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Switching from an Indy to Grammar in London for 6th form(12 Posts)
With the economy in free fall and jobs disappearing, I am getting very concerned about being able to afford private education for the next couple of years.
DD is in a leading London Indy about to go into 6th form, predicted to have 11 9s in her GCSE, works hard and aspires to do science at Oxford.
She has a offer to join HBS in September and I have been agonising if I should sent her there to cut costs as I have been put at risk at work and anticipate that economy will be shattered for at least a year or two.
She very happy at her school and does not want to go. I guess she is (and I am) terrified of the settling in risks, and basically hating it.
She is quite reserved and not entirely confident socially. She used to be not super confident academically but really came into her own over the last couple of years and developed amazing work ethic, organisation and taste for studying incl self study and own reading. This has led her to consistently being in top 10-20 percent at a high achieving London day school. She would not have been fast enough to get into HBS at 11+ due to learning difficulties but has grown to appreciate her strengths and weaknesses.
I know this may sound like a middle class problem to some but would like to ask mumsnetters advice. My instinct tells me to let her stay as the risks are not worth it even if we end up in the most dire financial situation. On the other hand, cutting costs in this situation is a totally sensible thing to do.
Personally I would keep her where she is and call the bursar and ask about options. She doesn’t have that long to go
I would only move her if you really, really can't afford the private school anymore.
I think making her move away from the school that she loves and is doing really well at and away from her friends is a massive ask and should be a very last resort.
You know your DD best but if you do decide to go the state grammar route for sixth form rest assured she would not be on her own. DD’s grammar see an influx of private school pupils at normal times and they seem to settle and make friends and thrive. There may be outliers who do not and of course I don’t know every story and experience but those I’ve seen - it does work. I hear that state sixth forms may be even more populated with ex-private school pupils exactly for the worries that you describe.
Sixth form is a natural transition point and I would like to think any private school would be understanding if you found you couldn’t pay fees but there is no certainty.
My DD joined HBS 6th form last year from a popular NW London private girls' school. She did want to go, however, as she was ready for a change after many years at the same school. She made friends immediately and has been very happy there. Apparently the HBS girls were all extremely friendly and the new girls settled in very quickly.
There is a bit of shuffling around in the first half term of sixth form. At least one girl who left DD's old school returned after a few weeks. Obviously not ideal, but it is possible to have a go and ask to come back if things don't work out.
Dd is doing this (but in another city) and is obviously a bit nervous, especially given the covid uncertainty. The grammar school has a large intake in the sixth form though (about 100 out of 200 in year 12) so she won't be the only new starter.
I'm relieved not to have to pay fees anymore (although she was on a bursary anyway). I think she's had a really good education, but I'm wondering if the value of private education tails off in the sixth form, where it's more about independent study and self-motivation anyway?
I don't know what the answer is but my thoughts:
6th form is only just over 1.5 years, so your DD has to settle in immediately. This is obviously more likely to happen in her existing school. She cannot afford to spent a term being distracted with settling in. So get as much info about settling in process in the state school.
If your DD is going to be forced to change school due to your financial situation, it's clearly better to do at the start of 6th form.
There's a massive shortage of Physics and Chemistry teachers. If your DD is doing either of those subjects, what is the quality of the teacher in each school? (I am a school governor, we are trying to recruit a Physics teacher for September and are totally failing to find anyone)
I would try to keep her in her current school if I was in your shoes. Try to speak to the bursary, they may be able to help, should you need it.
I agree with those who say 6th form is very short - they need to hit the ground running and keep going. Any disruption to that can cause real problems. If your DD doesn't want to go, that could be a real issue to her settling quickly.
I think things may be compounded this year if students are not actually in the classroom straightaway. If she doesn't get the chance to make friends at the start of 6th form, and doesn't get to meet other students face to face until half term or Christmas, and then has an issue, it will be too late to switch back to her original school.
I say this with a DD at an indy who is (hopefully) changing to a different indy in September for 6th form. These are my real concerns. However, the differences here are that a) DD really wants to change, and has done for a coupe of years, and b) my DS was at the new school for 8 years (just 'done' A levels) so we are really familiar with it.
I think if your DD isn't on board with the change, you could have problems.
@Seeline, I have similar concerns - but on the flip side, I stayed at the same school for sixth form and really vegetated, lost motivation etc etc. I think being somewhere new can help academically - you want to prove yourself.
Also, this generation are very good at making friends online. Dd's new school (assuming she goes there and not the sixth form college) are putting them in groups of five for the virtual induction day. If she hits it off with them, I'm sure she'll be chatting online over the summer and will probably meet up in parks etc. So even if they don't go in much in Sept/Oct if at all, she'll get to know them. She's also happy to find others online who are going there and start conversations on snapchat.
I think it will be ok. Whilst I stayed at the same school for sixth form and regretted it, my younger siblings (3 of them) moved to colleges and loved their time there - they also all did better than me academically!
But I agree, it could be difficult if the young person doesn't want to move - not sure I'd risk that.
It's two years. It flies by. Try your hardest to make your DD's current independent school work. Part of doing well comes from feeling well inside. I truly believe this. I'd be doing everything not to move, based on how she's performed and how happy she is. Don't move a happy student, confident, settled student if you don't have to.
Thanks for your comments. Very helpful.
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