Is private education really worth the cost?

(145 Posts)
peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:13:23

This is a genuine question. Sorry it's such a open question but I have no experience of private schools. And i just dont know. But I've started to wonder if we should send our two ds.

We can easily afford the costs per month based on our current salaries.

I've worked out that private education for both would be about £300k. With this money we could save and give them a deposit for a house. Or buy a property when they go to uni for them to share as their first property. So private education would need to be pretty amazing.

Dh and I were both state educated and nobody we know was privately educated. Our schools were I would say good at primary and average at secondary.
Dh thinks our dc will be state educated, it's just never occurred to us to use private education. I mentioned the possibilty the other day in front of my pil's and they seemed shocked that we'd consider
The local schools to where we are now are similar to the ones I attended myself, perhaps slightly less good.
One thing that is making me wonder about private education is that I wasnt all that happy at my secondary. I was sporty, but sport wasn't encouraged or cool. And I think private schools might be nicer places to be?

LIZS Sat 04-May-13 19:16:03

If you are going from 4 -18 I fear you've rather underestimated the cost .

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:17:10

I guess what i am asking is- is the whole experience nicer in private? Nice friends, supportive teachers, better access to sports facilities? My school was inner city. And quite 'rough' so was at times intimidating. I used to hate going to the toilet at school cos they were always packed with intimating girls smoking. I think our local school here would be similar.

I wish I could send DFD to the wonderful private selective my niece goes to, but sadly it's too late for her now and in the wrong part of the country anyway. IME, the benefit educationally depends on the quality of the local state schools and of the particular private school, but the social benefits for my niece have been huge. She's come out knowing her own mind and exactly the same person she was before secondary, which sadly cannot be said for all of her friends from primary who went to the local (dodgy, not all comps are like this) state secondary and conformed to fit in. You also have the added parent of smaller classes so more individual attention and easier socially, a narrower ability range meaning lessons are more focused (like in grammar schools but none in their area) and in general, all the kids and parents have their best interests at heart and want to be there. I'm absolutely not saying that's the same for every private secondary, but in some cases it is.

Based on my teaching experiences I really wouldn't waste money on prep schools, but that's just me.

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:22:31

Fees at the local private school work out about £130k per child for primary and secondary. I added extra to account for trips and uniform etc.

Timetoask Sat 04-May-13 19:30:16

In your calculations did you include an annual fee increase? In my ds's prep fees have increased by 4.5% for the past three consecutive years.

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:31:38

I did wonder about fee increases.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sat 04-May-13 19:32:57

It all depends on the child.

I agree entirely about the investment. But if your dc are unhappy and you can't move them elsewhere or somewhere suitable, then it might be worth it, or if they have a special talent, sport music academic, whatever.

Tbh, if they are motivated and supported, they should do well in most circs unless something awful happens.

We do send our Ds to private school, for a number of reasons. But one of them is that he is dyslexic and didn't get into the only grammar school in the area, and the local school was pretty dire. It was then a question of spending about 400k to get into the catchment of the next reasonable school, actually a v good one, or working out for what appears to be short term benefit but is doing him well. It ends up being baked beans for supper either way.

His class is prob more diverse than the local one would be (masses of bursaries) and the facilities are good. The teachers vary, tbh and in any case you get on with some and not others.

He does go to a pretty selective school. Again, tbh, I would think twice about sending a child to a private school just because it is private. There are quite a few that are worse than nothing special. And don't assume that just because the facilities are there your dc will use them, they may or may not. If your dc shows a talent for something or has issues like ours, then fine.

But tbh, if he had got in to the grammar I would have been delighted, banked the money and spent it as you suggest or supporting him on other things, eg on trips abroad to learn French etc.

It's certainly not worth putting yourselves under stress for if you have other reasonable options.

And I was privately educated....

Sorry this is long.

SanityClause Sat 04-May-13 19:33:21

What you need to do is look at all the schools available to you, private and state, and choose the best one.

Just as some state schools are amazing, and others are rubbish, some private schools are amazing, and others are rubbish.

So, choose the best school you can for your DC, from those you can afford to send them to.

My view is that if I prepare my DC well, they can earn money to buy a house, or not, if that is their decision. If they have a good education, they will have choices. If their education is not as good, their choices will be limited.

exoticfruits Sat 04-May-13 19:33:58

You have to allow for all the extras- trips etc that won't be cheap.

Tincletoes Sat 04-May-13 19:34:36

It's impossible to say! We don't know what your local state schools are like. I would generally "prefer" to send my children to state school, but without knowing your local area and local schools, who can say? There are amazing state schools and atrocious private schools (and the exact opposite)

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 19:34:48

It depends upon the quality of the state education where you are and whether this meets the needs of your child. If you have a great state school on your doorstep them no, it's not worth it. A lot of children don't have access to a great state school though and a lot of parents in the private sector are just trying to do what's best for their child. If they are good at primary then use them for primary and move them into the private sector for secondary. If you have a child who needs the small classes/teaching that a private school offers then move them earlier.

peanutbuttersarnies Sat 04-May-13 19:44:33

Thanks. A lot of people aresaying depends on the local school. I think Local state secondary has 10 percent achieving top grades. Local private has 70-80 percent. So private is much better in terms of qualifications. But my own secondary was similar and I did well. The teachers were still good, just not so many high achieving pupils.

MrsShrek3 Sat 04-May-13 19:50:54

I was privately educated from 7 to 18. imho no, not worth it. Yes I have good qualifications but I an not honestly say the teaching was better, I have met many more inspirational teachers in state schools during my career in education . I was sent to private because local state schools were absolute crap and my older siblings insisted to my parents that they should find me somewhere else.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 19:52:40

At secondary level I do think it depends upon the attitude of the children and the behaviour in the class. If the children are engaged and keen to learn then they will. Problems arise when you have a mixed class; those who want to learn and those who don't. The ones who don't can disrupt the class so much that no learning is done. The teaching in private schools is also different, ds is spending three years going his GCSE's rather than 2. I know that some will find an excuse to get rid of the weaker students as well. sad Exam results shouldn't influence your choice.

DebsMorgan Sat 04-May-13 19:57:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 19:59:46

A lot of parents at ds's prep school did this, Debs. I've no idea why as their primary schools were great, as was the secondary. They seemed to think that it gave them the advantage as they were use to homework every night etc. confused

SodaStreamy Sat 04-May-13 20:17:24

I would say yes.

I'm basing this on own my experiences of people who were my friends as a child, around half of us went to the local school and around half to private schools.

And I can honestly say the one's who attended private schools are now more successful in monetary terms as a rule than those of us who didn't

Also in my previous career (financial services) there was a larger amount of people in higher positions who had been privately educated than had attended non private schools

I'm not entirely convinced that means those privately educated are cleverer (although some may be) but do believe the 'old school tie' network is still very prevalent in business and if I could go back in time I would have changed my decision to have sent my eldest to the local school

SanityClause Sat 04-May-13 20:25:47

You also need to realise that there are lots of expensive trips at state schools as well as private school.

DD1 is at a state school. She's in year 9. So far, she's been to Residential trips to Paris, one at a PGL, to the Black Country for several days and skiing for a week in the French alps. She has been on various day trips, including one to the Somme, and is shortly to go to another trip to Paris on an exchange.

Her uniform was slightly cheaper than DD2's who is at a private school, but if it was more than £200 less, I'll eat my hat.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 20:28:50

Debs - a friend of mine placed hers in prep with the intention of going for the local superselective state school at 11. They can't afford to do both so this way the prep will give their DCs a fighting chance for the superselective.

Other parents do it because they reckon that the early years are the important ones and once the work ethic is instilled then you can place that child in any school and that child will do well.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 04-May-13 20:29:57

Ds's uniform is a John Lewis job but I can get it from anywhere. It's the PE kit that's a killer; cricket set, rugby kit, hockey kit, athletics kit... All academic trips are included with the fees.

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 20:30:34

All trips are included in our prep school. Neither of my boys got into our local state infants, and recently DS1 didn't get into our local middle school. So for us private school is worth it. I'm not prepared to send my boys to a failing school. But each to their own.

Willabywallaby Sat 04-May-13 20:34:05

Oh, and I went to a public secondary school, I would have got eaten alive at my local comp. But then my parents were lucky to move to a village before I was born and my primary school had 90 children, and 3 classes, perfect first school IMO.

MTSCostcoChickenFan Sat 04-May-13 20:39:24

"I would have got eaten alive at my local comp"

Willaby - Run fast, run long coz they are coming to get you smile The last person to say those words on a similar thread got shish kebabed on the front lawn.

ISingSoprano Sat 04-May-13 21:04:23

Why don't you move to an area where the state schools are better?

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