Prep School for 3 kids in London? Cons and finances

(87 Posts)
Newnormal5 Thu 25-Jan-18 09:19:16

Hi all

We made our mind for a prep school when we had one child but soon we will have three children. All of them will be in school at the same time in 4 years. But now we cannot make that decision easily as having three in the same school requires to calculate a lot of variables.

Is it more important now with three children to choose prep considering secondary entrance chances? As with one, you can move out of London to find the best fit but with three it will be difficult to accommodate for all capabilities. or would outstanding state school, tutoring and provide them with some extra curricular activities would be still enough?!

Then finances - we can cover the school fees but not sure about the other costs, such as after school care, trips (doesn't look a lot), music lessons?! etc. Also, the cost of living with three children would probably go up. We do not want to stretch ourselves and wish to have a bit of help too as we don't have family in London.

Any opinions? especially if you have 3 kids - do you think it is more important now for them to go to prep school and what about finances? If they are not going to a prep school is your life more expensive now?

Thank you

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Newnormal5 Thu 25-Jan-18 09:20:40

just to add - we need to make that decision now as the oldest will need to start school in a year . and we would like to change house, either near prep school or state school of our choice. different areas.

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EdwinaMarlow Thu 25-Jan-18 10:01:37

Prep school is very expensive and, in my experience, children generally become more and more expensive as they grow - wait until you have teenagers demanding new clothes, iPhones, trips to Starbucks, to go on school ski trips etc. Of course you can say no to all these demands, but it will be even harder if your dc are privately educated and their peers take all these things for granted. If you have any doubts about the finances I would urge you to save money while you can. A good prep school is a lovely thing but it is a luxury, not a necessity, there are loads of fantastic state primaries out there.

Newnormal5 Thu 25-Jan-18 12:51:41

thank you for your commentsEdwinaMarlow - that makes sense. we can save money for secondary but what if state and tutoring is not enough so we might have money for private secondary but no kids in them oupps smile

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EdwinaMarlow Thu 25-Jan-18 15:42:49

I've never known a tutored child from a state primary not get into the private secondary that was right for them.

pigshavecurlytails Thu 25-Jan-18 15:44:34

@EdwinaMarlow I have known that, often. If this is NW London you'll need two years of tutoring to bridge the gap.

Newnormal5 Thu 25-Jan-18 15:59:32

that is my worry ... we re in SW... They say half of intake of some of those private secondaries are from state but it might be a hearsay.

how difficult it would be to make a decision at age 7 ?

this decision also impact where we would live .

if things don't work out well financially, how bad would it be to send other two to state? I know some choose to do that due to skills and character of children but if it is driven by financial reasons it might be difficult to accept.

It is a lot of money on the other hand - would it make a better life for 3 children - better extra curriculum and holidays etc., but then if they cannot get in a good secondary, would we regret the decision?

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hhks Thu 25-Jan-18 16:31:49

assuming you are getting twins soon? I have a friend in similar situation, and they had to give up the offer from a top prep school for the oldest girl. there are a lot of things to look at, especially your financial prospect a few years down the road. tough decision for working family.

Newnormal5 Thu 25-Jan-18 19:03:02

hhks ;)

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EdwinaMarlow Fri 26-Jan-18 16:31:03

I'll say it again, we are in SW London and I have loads of friends whose dc went to state primaries who got into top private secondaries. Don't even think about it if you are going to put yourself through financial misery or even pressure.

Newnormal5 Fri 26-Jan-18 16:49:23

Thank you Edwina ..and where we will be there are outstanding state schools with great reputation . ( SW)

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EdwinaMarlow Fri 26-Jan-18 17:17:42

Then, frankly, you are nuts to even be thinking about private education at prep level. Think how annoyed and out of pocket you would be if your dc went private and didn't get into the schools you wanted at secondary It happens all the time ...

Newnormal5 Fri 26-Jan-18 17:57:45

I think I am.more focused on if DC turn out to be ok academically but with tutoring still cant compete with prep graduates . then would I say wish?! I guess there is always time to stwich to prep if we are financially comfortable and there are problems in state .

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Dozer Fri 26-Jan-18 18:03:12

Private school from reception for 3 DC in London probably costs nigh on £500,000. Plus childcare costs “wraparound” and for 18 weeks holiday a year.

Extensive tutoring is far, far cheaper!

The 11+ forum independent schools section is probably useful for sussing out how competitive entry to seniors is, I imagine pretty competitive.

kittensinmydinner1 Fri 26-Jan-18 19:36:53

Or you could save your money and buy a house somewhere 'naice' like Tunbridge Wells where it takes 36 mins to London Bridge , in the catchment for St James/Claremont state primary. Pay for a years tutoring if they are academic and get them into TOGS/TWGGS/Skinners/Judd Which are amongst the top state schools in the country, or if morally opposed to selection then Bennett Memorial which has just been rated in the same league as the selective schools above. This is exactly what my sister did and saved themselves about £750k . Now able to help all 5 kids buy their first home (and live somewhere bloody nice, civilised and child friendly to boot)
Life beyond London ... just easier.

RaindropsAndSparkles Fri 26-Jan-18 19:46:53

Let's put this in clear terms. Mine went to nice SW London CofE primary. DS moved to London Independent at 8 (prep fed into senior), starting cost £8k. From when dd was 11 total cost was £41k. Next year they will be at uni. One undergrad at Cambridge, one Postgrad at Oxford. Maintenance for both circa £16k, fees £9250 and I think £14k but may be wrong.

The costs go on and on but both started state one until 8, one until 11. I'd save your money for when it matters most and that might be different for each child.

Newnormal5 Fri 26-Jan-18 20:14:49

you all have great insight and suggestions ..thank you..we are not looking to move to Tonbridge ( family is on the other side) but for the similar reasons relocating to SW near kingston. they have some outstanding state secondary but some really good independent too and also great selective ones . hmmm . going for outstanding primary and see how it goes and pay - like one of you said - when it matters the most sounds comforting.

we have been discussing this a lot but having different opinions from different backgrounds helps to have some clarity

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Dozer Sat 27-Jan-18 18:05:51

Kingston area state grammars are superselective, v hard indeed to get into.

RaindropsAndSparkles Sat 27-Jan-18 19:07:06

But there's Wallington, Sutton and Nonsuch and evergrowing bursaries at the independents. Move to Epsom for Glyn and Roseberry. Roseberry imo is better than Nonsuch but tiny cagchment.

Dozer Sat 27-Jan-18 19:16:57

The first three are “superselective”: not sensible to count on getting into a superselective.

RaindropsAndSparkles Sun 28-Jan-18 06:52:40

Not as superselective as the Kingston ones though

Newnormal5 Mon 29-Jan-18 08:42:15

yes - Kingston Grammar and Tiffin are super selective but at least there are some options .there are good independent secondaries if DC can get it but again super competitive such as Hampton and LEH hence the thinking round prep. However Edwina's post is very comforting. I also heard that Hampton gets half of intake from state . not sure if it is a hearsay or the truth though.

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Heliophilous Mon 29-Jan-18 08:44:37

Kingston Grammar is independent.

Newnormal5 Mon 29-Jan-18 13:11:51


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LuchiMangsho Mon 29-Jan-18 13:22:59

SW London. I don’t know anyone who didn’t eventually get into a school.
Also if your kid is at a top state primary and then despite INTENSIVE tutoring doesn’t get into a private school then maybe that school isn’t for them? You have to find the schools that fit your child and your family circumstances.
Finally, extra curricular are important. DS1 (who for the sake of clarity does go to a SW London prep) does 2 music lessons a week, chess club, swimming and gym. The music and the swimming are fairly essential I think. And there are no kids in his prep class who don’t do at least one, if not more outside activities.
Cost: Music is 200 pounds a month (he’s a very serious musician and plays in an orchestra), 80 per month for swimming, and about 40 per month for chess and gym. He used to play tennis and in the summer we’ll swap gym for tennis again.

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