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Prep school dilemma!!

(12 Posts)
Funnyone Thu 25-Oct-12 23:54:00

So. Ds had an assessment for a great local prep school (for entry sep 2013). He just got offered a place, yay! They want us to accept by email right away, and pay the money to secure his place by the end of  2 weeks from now.

What could be the issue, I hear you ask. Well. We slightly prefer another local prep school and would choose that one instead if ds gets a place. Trouble is, we find out one day AFTER the deadline for payment of fees for the first one and preferred school cannot tell us any sooner coz assessments won't be finished before then. What to do?

1. Say yes to the first one and pay the money then wait for the one we prefer- and be prepared to lose the money (expensive!)

2. Say yes to the first one but then "forget" to pay the fees until we find out about the one we prefer - risk losing the place if we try to pay late 

3. Ask the first one if we can have an extension of 1 day for fee payment coz we're waiting for another school?! - sounds terrible, and they might say no.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated. (I  do know we're in the great position of being able to send ds to prep school in the first place).


Mutteroo Fri 26-Oct-12 05:00:32

How likely is DS to gain a place at the second prep? If its a strong possibility then you could risk not paying the first school; however, you could also think of the large amount of money you will eventually pay on private school fees and decide if the deposit amount is that great after all?

PS been there, done that and we lost a deposit, but it was worth it as the second school suited our son so much better than the first would have. Good luck.

kerrygrey Fri 26-Oct-12 05:47:10

As it's only one day I'd put the whole problem to the second school and ask if they could possibly let you have his results a day early, even by the afternoon. If they wouldn't do that I'd wonder how accommodating they would be over other things. I've done something similar in the past, and the school were helpful

MaudTheGardenTheBlackBatNight Fri 26-Oct-12 07:09:14

I'm sure option 3 is doomed - the first school were quite canny when they set the deadline. Asking the second school for early notification - particularly if you hint that they could snatch you out of the arms of the first school - seems the best option.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 26-Oct-12 07:34:03

Interesting different schools having different deadlines. All the private schools round here stick to the deadline of the first Thursday in March.

SoggySummer Fri 26-Oct-12 07:40:39

I suspect the one day difference is not a mistake by school number 1. They are the ones thats stand to gain if people go for your option 1 in this situation. I would be asking myself why they have done this and does school 1 "need" more new pupils?

Its a tough one but if you dont want to risk losing the already offered place at school 1 then your option 1 is the only real option. They have you over a barrel and probably for a reason - which in my mind would be raising questions. Option 3 of yours is a complete no goer and option 2 - they will suss you out and not be happy.

pinkdelight Fri 26-Oct-12 09:08:23

I do think the timing of the deadline suggests insecurity on the part of school 1 and I'd be prepared to call their bluff and wait to hear from the other school first. Unless you know that school 1 is always oversubscribed, then I'd be surprised if there weren't places still available after their 'deadline', so that you can wait and see of your preferred option comes through. What stands out to me, is that school 2 is your preference, so for school 1 to effectively scare you into risking a deposit is not going to endear them to you any more. Definitely try to get school 2 to give you the results earlier, but otherwise, hold onto your nerve - and your cash!

Marni23 Fri 26-Oct-12 09:11:39

Send the deposit to school 1 to arrive on deadline day but 'forget' to sign the cheque? Then if you get offered school 2 you can decline to sign cheque for school 1.

scarevola Fri 26-Oct-12 09:13:40

They will have set these dates on purpose. They want the school filled with children of families who really want to be there.

Both options 1 and 2 commit you to paying - even if you haven't written a cheque, if you sign to accept the place you are agreeing to pay. If your payment is late, you could even be surcharged.

Try to get an early answer from the second school. They will know that parents cannot necessarily afford two sets of deposits and might be helpful.

tiggytape Fri 26-Oct-12 09:13:41

How about pressing the other prep for an answer much sooner?

Explain honestly that he has an offer, that you prefer them but obviously don't want to risk being without a place at all. I am sure they will want to help rather than risking losing placements if the children get taken by other schools first.

Funnyone Sat 27-Oct-12 19:16:24

Thanks very much everyone for your helpful advice. Really appreciate your time and thoughts. Will let you know what happened in due course! smile
F x

midseasonsale Sun 28-Oct-12 16:54:32

Tell them you can only let them know on the day you get the other prep school results back (or the day after to buy a bit of extra time). Don't give your reasons why they need to wait a day or two extra but just tel them you are unable to make a decision till that date. If they are unwilling to wait such a small length of time then that says a lot about the school doesn't it. If they insist on knowing, just apologise and explain you cannot tell them any earlier.

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