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Would you accept this in-year offer of a place?

(24 Posts)
ChocolateWombat Mon 17-Mar-14 11:32:57

One of my children was at a through primary school. It was rather disappointing and although the 1 form entry had been good for infants, we felt it would be limiting for Juniors. We had no chance of getting into the preferable state Juniors due to catchment, so he started at a private school for the start of September in Year 3. We were on the waiting lists for 2 better local primaries.

Things are going well there, with lots of wider opportunities, small classes etc. He is playing lots of rugby in inter school matches and has made friends. The long term plan was always to go private at secondary level, and there are several good ones round here which could be options.

Now we have been offered a place at one of the very good state schools. On one hand I would love to take it. It would have been our first choice over the private. We would save hefty fees. However, son has moved already and it seems wrong to move him again. Husband is adamant that we have made our choice and now must stick with it. I think he is probably right but the idea of turning down a place at a great school,mwhich would save us lots of money is a real struggle for me. What do you think?

iseenodust Mon 17-Mar-14 11:46:20

Depends on three things. 1. How happy is your DS now as such a huge impact on development? 2.How much the fees are a struggle? 3.How sporty your child is v. sports opportunities at the state primary? Will you have to spend a fortune on outside activities to compensate?

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 17-Mar-14 11:46:40

I think if you can afford the private school where he is and he is happy and you are happy with the school and his progress etc then I would leave him where he is. If however the fees are a real struggle and you are going without lots of stuff to pay them or are worried you won't be able to keep paying them (it doesn't sound like this is the case if you are considering private secondary school) then I think you would be right to seriously look at moving him.

ChocolateWombat Mon 17-Mar-14 12:12:09

We are happy with the private school and his progress. It is quite traditional and will prepare him for entrance exams, which the state school will not do.
The cost is high. It is doable, but I have noticed I am being much more careful with money (not a bad thing) and thinking twice about going out for meals etc. that's not to say I have not been out for any meals, just fewer than before. I have booked 2 holidays, to places in the UK, but that is what we would have done anyway. I guess the financial impact will be in terms of the fact our savings will not really be growing. I don't like spending on things I don't need to, and the schooling is now feeling in that category, because there seems to be a good free option.

However, son was moved 6 months ago. Although he took it in his stride, it was a big deal for all of us. He was able to start his new school at the start of a year and at a natural break in his education. This would be mid year and different. I'm sure he would get over it and 6 months down the line, be fine, but it doesn't seem ideal, so I am feeling husband is probably right and we just have to live with our decision of 6 months ago. It's not as if he's at an awful school....quite the reverse!

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 17-Mar-14 12:16:44

well personally if I could afford in any way to send my children to a nice traditional small private school I would do it, unfortunately even if we went without things we physically couldn't do it (well unless we went without food, water, electricity etc but I think that would be a little extreme). It sounds like he is a very happy boy where he is and I think I would be reluctant to risk that. It is a hard choice though because I can see exactly how you are feeling and why.

nobutreally Mon 17-Mar-14 12:22:42

Hard choice! How old is your son/has he got friends at the new state school? My ds moved schools mid-year in Y4 - but went into a class where his 4 best friends were already in the class. Within 2 weeks, I'd say he was totally settled. We were really worried about moving him (he had moved schools about 15 months prior to the move) but it was absolutely the right decision for us & him.

Bramshott Mon 17-Mar-14 12:35:22

Can you take DS back to look round the state school before you make a final decision?

ChocolateWombat Mon 17-Mar-14 12:56:22

I think we need to make a choice before we take son to see school. If we take him, we will pretty much definitely be doing it. TBH it won't be his decision. I don't think it is fair to make him choose and also I don't think he is able to understand all the issues about schools, money etc to make that decision. Has to be an adult choice.
No, he would not really know anyone at the new school. He is a friendly little chap though and quickly makes friends. Having said that, he's left one best friend behi f in the first school and has a new one in the school he is in now. It would be a wrench to start again.

I know that long term, either of these schools will be good. I know that long term, the disruption of a move won't be the end of the world. However, I also feel that the poor little chap has been happily getting on well wherever he has been, and it is only because 'the grass has been greener' for me that he has had to move.

Oh dear, one part of me says save the money and he will cope. The other part says he should not have to cope.

Dinosaursareextinct Mon 17-Mar-14 13:01:03

I would probably move him, especially as you say he is adaptable. Assuming that when you discuss it with him and explain your reasons he isn't horribly unhappy about it.

funnyfarms Mon 17-Mar-14 19:00:08

Money doesn't seem to be the issue. Other things to take into account are:
1. Commute: is junior school closer? And will more friends move nearby.
2. Whether the primary state school will prepare him for the exams you want him to take, or whether you are going to have loads of tutoring outside school
3. If he is going to go to a private secondary school then surely more likely his friends from the private school will go with him. Very unlikely from state primary, Unless you are in rich area.
4. How much do you stand to loose financially if you take up the place? (e.g. one term in advance).
5. How easy will it be to arrange the sports stuff at school extra curicularly?

OP: Out of interest: do you wish you had waited it out in the state system for the state place?

ChocolateWombat Mon 17-Mar-14 20:03:55

Do I wish I'd waited it out in the state system?
I was not very happy with the particular state school we were in, although son was doing well. He got all L3s at the end of KS1 but there were only 2 of them that did in his class and I felt the school didn't have very high expectations. His class also had a lot of staff changes. Small schools find it hard to cope with sudden illness etc because they just don't have people within the school who can cover it. I kept considering moving him and then bottling it. So, if I had known a place would come up at the preferred state school, I might have considered hanging on. Although, by moving when we did, he started at the beginning of the year and at the start of the Prep phase, which was a new phase for the existing children in that school too. One third come in new at7+ so my son was part of a big cohort of new pupils. If we had waited or if we move now, he will be the only newbie starting mid year....not the best time.

You are right that there are the considerations of preparing for private seniors. The current Prep will do this and will be working in more traditional ways, like the Senior schools. Others from the Prep will probably move on with him.
I do think the prep for exams is worth considering. I'm not bothered that if he was at state, he would go alone to the senior school. I hear that the private seniors has 60 feeder schools and many come alone or in 2s and actually almost half come from state schools, which tend to be sending the odd one or two. I liked the idea of him being in state until 11 to get a bit more of a social mix. Where he is now, people are mostly very affluent and not representative of society as a whole. It's not a deal breaker for me, but more years of realising not everyone can afford the lifestyle many private school families have, would have been a good thing.

If we accept the place at the state school, we will have to pay the fees for the summer term, as won't have given a terms notice. Bit annoying, but in the wider scheme of savings for another 3 years, not so annoying to stop me doing it.

Unfortunately, when it comes to education, I know I am always going to have a sense that somewhere there is better, and find it hard to just be satisfied with what I have. IF we move him now, I may later wish I hadn't. My husband says I am a nightmare about it all.

Sorry for my rumblings and lack of coherence. I probably should have withdrawn from waiting lists when we moved him, to avoid this kind of thing happening.

I thought you'd all say STAY, don't disrupt him. Am surprised how many of you are suggesting we seriously consider it.

chicaguapa Mon 17-Mar-14 20:11:30

I don't have a problem with moving DC between schools. I know they're at school all day but it's not their lives. What's also important is home life and weekends IMO.

Moving schools is just like changing jobs and whilst I don't agree with moving them around too much, it's a good skill for them to learn. I don't see it as a case of 'coping'.

Also assuming his new school is in the same area, can't he still keep his new friends at the private school and see them outside school?

nlondondad Tue 18-Mar-14 11:01:16

Actually, I would recommend NOT moving, unless the money a real stress. @chicaguapa - I dont really see changing schools as a skill to learn. Some children have to do it, and most, but not all, seem to cope with it. So if you have to move (big job opportunity, for example) needs must.

But if you dont have to move....

So I am with the Husband on this.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 11:23:03

I doubt it would bother your DS very much, from what you've said, and you would save maybe £40K? Long term, I bet he'd rather you spent that money on his uni fees or deposit (and more) for first house.
I'm thinking of moving my DC of around the same age, and she is desperate to go somewhere new, finds the idea very exciting.

chicaguapa Tue 18-Mar-14 13:14:43

nlondondad It probably comes down to whether you're the type of person to stay in one area and one job for your whole life.

Whereas I moved around a lot as a child and went to a number of different schools. These are the skills I learnt and it means that I find the prospect of starting a new job exciting and am able to move to a new area and settle in quickly.

Not criticising people who like to stay in one place their whole lives but I do think that being able to adapt and make new friends is an important social skill that is learnt from changing schools.

nlondondad Tue 18-Mar-14 19:02:56


fair enough; although actually I have moved around, but it is true that I stayed in the same school, and lived in the same place, until I went to University.

as it happens the Islington Primary my son went to, had a phase where every year there were a couple, or so, of American children whose families had been posted to London. They would stay for a year, sometimes longer, and they added quite a bit to the environment, in general.

(one year 6 girl was superb at soccer and really helped boost the school team!)

ChocolateWombat Tue 18-Mar-14 19:14:31

Thanks everyone. I can see what some of you are saying, that if a child has to move, then it is not always negative and can bri g some positives. I understand that. However, I'm not sure these are good reasons to instigate a move, but just mean hen one has to occur, it doesn't have to be a disaster.
My son moved school in September. I think I worried about it much more than he did. He just got on with it. It is true that many children are pretty flexible and what seems a big deal to us, isn't to them. However, this doesn't mean more moves would be a good thing, in themselves.

It would be good to have the £40k towards Uni fees or a deposit. I agree. I think however, that I am going to agree with my husband and decide we have made our bed (and its not an unpleasant one at it were, the decision would be different) so must now lie in it. We moved our son in September, knowing we could afford the fees, even if there would be some sacrifices. We can still afford them and he is doing well, so I think I need to resist 'the grass is always greener' attitude I tend to have. We approached it from the angle that the decision was binding, so will stick with it. And we know we are lucky to be in this was hardly like the difficulty many face of having their children in a terrible school and no alternatives at all. So we are thankful that we had choices and will now stop putting ourselves in the way of further choices, which perhaps muddy the water.
Thanks everyone. If you think we are daft, I'd still be happy to hear your thoughts.

Impatientismymiddlename Tue 18-Mar-14 19:15:22

I think you need to consider a lot of things:
How would you feel if you moved your son and the state school didn't meet your expectations?
How would you feel if you moved him and he was less happy than he is at his current school?
How would you feel if you had to pay a tutor to prepare your son for his senior school exams and pay for rugby and other sports opportunities? Would you be saving as much as you think?

You have stated that you don't like spending money on things you don't need to, but you have booked two holidays (in the UK) and go out for meals, so you do spend money on non-essentials.

Personally, I would not move my son again so soon as I think it is unfair for him to have to resettle and make new friends again. I would want him to have a long period of stability where he can make long term friendships. I would rather give up one of the holidays and some of the meals out and put that money in my savings than move my son again after such a short period of time.
If it was an essential school move then fair enough, but I think this is a case of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, but you can't be certain that it actually is.

Impatientismymiddlename Tue 18-Mar-14 19:19:01

It isn't comparable to changing jobs either as a previous poster has suggested.
There is considerable research showing that frequent school moves are damaging to a child's education.
One piece of research is here, but there are lots if you just google.

ChocolateWombat Tue 18-Mar-14 19:24:55

Thanks Impatient. I think we are thinking along the same lines.

PuntCuffin Tue 18-Mar-14 19:25:09

We had a similiar dilemma and chose to leave DS in private school on the basis that we wanted stability for him and his brother when he starts school in Sept. He is very happy where he is. We did ask his opinionand he was very clear about staying where he was and recognised how much more he was getting from his private school (in terms of sports etc)!compared to the state infant school he had been in.
Yes, there are days when I get ticked off that I'll never be able to go part time and we have to think twice about affording holidays etc but for me, this is worth it, to give them the best I can.

Crocky Tue 18-Mar-14 19:27:01

I am the opposite of chicaguapa. I went to six different schools and hated having to change each time. I never really settled anywhere and struggled with friendships. I was told that I was extremely bright through school but since leaving I have been with the same company for 25 years, not really progressing and change scares me silly.
I am not saying that moving him is the wrong thing in this situation but please don't underestimate the amount of support he may need to help him feel secure and settled.

PuntCuffin Tue 18-Mar-14 19:27:19

And what inpatient said. It is well recognised that children of military families are likely to underachieve due to the frequent moves. We were one of those, DH left so that we could get stability of education as we didn't want to board them.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 18-Mar-14 21:31:11

It depends so much on how much money you have and are likely to have in the future. If you are very financially secure then a slightly better school and the child not being disrupted makes sense. If you will really miss the money later on then a small disruption in mid primary makes more sense. A child who goes to state primary and then private at secondary school soon catches up with the child who goes private throughout. Personally I find it v v hard to care about school sport, but no doubt others think it matters.

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