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Would you send DC private in my situation?

(14 Posts)
Mumtogremlins Sat 20-Apr-13 18:55:17


I have a place for my DS to start a prep school in September, for year 5. I'm really unsure what to do so any opinions would be welcome

His current school is not great, but not failing. The Head is poor and some teaching not good. However he seems happy, has a few (not close) friends and his NC levels are all 4's. It is also easy as other DC is at the school.
Prep school is really lovely and he loves to learn so would get a lot out of the school, with all the extra subjects and sports they do. But concerned about him making friends and whether the fees would be worth it
We could afford the fees, but not comfortably. And there's other DC to consider.

Would you send him and let him get more out of school and struggle a bit financially, or hope his current school improves and tutor him a bit for entry at 11? I'd feel really bad if I moved him when he's happy and then he didn't make any friends. And knowing my luck, his state school would dramatically improve if I moved him!

WishIdbeenatigermum Sat 20-Apr-13 19:01:40

What happens at 11+ in your area? Are you committing to funding his whole education, or is this a 2 year boost to get him into Grammar? Does he know anyone at the prep? What's the journey like and are you likely to need to younger dcs there? These are things to consider not challenges, btw- I've gone from state to private.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sat 20-Apr-13 19:04:25

Can I ask, if your other child is at the school, why is it this DS you are thinking of moving? I only ask because the things you reference - teaching, head, etc seem to apply to both? And wouldn't things like extra subjects and sports benefit them both? Or is there a reason the school suits your other child?

Mumtogremlins Sat 20-Apr-13 19:09:03

We're not in a grammar area, some of the private secondaries only intake at 11, the rest have intake at 11 and 13. This complicates the decision a bit. We were aiming just to pay from secondary but the general unhappiness with his state school has made us look earlier.
The school is quite local, I would have to leave a bit earlier in the morning to drop him off before dropping other DC off

Mumtogremlins Sat 20-Apr-13 19:10:07

There isn't a space currently for second DS, spaces seem to appear higher up the school so hopefully we would send him at some point

Bitlost Sat 20-Apr-13 19:10:34

Basically if it's a long term commitment and you can't afford it comfortably, I would advise to leave him at state school. My daughter is moving to state after a year of private pre-prep because the financial commitment I was making was keeping me awake at night. I have a year's fees and a bit more in advance but for other parents the fees were a real doodle. In order to help her, I am prepared to spend more on after school childcare. Our childminder will only look after her and is a Montessori teacher.

I know it's a big decision. We've just gone through it, agonised over it but feel soooooo much better now.

I also tell myself that I went to a comp, my parents never read to me and never looked at my homework and I still did fine!

greenteawithlemon Sat 20-Apr-13 19:13:30

I would save the money for secondary and send them both private then.

In the meantime I would do lots of extra supported learning, reading and numeracy with them both.

Is moving to the catchment of a better school an option for you op?

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sat 20-Apr-13 19:13:41

Ah, right, so when you talk about considering your other DS you mean for the interim period where they were in different sectors, not that he wouldn't go private at some stage.

My children are younger, but I think I'd try and take friendships out of it. At primary age, friendships can come and go. A child who doesn't have many close friends at one school may have loads at another, or be the same again. There's just no telling.

I'd try and focus on the academic side personally. And if you plan to go private for secondary, look at the chances of getting in to those schools from each primary.

MarianForrester Sat 20-Apr-13 19:22:44

I would send my dc private, if I could, in any situation. Their opportunities will be maximised, and I would love to be able to for mine, but no private schools within travelling distance.

Mumtogremlins Sat 20-Apr-13 19:41:48

All the state junior schools (apart from Catholic) are just satisfactory in the area. Another option is to move to a nearby town with excellent state junior schools but that would mean hoping a place would come up, and he would move in Year 5, then again for Year 7 which might be disruptive for him.
I'm torn between what's best for him academically and where he'd be happiest socially (not that he's that sociable!). He might be ok where he is, but he could get so much more out of a prep - as long as we can handle the fees

mrslaughan Sun 21-Apr-13 08:23:54

What's the feel of the school like? Have you meet any of the parents ? Can your son do a taster day?

My DS I at a private prep - the parents are all welcoming (in a very British way), they boys are all very welcoming, and are always very excited to have a new boy join. It is a very small school though - so maybe that makes a difference?
I think if the school feels welcoming and friendly when you visit, then it will be fine, if it doesn't, I would do more investigating.
We have had several boys do taster days- so maybe this is an option, to see how your son finds it.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 21-Apr-13 08:39:28

Before you make any decision you need to check the terms and conditions of the offer you accepted. Most private schools require a full terms notice to withdraw from an offer and if this the case you have missed this cut off. You then need to add in sacrificing a full terms fees in lieu of notice into your calculation.
Relating to going or not going only you really can make the decisions. It is worth listing pros and cons of both schools to weigh this up. Also thinking back to why you went looking for another school in the first place .

middlesqueezed Sun 21-Apr-13 12:15:22

If he loves to learn and doesn't have many friends at school, is it possible that he would actually be happier socially at the more academic school? Just a thought. Children rarely care in the slightest about the money situation about others in their class. Nor do any of the parents who are worth getting to know.
It's hard to know what you mean by not being able to afford fees comfortably. If you mean it's a little tight at the moment but perfectly achievable and likely to improve over the school life of your two children then I'd personally do it. If it's going to be a real struggle and impact your lives and stress you in a big way then that's a much harder question.

Mumtogremlins Sun 21-Apr-13 18:39:17

Financially, it is possible if we go without new cars, nice holidays etc. As we haven't had any private school experience before, it's hard to know whether the sacrifice would be worth it or if he'd be ok where he is. We haven't accepted the offer yet so not committed to paying any fees
He went for a half day there and we got a good feel for the school from the open day. We know one other parent there who is very happy with it. I think he would be happier there if he could make friends, as he hates disruption in his current class and just wants to learn. He's a bit geeky so probably would fit in better
The main thing worrying me is more competition for places at 13 than 11 round here. I don't want him to miss out on the schools that offer 11 intake only

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