your child, that may be state or it may be private. Private certainly does not always equal better.

blankmind Fri 27-Jan-17 14:02:10

You need to assess what each child needs, and what environment they thrive in. Then choose a school for them based on that.

It's so important to find somewhere they are happy and encouraged to be the best they can be. Sometimes state is fantastic, sometimes private is, it all depends on the child, their abilities, where they feel they fit in and and if there is good pastoral support to iron out any blips before they turn into incidents.

GetAHaircutCarl Fri 27-Jan-17 14:02:29

Only you can decide what takes priority OP.

All I will say is that this is probably the worse time in state education for a very long time.

Funding is being slashed, there is a huge teacher shortage and the government are forcing through a raft of ill conceived and rushed curricula and qualifications.

Lord fucking help us.

happygardening Fri 27-Jan-17 14:17:10

"I do consider wider issues in the choices I make because I believe as a society it is important we recognise our interdependencies. It should not just be 'I'm all right, jack' that is not how you create a fair society."
I take my hat off to you I find this very admirable I lacking the time energy and motivation to change this particular part of the world took the easy route.

BertrandRussell Fri 27-Jan-17 14:21:13

"We're in your shoes and I'm planning on paying private for A levels with the hope of good universities off the back of that."

Why do you think going private for A levels is more likely to get you to a good university?

tankerdale Fri 27-Jan-17 14:21:28

I guess realistically it could still be a struggle for 3dc even if we downsized.

I guess that's the crux of it - whether private = better.

Are they less likely to get bullied at private?
Less likely to fall in with a 'bad crowd?'
Less likely to have to deal with really disruptive behaviour in class?
More likely to be motivated to try their best academically?
More likely to be challenged (for very able DC) and less likely to be 'overlooked' (for less able DC)?
More likely to have exposure to high quality music and music-making at private? (Music important to both DH & I and DC are showing signs of interest & ability)

On the other side, are they more likely to feel very under pressure at the selective private school?
Less likely to develop the ability to relate to people from all different backgrounds?

Lots of questions....

happygardening Fri 27-Jan-17 14:37:06

No straight yes or no bullying occurs in both sectors, "bad crowds" there will be undesirable children in both sectors, and disruptive children in the independent sector, what motivates anyone is complicated, our exceeding,y bright DS2 was completely over looked in the state sector but my struggling SEN DS1 was poorly catered for in both sectors. In some independent schools music will be on a completely different level but definitely not all. Children will often feel u dervpressure in the independent sector results are very important to parents and schools but many at our local high achieving league table obsessed state schools feel under tremendous pressure.
DS2 at his boarding school met a huge range of nationalities, DS1 state school was 90% white MC.
A lot depends on where you live and what you can afford.

GetAHaircutCarl Fri 27-Jan-17 14:43:08

bert because sixth forms in particular have felt the brunt of funding cuts.

ChocolateWombat Fri 27-Jan-17 14:46:07

I think you have to weigh up a number of things to decide which is best for your situation. It all depends on how much value and importance you place of different aspects;

- how anxious about the issues of them failing and falling in with a bad crowd are you? Answer might be influenced by how well they are doing academically now, how easily led they seem to be now, how much confidence you have in yourself being able to help them academically or to avoid peer pressure.
- how much better is the academic performance in the independent school you are considering? Is it is substantial and worth the costs and sacrifices? Plus does the academic profile of that school suit your DC better than the state option.
- how much do you value your current bigger house and lifestyle? Will it be a real sacrifice to downsize and to have less good holidays etc?

Loads of people use state schools who could pay if they made some lifestyle changes. For them, it is the right choice and most of them have confidence in their kids, the school and themselves to deliver good outcomes. The choice to go independent can come from fear, rather than more concrete reasons.

If it involves big lifestyle changes, I would simply say that you need to be sure it would be worth it for your family and you know why you are making the change. There is no right or wrong answer and sticking with the current plan or switching could be right.

tankerdale Fri 27-Jan-17 15:02:10

Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate them.

I think there definitely is the potential for fear or fear of the unknown to come into play.

I was (am?) a bit of a sensitive soul as are my 3 dds. I went to a small independent all girls secondary so that is what I know. I felt safe there and the music on offer gave me opportunities that have stayed with me my whole life.
Traveling there and having few local friends was not good and not what I would like for them but we are just considering state/private very nearby.

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