Private or move house for state school(59 Posts)
My DH and I constantly come back to the same conversation with no solution - interested to hear your thoughts/ experiences on private vs state school (secondary)
Where we live the secondary school provision isn’t great and we see our options as private school or moving to a very expensive catchment area for a well reputed state secondary (with 3 DCs this would obvs be the cheaper option!)
Neither of us want to move as we’d be downsizing to a more expensive house - but DH is leaning more towards this on the basis that if either of us lost our job, we wouldn’t have to change their school, plus we’d have a lot more disposable income.
I’m leaning towards private education on the assumption that they’d get a better education, with most students being committed to their education, smaller classes and overall better results (I guess this may not always be the case though). Therefore DCs would have more opportunities and hopefully come away having achieved their full potential.
DH is concerned that as we’re not privately educated ourselves or ‘posh’ our kids might feel out of place as others may have a more affluent lifestyle - multiple ski holidays, foreign properties etc.
We have no experience of private education and don’t really know if it’s any ‘better’ in terms of education and the experience you get ...
Any thoughts or experiences?!
It depends on the private school. Some are utterly amazing-some are a waste of money.
But supported children will do well anywhere.
Some Private schools are better than some State schools.
Our dd goes to a Private Secondary as our state provision is dire, she’s very academic so probably would have been ok at a bad school but we didn’t want to risk it, we also wanted her to be in an environment where being cover and working hard is seen as something to aspire to - our local state Secondary is NOT like that ( although some are).
We aren’t posh or super rich and dd hasn’t had any issues at school, however we are in Yorkshire and the School is full of teachers kids and other similar professions rather than Bankers and Oligarchs. I went to Private School on a scholarship and had no issues there either.
Moving house for a school can be risky if catchments change or the school goes downhill but paying for 3 at Private School is a big commitment
It would depend on the state school options.
School 1 - There's an 'outstanding' state school which got it by entering every child through ECDL and forcing vocational courses to boost progress 8 scores. Narrow curriculum and the loss of creative arts means fewer enrichment opportunities.
School 2 - put into special measures (quite openly considered a political and predecided opinion by most in the area as there was a push to get rid of LA schools). Nice school, decent catchment, good staff, a coasting type of school but actually ypur normal well supported child would do just fine there.
School 3 - Outstanding school which gets strong results and have consistently dominated the region for decades. Broad curriculum and lots of enrichment.
School 4 - the school that seems to teeter in and out of special measures, has loads of issues, has a long history of educational disadvantage and the issues in that school are the same issues as there was 10-15 years ago when most of the parents attended the same school. It's probably been rebranded and taken over lots abd probably was given a new building to solve the issues.
I'd say state for school 2 and 3, but go private if the option was 1 or 4.
As others have said, it depends on individual schools. For example your say you want smaller classes but our local private school option has classes of 25 in KS3, whereas state school has classes of 27. Is that worth paying for?
Also, if your finances are in any way precarious, bear in mind that a lot of extra tuition and out of school activities can be bought for less than the cost of a private school!
Independent school for three DC will be a very high cost. Increase per year for us 5%, so bear this mind. Trips, uniform, extra courses/clubs can be additional to the basic cost.
Moving to a state school catchment area. Beware that some catchments are reducing. Check the birth rate for the years your DC were born as some years are very oversubscribed. If you do this then buy a house as near as you can to the school, even within the current catchment. Thoroughly research the state school. Don't just believe everything on its website.
If you cant pay for the full private school lifestyle for 3 kids, then I would move house. If you can, then I would research all the schools and pick the best one, quality of education varies massively between schools in both sectors.
I would move house. All my siblings send their kids privately, they all went to different schools (even within the same household), one academic, one sporty, one not academic or sporty, one allrounder.
We live between 30-60 mins drive from them and the state schools near us are fab. House prices reflect that.
We downsized to a more expensive house less than half a mile from the school, early days but it seems like the right decision for us.
Move house! And keep your investment in bricks and mortar.
We chose the indi School option rather than move as the secondary options near us were not great. Personally I believe that the facilities, subjects on offer and extras like artist in residence, author visits etc plus the fact they support DD in her sport make it the right choice for us, we are probably spending less all told on the School than it would have cost us to move to a catchment to a so called outstanding School but one I have some worrying things about.
For one child I would stay put and pay for private education. For three I’d move to a good catchment area. Independent schooling for three will cost in the region of a quarter of a million throughout the time they are all there.
OP has three children though Rudi.
Private isn't always better though is it, depends on the school, depends on the child. Our state school gets better results than all the independents county wide but most importantly is a fantastic fit for DD.
I moved from a beautiful Victorian home to a 1950s semi to get into the catchment area of outstanding state schools. I don't regret it , the secondary school exam results are better than several local private schools and way above the results achieved by the secondary school closest to my lovely old house. Both my children have done/are doing really well. Move to the better school catchment, 3 at private school will be so expensive.
Agree with everyone else. There is no such thing as a "right" answer. It depends on the exact schools / options you have and how they best fit your children.
Private education locally here is about 13-14k per child per year. That's before any extras (lunch, activities, uniform, trips, travel). We're also a family with 3 children. That's £40k (at least) per year of NET income for 7 school years. Even spreading the cost over 12 months that's £3250 per month net income. That's a really big commitment in my view.
We moved here purposely for state grammars school. House is smaller than we'd get elsewhere for the same money but lots of other people have done exactly the same thing so very family oriented area, lots of pushy parents (including me ) so mountains of sports opportunities /out of school activities.
Each year the results fluctuate a couple of % either way - one year the state grammars will get better results by 1 or 2%, the next year the indies will do better. There certainly is no way on earth that the difference in the provision is worth £40k a year for us. Also, i dont have to work full time which is important for us, we can afford holidays / days out etc that widen their experience, and longer term, we should be able to help them financially as they get to uni / get married. We probably wouldn't be able to do that if we were paying school fees.
You should visit the options you have, talk to other parents who have children there. It's certainly not the case that motivated children in a positive environment only attend indie schools!
Sorry my maths not working £40k pa is £3,333 per month!
Thanks all. The monthly cost would be eye watering but my eldest is only 4 (!) so we have plenty of time to save towards it to ease the commitment. We'd need to start saving in a few years to comfortably afford it and still be able to have a life
The state secondary is ofsted outstanding and has an excellent reputation locally - I know this can change though, the results aren't quite as good as the local independents but it's a good point that supported kids do well anywhere. The catchment is tiny and house prices reflect this
Then there's university to think about!
I think we'll have to start saving and make a decision in a few years - good to hear your opinions
Obviously the standard of state schools depends hugely on the individual school. There are some very good ones, and places are fought for. Buying a house in the catchment area dosnt always gaurantee you a place, even if you get the first dc in, they may not have a sibling policy.
Are you aware of the cost of private education?
I’m no mathematician but roughly,
£7000 per term x 3 =£21000 (1 year)
Let’s multiply that by 6 (for secondary school eg) = £126000
Now, you have 3 DC, so that’s £378000
As your dc are young, are you thinking about prep school as well?
In which case you can double the whole lot = £756000
If there is not much difference between the independent and the excellent state school, I would move and invest in a property in the catchment area of the excellent state school.
Also costs for private today will increase, typically by 5% each year.
Interesting as we have the same dilemma.
There is a local school that is good but doesn't have a sixth form and the college is dreadful. We are currently coming down on the side of sending them there and paying privately for sixth form if they are keen on A-Levels come the time.
I have experience with both state and private schools and I must say a good private school is worth every penny. However, beware there are private schools out there that are not much different to state, sometimes even worse. Bright kids will get their GSCEs and A-levels in any school but a private school will give them the environment to explore and find themselves, find talents and confidence for life. Financial security is what we constantly struggle with as parents but nothing is guaranteed in life. We only have this limited window of a few years of senior school when this can make a difference so let hope we can pull it off. Good luck with whatever you decide to do ! If you decide state, I would recommend to look at KEGS and Chelmsford County High as they do really well among the state schools and Chelmsford is an easy commute into London
Three DCs.... by the time they reach secondary school the fees are likely to be £25K per year per child, after taxes...move house to have the option of a good state school I'd say.
I’d move for the state school. You would then have money to spend on extra curricular activities.
Unless very wealthy three school fees is a huge monthly commitment. I would worry about redundancy or ill health and then having to move dc to state school.
I think a good state school with outside support from parents is the way to go.
I'd find out loads about the state schools before making any decision. The secondary my son goes to (inner city state comp) isn't seen as desirable, but he's happy there, there's a lovely atmosphere, he's got a great group of friends and is on track for similarly good grades to his cousins, who are both at top notch private schools. Ask other parents at your kids' primary about the local schools - presumably some of them already have kids there.
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