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Should we move to private school

(50 Posts)
geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 13:47:33

Some background
We live in an area with an excellent state primary (ofsted “outstanding”, very community oriented) within walking distance. Generally very happy with the school.
Our plan has always been to send both DDs to private secondary schools nearby. However recently I’m wondering if we should start them earlier.

In terms of affordability, we can currently afford DD1’s fees without too much of a problem. We can’t afford two on just DH’s salary, but I’m in a career transition so paying to be in training and not earning atm. In about 2-3 years time I should be able to be in a professional job earning enough to cover DD2’s fees. However this is uncertain til I finish training and this is really what makes us worry that if we can’t afford to put DD2 in the same school when the time comes, how unfair it would be?

So We are really debating whether we should try to get DD1 in for 7+ (currently in year 1) for a nearby very well-regarded private school. If the local state primary is bad we’d be more incentivised but it’s actually a great school and DD1 is thriving. The reason for wanting to move is really to give them the best of the best. Also I want to avoid doing stressful 11+ exams and application processes, as the students who are in the lower school would automatically get a place at the higher school. Both DH and I were privately educated for a large chunk of our education and appreciate the opportunities it brings.

Really a bit of a first world problem as we feel we are in a really fortunate position to be thinking about our options, but would appreciate comments and thoughts and discussions

Hoppinggreen Thu 09-Nov-17 13:52:27

We went for State Primary as both dc got places at an excellent one
DD is now at Private Secondary purely because it was the right school for her out of ALL local schools ( incl. Grammar) not just because it was Private. DS will join her for year 6 onwards - the reason for this is that DD found the transition harder than expected at yr7 and felt it wouid have been much easier at year 6 so that might be something you want to consider
Our school isn't selective though so we don't need to factor in whether he will get a place - if there's room and we can afford it he will
If your dc are happy where they are and achieving well I wouid probably leave them

Avebury Thu 09-Nov-17 13:52:29

Personally I️ wouldn’t even contemplate moving a happy thriving child (and don’t underestimate the importance of local friendships) but I️ do understand wanting to avoid the 11 plus angst.

I’d save the money and use it for some 11 plus tutoring nearer the time.

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 14:06:43

Hoppinggreen - yes originally we thought about moving at 9+ so they can have an easier transition to year 7, however the school we want them to go to is selective and won’t do 9+ anymore, so the option will only be 7+ or 11+. Ideally I’d want to save my money and only go private in year 5 or 6.

Avebury - I really agree about the local friendship bit which is also one reason I’m hesitating

SevenNationArmyWife Thu 09-Nov-17 14:08:21

If it’s selective try now for the 7+ and move if she gets in. The angst of the 11+ just isn’t worth it if you can avoid it.

NamesNamesAndMoreNames Thu 09-Nov-17 14:13:25

It depends on where you are, I think. What is entry at 11+ like? For some areas and some private schools, whilst entry is competitive, it's fairly easy to get your child into a decent independent school.

However, in some areas it is incredibly competitive (London/home counties in particular) and it can be worth going for selective entry at an earlier stage. Especially if the school then carries on all the way to 18.

Ttbb Thu 09-Nov-17 14:16:03

The earlier you start the better. The benefits they receive they get in the first couple of years amplify the benefits later on. I was moved from state to private at age 8 and wasted five years catching up to my peers.

Ktown Thu 09-Nov-17 14:17:17

Quite a few girls at my kids school start in year 3 so why not that?

VeryPunny Thu 09-Nov-17 14:20:52

As a PP said, I would think very long and hard about moving a happy, thriving child. Private schools are guarenteeing places for their existing children as part of the sales tactics - if you have good state options locally, one of the few things they can offer is a guarentee place at 11+. Up to you if you think that guarentee is worth £36k a year (which is what it would cost for a prep round here). Personally I think that you can buy a lot of tutoring for that kind of money.

Also, are your state secondary options really horrific?

dustinclockwatcher Thu 09-Nov-17 14:28:56

Unless the local secondary is awful I'd stay with the state system and spend the extra money on doing brilliant stuff as a family and if it's possible in your line of work, doing less hours, so you can all be together more.

Artistic Thu 09-Nov-17 14:32:40

I think the true benefits of private school become visible year3 onwards. In your situation I'd try then, and each year then onwards until you get in. This is only so that you increase your chances of getting in by year6 to avoid 11plus exams (which in your position I would 100% try to avoid)!

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 14:38:28

Names we are in north London, very competitive here for 11+ I believe. I don't know the exact number for this school (one of the top schools around here) but I believe for 7+ entry it's 1 in 3, so I imagine 11+ would be pretty tough

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 14:40:29

ktown the school does a 7+ entry which apparently is quite a good time because they mix up the classes anyway. The issue is whether we'd be able to afford DD2 going private as well in 3-4 years time, which is unknown to us depending on my career trajectory.

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 14:44:00

verypunny yeah it is indeed hard when DD1 is enjoying current school. The cost is about £20k per child per year here.
The state secondary options are actually quite good too - "outstanding" comp in walking distance and several top grammar schools nearby. I guess we both went to private secondary schools so haven't even considered non-private options.

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 14:47:32

artistic yeah we are thinking about going for interviews for year 3 entry. I'm actually less worried about getting in as DD1 is very confident and sensible, the kind of child that teachers sing praises of wherever we go. It's more the money aspect that we worry about. I think we might just have to get a place first, then decide whether it's worth taking on that financial burden

dustinclockwatcher Thu 09-Nov-17 14:57:40

If you have an outstanding state secondary in walking distance then i would totally go with that. Think what you could do with the extra money! Plus your DCs will remain part of your local community and make friends from different socio- economic groups. I think this is hugely important.

bunerison Thu 09-Nov-17 15:06:12

GEEK don't buy into the hype at 11+ even in N London. There are schools for everyone. Seriously, the children are trying for so many schools and every single child who sat exams at DD's prep got into selective schools, even the highly regarded ones and many of them were really no more than perfectly capable and relatively well prepared. The prep was non selective. It did 11+ prep but the preparation was not onerous and every single child had a choice of good schools. Whilst it was absolutely the right choice for my DD to be at that private school and I still have one there it's absolutely a nice to have at primary not a need to have so I would save yourself the money. IMO 7+ is just the pits and most children shouldn't be put under that pressure in N London, by 11+ they're far more able to handle it

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 15:06:56

dust I totally understand what you are saying. I want my kids to grow up in a diverse community which is why we choose to live in London. On the other hand, it's hard to deny that good independent school give children a leg up for the future, which as a parent I find it hard not to provide if I can manage.
As for the money, we really don't need it in the long term. We are comfortable in our modest house and we both will inherit eventually quite large sums. The issue is really cashflows in the next couple of years in terms of affordability.

hiyasminitsme Thu 09-Nov-17 15:18:38

so this is Highgate you're talking about presumably. they will have less places for the 11+ in future because of going up from 3 to 5 forms for the junior, so well worth paying to avoid it if you can.

Theworldisfullofidiots Thu 09-Nov-17 15:26:24

Why not wait and then save. This would make it more likely you cound send both at secondary if that's what you choose. Plus you can't give one an opportunity that you couldn't give the other.

And I really wouldn't move a thriving child.

geekinheels Thu 09-Nov-17 15:40:18

hiyasmin wow you are good.
Thanks that's a really good tip. I know they are expanding which is good for applying now but haven't thought about the implications of 11+ if we don't go there at primary level

hiyasminitsme Thu 09-Nov-17 15:48:13

geekinheels I'm a N London private school ninja!

SevenNationArmyWife Thu 09-Nov-17 16:06:43

It really is as competitive as they say for 7+ and even more so for 11+. You have to remember your kid will be up against all the kids who have spent a few years in the prepreps/preps who live and die by their transfer lists. We’ve knows lots of State kids try for Highgate and only 1 has gotten in. There’s a good reason they won’t release the number of state kids they take at 7+ and 11+. The private kids are being personally recommended by their head teachers and have been tutored etc. Do it now and at least she won’t be as aware if she doesn’t get a place.

SevenNationArmyWife Thu 09-Nov-17 16:16:28

It also depends on which secondary school you have as a state option. If it’s APS or Fortismere then fine maybe not so much if it’s Highgate Woods...

ParadiseCity Thu 09-Nov-17 16:20:24

I wouldn't touch private school with a bargepole so when I read these threads I tend to think 'leave state asap, more places for the rest of us'!

There is no so called advantage that private school gives, which I would actually want. wink

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