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Accepted State Primary School Place Despite DD Going Private(36 Posts)
I know I'm going to get a lot of stick for this post but there maybe someone with same dilemma. The schools in my area are pretty poor. There are only two really good ones that everyone tries for but you have to be a strict practising Catholic and of course many parents just go to church for 3 years to get the practising Catholic certificate - good on them for their stamina I say! Therefore as soon as DD was born we signed her up for the Prep school and she currently goes to nursery there and loves it. At the time I was in a stable job. However I left this job last year for what I thought was a dream role as a Parliamentary Assistant. Sadly I was badly bullied by my employer and had to leave suddenly making me jobless. Knowing the employment market was not great I decided reluctantly to do a state school application just in case I couldn't get another job in time for Reception. On the day I handed in the application I got an amazing job but still had to pass probation. I got my 2nd choice of school (the 1st being an unobtainable Catholic school). It was a school rated requires improvement 4 years ago but has massively turned around and is a far as I know now a good school in all but an out of date Ofstead rating. Nonetheless because of the poor rating it had been significantly undersubscribed for a number of years so I thought no harm in accepting the place, again just in case as I hadn't been confirmed at the time of acceptance deadline. Was confirmed last week but I discovered that there was now probably a waiting list for the school. To my horror the school contacted my daughter's prep school without my permission revealing that we had accepted a place at the state school. The private school immediately got in touch with me to find out what was going on and to ask me to confirm whether DD was attending the Prep school. I promptly confirmed and candidly explained why I had gone through the state school process. Now the cat's out the bag I guess I have to let the state school know. I feel extremely guilty especially as they sent a lot of information to us and asked detailed questions about my dd. They seem such a lovely caring school, I never expected a state school with 90 children and 3 classes per year to actually pay that much attention to the individual children coming to them. I never expected to hear from them until dd was due to start tbh. However, in the back of my mind I still don't want to tell the state school the truth again just in case as my job is a contract which ends in August but maybe extended. However I think my parents would pay most of the fees if the worst happened - dd is their only grandchild and they still work fulltime. Nonetheless I am holding place which some child may need. Feeling guilty but also torn. Anyone else had this? Please no nasty comments about my attitude to state schools. I hope to send dd to a good one for secondary, I just want to make sure she has good foundations as I had such a bad experience in my state school which set me back years.
Very long post
What’s your question?
If you’re not sure which school to accept, then you are completely doing the right thing. Even if the uncertainty about which school is very small
I think you need to decide which school you want your DD to go to.
It sounds as if you are saying that you want her to go private but are worried about your job situation. However, if your contract does get extended in August, that still means it will come to an end at some date in the future! Would you therefore start your DC in private school and potentially pull her out? Or if you think your parents would pay the fees as a stop gap maybe you ought to confirm that in advance!
Holding onto 2 places is only delaying the decision you have to make.
Plus , think of your DD - what are you going to tell her? presumably her nursery will start doing transition days to Reception soon - are you going to let her think she is going to go to one school and then potentially send her somewhere else at the last minute? (and won't you be liable for a term's fees anyway ...?)
Why did you tell the state school about the private place? They couldn't have known otherwise.
Your DC can't attend two schools. So just decide which you want and tell the other. No one at either school will be the slightest bit fazed. It's a really common scenario.
But you need to put your DD first, and she deserves to know where she will be going next term, so be decisive
You can legitimately hold the state place right up until end August, but to be honest it would be antisocial to keep it past end June. In July there will be stay and plays at the school, people will be wanting to buy uniform, etc.
I'm a bit concerned, as you say your contract ends August but may be extended. It seems a bit precarious. Are you sure about paying fees for the next 7 years? it doesn't sound like you have much savings back-up? Perhaps you should at least have a discussion with your parents as to whether, if push came to shove, they would pay fees. Maybe at a minimum to end of whatever academic year you have started (or up to the one after).
I'm also wondering whether you have chosen private purely because of your bad experience ~20 years ago. That isn't a good way to choose a school. You need to compare the here and now.
(For information, the state school will probably be contacting all the new intake's current nurseries regarding handover so they are aware of SN, friends, super-brightness etc.)
Leaving it until 1st September is really unfair on the child at the top of the waiting list. The parents will have bought uniform, the child will have done all the prep days and maybe booked wraparound care.
(I assumed the OP's DD is currently in a nursery attached to the prep which is why the prep would have been contacted. Can't see why else they would even know about them.)
OP I was in a similar situation with my eldest. I’m self employed and was seriously ill the Autumn before he stated school. There was a real risk I wouldn’t return to work (in which case I couldn’t pay fees). I did return to work in the April, but was reluctant to give up the state school place in case I couldn’t work. I declined it the day before the day you had to accept for refuse. In that time I mentioned it to a few friends who were outraged I was “holding” onto a place.
Irrespective of people’s views on if you should “morally” hold onto place, in the next few months there will be settling in days etc and it’s going to get really confusing for your child if you send them to both. You also potentially will have to go along to information evening knowing you may not go.
You sound a bit of a worrier, I am too - like to plan for worst case scenario. Why not ring your parents and ask them would they help with fees if worse came to worse? You can’t be certain of everything in life, but you at least know you’d be covered for a year where presumably you could find another job?
The worse comes to the worse you give up state school place and your circumstances change, you can apply for a school place in the state sector. That’s ultimately the view I took and hence why I just committed to the private school place.
I am afraid I lost you at the part where you said you never expected a state school to care about their children or words to that effect. you do know that most kids do well at a state primary school right?
I think you are really a bit odd if you go down the private route and do not have job security or money to pay for it.
I think so much at the primary school level is parent lee and also state teachers can be fantastic... but it is your choice.
Thank you for your advice, it's really appreciated.
This is a long post, probably because it's as much a moral question as a practical. Do I have a right to hold onto the state school place even though I intend to send DD elsewhere, and even if I do is it right? I don't know if anyone is on the waiting list but they could be. I certainly don't want there to be a peg with her name on it at the school and she's not starting.
I think I do need a serious discussion with the grandparents about how long they would be willing to support her at private school. My husband has what seems to be secure a job but we would need help. We have savings but not seven years of school fees worth! My DD is an August baby so she's not even really aware of school yet but as you say the nursery are starting to prep the children for the next stage. She has her friends and loves the school so it is best for her to stay if we can do it.
I don't know how the state school found out my dd was going to the prep school nursery, I certainly didn't tell them! I can imagine only LA relayed that information because of the nursery vouchers but I would have liked to have been asked first.
One thing I can say for certain! Job or no job there'll be no other children whilst we're paying for prep school unless we win the lottery, but that's a decision dh and I consciously made together.
I don't understand the dilemma. You're daughter has got into a free state school with a lovely caring approach. Why not save the money and accept the place? No stressful chats with grandparents, no extra money worries etc
namechantz almost all private school teachers spend much of their career in the state sector so I'm not concerned about teacher quality, you get bad and good everywhere you go. My concern is the increasing cuts to the education budget meaning that resources are increasingly stretched. I don't know how teachers cope. My m-in-law was an English teacher for over 40 years and said the end of her career was the worst due to large class sizes and too much admin on teachers. The Education budget should at a minimum be protected and it should be an area where we continue invest as a society, because that is investing in the next generation. If we had government policy which took that view rather than seeing where we could take a slice off here and there to save money then I would happily send dd to state school.
You have a right to hold the place. However, this does mean the school will be expecting your DD to start. I would imagine they will ask the prep school to forward on all relevant details to them. That's what we'd do at my school, we'd also arrange to have a chat with a member of staff, either in person or on the phone. Both schools will be wondering which one you're 'playing'.
If you need help with fees, I think you really need to consider all the extra costs that go along with private education, and whether you really want to go down that road? If you go state, you could top up her education with lovely extras, rather than struggling to catch up with the basics of private education.
Caster123 so glad it isn't just me and that it worked out well for you!
tavala, this shows decision really needs to be made now! I didn't realise the school and nursery communicated with eachother.
Make your mind up and commit to a school. There may be children and parents waiting without a school place at all. You need to decide what you are going to do for this year and stick to it. If it should turn out to be the wrong decision you can revisit it in time for next year. I would just go for the state school in your position. Your financial situation sounds too precarious to commit to school fees.
rvms - tavala is right. My school always contacts a child's previous setting to have a chat about the child, their likes, dislikes, strengths, character etc.
You and your child are likely to be invited to a series of transition sessions at the state school. What are you going to do about those?
I would suggest that you speak to your parents as a matter of urgency.
I really think you need to make a decision you can be entirely confident about, at least for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. You can then review the whole situation again when things are more settled. They way you are talking about your role, it doesn't sound like you are very confident that it will continue.
As an aside, I think it's very unfair for you to hold on to a place for more than a couple more weeks.
Round where we live, there is no shortage of parents only too happy to inform schools of other parents’ business.
Morally, I think you should decide pretty soon?
I know people who held onto grammar school places when they always intended to take an independent school. The place was released late August which caused a cascade of issues for other families.
Even if there is no waiting list, by accepting a place you don't want, you are breaking the system and messing the primary school around.
However, as people have said, there is a massive question mark over whether you can afford the school fees. Even if you are retained in August, that is not guarantee that both you and your dh will stay in full employment while your dd is at school? If the situation is that precarious, maybe you should seriously consider the primary school? Go and visit. Weigh this up properly?
Re your comment about your dd being settled where she is and it being better for her to stay there. Kids are very adaptable. As parents, we worry about these things when little children in particular fly through with no problems. So she has done the nursery at the prep school - but she would start with a new cohort at the primary school with a whole new group of peers. Within weeks she'd be fully settled.
You absolutely have the right to have a think about which school is the right one in every sense (money, logistics, school itself etc) for your daughter BUT there comes a point and you're pretty close to it when you have to make a decision and stick to it.
If you withdraw from the state school late in the summer term (or later than that) the admissions department is unlikely to have time to offer a place to someone else in time for a September start which means the school then has to take someone from the waiting list who may be less keen to move as they've just started at a different school. So you turning down the school place late may mean that the school has a vacancy when they do the census (which dictates the funding) which does have a financial impact.
As contract ends in August by that time you would be tied in for at least a term anyway by that time so you are going to have to make a decision what happens if only extended for 6 months. What if it is a year. your child could settle in school and then need to move her.
I wouldn't worry too much about friendships, they are really fluid at that age.
Also your DD will of done settling in days in the school where she will be going? she can't do both. if she is going to state school then t would help her as it is unfamiliar to her.
It sounds like you did absolutely the right thing to apply to both. There comes a point where you are going to have to make a decision. You could speak to employers about contract been extended? Talk to grandparents. Then yes you do need to make a decision. regardless of legally, I don't think much will change in your situation to let you change decisions.
Don’t assume there is always enough money in private schools either. They will be counting on your fees too so you are actually messing up two schools by indecision.
I would take the state school and pay for secondary. Then you can save up and will have much longer to plan. If you really think that the state sector will implode, then avoid it, but that sounds far fetched to me. You can always reevaluate and not every state school is teetering in the brink of anihilation!
If you are worrying that much about the cost I really wouldn't go with private school, there are so many extras to pay for!
At my school we have already started visiting nurseries to meet the children that will be starting in September, we asked the nurseries for info about 2 weeks ago and visits started last week, children are invited to join us for story and play sessions after half term and will stay for a taster day in the middle of July, we then start doing home visits at the end of July. So you really do need to decide soon, not because it's stopping anyone else having a place or messing the school round but because it's not fair for your DD to miss out on the transition stuff and it would be really unfair to let her start getting excited about a school she isn't going to.
Go state, and use some of the money you would have used for private to support the state school.