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moving from private Prep to local state

(18 Posts)
lemonstartree Tue 13-Sep-11 17:14:20

My two younger children are going to be moving from their private prep school (where they have been since reception) to the local , very good state school.

Just been offered places, I had expected this not to be till after Christmas

This is necessary for financial reasons.

any tips ? I'm terrified, partly because I work full time, and I have no idea how child care will work, partly because they are going to be upset, and partly because I feel such a failure

AnyoneButLulu Tue 13-Sep-11 17:16:39

Well, first of all ring the school office (or check website) and ask for details about after school clubs and breakfast club. If they have them they will cost money, but not much.

No advice on the emotional side though - good luck.

Blu Tue 13-Sep-11 17:19:30

presumably as a very good state schol it is very over-subscribed and if you had applied there from the off you would be over the moon to have a place and your children would be excitied?

So - you have a place at a very good state school - be excited! WHY will your children be upset? They will have a good time, make friends, have more friends right on thier doorstep, perhaps, and being young should pick up on none of your feelings about needing to make financial reductions. Unless you let on how you feel. So don't ! And the best way to do that is not feel a failure in the first place! Needing to cut back on costs isn't being a failure. Failing to take sensible measures to lead the life you can afford jeopardises your family in the longer term - that would be more of a failure.

Good luck - encourgae the transition to the new school by having friends to play etc, and tell your DCs how hard it is to get a place in the school.

Life in state schools isn't less happy for kids, you know, unless there are particular factors.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 13-Sep-11 17:21:26

My child's school has had a steady trickle of children arriving from local prep schools. As far as I can see, it turns out just fine. The children soon settle into their new classes and make new friends - of course they may be upset at leaving their old schools but the excitement of a new school and new friends quickly compensates.

Have your children got other activities - sports, Brownies, Cubs? - which they'll be continuing with? That might help, if they do. But there's no reason to feel a failure. Things change, not always in a very welcome way, but they do. The one thing I do think you keep to sort quickly is pre-and after-school care. Has the school told you what the local facilities are, either at the school or nearby?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 13-Sep-11 17:23:24

On being a 'failure' - Blu said it much better than me.

Proudnscary Tue 13-Sep-11 17:28:39

Your dc won't be upset if you present it to them in positive terms and don't make a subtle (or not so subtle) thing of the private to state move.
My dc changed schools a year ago from one v good state school to another v good state school. They were fine because we did everything I'm sure you will do - listen to their worries, reassure them, big up all the positives like new friends and facilities and buy them a present at the end of the first week!!!!
And you are not a failure, but you know that deep down.

Ladymuck Tue 13-Sep-11 17:54:50

You'll have had some reasons for choosing the school other than purely financial (ie why this one over any other state school). So I would emphasise those reasons. If you can identify a club or opportunity that will be new for each child, then they will be able to see it as a positive move. If it is nearer then you will also be able to emphasise that. More children in the class will mean more potential friends.

Children are amazingly resilient, but they will take their cues from you. So big up the move and I'm sure that you'll carry them along.

eaglewings Tue 13-Sep-11 18:00:38

Ours moved a few years back
The only thing they missed was the larger play ground
They soon made friends
The drop in the amount of prep was a bonus ( for us all smile )
Agree that you need to tell them the positives of the move, is it closer to home, friends will live nearer, more comfortable uniform or whatever is true for you.
You are not a failure these things happen! It's their relationship with you that is most important

lemonstartree Tue 13-Sep-11 19:17:23

Thank you all, you are very kind.

They are Yr 5 and Year2. Their older brother (Yr 8) will stay at his private secondary school, aiming for private for the two younger at secondary level.

I know the key to this is how i present it. you have given me some great ideas. Thanks

I'm upset, not because of the school , which I understand is very very good, but because they have been through so much I wanted school to remain a constant. But I am divorced now, reality is biting, my ex pays NADA and I cant afford 3 sets of school fees....

MammyT Wed 14-Sep-11 00:01:35

Lemonstartree - think of this move as a real bonus to your lives.. You can afford treats at weekends with the money you save from fees, the parties will be much more grounded in reality, your kids will meet children in worse financial circumstances than themselves and appreciate what they have.. The list is endless. Try to be upbeat if you can.

KTk9 Wed 14-Sep-11 13:06:48

I feel your pain!!! I am just going through this same thing, but the other way, moving from a state to a Private school. My dd has just gone into Yr 2.

Everyone keeps telling me she will cope and how resilient they are and you have got some great advice on here.

I am going to 'sell' the positives to her, I am sure you will be able to find lots of positives for your kids move too.

One thing someone did tell me, is that whilst we think a school is for life and think long term, kids are very transient and are very much in the present, changing school for them at this early stage is no more harder than changing to a different swimming club, dance class etc. Just something to think about and makes me feel better!

Best luck, its horrid to think of having to change things for them, it's probably us that will feel worse - I feel physically sick thinking about it.


MumblingRagDoll Thu 15-Sep-11 00:30:43

Lemon....I have just moved my DD from a private prep to a local state...she was in her prep from the age of three and has just ebtered year 3 in an outstanding state school/.

I was VERY nervous about it all and my DD is not a confident child...but 2 weeks in, I know it was the right thing. as a family we have taken a masive weight off....we will have more fun as a family as a result of the financial fredom.

DDs new school is lovely and 2 weeks in, she has already been on a playdate and invited to 2 parties.....she is enoying the lack of spotlight...I am aware that I have to suport her more but also aware that she is no longer the poorest kid in the class! the kids in her new school are lovely...she is mixing with a wider range of children and her confidence has increased.

Dont worry! the change is a new start....

lemonstartree Thu 15-Sep-11 07:08:58

Thank you very much RagDoll - we are going to see the new school tomorrow - they may start on Monday... I am still anxious, but have settled down a bit...

The relief from financial pressure will be hugely important....

I ma worried that I will need to do a lot more to support them academically - this is an issue as i work FT in a professional job, but I will have to find a way around that...

mummytime Thu 15-Sep-11 07:27:10

Don't panic! Some state schools are even better than some private schools!

(Please note the word some there, for all you MNers.)

At my DCs comp there are quite a few kids who have come from Prep schools. In fact I know people who once they've sent one child there have stopped applying for the private schools.
My DCs primary also gets about 7 boys into a very selective local boys private school every year, and a similar number of girls into a diverse range of private girls schools.

Talk to the school, and let the school have time to assess your children. If you desperate to get them into the same private senior school as their sibling, you could talk to the head there about how he views this primary and any areas he thinks children from there may need to work more on.

But do give your kids time to settle in, and a with any new school they will do things differently, so just give yourself time to get used to it.
I hope you have sorted the child care soon. Things I and other have done include: after school clubs, child minder, au-pair, just advertising for someone to do school run help.

Don't panic!

MumblingRagDoll Thu 15-Sep-11 07:57:45

mummytime is right....and remember that your children have had the benefit of a grounding in private....the early years have been in private.

I have deided not to worry about it anymore....I never went to private school and still got an excellent degree and have a very good career.

As for not having time to support them more....I am taking one day a week to do things like museums and arts courses...and remember you will have more money for other things. Riding lessons or tutours!

Runoutofideas Thu 15-Sep-11 08:32:41

DD1 has had 2 friends join her local state school from independent pre-preps. They seem to have both settled fine with no obvious problems. I would agree with just be positive about it all and see what happens. Good luck.

stealthsquiggle Thu 15-Sep-11 08:51:53

I know several children who have done this (most at 11 so into state secondary, but some mid-primary) including my DB2 - all have thrived.

Wrap around care, etc - do you know any friendly parents whose brains you could pick?

PanicMode Thu 15-Sep-11 13:17:27

I had the angst the other way round after we turned down a scholarship for my DS1 at an outstanding prep (DH and I went private all the way through - our four DCs will go state all the way through!) as I thought he would be 'missing out' and that we should be giving him what we had if we possibly could. The final straw that made us stop agonising over the decision as to whether or not to send him was my friend telling me that her next door neighbour's daughter had come home from that school and complained to her mother that they 'must get a helicopter, everyone else has one'. I really do not want my children having that sense of skewed entitlement, which to a certain extent I had - I didn't know a single person who went to state school until I went to university blush.

However, we also moved him from his first state primary because it wasn't stretching him and he is now at a very good state school, he mixes with a FAR wider variety of children from all kinds of backgrounds and is doing extremely well academically. It took him a little while to settle but I know that it was the right decision. The money we aren't spending on fees, we are spending on extra curricular stuff for them all as well as better holidays etc that wouldn't be remotely possible if we were paying 4 sets of fees.

Good luck - be positive, for you and them, and it will all be fine!

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