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Really don't know what to do... schools, money, distances, despair...

(111 Posts)
PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 15:08:17

So, the DD didn't get in either of two private schools at 7+ - have no idea what went wrong, the poor thing has worked hard daily since September, her school report is glowing, but then both schools, which are nearest, also happen to be very competitive.

There are other good schools which are non-selective but all at some distance away. Yet, I also need to drop off DS to school and then commute to London for my full-time job (1 hr one way if I am lucky). So the difficulties are as follows:

1. Un-feasibility of doing two school runs and then get to work remotely on time. Same with pick-ups.
2. Two private schools will eat up my entire salary (but DH also has a job and I get some freelance income too).
3. Not entirely sure about paying £4000 per term for a non-selective school for DD.

On the other hand:
1. Disillusioned with DD's state school (DS went to it before and I see a massive difference not that he is in private).
2. We could manage financially even if my salary will be spent on school fees.
3. Main point: we are a bilingual family and both DC seem to be behind in English so I believe being in small classes would help them with that.

What the hell do I do???

tellmeonasunday Fri 07-Feb-14 15:51:45

Where are you? If you're happy to share the names of the schools you might get some specific advice.

BirdintheWings Fri 07-Feb-14 15:54:56

Look at a different state school for your DD if you were unhappy with the one your DS went to? That £4000 a term could pay an au pair or taxi to take one of the children there.

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 15:59:47

Thanks for your response tellmeonesunday but I think I know the surrounding schools and how far they are. The necessity of combining two school runs with commuting is the major issue. Plus the money dilemma.

Just cannot believe that I am looking at paying 12K per year for the pleasure of constant inconvenience of drop-offs and pick-ups.

The decision is about DD's school options by the way, who is 7. I have no doubt about paying for DS's school who is 11.

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 07-Feb-14 16:03:01

Child minder, au-pair, a mother's help just for school runs?

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:03:06

BirdintheWings, I thought maybe DD could try sitting for those selective schools next year - so would be no point moving her for 1 year from the familiar school.

Although I really dread going through the exams again now, I was absolutely certain DD would get in at least one of the schools.

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:04:07

MrsCakePremonitions - there won't be any spare money for hired help.

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:08:14

Just wanted to say - thank you for offering your thoughts and advice, feeling pretty low right now. Tried talking to DH but he is not concerned at all and believes that if we just do some work with the DC at home it will do them more good than private schools.

Yeah, right, we have been doing lots of work with DD for months but it didn't help her get in any of the schools so don't know how much use it has been to her.

catastrophewaitress Fri 07-Feb-14 16:13:20

Did you ask the schools your DD sat 7+ at for some feedback as to how far off she was? If she missed by a narrow margin is there any hope enough people may drop off / move away between now and the summer and they can squeeze you in? I know people who got in at a later date (different admission point but they got a call late in the summer). Did you let the schools know that your interest is ongoing? Sometimes it is worth stressing how important the place is to you and that you would be delighted if they could look at the intake again. Not everyone who didn't get in will be doing that (admittedly if it's a school where 100 people sit for 10 places then perhaps the hopes aren't that high...but nothing to lose either). Good luck.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 07-Feb-14 16:13:38

I keep writing replies and then deleting them.

If she is not bright enough to get into a selective, then your options are non-selective private, or state.

Tbh if you are thinking of trying to get her into the selectives again next year then I would leave her where she is. But, what if she doesn't get in again - will you just keep trying or accept that you need to look at different options?

catastrophewaitress Fri 07-Feb-14 16:16:29

PS I am assuming DS's school is a non-starter (eg boys only or starts at 11..) otherwise that would be another obvious one to go begging...

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:21:42

DS's school is boys only.

catastrophewaitress Fri 07-Feb-14 16:25:00

As he is 11, is there a way he could start going to school on his own, perhaps come Sept or not too long thereafter?

BirdintheWings Fri 07-Feb-14 16:25:05

But there would be spare cash for help if she doesn't go to private school.

Here's a suggestion: leave her in her state primary for now; save up that £4000 a year until she's 11, maybe using a little of it for tutoring; then reapply not next year but when she's ready for secondary, and use some of the savings to ease the problem of journey times.

I suspect a hardworking little girl will do just fine with an exam at that point; plus your son will be most of the way through secondary, so the overlapping drop-off won't be a problem for very long.

BirdintheWings Fri 07-Feb-14 16:25:30

Sorry, £4000 a term.

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:28:26

Ali, DD is one of best in Maths in her school (outstanding infant) and in her exam preparation she was working at the end of KS1 and doing English comprehension for 7+. Also did lots of practice papers on reasoning. I really would say that she should be bright enough for selectives.

She is also fully bilingual, speaking, readind and writing in two languages at barely 7 yo - which, apart from the obvious potential advantage, might also mean that she is not getting as much exposure to English as other girls her age.

That's the only explanation I might think of.

She is also very diligent and hard-working which is why I wanted a more academic environment for her.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 07-Feb-14 16:32:22

Well why are you asking for opinions then? You know what you want so go and buy it.

I genuinely don't know why you started the thread, you have shot down every suggestion that anyone has made.

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:32:35

But on the other hand, if she is so clever then why the schools didn't spot it, right?

That's what I keep thinking too and maybe that's exactly why she needs a private school environment to get the best out of her, if I can more or less afford it...

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 07-Feb-14 16:34:13

But at the moment you can't afford it.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 07-Feb-14 16:36:16

You keep saying about her not getting enough exposure to English - is it not her current school's first language?

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:36:19

Ali, I am not rejecting suggestions, does it look like that? I am sorry then. I thought I was just answering, it really isn't straightforward in my case.

Although it will of course be simpler in the end than it seems now.

catastrophewaitress Fri 07-Feb-14 16:38:47

The bilingual aspect is also worth stressing to the selective schools as I can well imagine a fully bilingual child may not perform as strongly in, say, story writing. I imagine a good school would allow for that at such a young age - in the long run it will benefit your DD greatly but it is possible that at this stage it puts her at a slight disadvantage versus peers. I'd go and talk to both schools in more detail. If she missed by a wide margin or the schools are very narrow in their selection approach, or they are so oversubscribed/inundated by very able children they can't possibly fit in, or they won't even talk to you, you probably don't want her in there however close / convenient logistically. If she was close enough though or they simply didn't fully grasp her bilingual background they may be willing to review her performance in light of the new info.

PrettyBelle Fri 07-Feb-14 16:43:11

Her school is a normal English one but we speak another language at home. Her vocab is not as wide as that of other girls (even though she likes to read), she tends to use simpler grammatical structures. Same was the case with DS - he always seemed a bit behind in English even at the age of 10.

Both were born and raised in the UK but there you go.

kitsmummy Fri 07-Feb-14 16:45:13

To be honest it sounds like you have no choice but state - you can't do the drop offs yourself and you can't afford help, so you haven't really got any other options have you? Are there no buses to the non selective school?

mary21 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:48:03

I am assuming you are in London. Some of the selective schools are extremely selective. They have hundreds of applicants for very few places. Many of the less selective schools aren't non selective just not super selective. These schools also get children into top schools/at 11. Lots of the top independents also take a lot from state schools/at 11. Is sh happy here she is now. If so you could leave her there nd start tutoring in year/5 for senior selective but bear in mind the competition will still be fierce and it worth having a less selective back up.
If you are definate you wan smaller classes now go and look at some of hose less selective schools and check out their destination schools.
Its not a race its/a journey

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