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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Like many parents on here, DS sat the 11+ and also a number of Indies as a back-up (only with scholarship/bursary) in case he did not qualify on score or distance as we are OOC for Bucks and some of Slough Consortium.

He did qualify for Bucks but not for Slough.

We still await Tiffin results which is our first choice, followed by Bucks.

The problem is this. Out of the 3 Indies in the mix:

--Indie 1 has offered a place but no bursary or scholarship (school is not a big one and does not have pots of money as it is relatively new).

--Indie 2 made an unconditional offer at the actual interview in view of his high scores and interview itself (as in we didn't need to wait for a letter down the line) and HM told us he would be supporting our bursary application which we would hear about this week. I was told if they 'want the boy then the boy somehow gets there'. I am minded to read this as good news re bursary but did make it clear we were looking at a substantial % as we cannot consider an indie otherwise. HM is aware of the Bucks Grammar option. This school does not offer scholarships of any sort.

--Indie 3 results are out on Thursday so we'll hopefully know next day by post. DS passed the exam and was called for interview and sat the Art, Music, and sports Scholarships too (not expecting fireworks but did these on the basis that you had to be in it to win it). If we are offered a place, the bursar will come for a home visit. The other schools did the visits before.

Indie 3 in Kingston is the best perfoming out of the 3 if you go by league tables and great ofsted and all-round fab reputation (although their results on the BBC league tables contained a typo much to their annoyance, as did Indie 1's - and there we are believing everything we read on those tables!

Our dilemma is: what if DS is offered Tiffin on 1st March? Even if he is offered our 2nd or 3rd choice in Bucks, what do we do!! It is a case of GS v Indie. Assuming we are offered a substantial bursary of course. Is it the case that we will always be looking over our shoulder each year at Indie in case the bursary is taken away or reduced? Or is it the case that once offered always there if your circumstances don't change? I don't want to consider giving up a GS place if this is not the case.
Accepting an Indie will also mean we don't need to move and younger DD won't need to move to another primary etc.
We did all this in the hope that we would have more options come 1st March and whilst we do seem to be in the lovely position of having several choices, it's still a difficult choice.
Any comments or personal experiences you can share will be very appreciated, especially on the bursary issue. If we don't get the bursary from Indie 2 and 3 then I guess the choice will be easy!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:02 pm 
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I think the question of whether the bursary holds good throughout your son's time at the school is one which you would need to ask them about. I don't know much about bursaries but I do think it is more difficult to get a bursary now and I suspect that you will have to regularly show them your eligibility for this.

The dilemma of choosing between grammar and indie is a difficult one. I doubt you would make a bad decision whatever you decided to do. You mention that you would not need to move house if you accept an indie place. This will presumably save you a considerable amount of money which could be offset with the expense of a private education. That is good news. However, there are many other expenses to consider with private schooling not just the basic fees. So, even with a reasonable reduction, parents are still expected to pay for many other things that the school offers. This could put you in a difficult position in the long term.

A couple of years ago, my son was given a place at a private school but he then got offered a place at our local grammar instead. It was an easy decision for us to go with the grammar school because it was the best school for him. It was also a relief not to have to pay school fees especially as I already have a daughter at an indie. The overall cost would have been huge for us so I am very grateful for how things worked out.

If you were to accept an indie place would you be looking at continuing into Sixth Form as well? This is another thing to think about.

It will not be an easy decision for you to make but, from experience, it is a big financial commitment and one which needs a lot of thought.

It is a good dilemma for you to be in though - a good indie and a good grammar! It could be much worse, the alternative being a local school which you don't like at all.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:10 pm 
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In a similar situation DS has done the 11+ and is eagerly awaiting results on 1st March, but we also took the indie options as back up.

However, he has been offered a place at both back up indies (one with Scholarship & bursary, other with only scholarship so far as bursaries not decided).

So we are in a dilemma GS v indie, so yes please help!

we are a normal (!) family with modest house/car/money(!) and worry about Indie as we have not gone down this route before (already have one DS at grammar) and we have 2 more to go through, so could be looking at the long haul!

Neg and Pos Please!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:47 am
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Thank you Moonlight. Yes we would continue into 6th form so it is a huge commitment. Are you glad you went for GS in the end?
If we are offered a bursary, I'm unsure if this is just a reduced fee but everything else (uniform/kit/trips/misc expenses) you pay for or that's reduced as well. All these factors need to be considered. Grateful for any comments on this if anyone knows. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:27 pm 
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I am very glad that my son went to grammar. He is at a wonderful school and it was definitely the right decision to let the indie place go. However, if it was a choice between the indie and our local comp, we would be paying two lots of private fees now!

I think that, although there will be a reduction with the bursary, you will still be expected to pay the full cost of trips etc and this is where it does mount up. Also, check to see if exam fees are included within the basic fees. We also have to pay the final term's fees even though our daughter will only officially be there for two weeks. She will then be on study leave. School trips away are even more expensive than normal because there is the cost of the holiday as well as school fees even though your child is not attending school at that time. This is certainly the case for us anyway.

I am not trying to put anyone off the idea of private education but, as I have said, there is a lot to think about. It could also be difficult if you have to tell your child that they can't take part in a certain activity etc because of the cost especially when most of their friends will/may be able to do everything.

The 'cons' of private education are that you really do have to pay for most things. If you don't, it is a real bonus! I am also not convinced that the standard of teaching is quite what it should be. For the most part, we have some very good teachers at DD's school but don't assume that, because it is private, you have the best teachers. It is not always the case.

The 'pros' are that it is an excellent back-up for grammar school. Class sizes are smaller and generally pupil numbers are lower. My DD's school have very high expectations of their students both academically and socially but, at the same time, there is not the same amount of pressure as at a grammar school.

We are very lucky; we have the best of both worlds. My children are at two very different schools but which suit them well.

I am sure that whatever you decide it will be the right decision for your children and that they will be very happy.


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