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Anyone given up their childs place at a highly selective school at 4?

(57 Posts)
AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 07:03:42

We have just done this with my daughters 4+ place. The place we gave up was at a very academic, selective school. I'm hoping to hear from others who did this and were pleased with the outcome. Our reasons were mainly financial, though not entirely- we could have afforded the fees but we would have had less security in terms of savings and a lot less money month to month. We were also offered a place at a sought after state primary which is rated outstanding and has been, consistently, for years.
However, I am in turmoil about the decision. My husband was never behind the private school choice- was worried about the cost of it and didn't really agree with it on principle either. He agreed to it because we never expected to get the state school we were offered, and because he knew how much I wanted the private school. I worked for months with my daughter to get her in. We've agreed that we will sit her again at 7+ when out financial situation will be different. I know 7 plus is hard.

Please be kind. This has been an incredibly tough week and I'm hoping some of you can reassure me that we've done the right thing.

NeoTrad Fri 12-May-17 07:11:49

We haven't done this but it sounds as if you are incredibly invested in your daughter's education and that she is going to be attending a very good school and that you will have enough money to give her an enriching life outside school. And those are the three key drivers of academic success (in addition to brains, which your daughter clearly has!). It sounds perfect!

AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 07:21:03

Thank you Neo. We'll definitely have more money for activities outside school and tuition if/when she needs it for the 7 plus. I feel like I've deprived her of an amazing opportunity and keep wishing I'd done it differently 😢

Buddah101 Fri 12-May-17 07:31:29

No experience in this situation either but I agree with neotrad education doesn't stop at the classroom and you have made a decision to send her to a really good state school where she will receive a good education - and you will also have money for other things such as after school clubs, activities & holidays etc to enrich her education.

RadarLoveBug Fri 12-May-17 07:32:29

I think you're going to have to be realistic about what the state school can offer her and know you'll need to tutor starting in year 1 for the 7 plus. This is all assuming you are talking about one of the super selective all girls like NLCS. The kids that have gone to the pre-preps will all be prepared by the schools and more than likely have tutors.

She will have a lovely relaxed start to her education and that's no bad thing.

2014newme Fri 12-May-17 07:36:24

Yes. We moved house to an area with better state schools instead. Saved us £250k. Which we can invest in our children's future in a different way.

Enidblyton1 Fri 12-May-17 07:41:08

Do you think your DP will actually be persuaded to agree to private school in 3 years time?

I think you've done the right thing - she will be going to an outstanding school and you won't be worrying about money for the next 3 years.

SoupDragon Fri 12-May-17 07:48:26

I'm horrified at the thought of a "highly academic" school for 4 year olds.

AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 07:51:56

2014- did you give up a selective 4+ place?
Enid- yes, he's already said he'll do it at 7 as that's when his job will be secure
Radar-those are the kinds of school I'm talking about. I'd definitely tutor from yr 1- I know I'll have to do that for sure. Does she stand a chance? I know the prep school kids have. Even prepared, but I guess many of them are at prep schools because they didn't make the selective schools at 4, right? Not all of them, I know. I don't want to upset anyone with that statement- just trying to be honest....

AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 07:52:19

Soup- they exist, believe me!

SoupDragon Fri 12-May-17 09:14:55

Oh, I don't doubt they exist, I'm just horrified. My DC are at/will attend academic private secondary schools so I'm not against private education or selection but not at 4. I think you've made the right choice! There are plenty of options to switch to private education later.

I remember hearing one mother say how she was moving her son from DSs state school in Y1 to private because he was making sock puppets but hadn't learnt to read. My opinion was that they should be making sock puppets. All mine managed to both make sock puppets and learn to read though.

RadarLoveBug Fri 12-May-17 09:25:29

Soup - As far as I've heard there's plenty of sock puppets and the like being made at schools like NLCS. Just because they are extremely hard to get into doesn't mean they turn into hothouses. London is it's own very bizarre bubble where the private schools can be as selective as they like because parents are lining up out the door. Some try so hard to get into NLCS/Highgate or the other "through" schools to spare their kids the 7+/11+ which many find very stressful.

I don't think you can make the assumption that the preprep kids are of any lesser caliber than those that say the 3+/4+. Many parents purposefully choose a preprep because they don't like the preprep department of the school they ultimately are aiming for. Parents complain about the lack of space for instance at UCS in the preprep. The preprep themselves are selective and to be honest at 4+ it's down to a lot of luck on the day. They will all have chosen kids with stacks of potential.

I think you need to not focus on regaining the place you turned down. Support your daughter where she is and see who she turns into over the next few years. You will drive yourself crazy comparing where she is in comparison to the private kids. You need to be realistic that to gain the place twice would be fairly unlikely but that if you want to go private at the 7+ you will have options. Oh and keep your mouth firmly shut when taking to the other state school parents! It won't make you any friends!

JustRichmal Fri 12-May-17 09:27:38

It is perfectly possible to reach the academic level of education she would have received at the private school by working with her at home. 121 education is a lot quicker than in any class, so, just by doing 10 minutes here and there, there will still be time to make sock puppets as well.

CPG and Letts books are really good in order to make sure you are teaching to the curriculum.

2014newme Fri 12-May-17 09:54:50

Yes we declined the selective 4+ place
My kids are extremely happy in their excellent state school and getting a great education. And we are a lot richer than we would have been. We're very happy that it was the right decision for us.

AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 09:56:09

Radar- when you say it's unlikely she would get the place at 7 that she lost at 4, can you explain why? This is what I'm worried about. If I tutor her for a year at least, do things with her at home (bond books etc) and added to her natural potential that got her selected at 4- is it totally unrealistic that she might get selected at 7? The school assured me that it wouldn't harm her chances at 7- and I have to get behind the choice of school that we've made for now- but this is my biggest fear. You sound like you're in the know- are you a parent at one of the selective London schools?

2014newme Fri 12-May-17 09:56:30

Where we live you can switch to a private school at any time and no tutoring is needed!

AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 09:56:48

2014- that's interesting. Are you in London? Would you mind if I PM'd you?

2014newme Fri 12-May-17 09:57:51

No we are not in London and I Do understand it's totally different there.

Abitofaproblem Fri 12-May-17 09:58:00

I pulled my DS out from nursery of a selective prep school to start state school reception. I remember agonizing about it, especially since we were financial comfortable to pay. However as he already had a year at the nursery and I know more about the school from inside, both good and bad aspects when I made the decision. Also it was a prep and we know we have to do 11+ when the time comes. We did 7+ this year and he got into a highly selective school with my DIY tutoring.

My advice is to look forward and be glad that you can save a few years of money to build a foundation for the big financial hit that private school fees is. With you being so involved in her education she will achieve her potential. The first few years of education, in my opinion, is the easiest for parents to supplement state education. Rightly or wrongly, with DS being in state school, I felt like I need to understand exactly what goes on and keep an eye on everything. And that, I think, gives me a good idea of what he is like academically and what he actually needs, and form an opinion on what kind education I am looking for. If I had put him in a prestigious school I can imagine just trusting and following the school what the school say. State school generally has less homework and that gives you a bit of flexibility of working with your DD at home, at her level and catered to her interest.

7+ was very stressful. But truthfully it is easier to find a school that suits your DD at 7, as you will know her better at that point, and the current school may not even be the best fit anymore.

Have faith! And congratulations on getting a place at a outstanding state school!

Newtssuitcase Fri 12-May-17 10:00:52

I haven't given one up but I have two DSs that took them up at age 4 (selection was at age 3 given their birthdays).

If you can't afford it then it really isn't something you should lose sleep over. With hindsight starting them at primary (year 3) would not have done them any harm (and would have saved us £80k)

AgonisingMum1 Fri 12-May-17 11:28:54

Thanks everyone. Abitofaproblem- are you in London?

KatyBerry Fri 12-May-17 11:33:42

you should bear in mind that parents move to singapore / the USA / wherever taking their academically hothoused 5 / 6/ 7 year olds quite regularly. Kids turn up at entirely random points in the middle of terms. Whatever teh school says, spaces turn up and are filled all the way through to y5

Abitofaproblem Fri 12-May-17 12:32:08

We are outer London, so I understand the competitiveness of London, but there are quite a few schools which have entry at 7+. It might be tough going through the exams but I am sure you will find a school that is suitable. Most prep school don't prep for 7+, especially for girls, so I really don't think your DD will be at any big disadvantage when the time comes.

Lotsofsighing Fri 12-May-17 12:41:23

At the risk of sounding horribly patronising, I do think you may be agonising over this too much. Your daughter's going to a great primary school (mine go/went to a requires improvement one that had four heads in four terms...), I think you have to concentrate on what you've got rather than what you're giving up. You have to swear to yourselves that you will never ever say to another parent 'well of course she got a place at NLCS' or wherever it is because it's over, done.

Can't you just enjoy all the great things about the primary? You'll be local, your dd will have local friends, she'll be able to get herself off to school on her own by y5, she'll mix with a broader range of kids. That is of course if you stay there that long but you might well surprise yourself by how well it works and I personally think 11 is a good time to move rather than 7.

Also, I'm v sceptical that these schools which select at 3/4 can really do so with any accuracy? Certainly my son (who did well at 11+ for London day schools) would not have given that he was barely speaking. How can you work with a four-year-old for an exam?

TheClacksAreDown Fri 12-May-17 12:46:26

We did. We had a place at a great selection school for our eldest. We were delighted they got a place. But when we got a local state primary school place we wanted that was a short walk (had been unclear if we would get) we had to think hard about whether the journey to the private school was worthwhile And the lifestyle impact all the travelling would have on the eldest plus their new sibling (who hadnt been on the cards when we originally registered for the school). Eldest is flourishing at he state school so far and I don't regret the decision. We will think about whether we try and move at 7 or 11, probably the latter again partly for lifestyle reasons.

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