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private schools... how/when to apply...

(51 Posts)
starlover Mon 16-May-05 14:25:26

I know it is early days yet, but have been wondering about sending DS to one of several good private schools locally.
I have no idea how you go about it, or how soon you have to put your name down...
One of them is tiny (96 pupils I think!), so obviously places are going to be very sought after...
Do I just wait until he is 5 as I would with a state school, or is it something I need to do sooner?

Presumably it is easier to get a place if the child has already been to nursery at the school?

Earlybird Mon 16-May-05 14:45:35

Call the schools you're interested in and ask to speak to the registrar. Ask her your questions. Most will send you a registration application which must be completed and sent back with a registration fee in order for your ds' name to be placed on the list for assessments. Typically assessments are done in Jan/Feb prior to reception entry in September. Based on your ds' reception assessment/interview, you will be offered a place, put on the waiting list for a place, or declined.

Whatever you do, don't wait! Don't know where you're based, but many private schools close their lists for assessments quite early - literally years before the assessment letters are sent out.

Not sure if it's easier to get into a school if your child has been to nursery there first. The only sure way of having an "easier" time that I know of is having an older sibling at the desired school. Good luck - it's exciting, stressful, confusing and quite a journey!

starlover Mon 16-May-05 14:46:44

he's only 3 months old you see, and i don't want to make a fool of myself by contacting them too early! LOL

A few of them have open days coming up though, so may pop along,
Thanks for the advice

mummygow Mon 16-May-05 14:50:49

starlover I dont think you would be making a foolof yourself, my friend is sending her wee boy to a state school and he is only 6 months and his name is already down as it is a good school apparantly - I'm in Scotland and she is in England so dont know about areas or anything but if yours is a small private then you should make enquiries asap.

Earlybird Mon 16-May-05 14:53:36

Well, if he's only 3 months old, you're certainly thinking ahead! But seriously, it would be prudent to have registrations into your favourite schools by this time next year - or even earlier for the really competitive schools. But there are also certainly plenty of good schools where you don't have to be quite so forward thinking, so don't panic!

starlover Mon 16-May-05 14:56:32

I shall look into it, and contact the schools and see what they say.

Stilltrue Mon 16-May-05 15:57:31

You won't make a fool of yourself! I don't know where you are , but in busy areas and for popular schools, you need to get his name in very early. We're in London and I contacted a particular school for ds3, aged 11months, to be told they would send out a registration form but I must get it back to them by return of post. They wanted all their forms in before the babies' first birthdays! We just got his name in with a couple of days to spare; I don't know if I want him to go there yet, but it was the only way of keeping our options open.
If you are in an area with several popular schools there will most likely be a series of assessments, interviews etc when your ds is about 3; if his name is down for several, along with all the other little boys on the same lists, there will be a bit of juggling/acceptance/rejection, but you need to plan ahead. Earlybird is right.

Ameriscot2005 Mon 16-May-05 16:02:21

You won't be making a fool of yourself - the school will be happy to get your registration fee!

starlover Mon 16-May-05 16:04:05

ok well I shall definitely be contacting them then!
We are in Sussex.
What would you say the average registration fee is? or do they vary a lot?

Sponge Mon 16-May-05 16:18:08

I starting contacting schools when dd was 2 and over half already had closed their lists so the sooner the better I'd say.
Most schools we spoke to asked for a £50 registration fee although a couple were more.

Hulababy Mon 16-May-05 16:28:49

We were advised to put D's name down as soon as possible, and she was just turned 1 when we did. We were certainly not the first name on the list, but there were still about 50% of the places remaining at that time. The smaller preps were filling up quicker than the big one (I guess that is obvious though as less places to fill in first place).

We looked round 4 local prep schools and put her name down at two of them. She owuld then me called up for assessment/interview/chat (whatever it is!) in the autumn/winter before she started school in the following September. Following that we'd find out if she got a place.

Her name is still down actually and we kno longer require it - are about to move to area with excellent primary school. But we have left it there for now - in case. When called for the assessment day we will decide again for definite what to do.

We are in Sheffield BTW; possible changes where you are in the country.

Ameriscot2005 Mon 16-May-05 16:46:31

Registrations fees are £50 - 100 - but once you are offered a place, there is also an acceptance fee and this can be several hundred. It is held as a deposit and refunded (minus the extras in the final term) when your child leaves the school.

victoriapeckham Mon 16-May-05 17:14:15

Can someone please explain how these schools can possibly justify closing their list before all applicants are one year old. I mean what about people moving into the area when a child is four? It just sounds like a ploy to raise the clamour for places and thus their status within the area about being a very, very popular amazing school. That and to grab as many reg fees as possible as many of the parents of one-year-olds will presumably change their mind/move away in the intervening four years and others will be allowed to join the list. God, I hate these grasping eugenic self-satisfied little hothouse schools.

Hulababy Mon 16-May-05 17:15:57

We didn't pay anything to register DD's name on either waiting list. We only had to pay out if DD was accepted - which was determined in the year before she started at the school.

Hulababy Mon 16-May-05 17:18:16

victoriapeckham - not all do close their lists. Round here they fill up their lists for a given academic year. After that children are put on reserve lists (or whatever they are called). Then they work down the lists when it is time for assessment/interview time.

And not all private schools are hot houses either.

Anteater Mon 16-May-05 17:25:57

'God, I hate these grasping eugenic self-satisfied little hothouse schools.'

Round 72 ding ding

NotQuiteCockney Mon 16-May-05 17:35:40

Starlover, the normal procedure is to tour the school, then put your kid's name down. The two schools we've been dealing with have application fees, deposits, and then registration fees, which does all look like a bit of a scam. (And they're both charities, and not very expensive as private schools go.)

Sort it out as soon as possible, it's worth knowing which ones are selective, and what your options are.

happymerryberries Mon 16-May-05 17:37:41

Victoria, no-one was asking you for your views on private school they were asking for specific practical advice.

And Eugenics is selective breeding, and nothing to do with education, selective, private or state run.

RTKangaMummy Mon 16-May-05 17:45:23

What age are you wanting him to start?

3/4 in nursery

7 in prep

or 11+

or 13+


Ameriscot2005 Mon 16-May-05 18:03:30

I'm curious as to why you think private schools should be held to a higher standard that LEA with respect to their admissions policies. Certainly here in Surrey, the LEA does not reserve places for families moving into the area. Why should private schools be any different? What private schools already offer to the mobile family is the knowledge that there will be a school place available for them so many years doawn the road because they were able to make a committment early on.

Private schools have very tight budgets and being able to predict how many pupils they will have in the years to come makes it easier to come to sound financial decisions.

For families that move, prep school heads are very good at networking with one another to suitable schools in the new location, and there is often an element of flexibility in numbers.

victoriapeckham Mon 16-May-05 18:17:29

Eugenics. Well, what do you call an entrance test of making children walk across a narrow wooden beam to weed out children with dyspraxia? Which is what happens at a number of London prep schools. No speckles allowed on the apples in this hothouse.

happymerryberries Mon 16-May-05 18:21:08

Eugenics is selctive breeding. Are you seriously sugesting that people enter toddlers into a private school to get the right mate?

And not all private schols have enterence tests at all. The one my kids goes to doesn't.

No one asked 'Why' should I send my child to a private school just how and when. your comments are not relevant or helpful to the original poster.

victoriapeckham Mon 16-May-05 18:22:24

Happymerryberries (what a name ffs) since when were you the boss of Mumsnet?

hunkermunker Mon 16-May-05 18:41:46

Because victoriapeckham's a fantastic name, right?

victoriapeckham Mon 16-May-05 18:42:52

Yes, i rather think it is.

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