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private school for stability?

(62 Posts)
Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 14:13:16

My partner and I have a low income and for various reasons have had to move a couple of times since ds was born, at the moment staying with parents while we look for something affordable in our area (in South east near London so that's a challenge!)
Ds is now coming up to three and I'm really anxious about what school he will get into - wherever we move we're likely to be relatively 'johnnie come lately' for the best state primaries aren't we? And then if we end up upping sticks again I don't know if ds would automatically keep his place at a state school or have to move elsewhere. In any case, the catchment areas of outstanding schools around here are hideously expensive so we're likely to end up out of reach.
Into the mix is an offer from my parents to pay for ds to go to a private school. The school in question in unquestionably fab and I think my son would thrive there, also it would be a huge huge weight off my mind to know he'll be somewhere like that and not depending on what given our circumstances will be a bit of a lottery.
I know it's hugely unfair really that we even have this option so I feel a bit sheepish posting. Part of me feels guilty for thinking of sending ds there but I also believe my greater duty is to give him the best I can. Further complicating things, I don't feel we can wait and see what happens re state schools as by then it would be too late to do anything anything.
For the sake of continuity and ds having a really good education, should we go private? My parents can afford it and are happy to pay. But part of me thinks it may be an unnecessary expense, or maybe ds won't benefit from being the 'poor' one at his school. I'm also a bit nervous personally of trying to fit in with SUV driving yummy mummie! Am I worrying ununnecessarily? And does anybody else have this level of grandparental help?

SheHasAWildHeart Thu 21-May-15 14:26:09

If you get into a state school and then move house your child would still keep their place at that school. Whether you would want to is another matter for example if it becomes to far to travel to.

My advice would be to visit state schools you like and the private school. Spending some time with the staff and seeing the students would be really useful. I don't think it's as simple as state vs independent, more that it depends on each individual school. You get some poor independent schools and some outstanding state schools.

Personally, after my experience (DD attended private and is now at state) I would suggest a good state. Maybe your parents could give you the money to buy a house near the outstanding state schools instead? That money then becomes an investment for your child?

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 14:45:31

Thanks for the reply. My ideal scenario would be for parents to help us buy somewhere so we can be more settled, part of a community with access to good local schools etc. But they aren't really in a position to that and I'm just very concerned that we are a bit rootless atm and unable to put ds down for a great state school. I have looked at the private school and aloved it, it's just whether it's the right thing overall. Especially as it won't be dp and myself paying but my parents....who want to do it, so maybe that's ok

Saracen Thu 21-May-15 16:03:48

Won't you have the same problem if your ds is in this private school and you end up moving away from it?

Is there any possibility of younger children coming along, and would your parents be able to foot the bill for their private education too?

Another possible solution to ensure continuity is home education. If you and your partner both work similar hours then the main challenge with home ed would be childcare to cover the hours you would otherwise be getting your child looked after at school. (The actual education doesn't take long at all with 1:1 attention, so you can do that during hours you aren't working.) Your parents might be able to help out personally with childcare (i.e. look after their grandson), or perhaps they could help financially toward the cost of a childminder. This would probably work out cheaper than paying private school fees. Also, parents on a low income can use the childcare element of Tax Credits toward the cost of a CM.

AtomicDog Thu 21-May-15 16:08:36

If your DS is there, you're unlikely to get a place at any fabulous school- the waiting list will be as long as your arm, most will have been down since birth.
However, if they can help financially, then you have time to arrange renting close to an excellent school of your choice.

AtomicDog Thu 21-May-15 16:08:47

*three not there

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 16:28:39

Atomic dog, do you mean any fabulous state school? That is my concern - that due to moving around albeit within the same county it will now be very unlikely that ds at nearly three now will be able to get into the very best state school, which would have been my preference. Since that is the case and my parents are in a position to pay for what would be a fantastic private school I feel this may now be the best thing we could do for ds. I just partly feel guilt / discomfort with the idea of private. But doing so would mean even if our home circumstances aren't ideal and we have to rent somewhere for a couple of years then end up moving again etc, at least we can be sure about the quality and continuity of his education. Home education is a thought but I am also trying to get established in more of a career and I'm any case I believe a school would offer far better socialisation. We're happy with one child as we feel supporting another one would go from tricky to a nightmare in our circumstances and I personally think I'm better suited to being a mum of one, party partly because ds came along unexpectedly when I was a year or so our of uni and still very much finding my way. Ds going to this particular school would also make it more feasible for me now to go into a graduate career as they'd have more wrap-around care which is important to me as well. Does this make sense? I just want to have a bit of reassurance that I'm making the right choice here, or if not then what are my best options at this point? I'd feel I'd let ds down a lot if I passed up this chance and he ended up somewhere crowded and underperformin. Many great state schools out there I know but it's such a risk as we're not establishedanywhere.
We wouldn't be moving anywhere too far for the private school if that is where we send him.

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 16:31:38

Sorry about all the typos, posting in a hurry from my phone!

AtomicDog Thu 21-May-15 16:33:10

No, I meant 'fabulous' (your word) fee-paying school. You cannot put children's names down for state-maintained schools in England, you have to apply in the correct cohort for a place. If he's due to start Sept 2016 then you have to be in place, and apply by Dec 2015. He won't be disadvantaged in any way if you're living elsewhere at present.
You would also need to find out what restrictions there would be on your parents paying for his place. Would they expect to dictate which school he went to? Which schools he applied to at next stage? What if his grades aren't very good and they decide to stop paying?
All things to consider, and perhaps your parents are kind, and will just pay without any micromanagement, but I have come across all sorts on here (MN) so just things to keep in mind.

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 16:41:10

Ok, I was under the impression that you did need to put down your child's name at local schools as early as possible. The C of E primary down the road from my parents for example is oversubscribed and we were told by the head that some parents have their child's name down from birth. Does this then not matter?

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 16:43:28

Sorry if my use of the word fabulous was somehow unacceptable!

AtomicDog Thu 21-May-15 16:46:06

Are you in England?
You cannot 'put your name down', you have to apply in the child's cohort. If he will be in Sept 2016 cohort, you have from Sept-Dec 2015 to apply, It has to be done on your local authority form (usually online).
They can do that with nursery places, if that is their stated policy, but not reception places.

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 16:48:42

Yes we are in England, I had not realised this was the system though as I had heard to the contrary ary. Obviously got the wrong end of the stick there which does put a different light on things.

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 16:50:29

I don't think there would be any parental micromanagement. I personally would prefer that he went to a state secondary anyway.

ltk Thu 21-May-15 17:07:42

A few issues: if you want your child to go to this private school, then do it. I am not sure what the argument against is.

You do not appear to understand the application process for state primaries. You apply the December before the September they are due to start. If you move in two weeks before the application deadline, you are in exactly the same position as your neighbour who has lived there for decades.
Children move schools. All the time. It is not always a good thing to be in the same primary for 7 years. Do not fear a school move.
You need to visit schools to decide if you like them. You may prefer an Ofsted good to an Ofsted outstanding. Ofsted is full of shit.

If your parents have the money to send your child to private school for 7 years, are you entirely sure they can't just help with a house?

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 17:42:48

This has been very informative, apparently I had the wrong idea about the state school application process which is a relief as it means our moving around at this stage doesn't matter for that.
Will have to think a bit more about state very private in general in that case. I'm sure that topic has been done to death on here but any thoughts would be welcomed.
Would love it if parents could help with a house, from what I can gather that's not really a possibility - it's a matter of having a larger sum of money at one time, most of their money is in their house so that would involve them downsizing which I'm not going to suggest!

Mopmay Thu 21-May-15 19:05:39

I am a bit shocked that you would put school fees before a decent stable home

homebythesea Thu 21-May-15 19:15:06

Why cant your parents use the money for school fees to give to you to pay a mortgage??? There will be tax implications for them either way - are they aware of this? Are they able to pay for all your child's primary education bearing in mind 5% increases (average) year on year with usually a step up for Years 3-6? What happens if their circumstances change - illness, deciding to do a round the world cruise? Are there other family members who might resent them funding your DC in this way (expectations of inheritance etc). This sounds like a minefield that you have to consider very carefully. And for what its worth the early years at school are in my experience fairly bog standard in whatever school you go to (and I've been on both sides of the fee paying fence).

Mopmay Thu 21-May-15 19:18:53

I am a bit shocked that you would put school fees before a decent stable home

MMmomKK Thu 21-May-15 19:39:23

It's very generous of your parents to offer to pay. And in any private school your child would not be the only one in that situation, so there is no downside to taking the help. Especially if you like the private school.

Btw - many private schools have an assessment at around 3yo. Do you have a confirmed place at the school you mentioned?

And one more thought. You will alway be able to change your mind at a later stage. If he or you do not like the school you can always move to the state school. Or, if there are grammars around, he can try that if he turns out to be academically inclined.

You shouldn't feel guilty - your son is lucky to have an opportunity to go to a school with (most likely) better facilities and a smaller class size. It can only be a good thing. Use it.

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 19:43:18

hi mopmay, I'm not in any way putting school fees above a decent stable home! if you read through my posts you will see that.

AtomicDog Thu 21-May-15 19:52:36

moomin- loads of people seem to be under the misapprehension that you can 'put their name down' - it just doesn't work like that any more... though fee-paying schools do work that way. smile

Mopmay Thu 21-May-15 19:59:46

You have low income and are staying with parents. Surely they could help you rent somewhere decent and then you can simply apply for a state primary. He would be part of his local community and no peer pressure re holidays, extra curricular stuff etc. loads of state schools have great wrap round or there are childminders.

Moominmamma86 Thu 21-May-15 20:16:57

But that's not what is being offered! Also, what peer pressure re holidays? I don't know what you mean, sorry.

redskybynight Thu 21-May-15 20:37:12

Bearing in mind your parents don't have lots of spare cash, can they actually afford to do this? Can you afford uniform, extra curricular clubs etc? What if your parents circumstances change in the next few years?

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