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DH and I don't agree on secondary school

(192 Posts)
WillowSummerSloth Fri 15-Nov-19 12:26:41

Our eldest son is in year 5 and we have been considering secondary schools. However we have different preferences and we're not sure how to resolve it. There's no arguing, just a difference of opinion.
I prefer the private school- the curriculum is broad, the sports offered are amazing, the behaviours is great. But there's the huge financial burden as we have 3 kids and we'd definitely have to make cut backs or work more.
DH feels the local secondary school is good enough. They're strict with behaviour although there are still incidents of fighting and the lessons we observed felt like there was low level disruption in some classes. However DH thinks we can supplement their education with tutoring and after school activities.
For context we earm £170k and have £110k in savings specifically for education (gifted by parents for school fees)
Please can anyone advise?? There's no right or wrong I know but I'm chewing this over constantly. I feel the private school would definitely give a better experience but it comes at a cost. Also DH worked so hard for so long and really isn't keen to take on more work. I could work more as currently only do 3.5 days but I also do all the life and child admin which is hefty!

OP’s posts: |
Sewingbea Fri 15-Nov-19 12:28:35

£170k a year and £110k in savings and you are fretting about the cost? Really?

Quartz2208 Fri 15-Nov-19 12:33:35

look at your son what would suit him, which he would prefer, travel involved where his friends would go. What is best for him

Hoppinggreen Fri 15-Nov-19 12:34:27

Did either of you go to Private school?
I did but DH didn’t n DH’s quite a negative view of them - until we started to look at Secondaries for DD and he was shocked by the local Comps and blown away but the 2 Private schools we visited.
Unfortunately the State option open to us was pretty bad, if there had been a good State option we would have considered it but I wouldn’t send my child to a school that I considered “good enough”
Visits both schools, see what your DS thinks and then make a decision

WillowSummerSloth Fri 15-Nov-19 12:38:41

Hi, yes I went to private school but DH didn't. We have visited both. DH agrees the private school presents better but thinks that he is the way he is now because of his state school. He feels he can relate to anyone, is more down to earth and it taught him to think for himself / seek out what he needed to know. He's keen for the DC to experience this because it worked out well for him.
I also had a graat school experience. We had some amazing teachers, the work was interesting. We're lucky that we both had positive experiences that we're keen to replicate.
Really grateful for any opinions and advice.

OP’s posts: |
Seeline Fri 15-Nov-19 12:40:29

I agree - forget about state/private and just try and work out which school will suit your DS best. Which offers his favourite subjects, which offers extra curricular activities that he would enjoy, what are the options at GCSE, what are the journeys like etc.

Also, don't assume that the school which suits your DS best, will be the best option for your other children. Are there any other options which would be worth visiting for comparison?

What are the entry requirements for the private school? Is your DS likely to pass any entrance exams? Are you other children? If the private is selective, how will your DS cope in such an environment?

AveEldon Fri 15-Nov-19 12:43:11

3 kids - £20K pa for 7 years each = £420K without inflation

Save your money for University fees

LucileDuplessis Fri 15-Nov-19 12:44:45

We’re the same as you - I went to private school (on a full scholarship) and had a positive experience there, while DH went to state school and also did well there. Our DC are at state secondary school and are doing really well, but only because the state schools near us are good - we’d have gone down the private route if we felt it was necessary.

It’s a tricky one OP. But so far (eldest is year 9) I feel very positive about our decision.

WillowSummerSloth Fri 15-Nov-19 12:45:23

The private school definitely offers a better curriculum and extra curricular. DH would counter that it's not just about school experience but our lives for the next 13 years as there would be lots of stuff we couldn't do because of fees. We are used to 3 holidays at least per year/ skiing / weekend breaks etc. and they would have to be stopped. We also have a high mortgage and outgoings Inc. charitable donations so we'd have to review all those things too. I just don't know what is for the best. Please keep all opinions coming. We're reading them together to try to see if there's anything that sticks/ clicks with us that could sway us one way or another.

OP’s posts: |
OnlyFoolsnMothers Fri 15-Nov-19 12:45:58

on that salary go private, hardly going to need to tighten your belt.

I wont be able to afford private school for my child, but I went to a private school and work in a company where we have had many school leavers as interns. I can tell you now its not about "intelligence" but it has been evident, from i guess "confidence", the people that went to private school and those under the state system.

GrumpyHoonMain Fri 15-Nov-19 12:47:20

I would suggest as the 110k was specifically given by parents to help with school fees then that is what it should be spent on, and if it can’t be it should be returned. Mention that to your DH - my guess is he likes having the lump sum but it’s not really his money.

WillowSummerSloth Fri 15-Nov-19 12:49:49

My parents were also OK with the money being used for university. So as long as it's used in some capacity for education, they're OK with that. DH would never ever try to fleece them of a lump sum!

OP’s posts: |
HypatiaCade Fri 15-Nov-19 12:55:14

Depending on where you are, secondary private school fees can go up to £30,000 a year. Granted, you are unlikely to have all 3 at school at the same time, if at all, but even so.... that's a LOT of money.

In our case, my DSs went to prep school and due to unforeseen circumstances we were forced to move them to state school. Apart from the sporting opportunities, the state school was better for my DSs by a significant factor. The larger classes ended up being better, they found a cohort of students that were at a similar level and were able to properly compete. I think private schools are not always the best for your 'middle of the road, can do well with a bit of application' students.

WillowSummerSloth Fri 15-Nov-19 12:59:45

DS is really bright but slightly lazy. He seems to be able to do things without too much challenge but only ever does the bare minimum. His behaviour is excellent. He's a really good boy. DS2 is probably not as bright but works super hard and also very well behaved. DS3 is a fire cracker. Very bright and determined. Jury is out on behaviour as yet as he's only just in reception but he's definitely the fiestiest of the 3. So we also need to decide on a school that will suit all 3.

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Fri 15-Nov-19 13:00:46

As I said previously my DH went to a (really good) State school so thought that all state schools are pretty good. Once he realised that wasn’t the case he became more determined than I was that DD should go to the Private school. Just because your DH had a good experience it doesn’t mean your child will, they are different people and (presumably) different schools. You need to consider YOUR child and THOSE specific schools. In DDS case we wanted her somewhere being a “swot” was a good thing and not mocked ( again , talking about specific schools not state vs private)
It was a much easier decision for us though because the Comp is very bad, the Private school is very close, DD was offered a part scholarship and we are in Yorkshire so fees not too bad

Quartz2208 Fri 15-Nov-19 13:03:01

no you dont need to find one who suits all 3 that is unlikely to exist

RedskyToNight Fri 15-Nov-19 13:04:46

I wouldn't want to pay for private school if it meant reducing my standard of living dramatically (which is sounds like it might for you). The money you pay for private school can pay for lots of enrichment type activities and also tutoring if you think your child needs it.

Panicmode1 Fri 15-Nov-19 13:05:26

We have 4 children and a similar financial profile. We have gone down the state route. We couldn't have done 4x sets of fees, uniforms, books, enrichment and still had holidays etc. Ours are at outstanding state schools (selective grammars) and I don't feel are missing out on anything other than better sport in DDs case. We both boarded from 7 all the way through and felt very strongly we 'should' educate privately. However, by going down the state grammar route, we can afford to do lots of stuff for them outside of school, still ski/go on summer holidays, and I'm able to be at home. Our experience is that teenagers are hugely expensive and get more so the older they get. In your shoes, I would start in state, and save the money for university - and move at 13 if it's not working.....

LucileDuplessis Fri 15-Nov-19 13:06:37

OP your description of your DC is so funny. I could have written it literally word for word about my own DC! (Except that one of mine is a girl.) Sorry, I know that doesn’t help you. Just made me chuckle!

mollymandyandypandy Fri 15-Nov-19 13:09:58

If the state school near you is good and you are in a good area then I would go state. If you find that the school doesn't suit your DS you can possibly move him later.

Please consider that school fees rise each year, typically well above inflation. There is some stuff going on with the pensions for teachers currently and this could impact fees still further.

Have you considered the journey time to the private school, assuming it's longer on an already longer day. Please don't think the sporting opps are always great. Sometimes only the top A teams get the good coaching and fixtures, it's only really after year 9 that more fixtures kick in. If your child is really into sport they will be doing it out of school, unless it's a private sports school the coaching will not be sufficient. Music lessons typically cost a lot more at private school too.

Personally, I wouldn't sacrifice family holidays to go private. The money you have won't touch the sides I'm afraid, with 3 kids you're talking a lot lot more especially with trips, uniform etc.

mathsquestions Fri 15-Nov-19 13:17:52

Maybe state to year 11 and then consider private for A Levels.

averythinline Fri 15-Nov-19 13:22:11

It will depend on your school options really, we have really good secondaries near us (2 outstanding 1 good oustanding in areas) but they all have distinct characters as schools....I looked around them all in yr 5, know teachers in 2 of them.....also looked around the local private schools and picked the one we thought would suit DS best......
and yes it did suit him teh best of those 3 but we moved him for yr8 because a private school was better....
From your descriptions -DS1 would not get away with being lazy in any of teh private schools we looked at ...but in a state school as long as he hit his targets he woudlnt get the stretch ...ds bf is similar and his parents despair...
DS2 - would depend if he was the quiet type/put off by others poor behaviour (my ds was and found the noise and bustle and other kids poor behaviour really off putting even though teh school was strict a lot of time spent managing others behaviour)
DS3 - again..... feisty kids probably ok anywhere as long as not let astray by even fiestier wilder kids!

there is poor behaviuor in private schools but the smallness makes it easier for teachers to see and manage...DS school not tiny and all boys (which I never thought i'd go for - but he has thrived and the breadth of curriculum has enriched his life massively....)
there maynot be a school that suits all 3! and some private are v academic selective.....

SJane48S Fri 15-Nov-19 13:26:43

Completely empathise with the not seeing eye to eye (I was privately educated, DH state. I wanted DD to do the 11÷ and have tutoring, DH was totally against this on left wing principle. While I agree 100% with him in terms of the fairness (or lack of!)of the system, I would have happily thrown principle under a bus for DDs sake! She's ended up at an out of area good State Girls school on a Music place. Quite why DH felt it was ok to use her musical ability rather than her brains to secure a place I don't know but am pleased he did!). I do agree that what you do for one you have to do for all - a friend of mine was paying £90k yearly for her three and that £110K will go quickly. What are your other options to the local secondary that you could possibly look at? Are there any other better State schools within catchment that you can consider or others DS could travel too that offer scholarships (out of area States or Private)? You have the time to research wider options than just these two.

SalrycLuxx Fri 15-Nov-19 13:32:07

What are the results like at the state school?

You have 3 kids and it will literally cost a fortune to put them through private. Your DH is taking the financial strain, and you’re not able to cover it yourself. I’d go with state.

SalrycLuxx Fri 15-Nov-19 13:32:26

And I speak as someone with a child I private already.

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