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Private to State???

(20 Posts)
lexie01 Fri 31-Jul-09 23:33:59

Are there any mumsnetters out there who have been in a similar situation who could advise??

Basically my DH was made redundent last year. He has been able to secure a few months consultancy work over the summer but we are not sure if this will result in anything more permanent. My DD (Yr2) currently attends a pre-prep school about 20 mins drive away. So far we have been able to cover school fees by using our savings. A place has however just beome available at our local 'outstanding' state primary school. We need to make a decision asap and we are struggling. My DH thinks we should take the place - lack of job security / long term financial commitment / friends in the local community etc. Whilst I agree with this I am struggling to make the final call and feel deeply sad about the whole situation (moving her away from all her friends etc).

I could return to work (have the offer of going back to my old company for 4 days per week) which would help on the fee front but am worried about the cost to the family unit. My work is about a 40 min drive away and I would be responsible for getting DD1 to school and DD2 to nusery which would result in 4 very long days for both of them. Help!!!!!

Quattrocento Fri 31-Jul-09 23:44:56

It's a tough one, I think, and there are a lot of factors to consider. It's not just a private vs state question.

Firstly, if you move, the earlier you do it, the easier and more painless the transition is.

Secondly, school fees are probably at their cheapest for you now. The bills just get bigger as you go on. Bigger as they go up their schools and also they generally increase ahead of inflation.

Thirdly, the anxiety of whether or not you can continue to provide school fees doesn't go away. This sounds as though it has been your DH's anxiety mainly.

The whole SAHM/WOHM debate is a different issue. Essentially it sounds as though your heart really isn't in the idea of working. Do you enjoy working? When, if ever, did you plan to return to work? Would your salary cover both sets of school fees and the additional care in holidays/after school and a bit leftover? What are you doing about pension provision?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 31-Jul-09 23:46:39

I moved ds from a private school to a state school, it was such a shock that I'm moving him back, I think the state school he went to has discipline problems and I'm not prepared to leave him there. I appreciate that not every state school is like this though, he's been at a poor private school aswell.

Only you and your husband can decide what what is best. If you have a little one in nursery then there's going to be another set of school fees in a year or two so you need to sit down and work the figures out. Children are really adaptable, they can manage anywhere and can make friends anywhere. Bear in mind that you may have to give a terms notice or pay a terms fees so it's not as easy to withdraw them, look st your contract for this, it should tell you. Using your savings isn't the best way to cover the fees as this will run out eventually. Moving ds wasn't just about the fees for me, the school he was at would not allow me to pay monthly, I used to use a company to do this but I was so late being paid they cancelled my agreement. As I am paid monthly the fees became a problem. The school I am moving ds to allows parents to pay them directly monthly.

Do your homework on the state school before you decide. Chat to some parents and some children if you can. The fact that it's local will benefit your DD as she will have children to play with during the school holidays that don't live too far away to play.

lexie01 Fri 31-Jul-09 23:58:42

My DD2 is 2 and not currently in any nursery setting. I was intending to go back to work when she started school in 2011 but this is possibly a luxery we can't afford. I am certainly not against working moms - I went back to work when DD1 was 2 and worked 3 days per week and it was fine (in answer to your question - yes I do love being at work). The logistics this time around however are different and would mean I would have to leave the house at 7.30 to get everyone dropped off before I went to work. I feel that is just early to be dragging 2 young children out each morning.

you are completely right about DH - his main anxiety is the fees. We could cover all the fees in future years (when it gets really expensive) if we are both working - however he worries about job security (this is the second time in about 8 years he has been made redundent). My head is certainly telling me to make the move now and prevent heartache in the future but my heart is full of the emotion of it all - friends / changing uniform etc

lexie01 Sat 01-Aug-09 00:04:07

Thanks Fluffy. The local school is aapparently very good (league tables and outstanding ofsted) and have also visited the school and could see no problems other than the usual - large class sizes (12 more children then her current class) and large school (3 classes per yr group). Discipline is obviously a concern

CherylCole Sat 01-Aug-09 23:22:01

Have you spoken to the school and explained the situation, there are a few in my children's class receiving interest free credit shall we say to help them over the bumps.

seeker Sun 02-Aug-09 05:13:31

Why is discipline a concern?

weegiemum Sun 02-Aug-09 07:27:31

Also wondering why discipline is a concern. My dcs are at state school, in a large school with luckily only 26 in each class, but up to 3 classes per year group. Discipline is excellent, as is everything else.

BonsoirAnna Sun 02-Aug-09 07:33:58

lexie01 - You have several options here.

1. The most financially conservative option would be for you to return to work AND to move your DD1 to the state school. Have you discussed this option with your DH? How much money would you have over after paying for nursery for your DD2 and for holiday child care?

2. You could return to work and keep your DD1 in her private school. How much money would you have over after paying for school fees, nursery fees and holiday childcare?

3. You could carry on being a SAHM and move your daughter to the state school. How long are you and your DH able to live without you working?

4. Your current set-up (DD1 in private school and you an SAHM) sounds unviable at present, and maybe long term too. I quite understand why that might make you feel very sad and you will probably need time to digest this and grieve it.

happywomble Mon 03-Aug-09 07:36:21

If the state school is outstanding and much nearer I would move your daughter there. She will make local friends and probably be very happy. Do go round the state school and meet the head before making the final decision though.

Barnsberry Mon 03-Aug-09 10:12:26

I have to say if you're so prejudiced that you can write "discipline obviously a concern" then maybe you ought to bankrupt yourself and stay in the private system.

hercules1 Mon 03-Aug-09 10:16:47

Discipline has never been a problem in either of my dc's state primaries.

MollieO Mon 03-Aug-09 10:19:22

Discipline shouldn't be a deciding factor as an outstanding state school would be equal to a private school in that regard and may be better. Depends on what you value and only you can make that decision.

Ds (5) is at before and after school care and therefore has a long day. He gets upset on the one day a week that he doesn't go to asc/bsc.

MollieO Mon 03-Aug-09 10:20:32

Should add that I cut my hours when ds started school to facilitate the bsc/asc. Before that he was at a CMs from 7am to 6.30pm from 10 months to 4 and loved it.

lexie01 Mon 03-Aug-09 21:24:56

Thank you all for your comments. I obviously sounded like some middle class winger who has a downer on state education ('discipline problems') I really am not - however I was educated at a fairly awful comp some years ago and I suspect that this has clouded my judgement somewhat. I also meant that discipline was more likely to be a problem in a class of 30 than in a class of 15. Maybe by some of the comments I was wrong!

Ultimately the decision has really been taken away from me. My DH is adament that she goes to the local state school (head rather than heart!) and that this be the best for the family. Maybe.....we will just have to see.

Thanks MollieO though - your comments about asc have settled my anxieties somewhat on that score for when I do return to work!

sunnydelight Wed 05-Aug-09 10:26:13

In your position I think sending her to the local school is the sensible thing to do. If anything, consider trying to save some money over the next few years so you have a choice for seconday where it may not be so straighforward. We're in an area of Sydney where a lot of people send their children local for primary then pay for secondary and it's pretty much accepted as the norm.

daisysue2 Thu 06-Aug-09 15:43:46

I moved my daughter at the end of year 2 from a prep school to the local top performing, very large 5 classes of 30 each year, state school.

At first I had a complete downer on it as you are very much looked after in private schools, given coffee and M&S biscuits and treated as a customer by the head. The small classes are seen as a way of each child being looked after. And excellent sport played everyday on large sports fields. Swimming, music, French Oh the list goes on.

But she is going into year 5 now and I can see that there is no comparison. I would pick the state school every time. What I thought would be an overly large school unable to cope with my poor daughter who would get lost and be bullied, has become a hustly bustly school that stimulates my daughter socially.

She has to work harder and push herself as all the other children are very motivated. Also most of the children just seem to be naturally very bright. The teachers are excellent they attract a much high standard of career teachers who see an excellent state school as a way of progressing.

The best thing is the discipline. There is a clear structure which they didn't have in the private school. Also she hated PE and being on those big fields. She is much happier doing her two lessons in the gym each week.
It's a tougher environment but it suits her. She has become more outgoing and much more able to stick up for herself and to make new friendships, and negotiate with all kinds of children. The academics are by far higher and the children seem to achieve much more. Two or three of the children achieved full academic scholarships to the top private school in the area for year 7. Non did at the private school and most of those children had tutors as well. On the private school they had 100% pass rate to top public school but what I didn't know at the time was that they asked all the thick kids to leave so they could keep this amazing record. Also they had an agreement with one of the local seniors to take any of those who didn't get a place elsewhere even if they didn't pass the exam. So it gives you a false sense of their success.

You will feel down about it as it's what you are used to and it will probably take you and your daughter until the half term after Christmas to feel really settled as it will be very different.

Others of my friends who were at the private school have moved their children and are really happy. In fact I met some of the private school mums today who wished they were in the catchment area as they are stuggling with the fees. They all said it would be a no brainer if they had a school as good as ours in their catchment.

Have you spoke to any other parents at the school, especially others who made a similar move just to see what their views are.

Good luck

lexie01 Thu 06-Aug-09 22:50:18

Thank You Thank You DaisySue. You have no idea how helpful your post has been. Both myself and DH have just had another debate/argument about state/private again and I have completely reached the end of the line emotionally. Your comments have been a real saviour and have given me a much brighter more positive outlook on the whole situation.

You are right about private schools as well. It is very easy to get sucked into the whole image - beautiful grounds / sporting facilities etc. But there are negatives - not particularly exciting teaching methods / lack of friends locally etc - all of which I have forgotten in recent weeks and have had my rose tinted specs on (again!).

So thank you for enabling me to see the situation clearly!

Madsometimes Sat 08-Aug-09 16:15:56

Also, I would not worry about discipline if the state school has a good results and ofsted. To obtain academic success in a mixed ability setting, then discipline will be good. If it was not, it would be reflected in the results.

Herbiethecat Sat 15-Aug-09 16:59:23

We've just been in a similar situation with DD at the pre-prep nursery (2 days) for 4 terms but H being made redundant and doing consultancy work. I work part time and as H works away in the week am solely responsible for her to-ing and fro-ing.

I suppose it's easier as she's not in reception, but her friendships are very strong and nursery is run much as the rest of the school.

We've bitten the bullet and she's starting our local state church school next month. I have felt sad, but much more relieved.

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