Primary schools : Name down before birth??(51 Posts)
Completely clueless about this. We are expecting DC1 in a few months. Acquaintances have jokingly mentioned a few times that we'd need to put names down for private schools at or soon after birth. I'm a bit shy/uncomfortable about asking them IRL - don't know them that well, many of them are a fair bit more well off than us etc.
We live in NW London.
Is this true for private schools? How do we pick a school / put names down / get admission etc. Any resources that will help me figure this out? Do we need to find a feeder nursery?
No. Some boys schools need the name before the age of a one eg The Hall. Trevor Roberts only takes a certain number of names and I was too late at five months! Girls schools just the year before 4+ entry generally. However nurseries often have a long waiting list and we registered for them at 13/40 pregnant.
Clowns nursery is aimed at the 4+ and will get them in.
Thanks hiya. We get a subsidised guaranteed nursery place through work - we've visited and like the vibe etc. But it isn't a "feeder" nursery per se (not associated with any school, just a central London workplace).
And DC1 is a girl - so specifically looking for girls schools and coed schools.
Should we be looking at other nurseries?
It's true if you are in London some primary schools have lists that close quite quickly so you need to put your child's name down very quickly when borne (I may be wrong but most I think don't accept registration before they are borne). If you think you might want to go private you may as well look around now, work out where you want to apply and then call the registrar of the school (school websites have details on the entry process generally) and ask them. I'm not familiar with your area but if you have a google there are lots of lists of schools in various publications and I think you probably would benefit from talking to people and finding out what schools are like. The cost to you will be the various registration fees you have to pay to sign up.
Do you actually want to send your child to private school? Can you afford it? (You mention acquaintances are more well off than you)
Can afford it but it will probably have an impact on how many children we try for - 2 rather than 3 for example. Not entirely sure about state vs private. We moved to the UK a decade ago, and don't know as much about the school system as people who grew up here and went to uni here etc.
A bit surprised that no one around us seems to have even considered state school at all. I wasn't quite expecting that private school would be the foregone conclusion for everyone we know (we're the first among our age group of friends to have kids so this is mostly coming from people about 4-5 years older than us with primary aged kids).
The state schools near us are Good not Outstanding and most are religious so we wouldn't be eligible there I think. But we could move to be in a better catchment area! (That might well be cheaper than 2-3x private schooling).
Also wondering if it has to be private school from the get go, or if we should think about 7+ / 11+ entry - or if that is too risky.
(And of course, wondering about other parents and values and all the big picture things since we're doing okay financially but both work FT and I'm not into the conspicuous consumption that so many "mummies" around me seem to be...)
How can you register someone who doesn’t even exist (a hypothetical person if you will) for anything? You don’t even know what the DOB will be.
So are you thinking about channing, Nlcs, shhs, habs etc? All of those you apply the year before.
In the UK, a very small % of children go to private schools (you do get a skewed view on MN). I think it is between 6% and 7%.
So it certainly isn't 'expected' by the majority of the population.
I don't know London at all, and obviously don't know where you need to live (for work and so forth), but if you are comfortable with the thought of possibly moving, then that can be another option and far less expensive over the course of 15 years x 2 (or 3) children.
Mine were put down for BBC nursery at six weeks gestation!
Oh thanks hiyaminitsme - that's very useful to know. Having a bit of a panic with only 8 weeks to go and I seem to find new things to obsess over each day! (Although acquaintances sharing school admission horror stories is infinitely preferable to the birth horror stories that people seem to think is okay to inflict on a pregnant woman!).
I don't know of any schools that would let you apply before your child is born - although I have heard of nurseries which do (presumably because they take babies).
However, there are a few schools that do require early registration.
Depending on where you are, this website may be helpful.
The problem is, all the schools can choose to set their own process - for instance, I think Highgate require registration within a three month window a year and a half before the child would start while South Hampstead will only accept registrations received during a fortnight in September two years before the child would start. So (mad as it sounds), it is reasonable to now make a list of the schools you might be interested in and find out when you would need to register your child.
My DP thinks we need to look now for DS who is 3mo old.
I am a newbie to the private school system in this country, but hope that is not the case because DD (4years) is not registered anywhere yet for high school 🙄
Crucru that website is perfect - pretty much exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so much.
A few schools that may be worth checking out which are not on that website are:
Highgate (mixed, the others are girls’ schools)
It might also be worth getting hold of a copy of the Good Schools Guide for North London. They show the schools by area so quite handy.
Thank you so much Crucru - DH has ordered the good schools guide now!
ah yes, I'd forgotten about Highgate and their weird system. and actually SHHS is earlier than the others - but still just 18m before you apply - and you have to get the application in on a specific day which often sees parents queue up as they'll only take the first 250! channing, habs and nlcs it's the october before the jan assessment.
I think SHHS changed the queueing system and introduced the two week window to replace it (perhaps the queue annoyed their neighbours? It would have driven me crackers).
NLCS accept applications from the May to November the year before the child would start entry.
Obviously, these can all change any time the schools want to change them.
Essentially make a list, and then keep track of deadlines - I believe this part is going to be one of DHs tasks.
As far as I can tell it's only Hampstead Hill that needs names down asap. Will look to see if any of the others do soon after birth, otherwise this can be something we park until next year or so.
YEs, that’s pretty much it. If you can, put the dates in your calendar.
Some schools invite you to their open days and somebody require that you get in touch with them to get onto an open day. This is important because quite a few schools ask on the registration form whether you have been on an open day and, if so, when it was. Basically, if you’re really interested in the school, you will have made the effort to get to an open day (which is fair enough I suppose).
I would suggest you just telephone all the schools you might be interested in and ask them when you need to put your child’s name down.
With fee paying schools, they would probably expect a deposit which you would forfeit if you later chose not to enrol at the school.
But if nearer the admission time the school decides that the child
and you would not be a good fit, they would probably return the deposit to you.
Happy choosing! And if money is an issue, do be realistic with the fees the upper years of prep sch and the fact that once your DC have started in the private school system, you may find it difficult to transfer to state - depending on the type of schools they are - some prep and public schools are worlds away from the state system and rarely have pupils transferring.
Most schools ask for a registration fee when you register (about £100 usually). That won’t be refundable.
The deposit is paid when the school confirm they have a place for you and you sign up. It might be a set amount of money (£500/£1000 say) or a term’s fees. Quite a few schools require a term’s notice so, if you cancel at the last minute, you’ll still be liable for at least one term.
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