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What would you do in this situation?

(67 Posts)
lucas1612 Sat 04-Feb-17 19:15:31

Dh and I are going round in circles and I feel like we won't make the decision and the deadline is looming. Don't feel like there's many people I can talk to in RL without being judged. So looking for outside perspective I guess.

Ds who is 4 has been accepted into a private school after an informal assessment day. Df has offered to pay his fees. I have made a pro/cons list:

Pros
- think he's bright (as far as you can tell when 4) so we should run with this and provide best learning environment we can which would challenge him and tap into his ability .
- smaller class sizes, 1:4 care from TA/teacher
- more opportunities with sports, arts, languages, enrichment etc.
- others in class bright so generally push achievements up.
- ds very determined and strong willed, could be influenced very easily and fall into 'wrong crowd' at state school.
- amazing results
- secondary school sorted, no need to move house to get good school (if we needed to do that anyway)
- if bright could get bored at state school and loose thirst for learning.
- it's an amazing opportunity.
- will get into after school club straight away.
- might not get in later on if start at state.
- excellent inspection report, state only good.

Cons
- will it push him too much?
- he might not be academic, does it suit his personality?
- didn't love it when we looked around but loved the state school and confident would def be happy there.
- not as much sense of community, catchment big and potentially no play dates after school.
- will we/him fit in? Probably 'poorest' there.
- don't want him to grow up in middle class bubble with no variety of people and lifestyles.
- distance from home. Can't walk there like state school. Stressful pick up/drop off
- hols overlap with work hols
- didn't love it when looked around, not community feel state school had.
- possible extra costs involved?

On previous threads people have said they know which school dc would fit into or like best. We re not sure ds would love private or not but we think he d love the local state school.

Based on this, what decision would you make?

hesterton Sat 04-Feb-17 19:17:43

Why not start him at state and see how he does? If he is not flourishing, you are in the happy place of having another option.

Floggingmolly Sat 04-Feb-17 19:21:28

There are middle class children at state school too... confused
Are there really only 8 children per class?

Needmorewine Sat 04-Feb-17 19:22:46

If you loved the local state, could see him being happy there and it will work for you as a family logistically then go for that. You can always move him later.

Surreyblah Sat 04-Feb-17 19:24:06

Cons: what if FiL can't or won't continue to pay the costly fees?

Surreyblah Sat 04-Feb-17 19:24:26

Is the private school financially viable?

titchy Sat 04-Feb-17 19:27:12

What's the state school like? Full of obnoxious brats with criminal record parents (you said you were concerned about him falling in with the wrong crowd), or perfectly normal people like you?

Don't underestimate the importance of play dates, belonging to your community and being able to walk to school.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sat 04-Feb-17 19:31:41

I would say the state school because of this:

"didn't love it when we looked around but loved the state school and confident would def be happy there."

and to a lesser extent; this: "not as much sense of community, catchment big and potentially no play dates after school." and this: "Stressful pick up/drop off"

It just seems like the state school is a better fit for your family.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sat 04-Feb-17 19:32:36

"Why not start him at state and see how he does? If he is not flourishing, you are in the happy place of having another option."

Very good point hesterton

GeorgeTheHamster Sat 04-Feb-17 19:32:52

Go with your gut.
And consider moving him for secondary.

Ilovecaindingle Sat 04-Feb-17 19:33:46

Is there a mil?? Worried about in law repercussions!!

EssentialHummus Sat 04-Feb-17 19:33:59

To me the biggest issues are whether FIL can definitely cover 7/14 years worth of fees, and what your state school is like.

Will FIL pay if you have another child? Another two children?

Blueberryblueberry Sat 04-Feb-17 19:41:03

We were in a sort of similar situation. I am much more keen on state school than dh (he was privately educated both primary and secondary, I was state throughout). We're doing state primary, probably private secondary as a compromise but with the knowledge (more to make dh feel happy!) that if we're unhappy we can move to private at any stage and this is possibly/probably an easier move than the other way around (private back to state). Ds is loving his primary though so no plans to move and can't see that changing.

lucas1612 Sat 04-Feb-17 19:52:07

Yes df will pay for dd in a couple of years time. Df says there will be enough money until they leave so that's not the problem.

We have discussed waiting until ds in older but then run the risk he might not get in when the testing is more formal and vigorous. It's a risk we think.

We would both be happy with local state school. It's got a good in OFSTED and many of the neighbours dcs go there and they are very happy with it. We had a good feeling about it and loved the sense of community there. However, there's no guarantee we would get in and we would not be so happy with choices 2 and 3 so it's a gamble.

The school is very mixed though and with the state cuts and the changes to the curriculum it does make me feel the school can't offer the same opportunities the private one would. I ve been a teacher myself and know how hard it is to cater for 30 pupils with different abilities and it only takes a few lively children in the class to take up the majority of the teachers time.

By fall into the wrong crowd I don't mean the state school is full of feral children I just mean ds is very easily influenced so if there were some disruptive children in the class he could easily fall into that group and go along with it. It seems much less likely there would disruptive children in the private school.

Yes, I suppose the not being able to walk to school and be part of the local community and potentially not having play dates nearby is a big factor for me. But then we live in a fairly affluent area so it well be plenty of children locally do go to the private school.

Pick up/drop off could be stressful as dd does to a childminder in opposite direction but that's only for another 2 years or less so maybe shouldn't effect long term decision.

lucas1612 Sat 04-Feb-17 19:52:46

Sorry my mistake, there's 18 in a class and there's two classes.

lucas1612 Sat 04-Feb-17 19:57:59

Blueberry- do you feel like that's a risk? The private school has set intake times and as they get older the testing is more formal and vigorous. I don't feel like we could just move him if we want to as he might not get in. It's a risk.

Plus, the deadline of accepting the private school offer is before we know which state school he gets into so although we re happy with choice 1 we wouldn't be so happy with choice 2/3 so a gamble. Considering asking if this can be extended.

LyndaLaHughes Sat 04-Feb-17 21:17:57

I'm a teacher and would always say the number one factor in making any choices about schools is that feeling you get when you look around. I cannot stress enough how important that is. You said you loved the state school. I honestly think that is the key point you've made.

smilingsarahb Sat 04-Feb-17 21:24:11

Lots of people round here do state for infants to get a local network of friends and then move for ks2. There aren't really bad crowds at 4, 5 and 6. The odd naughty child.

lucas1612 Sat 04-Feb-17 21:33:34

Yes I agree, we did love the local state school. Think my guts saying that one. But what if we didn't get in? What if he didn't get in at the yr3/6 intake? Would we forever regret our decision?

Think it's more difficult as df is currently paying for both my dsis x2 dcs in private school so there's always going to be the comparison of us choosing something different and wondering if we did the right thing if dsis dcs prove to be at a higher level than ds. It's difficult to go against the grain. Are we denying him an amazing opportunity and not working with how bright he is? It is an extremely competitive private school with over 250 applicants for 32 places.

lucas1612 Sat 04-Feb-17 21:34:45

Smiling- I suppose it's peace of mind knowing he's in until he's 18 and we don't have to worry.

titchy Sat 04-Feb-17 21:47:37

If he's bright he'll get in later. If he's not then he wouldn't be a good fit in a school that selects later down the line.

titchy Sat 04-Feb-17 21:48:57

Oh and staying till he's 18 may not be the right thing - lots of kids benefit from a move at 11.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Sat 04-Feb-17 22:00:04

I'm not a big fan of all-through schools - it can be quite stultifying being in the same environment from 3/4 to 18 and most children relish the chance to spread their wings at 11 or 13 in a different school with different children and teachers.

There's a lot more movement in and out of schools than you might think. Dd started at our local state primary but due to a variety of factors it became clear that it wasn't working for her by the time she was in Y2. She started Y3 at a lovely prep which she wouldn't have had a chance of getting in at reception as you needed to register before your child's first birthday. She was not at all disadvantaged by not having been there for the first three years. The early years curriculum is virtually identical in both sectors so in your place I'd go with your gut feeling for now and go for the school you really liked and which will make your life easier

relaxitllbeok Sun 05-Feb-17 09:32:29

If you accept the indepent school place and then don't actually want to send your child because you get a place at your preferred state school, they can't make you send your child to the independent school! You'd typically lose your deposit and be liable for the first term's fees anyway (read all t&cs carefully!) but they'll be used to it; write them a nice letter and they won't hold it against you if you reapply later. Might be worth proceeding on that basis, if either DF would be prepared to risk losing those fees, or you could plan to cover the cost of that "insurance policy" yourselves? (And bear in mind that if you couldn't afford to lose even one term's fees, you stand to be very dependent on DF if you go that way.)

Hoppinggreen Sun 05-Feb-17 09:38:16

I have a very good relationship with both my mum and inlaws but there is no way I wouid send my dc Private if I had to depend on them to pay fees ( unless the State option was terrible and it doesn't sound like it is)
What we did was State Primary and saved up to ensure that we had a years school fees in reserve and then went for Private Secondary.
DD is very bright and her State Primary was mixed but she still did very well there. DS is t as academicbut still thriving and is happy and will join his sister at her school for Secondary.
In an emergency my Mum wouid and could pay a terms school fees but I'm not anticipating it.

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