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State vs Private and the huge cuts to State

(32 Posts)
DonkeyofDoom Wed 22-Feb-17 17:04:10

We had planned to use our local state school. We didn't get into any of the six in our neighbourhood and ended up being allocated a dire school two bus journeys away. In the end we have gone private for reception but planned to move to get DC1 and eventually DC2 into a state school as the waitlist has actually gone backwards for us. We are now further down then when we began. The council have been blunt and told us that even though we live less than .3 from our nearest school we are highly unlikely to get a place.

But the announced cuts look really deep for schools that were already stretched. Now I'm left wondering if we are better off downsizing our house and paying for private for both. It would be a huge stretch but it could be done. Have others decided to go private because of the cuts?

admission Wed 22-Feb-17 17:45:37

I think that will be a mistake if you are not sure whether you can afford it. Anything could happen in the next few years in terms of school funding both through the new national funding formula and the pressure on the government to put more money into education.

Also you have no idea what independent school fees might do in the next few years and they certainly will not be going down. You might downsize and still not be able to afford.

You need to establish why you did not get into any of your 6 preferred schools and also what is the nearest school that you would be happy with who might be able to offer a place. You might need to adjust your focus a bit to find that school. Then hopefully you can get both children into the same school

happygardening Wed 22-Feb-17 17:47:09

Ive wondered if the cuts in the state ed budget will mean that more people will consider independent ed. Seems logical that it will.
Do you have a long term plan? What about secondary where fees can rise considerably? Or is your plan to return to state ed?
Paying doesn't necessarily mean better, obviously if your compare the famous big names with their very large fees and generous endowments from old boys/parents etc with state ed then it's obvious that they are going to be significantly better resourced but many small independent schools are also under financial pressure.

happygardening Wed 22-Feb-17 17:53:30

"the pressure on the government to more money into education"
Unfortunately for education is going to a long way second in the queue to our completely collapsing NHS, if they're going to divy out any significant money (it will only be in response to overwhelming public and media pressure and I'm sceptical that they are) then the I hope NHS will get it.

Growingpeopleme Wed 22-Feb-17 19:29:02

If you want to put pressure this group of parents have set up a fantastic website with some really easy to use resources www.fairfundingforallschools.org

DonkeyofDoom Wed 22-Feb-17 19:43:44

We are safely inside the catchment for a fabulous state secondary or have a few grammars also. But people have said it's madness to transfer from private to state at secondary and I've got it the wrong way round.

Lohengrin Wed 22-Feb-17 21:50:03

Loads of people do private until 11 and then move to State - particularly those hoping to acccess academically selective state schools.

flowersatdawn Wed 22-Feb-17 22:25:14

Unfortunately you would be playing right into the Government's hands if you stuck with private. They would like nothing better if more people made the switch. Cheaper you see. Please don't do it. Stay and fight for the greater good.

happygardening Thu 23-Feb-17 07:15:10

I know Im sounding very pessimistic and defeatist but I don't think fighting for the "greater good" is going to make a scrap of difference.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 23-Feb-17 07:21:08

I assume for many people in this situation, moving house will be the best solution, to somewhere with better state schools. Is that on option, op?

Want2bSupermum Thu 23-Feb-17 07:25:50

How the heck can you live 0.3 miles from a school and not be in the catchment?!? Not only that, how can you fail to get a place in any of your 6 local schools? I would be questioning this. It doesn't make sense that you would send a primary school child two bus journeys away. How the heck are you supposed to keep any sort of job?

Surreyblah Thu 23-Feb-17 07:26:34

Resources are much better in many private schools (except tiny ones) but obviously it comes at a cost. Fees will increase year on year.

Lots of people do private for primary and then state. If the private school is "all through" to 16 or 18 though it won't prep DC for 11+.

Selling house seems a bit extreme if you're in catchment for a good secondary. If you're going to do that you might as well rent next to one of the state primaries!

DonkeyofDoom Thu 23-Feb-17 08:09:13

We live in London in what has become a black hole. When we bought our house we would have been in for two schools. By the time DC1 came along we were in for nothing. The school they offered was 1.6 miles away but at the time I was heavily pregnant and on modified bedrest so walking it wasn't an option therefore the two bus changes. We would have gone past 5 primaries to get to it! Our nearest school is
.29. Last distance offered was .2716. We never got higher than 7th on the waitlist.

DC1 is at a preprep so will need to go somewhere at 7+. Initially I thought we'd get a state school place by then but the council have been blunt in telling us it's extremely unlikely. So now what. We have DC2 who will also need a place. We love our house and our community but it seems ridiculous for me to work full time just to pay school fees.

Then all the cuts were announced. The private school DC1 is lovely. It is very well resourced and he's had a fabulous start (as well he should for the huge bill!). Now we are left wondering if moving to get a place in a state school is the right option or if we should move out of london and use some of the equity in the house to pay for private or we stay in this house and pay for prep until secondary. But it has been pointed out that the kids may not be keen at all to leave their school if none of their friends are.

I know with the enormous Brexit bill looming and the NHS falling to pieces schools are unlikely to get any further money which seems short sighted as surely this will only create a larger gulf in the future generations.

NoArmaniNoPunani Thu 23-Feb-17 08:11:36

Fighting for the greater good might be a noble exercise but our children are not social experiments or pawns to be used in that way. I'd go private if I could.

GetAHaircutCarl Thu 23-Feb-17 08:22:04

I can't advise on your personal situation OP, but the state system is a terrible point.

The cuts are horrendous, there is a teacher shortage, and the government have introduced a barrage of ill thought out new exams.

DonkeyofDoom Thu 23-Feb-17 09:10:58

I suppose I'm wondering just how bad it will be for the State sector or if it's being blown out of proportion. We always assumed our kids would go State at least for Primary and would reassess at Secondary. Now I'm stuck wondering if the system itself is going to be so on its knees that moving to get a state place isn't the best idea. I don't want to move, find the state school so under resourced that we end up pulling them back into prep. My SIL who has had kids in both state and private reckons the kids will be in for a shock and so we will we moving from private to state. Neither DH nor I were educated in the U.K. so feeling a bit at a loss. The pushback against the cuts doesn't seem likely to get anywhere if I'm honest.

GetAHaircutCarl Thu 23-Feb-17 09:35:15

The situation isn't being blown out of proportion at all.

State education is in crisis. No doubt about it.

JoJoSM2 Thu 23-Feb-17 14:38:45

I do know quite a few people who go Indy for primary and then send their children to state grammars.

If you'd consider moving house to afford school fees, could you instead move to somewhere with more state school places? The catchment areas seem extremely tiny in your neck of the woods.

In terms of worrying about the cuts, the schools will be affected but I'm sure it'll be far from being a complete disaster.

nat73 Thu 23-Feb-17 14:41:36

Are you in the catchment of the state 2ndy school? Is it any good? Could you pay for primary and then go to state secondary?

PettsWoodParadise Thu 23-Feb-17 18:44:35

I was worried about this, DD having recently moved from an Independent to a state school. I can honestly say that the buildings aren't the greatest, the plumbing is atrocious but the teaching and pastoral care and opportunities are amazing. I just had DD's parents evenings last night and the sort of feedback the teachers gave was helpful, insightful and passionate. I will add that this is the sort of state school that probably has slightly less recruitment problems than most being one with few discipline issues and with a good reputation. However saying that they have a temporary Head as apparently there is a major shortage of Heads and try just can't find one. It isn't all doom and gloom in the state sector. We also have money finally for those things that augment school like music, the theatre and sporting clubs. If we'd stayed in the independent sector we too would have had to downsize which would have been a major upheaval and would have been a lifestyle change for the next twenty years not just seven years of fees.

goodbyestranger Fri 24-Feb-17 08:10:36

Carl and I both agree on the issue of cuts, teacher recruitment crisis etc in the state sector but Carl - DC in the independent sector also have to take what you describe as 'ill thought new exams'! (In fact the exams are good news for high achievers, just not for everyone, but my main point is that they're not exclusive to the state sector, so not especially relevant here).

happy I reckon you're right, about the NHS coming first, and about those who can afford it jumping ship to the independent sector, although it's just about possible that the government will re-evaluate its proposals for the new funding formula after this current consultation. There's beginning to be more noise made by stakeholders and MPs anyhow - but we'll see. State schools need very, very good SLTs at the moment, to navigate the cuts - I'd certainly worry enormously if I were a parent in a middlingly led school, let alone a poorly led school.

goodbyestranger Fri 24-Feb-17 08:14:25

PettsWood yes, applicants for posts of HTs are extremely thin on the ground and really good aspiring HTs are as scarce as hen's teeth.

GetAHaircutCarl Fri 24-Feb-17 09:51:20

goodbye independent schools can avoid the new qualifications to a degree - IGCSEs, IB, Pre U. Plus, where they choose to engage with the new stuff, they can throw resources at it at least.

In state schools, the new decoupled A levels, for example, are being tackled by sixth forms forced to run ridiculously low contact hours. It's a recipe for disaster.

OCSockOrphanage Fri 24-Feb-17 10:18:00

A change of thinking?

goodbyestranger Fri 24-Feb-17 10:49:24

Agreed Carl, but A Levels are overwhelmingly the exam of choice even for independents and I've no doubt it will stay that way - there hasn't been a noticeable shift away from the new A levels. If anything, most schools seem to be girding their loins and ditching their initial timid approach of putting students in for AS levels which aren't co-teachable and which have already been shown to be debased in value in terms of the universities using them for admissions.... because they can't, with so many students not taking them. Most schools want to stay mainstream. IB is on the way out as a UK qualification and the Pre-U is really a precursor of the new linear A levels, so there's no longer so much to be gained by swapping to the Pre-U. The low contact hours are wholly to do with funding, not the specifications themselves - I don't see that the specifications have any relevance to funding, that's all. I'm not quarrelling in the least with the idea that there's a funding crisis and a teacher recruitment crisis because those crises manifestly exist. The new specifications - good for high achievers, less good for the rest.

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