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We are thinking of sending the DCs to private school but.....

(31 Posts)
Greatfun Fri 26-Jun-09 13:31:35

there are a few things that concern me. Firstly, is it worth it for primary school age or are better leaving it until secondary (our local primaries are good but the secondaries are rubbish)? Secondly, we could afford to do this but it would be at the expense of things (luxuries rather than essentials) I worry the DCs will be viewed as the poor kids because we can't keep up with the other parents - Is this really an issue or are there many parents like us in the private system?
We live in SW London which has mish mash of people around. Its one of the things I like but I worry that private school will only consist of a middle class kids and the DCs will therefore find it difficult to relate to other people. Is this the case or just a figment of my imagination? blush


EldonAve Fri 26-Jun-09 13:36:54

How old are your kids?
I registered by child at 18mths and that was too late for most of the local private schools

sarah293 Fri 26-Jun-09 13:38:17

Message withdrawn

Greatfun Fri 26-Jun-09 13:40:54

DS is 14 montsh and DD is 3.8. I know there are places at the two schools I have in mind.

Riven - Did you use indep schools for secondary?

Hulababy Fri 26-Jun-09 13:44:37

In many private schools there is a big mix of parents. Not that many are really rich with loads of money, Quite a few are parents who are making sacrifices to pay for education. Many are somewhere in the middle.

Many private schools don't have massive waiting lists but some do. Check with individual schools for waiting lists and registration.

My DD goes to a private prep school (primary) and we are really pleased with it. For us, it was the right thing to do for many reasons and we have no reason to regret our decision. I do think DD benefits at this age from the smaller classes and the smaller school, and the increased teacher time she ges as a result.

Oh and DD is very much able to relate to a whole range of people. Class doesn't come into it at all. She mixes with lots of people from different backgrounds in different settings (school, Brownies, swimming, drama, the playground, at the pub when playing outside, etc) - she is just friendly and sociabke and will happily play with any child who wants to play with her.

Greatfun Fri 26-Jun-09 13:53:16

Hulababy - Do you plan on staying indep for secondary or are you hoping your DD will pass the 11+ for grammar?

Itsjustafleshwound Fri 26-Jun-09 13:53:55

I have just come through this whole debate with my husband and after a lot of discussion have decided to put our DD into our good local school.

The real motivator behind our decision is the fact that we went and saw the local state schools and spoke to the parents ... I don't think there is a one-size-fits -all argument about this - it is really based on your experiences and thoughts about the local schools ..

Saying this, the private school that DD is attending at the moment has a broad range of parents from all situations.

I don't want to run the resources dry and perhaps will have to reassess when our DD gets to the secondary school age.

Hulababy Fri 26-Jun-09 14:00:17

Greafun - we are not in a grammar school area. We intend for DD to remain in independent education. We hope that she will pass the entrance exam for the high school (independent) locally - she is currently 7y so a way off but nothing to suggest she would struggle to at present fortunately.

fridayschild Fri 26-Jun-09 14:02:51

We are in SW London, and have opted for state sector. I love the community feel, being able to walk to school and pick up little friends on the way, and the school in question is very good.

However in our street we are the exception to the prep school rule, and a lot of friends have also gone to the independent sector. Someone on MN posted a link to a government website showing the proportion of children in private education and it is about 40% for our borough, which seems about right to me. You do need to be ready for the doubts about whether you are doing the right thing, so if you're not happy with the state school you would get those doubts all the time. There is also the agonising about 11+ education, and whether one should go private before then, even if only a year or two - I am assuming DCs' secondary education will be private sector.

There are private schools near us where you would definately be seen as the poor people, if you were going without luxuries. But I don't think they're all like that. Try asking about second hand school uniform sales at open days and see what the reaction is!

There is no doubt that DS1 is mixing with children he would not meet at a private school. He tells me they all have play stations and Wii, and despite his skiing holidays and other treats feels deprived....

Greatfun Fri 26-Jun-09 14:05:57

MMM, its tricky isn't it. Our DD is in the local primary school nursery. No complaints in fact she loves it. But its in London so the less deprived areas rub right up against the nicer areas and that can bring its own problems. Our 2 nearest schools are catholic and we are not catholic so we can't go there. (I am stopping a rant about my taxes paying for these schools hmm). The next nearest has an outstanding ofsted and the one after that is good but not such great SATs (DD there now). Both of these schools are in not such great areas and some of the parents are rough TBH. I just don't klnwo whether this all really matters to the DCs but to em it does. But then again I was bought up in the middle of no where.

smee Fri 26-Jun-09 14:33:59

Greatfun, aren't there lots of positives to meeting children from all walks of life, including those from rough families. Sounds like the schools near you are pretty good, so what problems do you mean..? I think going to the local school brings masses of positives, not least is it means there will be a whole pool of very local kids to play with out of school.

mrsshackleton Fri 26-Jun-09 15:12:19

I will live fairly near you, have been through a big dilemma on this score and opted for local school. Reasons I really like the school in question and its head and can see it produces happy, motivated children even when it's clear they are from quite "rough" backgrounds. Being local and having a pool of local friends also played a major part in the decision.

I have friends with dcs in private secondaries who've had them in the private system from day one and they regret it bitterly, because a) one of them has been made redundant and they're struggling with fees b) they think their dcs jave been slightly spoilt and with an unrealistic air about what lfe will bring them and a fear of "state school children". They've strongly advised me - along with many others - to start in the state system, if at any point you're unhappy you can move them after all.

pagwatch Fri 26-Jun-09 15:18:39

I never really understand this type of OP.

Look at the schools - primary state private etc etc. Choose the ones you like best and then make a decision based upon the facts about those schools and what you like and don't like about them.

The issue is always about SPECIFIC schools. Some state primaries and secondaries are fabulous some arn't. Some private schools are wonderful and worth every penny. some arn't.

Its like asking should I go on holiday with Thomas Cook or Kuoni when you still haven't picked a destination.
Go and look at the local schools. The answer may be glaringly obvious ( well it has been for us )

Metella Fri 26-Jun-09 15:19:32

I started my two off in the local state primary with the intention of going to prep school for the last couple of years and then on to independent senior school.

So far this has worked out fine. They had the advantage of local friends when they were small but are now in a school that will prepare them thoroughly for senior school.

They also are used to mixing with all sorts! We are probably about average (financially speaking) for the prep school but there is a wide range there. The big advantage they have is they do not have warped opinions of "state school children" as some boys do who have been at the prep all the way through.

In your shoes I would start off in the local school and periodically review the situation.

tulip27 Fri 26-Jun-09 15:25:02

We have just had this debate as my ds starts school this sept. I actually went to look at the 3 private schools and 2 local primarys schools and that helped me to decide. In the end there wasn't enough 'extra' in the prep schools to convince me it was worth it financially. So now we have a local and primary but can still afford holidays, horse riding, ballet swimminf, french classes etc. The only thing missing is Latin and we can always get a tutor for that at a fraction on school fee cost.
We will however use an independent school at age 11.

mumoverseas Fri 26-Jun-09 15:42:56

I'm really common and my DCs go to private school wink
seriously though, you get all sorts there. Not just the 'old' and 'new' money but also quite a few working parents who struggle to pay the fees and manage to get by on scholarships and bursarys.

When DS1 went to prep school 12 years ago (damm, showing my age) we only registered him a term or two before but another school we considered (as cheaper) almost sniggered at as when we made enquiries as you had to register kids almost at birth to get them in. Funnily enough, that same school now has spaces but I've just registered DCs 3 and 4 to go there in 2 years time.

The only thing to consider if you are thinking of waiting until secondary school to privately educate is whether they may be 'behind' their peers.
I remember when DS1 was at prep school, quite a few kids started in years 1 and 2 and were already a little behind, particularly in french as they start in the nursery now.
good luck in your decision making

wonderingwondering Fri 26-Jun-09 15:50:53

We took the view, like others on here, that it is really nice for young children to go to their local school - we have good state schools here, that we can walk to. So we used a ind school for nursery, and moved to state at Reception. We'll probably move to independent at prep school age.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Fri 26-Jun-09 16:58:02

Pagwatch - well said! I can never understand the question - private or not, when the real choice is between the schools available where you live, and the sector is irrelevant. Also echo Hulababy re meeting children in places other than school - very unlikely the child has no other interaction with people other than at their school...
My children have friends who are very rich,a dn who are very poor, but children seem oblivious to this, its the parents who seem to have a problem with it.

hf128219 Fri 26-Jun-09 17:01:32

Pag - I know you live just down the road from me. What are the good schools in your area and in Woking (particularly)?

Thanks! And sorry to go off topic!

mrsshackleton Fri 26-Jun-09 17:37:43

Now Pag and MrsGuy, the OP is asking an understandble question - in SW London there is such an unspoken feeling in some quarters that private is "right" with the implication that even a dalliance with state will leave your pfb will end up Asboed and disadvantaged for life age four. You need to be strong to resist the peer pressure (neighbour of mine stopped speaking to me when I announced dd wouldn't go to the same private school as her dd shock grin)

Litchick Fri 26-Jun-09 18:12:19

We've paid right from the start and it's been great value for money - acres of green space, five mins round the corner from where we live, small classes, early setting, tons of art, drama, music and sport. It suits DC and me down to the ground.
But plenty of children join later from state school and settle right in and most senior indies make provision for kids coming in from the state sector don't they?
I really wouldn't worry about your DCs having a problem with those less fortunate, you're obvously not the sort of parents to allow your children to develope a superiority complex. And it is the parents that do this, not the school. Shools are not in charge of personality.

angrypixie Fri 26-Jun-09 18:24:12

I'm also in SW london and a teacher in the state sector. Our local primaries are all great and being able to walk to school and be at a local school with local children means a lot to me.

I may have to climb down from my state education soap box at secondary level, however I know that if we all used our local state secondaries they would be much better than they are. sad

angrypixie Fri 26-Jun-09 18:24:12

I'm also in SW london and a teacher in the state sector. Our local primaries are all great and being able to walk to school and be at a local school with local children means a lot to me.

I may have to climb down from my state education soap box at secondary level, however I know that if we all used our local state secondaries they would be much better than they are. sad

pagwatch Fri 26-Jun-09 21:53:23

hey hf1

I am not sure I am much help as we moved here a few years ago when DS1 chose the boys school he wanted to go to. Dds choice somewhat followed on from there as I decided on single sex and within short walking distance of my house grin that narrows the choicews a bit !
DS2 is at school in Woking but that is obviously SN/ASD

I think the ones I have heard goodthings about ( or liked from looking around) are Pewley infants and Holy Trinity at primary and St Nicholas'. Also Tormed for girls which is really good at pastoral community stuff - Gilford High if child is very academic ( although too hot house for my taste) .

At older levels - mixed views about George Abbott. I hear lots of good things but the children don't seem to present themselves the way I would wish IYSWIM. Guildford county seems to produce nice kids and do well. RGS is considered a hot house but the boys are bright, funny and nice so I love it. Hampton and LEH are availbale via coach from Woking and are excellent schools.

Those are my limited and probably biased views . Not sure they are any help. I liked schools very close to home so didn't really charge around too much and only have friends imput rather than personal views on the others.

I am also a bit pissed grin

hf128219 Fri 26-Jun-09 22:36:04

Pag - thanks for the reply, very helpful - and much appreciated that you have torn yourself away from the Strongbow Chablis grin

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