AIBU to think that state schools should be achieving this?

(201 Posts)
KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 31-Aug-13 07:41:45

private schools GCSE results

Should state schools be able to achieve results closer to this?

I don't want this to be a private school bashing thread, but really, should state schools be able to achieve closer to this?

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 31-Aug-13 07:42:17

AARGH, thread title fail - state schools SHOULD be achieving this.

GetStuffezd Sat 31-Aug-13 07:44:32

Have you got any suggestions of how this can be achieved?

Sleepyhead33 Sat 31-Aug-13 07:45:01

You aren't comparing like for like

TwasBrillig Sat 31-Aug-13 07:45:07

Well yes, if they were funded to have small classes, lovely grounds, lots more exercise, and usually a selective intake, oh and only took from roughly the top ten per cent of earners in the uk. . .

Bit silly to assume its equal.

Bonsoir Sat 31-Aug-13 07:45:41

DC at private schools tend to have a lot more advantages than even the significant extras that private schools provide. Don't bash state schools where neither the schools nor the families have all the resources that children in private schools have.

Spottypurse Sat 31-Aug-13 07:49:04

Those aren't gcse results. They are igcse

Also, are you seriously saying that you can't figure out why a very expensive private school can get better results than a standard comp?

whitemonkey Sat 31-Aug-13 07:55:03

Most private school have a entrance exam and only take above average pupils, so of course they will have better results. It doesn't mean that they are any better at teaching than the comprehensive schools who take a range of abilities.
It is how they improve the pupils who come to them that is important ie value added. Not everyone is or can be a genius!

whitemonkey Sat 31-Aug-13 07:55:45

'an entrance' not 'a entrance' oops

Of course we should-as soon as state schools can set entrance exams, keep class sizes down to 15, guarantee the newest resources.....

I would love there to be greater equality between the possible provision between state and public schools. I would love the children I teach to have the same life enhancing opportunities and whole world knowledge these would promote. I am sure being able to provide this would increase their grades at the end of their time in school.

Given that the government allows something like £3,000 per child per year to be educated and the top public schools charge many times that I am not sure the results are comparable.

Hmmm...a bit rambling-sorry! I need more caffeine I think.

Beveridge Sat 31-Aug-13 07:57:59

Clearly it's the fault of the teachers. Us state school types just can't be bothered - too busy reading newspapers and drinking coffee in the staffroom and setting undemanding work so we have as little marking to do as possible.

Just checked, my county spends £4,700 per pupil, but there will be a difference between primary and secondary (primary gets less). That average may well include children at special schools, who clearly need more funding and that will alter the average even more.

Not really an even playing field.

fairylightsinthespring Sat 31-Aug-13 08:02:54

What everyone else said. I work in a high achieving private school. We work very hard and are good at what we do, but we teach kids who passed a tough exam and no class is bigger than 24 so we get bollocked if we get more than few B grades across the year group. I have also worked in a state school where some kids had D grades as their target and worked hard to get them (as did the teachers). Its a different kind of teaching but the most obvious thing is the baseline ability of the kids you have on front of you.

sooperdooper Sat 31-Aug-13 08:05:08

What a silly question, they aren't comparable so it's not an even situation to expect the results to be the same

pudcat Sat 31-Aug-13 08:08:53

In our town children can sit an entrance exam to the fee paying grammar school to try to gain a scholarship. They can also sit an 11+ exam to gain a place in 2 grammar schools in the next county. Therefore a lot of (not all) the brighter pupils have been creamed off when they start secondary school.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sat 31-Aug-13 08:09:41

Private schools also don't play fair. My godfather's son started at his private feeder school at the age of 3. At 18, in the Easter before he was due to take his A levels he was told he wasn't welcome back and he ended up getting his two Ds and an E at the local college.

Said private school then boasted in their prospectus that every pupil had got BCC in their A levels or better. hmm

I'm not anti private schools - we will probably send dc at secondary but you have to be realistic about what they provide.

Inertia Sat 31-Aug-13 08:15:36

If the state schools started off by only admitting students who could pass a rigorous entrance exam , then taught them in small-group classes using outstanding facilities, then results probably would be comparable.

Taz1212 Sat 31-Aug-13 08:17:23

Oh, I have my own personal rant here. I don't want to talk in broad general terms because every school is different - plus I'm in Scotland and my DC are still at primary school so not directly relevant to the OP! However, for our local school, I do think there's an awful lot more that could be done to emulate the private schools.

We used to have a head who had taught at a leading private school and part of his mission was to introduce bits from his private school experience. He did and it worked fantastically well. However, when he left, the new head systematically removed all of his initiatives and the school has, quite frankly, gone downhill. For example, we used to have "active homework" every six weeks or so where the kids were given a choice of completing at least two activities from a list of six. There was a wide variety - e.g. Go on a nature walk and put together a collage, make up a recipe for dinner and make it, spend a day saying please, hello, goodbye and thank you in French, German or Spanish- that art of thing. My kids LOVED it, but the new head dropped it because apparently so many parents complained that they didn't have time to do schoolwork with their kids.

I could go on and on with examples, but suffice to say, DS is now at a private school (in a class of 27 so we're not paying for a small class!) and we've found that he's quite a bit behind his peers in maths because there are topics that he simply wasn't taught. If there's such a gap in the teaching at this age I can understand why the gap gets bigger and bigger through high school. I know private school results will always be better purely from the selective nature, but I do think our local school could do so much more- they certainly used to!

frogspoon Sat 31-Aug-13 12:19:35

Not all independent schools are selective. Many (including the ones featured in the article) are highly selective, but many are not selective but still get results that are much higher than the local comprehensives.

I am about to start working in an independent school, which is non selective (and down the road from two highly selective independent schools who cream off the most able students) but still gets well above average results at GCSE.

I have a few ideas as to why this might be.

The classes are very small. The biggest class I have is 23 pupils (top set), and the smallest is 8 (bottom set), therefore the pupils get more time with the teacher to focus on areas where they are struggling, especially the less able pupils.

The discipline is very strong, perhaps even draconian. If pupils do not meet the expectations of the school, they are asked to leave. On average 2 pupils are expelled each year (out of 700). It is near impossible to expel a pupil from a state school. This means that disruptive pupils will not be distracting well behaved hard working pupils, who will be able to focus on their work more easily.

The day is much longer in many private schools. We finish school at 5:30 most days. With a longer day there is more time for teaching so therefore pupils will understand their course better.

Expectations are extremely high, of everyone. Teachers expect the highest standards of behaviour and effort, and pupils and parents expect the highest standards of teaching from the staff. It is normal for teaching staff to spend break times, lunch times, and even weekends (boarding school) supporting pupils who are struggling, especially just before exams. This would be unheard of in most state schools.

SilverApples Sat 31-Aug-13 12:24:19

'If the state schools started off by only admitting students who could pass a rigorous entrance exam , then taught them in small-group classes using outstanding facilities, then results probably would be comparable.'

And had the right to expel any disruptive pupils.

It's not even simply about the teaching the schools themselves. Many parents with children in private schools are quick to top up with additional tutoring if they think that their child needs a boost in any particular area, most parents in the state sector don't have that choice.

spanieleyes Sat 31-Aug-13 12:29:42

*'If the state schools started off by only admitting students who could pass a rigorous entrance exam , then taught them in small-group classes using outstanding facilities, then results probably would be comparable.'

And had the right to expel any disruptive pupils.*

and could ask "poor" performing children to leave.

I'm we all want schools to be equally good at encouraging children to fulfil their potential. But you can't do that, sometimes, in classes of 30, with little money, stretched teachers and no ability to, often in the case of secondary schools, cherry pick students. State schools accept children of all abilities, bar a minority in the form of grammar schools, and don't have the funding and facilities usually to do it.

spanieleyes Sat 31-Aug-13 12:32:10

It is normal for teaching staff to spend break times, lunch times, and even weekends (boarding school) supporting pupils who are struggling, especially just before exams. This would be unheard of in most state schools

Actually, most state secondary schools offer this ( apart from the weekends) but what makes the difference is that private school pupils will turn up, state pupils wont!

forevergreek Sat 31-Aug-13 12:33:27

I went to a grammar, their lowest pass rate was 97% of pupils erring a*-c. It was the year I did them! And the entire school was in disgrace. Dispite the majority of those passes being a* or a. With 6 A*, 5 As and 2 Bs I had to attend a meeting to see why I had done badly!

My sister has years later just got her grades. They are exactly the same as mine and she was also spoken to as to why 2 weren't ' up to standards of the school'

It's not just private schools. I am astounded that many have around 50% pass rate though as that means almost half are failing.

I think most education is done at home though tbh. The grammar both myself and sister attended expected far more self study than surrounding schools. My sister is expected 1 hr min study a day on top on regular homework. Her friends from local comp apparently have never 'self studied' ever and rarely have homework

SilverApples Sat 31-Aug-13 12:34:01

I used to teach in a very rough area, in a borough where the staying on rate in either education or training was under 30%, my school was at the bottom of the heap.
Two teachers left to teach at the independent Hulme Grammar, and did a splendid job.
Same teachers, different schools.

lljkk Sat 31-Aug-13 12:39:17

Easily done. Make sure that state schools have entrance exams and interviews and minimum income thresholds for parents or if parents don't meet income threshold, the children only qualify to stay on the basis of talent or aptitude. Kick out any kids who are disruptive (who cares where they go?) Also may be able to exclude kids who don't do the homework (do ensure you impose a heavy homework load).

See? Easy.

(Oh, wait...)

maddy68 Sat 31-Aug-13 12:53:05

Most private schools have a selection process.
They ave to sit entrance exams prior to admission. Only the very brightest can go
State schools have to include everyone, all abilities and sen students
You need to look at the value added to get a true picture. Ie. taking everything into consideration their expected grades v their actual grades. Very few private schools have good VA

nennypops Sat 31-Aug-13 12:55:49

Wellington Academy, the free school sponsored by Wellington College, has just seen a slump from 47% achieving A* to C grades including English and Maths to 37%. I think that possibly tells us all we need to know about how private schools fare working in state school conditions.

Yes, SilverApples - currently, my DC are probably going to end up going to is a 33% pass rate. The teachers are utterly brilliant there, but something has gone wrong, down the line. It's not about homework, it's the opportunities and the fact that the school is in an area with high turn over, there is n reason to stay in education as there are no jobs for them, with families from the same position and not being able to educate themselves outside of school from a young age. As well as this, high gang rates and child crime rates means that it's not the school which is the problem, it's the poverty in the community.

NoComet Sat 31-Aug-13 13:00:16

Education isn't a level playing field, DCs are handed many of their cards at conception.

Intelligence has a large genetic component. DD2 is totally her paternal grandparents decendent (both very old school formal English teachers, who died before she was born). DD1 mops up science like DH and me, sings like our DSisters can and is dyslexic like me.

Regardless of how good or bad their schools DD1 will get reasonable science and maths marks as she is both natrually good at them and can pick our brains. DD2 would have got L3 English SAT anywhere.

By definition most private school pupils are the offspring of inteligent well educated parents. You need parents with good jobs to cover the fees.

Yes some cheat and use grandparents, but the fee paying Grandparents I know are very inteligent high up civeral sevents and computer scientists, not dim rich aristocracy.

lastnightiwenttomanderleyagain Sat 31-Aug-13 13:08:59

StarBallBunny I was about to say the same - yes there are numerous exceptions and examples of people doing hard and vital jobs who earn a pittance given the value of what they do BUT across the board there is a general correlation between earnings and intelligence/work ethic. Therefore it seems reasonable that one of the many factors at play here is that children whose parents earn enough to pay for private school might also have had a helping hand from the nature vs nurture pool.

Rowlers Sat 31-Aug-13 13:20:06

It's not just differences in ability but also attitude and ambition. Some children sadly have no-one at home to encourage them and they have no role-model to follow.

NoComet Sat 31-Aug-13 14:03:06

Yes and many of those DCs of hard working, but not so well paid parents (or parents like us where the Mum doesnt work and they have a big morgage) are the state schools top set A and A*s, in subjects they have the aptitude/perental support in.

Where state schools struggle and private schools are at a huge advantage is having the time and resorces to help DCs get good grades in things like MFL and English if they have technical parents or science when their parents are bright administrators.

At the DDs school Maths does pretty well, it's a well run dept. and they dole out loads of computer based practice. Science and particularly English have Ofsted breathing down their necks for lower ability pupils getting Cs. There is bugger all time and energy left to push an A to an A* or a safe B to a borderline A.

MFL get massively squeezed, short state school days and the timetable requirments of Maths, English and science to get ofsted acceptable marks leave them the very poor relation.

They always have been, outside the private sector. Even my grammar school, best uni in the country educated DH knows only a bit of French and a few wirds of German.

foslady Sat 31-Aug-13 14:11:59

Was going to add/agree with this then realised OP hasn't come back.....

frogspoon Sat 31-Aug-13 14:14:00

Actually, most state secondary schools offer this ( apart from the weekends) but what makes the difference is that private school pupils will turn up, state pupils wont!

Yes, this is definitely true, although at least in my own experience, state school teachers will spend less time supporting struggling students.

Maybe because they are demotivated. I know I was demotivated when I had prepared an hour of interactive revision resources for year 11 who were not my class but none of their teachers wanted to do the revision session and only one kid out of 20 showed up!

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 14:20:23

Raising the bar may only serve to label children not reaching that (high) standard as underachievers with nothing to offer.

Sometimes people's talents lie elsewhere but they would be forced to concentrate on the academic subjects.

So I have mixed feelings about this type of thing. Equal opportunity is one thing but trying to make everyone achieve a certain standard is completely different.

Runningchick123 Sat 31-Aug-13 14:21:25

The private school where my child attends has many parents who are in manual jobs and lots who are only average earners. There are parents who are labourers, nurses, teachers, social workers etc.
the idea that only parents in well paid elite professions can afford private school fees is not strictly true. Lots of parents afford the fees by foregoing foreign holidays, driving older cars, finding free activities to do at weekends and school holidays, not extending themselves on their mortgages etc.
this school also isn't academically selective but the children still leave having reached a much higher level of education than the children from neighbouring state schools.
As for costs and funding- state schools here get an average of £5200 per pupil per year and an additional £900 for each pupil in receipt of free school meals. The private school charges £6500 per pupil per year and has class sizes which are half that of the local state schools.
These are primary schools so not related to the OP's article as such, but nonetheless it makes me wonder how the state schools here can't provide more than they do given that they get a lot more income per class than the private schools.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 31-Aug-13 14:25:16

"I am astounded that many have around 50% pass rate though as that means almost half are failing."

If you are counting grade C as the lowest pass mark, I have pupils whose estimated grade is an F or a G (the two grades that gove wants to pull, so they will get a U).

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sat 31-Aug-13 14:30:14

It is normal for teaching staff to spend break times, lunch times, and even weekends (boarding school) supporting pupils who are struggling, especially just before exams. This would be unheard of in most state schools
Rubbish, just before exams is by far my busiest times running extra lessons, before and after schools and if timetable allows sometimes in my PPA time for A level students.
Actually, most state secondary schools offer this ( apart from the weekends) but what makes the difference is that private school pupils will turn up, state pupils wont!
Again, not in my experience, there will always be some that don't turn up but we have good attendance at revision schools and I work at a normal comprehensive.

When I worked in an international private school, we charged for revision sessions which I found an alien concept seeing as I consider it a normal part of my job.

mummytime Sat 31-Aug-13 14:42:26

"I am astounded that many have around 50% pass rate though as that means almost half are failing."

State schools if they are not Grammar schools have to take all pupils. Not everyone is able to get all A* at GCSE, not all are able to even get 5 C grades.
Also we have a government who has interfered to raise the bar, last year and this year. So it is harder to get C grades and above for GCSEs. (I have a child who would have got a C in English if he had been Welsh).

The government hasn't really interfered with iGCSE, although it is causing new syllabuses to be written so State schools can sit them.

On the other hand I know State schools (like my DC's) where the numbers getting 5 A-C GCSEs are 85%, and 29% are A/A*, and this is a true comprehensive.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 31-Aug-13 14:58:26

I get reports from my old stomping ground, a school there has recently gone "independent" (I've put the quotes as it is actually an academy). Since being an academy its results have risen in leaps and bounds, they have done this by removing pretty much all SEN pupils from the school (Its their dirty little secret).

Imagine no ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, Dyspraxia, behavioural issues.
All removed to the state school down the road.

lastnightiwenttomanderleyagain Sat 31-Aug-13 14:59:42

Runningchick I think that's a similar point though, those parents have made sacrifices as they value education, which will obviously come across in their attitude to their child's work ethic.

WHere we are, 'normal' private schools are around £5k a term, so the disparity is quite large. They're not 'elite' schools either (DH teaches at one) as there are a number of grammars that skim the cream

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 31-Aug-13 15:07:43

YABU and you really haven't thought it through at all.

CailinDana Sat 31-Aug-13 15:16:39

It's the students that achieve the results not the school. No matter how fantastic the teachers or how well resourced the school, some students simply will not do well academically due to lack of motivation, ability, role models etc. Schools in the uk seem to be viewed as a sort of factory that can and should churn out standard citizens with standard results. It's a bizarre attitude.

BoundandRebound Sat 31-Aug-13 15:18:03

I wish private schools were forced to take a representative sample of children of all abilities and backgrounds, then we'd see how much better they are at teaching than those who work their asses off in inner city state schools so that every child can achieve their potential

You do realise that for some children getting an E or a D grade in a GCSE is a huge achievement

neunundneunzigluftballons Sat 31-Aug-13 15:26:35

We probably have less private schools in Ireland but consistently the highest results are obtained in the state system so yanbu. I am speculating I would have to check but I would imagine that the average results are higher in the private system since they tend not to have their cohort of weaker students. Also private schools are disproportionally represented in university and probably among the higher wage earners so there are other benefits to having money.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 31-Aug-13 15:28:26

So, neunund, you suggest that average results are higher in private schools because they don't have weaker students.... but think the OP is not unreasonable to think state schools should be achieveing the same results confused?

frogspoon Sat 31-Aug-13 15:32:47

Imagine no ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, Dyspraxia, behavioural issues.
All removed to the state school down the road.

The school I will be teaching in is certainly not like this!

Out of a class of 24 I taught at interview 1 in 3 had an additional need.

These included Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and ADD and a specific learning difficulty.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 31-Aug-13 15:41:06


It was not my intention to imply that all independents/academies do this, it was used to show what some schools do.

derbyshiregirl Sat 31-Aug-13 15:52:01

It is possible-the non selective state school near me achieves over 90% A* - C at GCSE and certainly doesnt 'weed out' children with SEN.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 15:52:23

I think Boney's point highlights how it important not to impose artificial standards in terms of results. Yes there should be high aspirations for all pupils but these may differ due to their individual strengths and interests.

timidviper Sat 31-Aug-13 16:05:57

I agree that state schools face a lot more challenges than independent schools but I do think expectations make a big difference.

My DCs went to a private school and the noticeable difference between their school and the local high school was the expectations. Their school expected certain standards of behaviour, effort, achievement, etc which were largely fulfilled whereas the High School seemed to be far more tolerant and more concerned about pupils not "failing" which, in my opinion, did not challenge some of the young people to push themselves to excel.

Runningchick123 Sat 31-Aug-13 16:14:01

Perhaps the problem is part parental attitude and child work ethic. However, my child was previously at a local state school and my attitude towards his education hasn't changed but he is certainly achieving more now that he is at the private school.
The smaller class sizes means that the teacher can provide each child with more individual support and work tailored to match their ability.
Also the fact that parents can take their money elsewhere if not happy with the teaching means that a greater effort is made (only based on my experience and not necessarily generic) to ensure that the children achieve as much as possible.

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 16:23:05

It is far too simplistic to put every thing down to children's work ethic and expectations of the school's and parents. Some children have more learning challenges from the outset. Then if teaching is not catered to their needs the problems are compounded.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 31-Aug-13 16:27:32


Is the school giving you the percentage of total pupils that could achieve A*-C or are they giving the percentage against the total pupils in the school year?

So is that 90% of 300 pupils (the full year) or 90% of 100 pupils (pupils that should get A*-C)?

derbyshiregirl Sat 31-Aug-13 16:39:33


'91% of students gained five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C. '

derbyshiregirl Sat 31-Aug-13 16:40:25

Which isnt what I originally said is it! blush

Kleinzeit Sat 31-Aug-13 16:55:58

Many parents with children in private schools are quick to top up with additional tutoring if they think that their child needs a boost in any particular area

Now this is one thing that really astonishes me. I can understand paying for private education and I can also understand paying for extra private tuition to fill gaps in basic education if a state school isn’t meeting those needs.

But I would be absolutely furious if I was paying school fees AND had to pay for a private tutor as well – ok not for something additional like piano or dance, but certainly for something basic like maths. Yet I have a pal who’s a maths tutor and he says half his pupils go to private schools. So what exactly are those parents paying school fees for?

daftdame Sat 31-Aug-13 17:18:41

Round the clock teaching Kleinzeit?

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 31-Aug-13 17:25:18

You cant compare state and private.

Private will always get better results, pressure from paying parents both on the school and child, smaller classes, better facilities, very very few SEN or FSM children etc.

NoComet Sat 31-Aug-13 17:37:03

No idea where the poster lives with 6,500 a year private school fees. It's 14,500 a year for our cheaper girls school. £22,000 at the dearer one. Non boarding with uniform and music etc being insanely dear on top of that.

£260 a term for music lessons as apposed to DDs private ones at £110.

That's not simply cars and holidays, that's more than our post tax income to send two DDs

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 31-Aug-13 17:47:08

derbyshiregirl (if aimed at me)

What I am (badly) saying is that schools -private, independent and academy play the stats game.

'91% of students gained five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C. '

Is that 91% of students forecast to get A*-C achieved their target

or is it 91% of the cohort (whole year) achieved A*-C?

91 out of 100 pupils (if 100 in the school year) is obviously better than 45.xxxpupils out of 50 (pupils that are forecast to get A*-C, with the other 50 pupils forecast to get D and below) but each percentage is statistically correct

Blissx Sat 31-Aug-13 17:57:56

Methinks the OP has just lit a bomb and is standing back letting it go off...

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sat 31-Aug-13 18:09:16

derbyshiregirl There are two ways that parents can use superior purchasing power to get a better education for their children - one is through private school andne other is through catchment area.

If the average house in an area costs over £1m then the state school probably will do better than average. And once it is labelled as a "good" school lots of parents who care about education will speedily move in doing two things:-

1. Pushing prices up further
2. Improving results

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 31-Aug-13 18:18:29

Actually the OP has been out all day with her family. I was interested to see what people thought - should state schools be trying to raise standards by looking at what the private schools are doing; not all private schools are selective and now that many secondary schools are going down the academy route they have more freedom in terms of what they teach.

enderwoman Sat 31-Aug-13 18:26:02

My son's comp had 96% achieving 5 GCSEs A*-C.
Admittedly it's in the area of the city with pricier housing so the children enter secondary with advantages like keen parents, less than average FSM and SEN but it sends someone to Oxbridge every year and top 20% ish go to a RG uni.
The point Im trying to make is that both private and state schools vary and you can't compare top private schools with bottom state schools. While top private schools achieve excellent results, there are plenty that serve the low achievers and will have poor or mediocre results.

Runningchick123 Sat 31-Aug-13 18:35:46

No idea where the poster lives with 6,500 a year private school fees. It's 14,500 a year for our cheaper girls school. £22,000 at the dearer one. Non boarding with uniform and music etc being insanely dear on top of that.

Its in manchester - prep schools average £6500 per year and senior schools average £10,000 per year. These prices are roughly similar at the vast majority of manchester and Cheshire private schools.

HarumScarum Sat 31-Aug-13 18:42:54

>> should state schools be trying to raise standards by looking at what the private schools are doing

No, there should be more sensible options for the non-academic. It is stupid trying to get everyone to jump through GCSE hoops when it simply doesn't suit some people.

frogspoon Sat 31-Aug-13 19:13:15

>> should state schools be trying to raise standards by looking at what the private schools are doing

No, there should be more sensible options for the non-academic. It is stupid trying to get everyone to jump through GCSE hoops when it simply doesn't suit some people.

Agreed. My school has all students take IGCSE Double Science or separate Physics, Chemistry and Biology, which is harder than GCSE and does not have a single Science option.

There are a small handful of students who get two Ds or 2 Es in these courses. For some of them, taking a single Science GCSE might have given them a chance to get one C. An Applied Science BTEC could be another alternative option.

At least then they would get a passing grade in a qualification, rather than two failing grades which leaves them without a qualification in a core subject.

Private schools must be doing some things well to get the results that they do, but they are far from perfect.

olivo Sat 31-Aug-13 19:15:23

My DD is at an independent non selective primary school which costs £3500 p.a from reception to year 6. She will then probably transfer to a non selective independent girls school ,where the fees are currently around £4000 p.a. Not all schools cost 6k +

I teach in a state secondary. I know that some schools are reputed only enter students that will achieve C and above, so their results will look good. I teach the full ability, one of my students this yer was predicted an F and got a D- we were delighted!

Runningchick123 Sat 31-Aug-13 19:18:23

Olivo - that's really low fees. Here in manchester we are low, but £3.5k pa is really low. Are you in Ireland by any chance?

olivo Sat 31-Aug-13 20:27:29

No, not in Ireland. I realise how lucky we are though!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 31-Aug-13 20:37:49

Yeah, they can look at what private schools are doing and copy that, can't they? Like not letting any poor children in and stuff like that, or setting an exam you have to pass before you're allowed through the door, maybe? Or giving up on and booting out any child who's not going to reflect glory in the league tables?

Yes, state schools: look and learn.

Talkinpeace Sat 31-Aug-13 20:40:23

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Preferthedogtothekids Sat 31-Aug-13 20:42:39

I currently work as a TA in High Schools. I usually support the teachers in the lowest sets in English and Maths, usually in classes no bigger than 15. The typical mix is generally about 12 boys to 3 girls.

These kids could probably all achieve average grades if the support at home was echoing the support offered at school sad but many of these students just don't seem to know how to learn effectively and expect failure from the minute they set foot in the room. I think there is a massive achievement in just getting them into school and keeping them coming daily until they turn 16. Exam passes at any level are an added bonus.

Runningchick123 Sat 31-Aug-13 20:45:22

I'm dreaming of having Olivos fees. 3.5k pa is less than what most state schools get per pupil. Some seriously good financial management at that school.

orginialsteamingnit do you realise that not all private schools are academically selective and that lots offer additional support for children with a specific learning need such as dyslexia (albeit sometimes at an additional cost)?
Do yo also realise that there are some 'poor' children at private schools with the aid of a bursary / armed forces schemes/ other specific help such as those related to certain occupations?
With Olivos fees of 3.5k pa a lot of people who are not wealthy could afford a private school.

PatTheHammer Sat 31-Aug-13 20:46:43

I believe Olivio has hit the nail on the head. I teach in a state school (83% pass rate for those that care). I have lots of teacher friends at various private and grammar schools in the county. Many of them tell me that they simply do not enter the children who may not achieve above a C grade, and this is decided fairly early on.
Obviously they have to be entered in core subjects so perhaps further interrogation of % of A*-C in the core subjects compared with state would benefit those who wish to do comparison. Also be wary about headline figures that do not include the full cohort, it's a favourite trick of a very well regarded independent school down the road from me.

PatTheHammer Sat 31-Aug-13 20:50:51

Also I would add that if a child is expelled during year 10/11 from a state school then their stats still appear on the 'league table' so unfortunately 'booting them out' doesn't help us in terms of results even if it does have a positive impact on the learning of others.

soverylucky Sat 31-Aug-13 20:54:15

Even if a private school is not selective (which many of them are) they have several key advantages over state schools.
1. They can remove from the school anyone they wish. They do not have to deal with behaviour issues in the same way a state school does.
2. Smaller class sizes. IMO this is a critical factor. One teacher with 15 pupils is going to have more time for feedback etc than a teacher with 32 pupils. (Some of my classes last year had even more than this in them)
3. They generally have much better facilities that state schools - more books being the main one.
4. They do not have the broad intake that many comprehensives have - very limited numbers of pupils with SEN, very limited numbers of pupils who don't speak English as a first language, very limited numbers of pupils who come from a disadvantaged background.

I know plenty of people who have taught in both the state and private sector who have achieved vastly different results yet their teaching style and methods have stayed the same.

You can not compare state schools with private schools. Obviously some state schools need to improve and so do some private schools.

ReallyTired Sat 31-Aug-13 21:40:45

Rather than asking why state schools do not do as well as private schools, prehaps we should be asking why our children do not do as well as those in Finland?

Finland does have a minority of schools which are multicutural and similar to the roughest schools in the UK. Certainly there are plenty of Finns with SEN.

One thing that both british private schools and Finnish schools have is the freedom to make their own decisions as teaching professionals.

This is an interesting quote:

"The school where Louhivuori teaches served 240 first through ninth graders last year; and in contrast with Finland’s reputation for ethnic homogeneity, more than half of its 150 elementary-level students are immigrants—from Somalia, Iraq, Russia, Bangladesh, Estonia and Ethiopia, among other nations. “Children from wealthy families with lots of education can be taught by stupid teachers,” Louhivuori said, smiling. “We try to catch the weak students. It’s deep in our thinking.”

Read more:

Talkinpeace Sat 31-Aug-13 21:44:24

Finland does not have a record for producing excellence - it is great at bringing everybody up to a level but not at getting the bright way beyond it ....
also, SEN kids are not put in for the PISA tests on which many such stories are based
the devil is in the detail
and "churn" in Finnish schools is a fraction of that in the UK

As a Finn, I think that although the Finnish system is good, it's simply not workable in the UK. Community and society is incredibly different, as are poverty rates. Compared to my area, teaching in Finland is easier, not because of the standards, tests and practices, but a smaller population where although SEN provision is good can hide terrible, terrible cases, which aren't widely reported but are known and aren't infrequent. The multicultural schools are there, but they are a minority, certainly compared to many UK schools, and although there are excellent cases, like the ones reported, children with Finnish not as a first language don't always receive the best help to achieve their true potential. Children are brought up to high standards but people who can achieve higher are not given help and there is relatively little movement within schools.

Overall, that means the circumstances of students are incredibly different, and although I like the Finnish system and sometimes which we'd stayed for longer for the DC, I don't think it will work in the UK and it isn't great when you look at the hidden facts.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 31-Aug-13 22:27:45

running yes I do realise not all private schools are not academically selective, but by making sure only children whose parents have chosen and invested in that school, they are still able to ensure a pretty committed intake, no?

And yes, I know some of them do let some poor children in if those children are very bright and have parents committed enough to find out about and go for bursaries.

cory Sat 31-Aug-13 23:01:52

Any school that is fee paying is going to be self selecting: it is not going to include the children of permanently unemployed drug addicts with a grudge against the education system.

And probably rather few children with severe learning disabilities.

It is interesting that on every thread where selectiveness re SN comes up, somebody pops up to say "but private schools do take children with dyslexia", as if that was the worst SN they could imagine. Yes, they do, but state schools also take children with Downs children and autistic children and children with severe behavioural problems and children with chronic mental health issues.

ReallyTired Sat 31-Aug-13 23:07:42

There is a private school near us that speicalises in children with major learning difficulties and 15% of their children got 5 GCSEs.

PoshPenny Sat 31-Aug-13 23:08:54

Some state schools do achieve results like that - usually grammar schools rather than comprehensive. comprehensives tend to have a disadvantage generally in that there are usually some there who are not so bright, are simply not interested, or have parents who do not realise the value of a good education. those are just some reasons, before you even get on to parental input, or arguments about level of resources etc etc

Talkinpeace Sat 31-Aug-13 23:22:27

I am not aware of any private school that takes pupils who have been excluded from other schools on the grounds of extreme violence.

DH has worked at a secure boarding school for severely disturbed kids.
Exam results were not high on their agenda.

manicinsomniac Sat 31-Aug-13 23:23:23

Many of those private schools that got 99 and 100% are not especially selective at all. I work in a totally non selective independent for younger children and we have sent children onto schools like Uppingham and Downe House with mild special needs.

I think it's the class sizes and expected work ethic, plus the fact that it really isn't very difficult for a child without learning difficulties to achieve 5 C grades at GCSE if they work hard. Imo, it would be embarrassing if selective and independent schools didn't achieve almost 100%.

Only one school stands out on that list for me - the only non selective AND non independent school - a comprehensive academy in Harrow. Either there's something I don't know about that school/area or it's the one doing by far the best job.

Wonderstuff Sat 31-Aug-13 23:31:19

If state schools achieved this then there would be outcry that standards had dropped and exams were too easy. State schools can't win, poor results - failing pupils, good results - standards slipping, GCSEs not fit for purpose.

pudcat Sun 01-Sep-13 08:04:51

If parents pay for their child's education then they will make sure that the teachers are supported and school rules are kept. The parents will make sure that they are not wasting their money. Many parents in state schools both primary and secondary do not make their children keep to the rules, do not support teachers when their DC disrupts lessens. They complain if their DC is punished for bad behaviour and do not help with homework etc. I am not saying all parents, but it only takes 1 in each class and that affects all the class.

sashh Sun 01-Sep-13 08:49:55
Runningchick123 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:24:58

It is interesting that on every thread where selectiveness re SN comes up, somebody pops up to say "but private schools do take children with dyslexia", as if that was the worst SN they could imagine. Yes, they do, but state schools also take children with Downs children and autistic children and children with severe behavioural problems and children with chronic mental health issues.

Most state schools don't take children with the most severe learning disabilities either. I know this as I happen to have a child with severe learning disabilities who would never be able to attend mainstream school as they wouldn't be able to manage him or meet his needs. My child goes to a school for children with moderate and severe learning disabilities. The children will not take any formal exams (a few might), but it is a wonderful school. So although you are right that private schools don't take children with the most severe learning disabilities, neither do mainstream state schools. Similarly there are specific schools for children with the most severe behavioural and emotional problems (EBD schools and pupil referral units), so those children are unlikely to be in mainstream state schools also.

My other child who goes to private school is in a mixed ability class, the class is not selective and atleast one of the children gets additional help for dyslexia, but it is likely that most of the children in the class will exceed the equivalent of level 5 and progess to selective senior schools by the time they complete year 6. Considering the school is not academically selective it is still remarkable that the children have reached a higher level by the time they leave. Obviously there are a lot of factors such as small class sizes and parental attitude that contribute. However, they also attend school for fewer weeks each year and per class have less funding than the local state schools. So is part of the answer for state schools to spend the money more wisely and reduce class sizes if possible? One of these state school spends its pupil premium on horse riding lessons, karate and cookery lessons for the children; would that money be better spent on teaching staff or homeowrk clubs?

Wonderstuff Sun 01-Sep-13 09:37:44

Actually all the students in PRU have attended state schools, often children will spend a short period of time in a PRU then transfer back to mainstream. It is normally a battle to move children from mainstream to alternative provision if that is more appropriate. LEAs don't like having to spend more on specialist provision. Lots of schools spend PP on reducing class size, there isn't much evidence that this improves outcomes.

Runningchick123 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:53:34

Have you worked in a PRU or had a child in one? Based on my experience most of these children don't transfer back to mainstream state shools, they go on to attend EBD schools. Maybe there is a different policy in different areas, but what I have witnessed is that those children who do go bam to state schools after spending time at a PRU either get excluded from the new school and return to the PRU or just fail to attend and get assigned to alternative non mainstream provision.

Wonderstuff Sun 01-Sep-13 10:14:05

I'm a secondary SENCO, in my area PRU will only offer short term places for KS3, they do take KS4. Actually I have had a child successfully return to mainstream, can only think of one mind.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 14:26:33

A kid in DDs year went to the PRU for 6 weeks and came back transformed.
Our local PRU is working wonders with the mainstream school results.

AfricanExport Sun 01-Sep-13 14:42:45

well I don't know but I am sure the fact that my year 3 DS, in prep, gets about 5 times more homework than my year 7 DD in state school might have something to do with it. 20% of DD's class in prep were SEN.

I do believe that hard work and enforcing discipline would help state schools improve.

JakeBullet Sun 01-Sep-13 14:54:30

My two experiences of private schools are a head teacher who told me he "managed out" children who would not make the grade, and a friend whose boys were in an independent junior school. The school also had a secondary level building and she told me that although her children were expected to go there that other parents had been encouraged to "look elsewhere" at that stage.

That IMHO is why there is a difference......we do t want your child in our school.

Then again try having a child with SEN in the State system. The role of the secondary SENCO with regard to prospective parents appears to be to encourage them not to apply! hmm

JakeBullet Sun 01-Sep-13 14:57:30

Sorry wonderstuff, I know I am generalising about secondary SENCOs but my experience locally has not been good. I know there are brilliant SENCOs out there.

exoticfruits Sun 01-Sep-13 15:39:58

I think it would make more sense to ask if private schools could take a whole cross section of a comprehensive and get top results for them all.
State schools produce better results than many private schools if the are selective.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 16:29:12

Homework is for parents not for kids.
I regularly get flamed for saying so,
but knowing of kids who have come into DCs school from the uber selective private in year 9 (economic not academic reasons) they are gobsmacked to find that the bright kids are at the same level despite the shorter days and lack of homework.

I went to a private school that forgot to tell my parents I was bunking all my lessons.
Thus iit was a shock to them when I failed my A levels

My sister went to a private school that edged out all thick kids at the start of year 11 - even the one whose daddy had donated tens of thousands towards a new building ...

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 16:31:38

If homework is for parents, not children, why don't schools not just say you can opt out?

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 16:37:40

State schools do.
You cannot be penalised for not doing it.
The pupil can be requested to do the work in lunchbreak, or moved down a set but beyond that its an option : state schools have to allow for children without any sort of proper home to go back to after all.

Private schools use it as a management tool.

fairylightsinthespring Sun 01-Sep-13 16:41:52

In terms of what state schools could do that independents already do (leaving out selection, smaller classes etc), on the basis of what the indie school I teach in does that differs from my previous state school it would be small things to do with discipline. eg, chewing gum: banned in both schools. At state, it was just "put it in the bin", end of story. Had to do that many times a day. At private its a saturday detention. I never see it. Haircuts and uniform: Both school have policies - at state, continual infringements would just be met with nagging from tutors, maybe eventually a phone call home. Private school, they get one warning then are in detention. If a haircut is not remedied over a weekend, they are sent up to the one in town where the school has an account. The Deputy head keeps shaving gear in his desk and boys with stubble are given it to use on site then and there. It all sounds trivial but the boys don't overstep the line in bigger ways because they know the punishments are severe. 3 boys bunked my lesson on the last day of the summer term and have a saturday on the first week back. At state, it would have just been "oh well,lets do a fresh start in Sept and they'd have got away with it". In class, I get to teach, not do crowd control and THAT is a key difference in why some of the weaker kids do end up achiving top grades. Its not for everyone - I know many on MN would be horrified at the approach my school takes, but if you want academic results, this works.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 01-Sep-13 16:46:37

Can you imagine the AIBUs? DS, 14, was ordered to shave at school with shaver from the HTs desk, prob used by hundreds of other boys...

DS forced to miss lessons and visit the hairdressers in town (an account? this comes out of fees, I assume?) to get his lovely curls cut off - AIBU to be really upset?

Private schools can get away with things like this if that's what the parents are paying for - you can't just impose it on the population more broadly.

Also, could you not make sweeping statements like '*At state, it would have just been "oh well,lets do a fresh start in Sept and they'd have got away with it"* You might feel it would have been like that in the state school you used to teach in, but you're extrapolating quite a lot there.

(ps, can't be that great there in terms of discipline, attitude and achievement if 3 boys bunked your lesson, surely? wink)

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 16:48:35

If a private school expels, then another school picks up the mess
If a state school expels then their budget picks up the mess

Private schools pick the kids
State schools take what they are given

Not comparable : do not pretend to try as it makes you look ill informed

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 16:51:05

Talkinpeace Ours definitely encourages (pressurises) doing the homework. Children are confronted if they don't do the homework set, then pointed in the direction of the homework club, parents are asked why.

I don't want to make things difficult for my DC so I do everything in my powers make sure they do it. So opting out is not really an attractive option, a fair choice is not given.

If teachers really are not bothered about homework opting out should be genuine option, with no repercussions, a fair choice.

littlemisswise Sun 01-Sep-13 16:56:05

My DC went to state school and came out with excellent GCSE results. DS1 went to the 6th form college attached to the school and came out with very high A level grades, DS2 starts tomorrow.

If they fell out of line at school, the students in general, there were consequences and severe ones at that. The HT was/ is very, very strict. Not all State schools, if any, are like the ones fairy has described.

It's not difficult to see why DC in Independent schools do better, on the whole, than state school children. Unfortunately that option is not open to all of us.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 16:59:50

fairy My DC might be a nervous wreck if that type of discipline was imposed. He sometimes tries so hard to obey a rule, through fear of punishment, he ends up breaking another one because he has missed something else by mistake (from worrying about the other rule). sad

I can think of quite a few children for which this discipline style is completely counter-productive, myself, as a child included.

JakeBullet Sun 01-Sep-13 17:06:42

Most State schools apply sanctions to children who don't do homework. It is going to be my biggest battle in Y7, DS barely copes with the reduced and very limited homework he gets now and it is a nightmare. I would be happy to ditch homework altogether in his case. Or just ask him to produce something of interest to him. He is autistic and as such homework is "school stuff", he has no desire, interest or understanding about school work being done outside of school hours.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 01-Sep-13 17:31:25


"I do believe that hard work and enforcing discipline would help state schools improve."

Wow, because we at state schools are not trying that already.


marcopront Sun 01-Sep-13 18:23:36

In the private school what are the consequences of missing detention? would the parents back you up?
In the state school, is the detention enforceable? Would the parents back you up?

littlemog Sun 01-Sep-13 18:29:48

In my experience (taught in both sectors but now in indie) detentions are unenforceable in state schools and more often than not, they are contested by parents. They were effectively pointless.

In my current school they are incredibly rare and happen on Saturday mornings where they are supervised by the Head. Parents back staff up rather than the opposite.

What fairylight said about the little disciplinary things is so true.

But OP you are not comparing like for like in any sense.

littlemog Sun 01-Sep-13 18:32:26

Any school that is fee paying is going to be self selecting: it is not going to include the children of permanently unemployed drug addicts with a grudge against the education system


BrokenSunglasses Sun 01-Sep-13 18:34:46

The biggest difference between state schools and private schools is the parents. None of the rest of it makes anywhere near as much difference as the parents do IMO.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 18:37:49

Please elaborate.
As the parents at private schools are merely a subset of those at state schools.
Which types of parents are missing from private schools?

Would the private school methods work without that level of exclusion?

fairylightsinthespring Sun 01-Sep-13 18:41:31

in general yes, the parents do support sanctions and it is very true that we do have the ultimate sanction of asking kids to leave if they and /or their parents feel that they do not support the school's way of doing things. I appreciate that this does sometimes mean that the state system picks up the mess. The OP was asking if state schools should strive for the same results and I was suggesting some small ways in which I feel my current school goes about creating an atmosphere in which successful learning can take place. Of course the bottom line is that we have selection, both in terms of exam and the sort of parents who will and can support the school ethos. (They get sent the bill for the haircuts, by the way, it just means that there is no quibbling once it reaches that stage). In my state schools (and there were several) it was much more common for parents to contest detentions and other sanctions, making some students virtually unteachable as they absolutely knew that no sanction would be carried through.

marcopront Sun 01-Sep-13 18:42:26


Two are mentioned just before your question.

1) Parents at a fee paying school are more likely to back up the school in the case of discipline issues.

2) Any school that is fee paying is going to be self selecting: it is not going to include the children of permanently unemployed drug addicts with a grudge against the education system.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 01-Sep-13 18:42:48

Would the private school methods work without that level of exclusion?

There wouldn't be a reason to exclude anyone if all parents were the same, apart from the children whose needs couldn't be met in mainstream anyway.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 18:44:56

My school never told my parents I was bunking lessons : it just kept cashing the cheques.

it is not going to include the children of permanently unemployed drug addicts
unless they are INCREDIBLY rich - like the Rausing children .....

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 18:47:46

I feel that the sheer size of state schools and state school classes mean that some children get lost in the system. Private schools tend to be far smaller and everyone knows everyone.

My son's state secondary has several assistant deputy heads and several layers of senior management. I doult the head teacher knows all his staff yet alone the kids! I feel that breaking up these huge state secondaries into smaller units would make them easier to manage and bring back the human element.

It will be interesting to see what free schools can achieve with a limited budget and more freedom.

marcopront Sun 01-Sep-13 18:48:57

Surely you have there given the difference.
In the private school, the parents support the sanctions, in the state school they contested them. The problem is not the school, it is the parents.

Lazyjaney Sun 01-Sep-13 18:49:50

Grammars probably get even better results as they are all selective, whereas not all public schools are.

But if you just gave UK state schools discipline, which most other OECD countries take for granted, I think you'd see a jump in Comprehensive results too.

littlemog Sun 01-Sep-13 18:51:02

ReallyTiredI completely agree with you that many state schools are far too big. All of the ones I have worked in also had a very top heavy management with lots of Assistant Heads --who did very little

fairylightsinthespring Sun 01-Sep-13 18:56:30

oh also, the kids who bunked off - that was the first time 8 years anyone bunked my lesson and they did it because they hadn't prepped for a presentation, wrongly assuming we would not be doing them on the last day. We do have kids in the lower school who do get overly worried about the consequences of breaking a rule but actually, one of the other things we are able to do is use our judgement and apply some flexibility. If one boy is always late with homework, has poor excuses etc, he gets the appropriate punishment. If its a one off and the boy is genuinely sorry and upset about it, we tend to just ask for it in the next day. The smaller classes etc make that a little easier and its understood that how you behave does have an impact. You can't arse around and expect the same treatment as someone who behaves and works hard.

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 18:56:39

The private school I went to more than 20 years ago had helicopter parents who certainly contested any sanction given to their precious first born. There are plenty of private school parents who believe that the sun shines from their little darling's arse.

Middle class parents are prepared to stand up for their children and not tolerate any sh!t. I know state school parents whose children cannot read at the age of 11 and the only mistake they made was to trust the teachers for years.

Low income parents whose kids can't read are sometimes prepared to believe that their child has learning difficulties rather than question the quality of the teaching. A middle class parent whose child cannot read will demand a referal to the ed pych and not leave the building until their child has a statement and support for their dyslexia.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 19:03:30

Why do people believe state schools have no discipline and indies no disruption? Where I work it is generally calm and purposeful but we have a small( approx. 5-7) group of pupils whose lives are so dysfunctional/chaotic neither they or their parents can cope with the rules that govern classrooms. We cannot expel them without getting in return a similar pupil from another school in the LEA. But if they each disrupt 2 lessons each day that results in over 180 pupils having some part of their education disrupted. In an indie they would be gone.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 19:05:43

I feel that the sheer size of state schools and state school classes mean that some children get lost in the system. Private schools tend to be far smaller and everyone knows everyone.

Eton has 1300 pupils in 5 year groups .... larger than many state schools

fairy my school was a selective private gels school
but it was going through a meltdown - so teachers gave up on discipline.
I have my reports - they make no mention at all of the fact that the teachers had not seen me in lessons

Tinlegs Sun 01-Sep-13 19:18:38

Children do get lost in the system. We have just taken a pupil frm a large,English comp. He was bewildered at the homework requirements we have, the work ethic and the need to actually take home and read books. After 2 years there, knowing he was leaving at the end of the year, no one bothered to write a report so any information we had was out of date. He is verbally bright but can't write. Within 2 weeks we have diagnosed (formally) dyslexia, put into place support in class and for homework and we are confident he will do very well now. He knows what is expected and is delivering.

We are a state school (Scotland) but we are tiny and have small classes and we absolutely refuse to let anyone fall through the cracks. We get very, very good results on many subjects (some just don't manage it or attract less academic pupils) but we could do none of this with the admin burdens or class sizes of "normal" state schools. My colleagues 50 miles away are no less talented (probably more so) as teachers, have the same intake, and yet results are worse. The reason, they have 30 in a class. Mine are, on average 10.

Yet, I still think we could do more and have previous, extensive experience in private schools, boarding and day, who really, really work with pupils to get the best put of them. But then they are in a marketplace.....(pupil numbers dip, jobs go)

clarinetV2 Sun 01-Sep-13 19:19:03

Out of curiosity I went to visit a local independent school a couple of years ago on their open day. I'd been past the school many times, but never been inside. What an eye-opener. My most recent experience of (state) schools was the one my daughters went to - youngest now 22, so it's a few years ago but not many. The independent had facilities I could never have imagined. Acres of sports fields, fantastic equipment (especially for Design Technology which seemed to me to come from the space age), recording studios for music and so on. I know it's the quality of the teaching that really counts, but even though my daughters' teachers were by and large pretty good, what more might they have been able to achieve in such conditions? And what does being surrounded by the best of everything say to the pupils about how they are valued? Something rather different to the message my daughters got from the seen-better-days offerings of their own school. Then there was the school day. Clubs from 8.00 in the morning till 8.00 in the evening, with more or less everyone expected to stay until 5.30 at least - three afternoons a week were for sport and physical activities with normal lessons re-starting at 4.00. The range of 'enrichment' activities including all the PE-type options was astounding, really something for everyone including the less sporty youngsters. Supervised homework available for those (or their parents) who wanted it. And the number of trips abroad had to be seen to be believed - geography trips to Iceland, language trips to France, Spain, Germany, Italy, China, physics trips to Switzerland (large Hadron collider anyone?), classics trips to Greece and Turkey, sports fixtures in the USA and Canada, and so the list went on. These kids were expected to travel the world. And at the open day much was made of their alumni association, and how it could be used to support pupils and ex-pupils and ease their way into the professions of their choice - very old-school-tie.

The school in question was charging £9000 a year. I don't know how that compares with fees across the sector, but going by this thread I think it's fairly middle of the road - not cheap, but not the most expensive either. Now, combine all the 'outside school' factors people have talked about already - e.g. the school can simply say no to the pupils it doesn't want, and of course that makes one hell of a difference. Then factor in everything the school has going for it that state schools simply can't provide. No wonder pupils at the school do so well. How could any state school possibly compete? And yet my daughters, without all of that, got the exam grades they needed to go to the universities they wanted. Hooray for the state school teachers who supported them, despite not having the advantages of the independent sector is all I can say.

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 19:25:52

"Eton has 1300 pupils in 5 year groups .... larger than many state schools"

I doult that Eton has classes of 30. They also divide the children into seperate houses so that staff and children do not have to remember too many names.

Ultimately state schools have a smaller budget and comprises have to be made.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 19:37:35

Sorry, you said the size of the school was the problem, not the size of the classes.
And do teachers at private schools REALLY get away with only knowing the names of the pupils in their house?
What happens when they mix academic sets at GCSE?
And after all, state schools have only been using bands and houses and sets for years and years as well.

Next excuse (other than parental selection) ?

And remember that unemployed druggies DO get their kids to top schools if they are rich enough (Jamie Blandford ....)

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 19:53:01

I am a huge fan of state schools and my children attend state schools. My children's teachers are amazing, even the teachers work in my children's (special measures!) primary

Eton has a masssive advantage of being one of the most selective boarding schools on earth. The comp that my son will attend takes all comers.

The house system in a boarding school is nothing like the house system in a day school. In a boarding school children actually live in houses. A large boarding school like Eton is broken up into smaller units.

There are state schools which have been broken up into smaller learning communities often with sucess.

The challenge that faces state education is how to have the personal factor and stay within budget.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 20:00:57

The challenge that faces state education is how to have the personal factor and stay within budget.
Sadly the twerp Gove seems to think that cutting heads loose from support and supervision by making their schools academies is the answer.
When actually clustering of ideas, resources and facilities is the only way forward - LEAs in much of the country were rather good at that.

TBH the facilities at DCs comp beat those at my old school into the ground - because of economies of scale.
And sharing specialist needs (like Latin teachers) would be good - but academies are discourage from cooperating until they are part of a chain.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 20:04:48


When actually clustering of ideas, resources and facilities is the only way forward - LEAs in much of the country were rather good at that.

Pah! All I can say is get over to the SN board for a more rounded view of LAs.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 20:09:15


No thankyou.
I know about the problems of statements and SEN funding - that comes down to social services funding transfers into education departments - or lack thereof.

I'm talking about sharing peripatetic teachers, specialist teachers, training days, combined hiring of outside resources.

The things that mean schools have free resource to provide support for borderline SEN (SA and SA+) pupils while still getting the best from those without special needs.

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 20:13:19

Gove has totally trashed state education. Having LEAs meant that school places could be provided in areas that actually need them. Pooling resources meant that special needs could be catered for more efficently. Ie. every LEA has a Visual Impairment Service that state schools could access. Now schools have to pay to access top quality advice on supporting VI kids if they are an academy and the VI service in many LEAs has been strastically cut.

Schools are making stupid mistakes over employment laws. Many heads risk expensive employment tribunals as they believe they are above employment law. (My line manager was utterly shocked when the LEA told him that he HAD to give my job back after my maternity leave.)

I feel that the LEAS do good job on maintaining quality in education and keeping arrogant heads in check.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 01-Sep-13 20:20:27

I feel that the LEAS do good job on maintaining quality in education and keeping arrogant heads in check.

Completely, totally and utterly agree with this. Well said

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 20:26:32


I know about the problems of statements and SEN funding - that comes down to social services funding transfers into education departments - or lack thereof.

I would say it is a little (gross understatement) more complex than that, but would agree it does make some sense to share some resources. Children should not have to be pushed from pillar to post to access these resources though.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 20:26:58


Every child deserves a first class education and teachers in every sector should work towards the highest grades possible.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 20:28:32

I feel that the LEAS do good job on maintaining quality in education and keeping arrogant heads in check.

Some LAs are obviously more 'hands off' than others...

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 20:31:30

OK, I missed out the High Court appeals bit and the emergency hospital admissions, and the getting shit off the school for poor attendance because of it and the going nearly bankrupt fighting ones case and the school finally saying stuff it and bring in the extra staff BEFORE the funding agreement so cutting resources for the rest of the school.
Been there, shared a class of 30 with two statemented pupils .....

I feel that the LEAS do good job on maintaining quality in education and keeping arrogant heads in check

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 20:45:51

Talkinpeace have you?

Didn't quite understand all of your post, its like trying to sound bite the whole issue, which doesn't quite work for me. Needless to say its different if the child in question is your own child.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 20:51:49

Yup, two kids in my child's class. One was occasionally violent, the other regularly in hospital. HUGELY disruptive on the rest of the (very small) school. Both ended up at specialist secondary. The LEA did what they could but were hamstrung by funds : I was a governor so saw all the numbers.
How on earth heads are supposed to cope with that sort of thing without LEA support (and now they have to pay each time they phone they will try) is a scary thought.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 21:01:43

Talkinpeace How awful for you...the disruption! How do you think the families in question felt such a burden on resources? Show some compassion please! Being a governor or another parent who has had to 'put up with this' is not the same!

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 21:04:24

By the way IMO a lot of the support required just requires a bit of compassion and does not cost extra. Some does cost extra of course but these children have a right to have an education which caters to their needs.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:24

I know exactly how the families felt. They were friends. We all supported them and helped them and backed them up. They were not a burden on resources. Their circumstances were. There is a world of difference.

But it is appalling that both families had to fight for years and years at huge personal costs to get what was rightfully theirs.
And that the school had to make choices that could have set them against other parents.

Which, getting back to the thread, is why state schools will never match private selective schools in their results. Because "bog standard" state schools have to deal with whatever comes through their door with resources much more limited than picky private schools.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 21:14:31

There are also the other 28 children in the class who are entitled to an education. As a teacher children have an equal right to their attention, Which is why it is essential that SEN pupils get the extra funding they are entitled to. All children have a right to an education that will cater to their needs.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 21:18:37

Hmm I wouldn't assume I could know exactly how the families felt even if they were friends of yours....if you have not personally had this happen to your own family. But maybe I'm splitting hairs.

It is a State school's purpose to deal with their demographic IMO so 'this kind of thing' , as you put it, is par for the course.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 21:23:41

A lot of my child's additional support, as detailed in his Statement and IEPs would have had no extra cost, or particularly time or extra staffing - just extra thought or consideration.

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 22:18:54

These threads always bring out antedotes. There will be times that state schools get additional support wrong, but there are also insistances when private schools gets things wrong. There are good and bad schools in both the state and private sector.

I have a friend whose daughter at the age of five was asked to leave a private school because she was a little slow in learning to write. The same child has just achieved straight As in a different private school at the age of 16. (no special needs support, just decent teaching!)

State schools give fanastic value for money to the tax payer. Our school system is not perfect, but it does not need smashing aka Gove style.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:33

It would be marginally more fair to compare the results of a state school's top seven per cent or so of students with those of most private schools. One way or another, independent schools cream the best students - whether by ability, parental income or family attitude towards and commitment to education.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 01-Sep-13 22:28:48

Sorry-hugely badly worded. Not the "best" students-the students most likely to achieve high grades.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 22:31:19


Personally, I don't believe that private schools are stuffed with very clever students. They are mostly ordinary kids who have the benefit of an extraordinary education.

Talkinpeace Sun 01-Sep-13 22:31:43

It would be marginally more fair to compare the results of a state school's top seven per cent or so of students with those of most private schools
The data is there.
I've requested it in writing from the dfe many times over the years
It will never be published - as the uproar of parents who find out they have wasted a fortune is more than ANY political party could bear
(especially as politicians of all hues are the most sharp elbowed of all about their own kids)

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:00

'...antedotes' bit of Feudian slip there? Do you mean anecdotes or antidotes?

Anecdotal evidence is important, it informs on the statistics, which are meaningless if all that is all there is, they are just figures which can be interpreted every which way. For every anecdote there is a statistic. They can infact form the antidote to some incorrect interpretations.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:38

Whilst I have every support for SEN it is disingenuous to say just " A lot of my child's additional support, as detailed in his Statement and IEPs would have had no extra cost, or particularly time or extra staffing - just extra thought or consideration." The reason it is written down is because these needs do require some individualisation but in a class of 30 if I spend even 5 minutes out of a sixty minute lesson focussing on one child's needs it is taking time from the others. Obviously I do this but if it is the same child every lesson someone will not be getting the attention. I am responsible, as the classroom teacher, for the education of 200 pupils each year some SEN, some with complex emotional needs that are not necessarily long term but important just the same. For eg the child whose grandparent has just died or mother has been diagnosed with BC, large classes do have an effect and since in the state sector we have larger classes and more pupils with SEN etc it does and will have an impact.

ReallyTired Sun 01-Sep-13 22:39:25

It would be marginally more fair to compare the results of a state school's top seven per cent or so of students with those of most private schools

Private schools have the richest 7% of students, they don't necessarily have the brightest 7%. It could be argued that sending your child to private school is about quality of life rather than necessarily academic results.

State schools are a bit like IKEA, the product many state schools offer is perfectly good enough. Plenty of state school kids do get straight As and get into top universities.

If you have a bit more money then your child can enjoy a higher level of luxury.

daftdame Sun 01-Sep-13 22:46:02

IloveGeorgeclooney I am talking about needs that require no extra time or resources. Needs which are different but equal.

Like being able to sit on their seat at carpet time, due to physical needs or being able to stand near the front of a line in order to follow the teacher. There are many examples.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 01-Sep-13 22:51:03

I'd definitely agree that they don't have the brightest seven percent. I do think they probably have some of the best placed to achieve exam success. The two aren't necessarily the same. If you add that to the academic advantages provided by the private school experience while they're there and it's not a huge surprise.
Mind you, when entering the real world (and I guess some young adults never really do) I would say that a good state school education could prove a real advantage.

DanicaJones Sun 01-Sep-13 23:00:20
BoneyBackJefferson Sun 01-Sep-13 23:03:28

"Personally, I don't believe that private schools are stuffed with very clever students. They are mostly ordinary kids who have the benefit of an extraordinary education."

If I had a groups of children that had a baseline grade of a C target grade and the range was no more than A*-C I could do a huge amount more with the classes that I have.

To build in differentiation from A*-G is not a simple task, add in the SEN requirement for a group (average 5 pupils in a class of 30) and it becomes monumental.

Think about what a state schools could do if the cohort was only the top 10%

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:08:24

How do you calculate the 'top 10%' though?

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:10:22

Posted too soon.

I realise there are kids with SEN but these children exist in the private sector as well.

tiggytape Sun 01-Sep-13 23:15:10

They may or may not have the brightest 7% but neither will they have the more challenging pupils in the same ratios as some state schools

Even totally non selective private schools (and there aren't many by secondary school age) will state that they won't take a child if they feel the child will not be able to keep up with the majority of the class or if the child would disrupt the learning of others.

Even if there isn't a difficult exam to pass there is still some judgement made about the child before they are admitted - if only via interview and references. State schools cannot do this. They are not allowed to interview and of course they are not allowed to actively barr pupils who they feel will slow the rest down.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 23:19:34

If my school just used the figures for the top 75% of last years cohort we would easily outdo most indies, and we are an inner city school with 40% EAL! Just worked it out: 96% gold standard, 100% 5 A*-C. Our VA wouldn't be as good though!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:23:15

To be honest tiggy I find your post a bit depressing. I don't think the presence of some elements of challenging behaviour in any way excuses the chasm between private and state sector results. If this is such a huge problem politicians and teachers should be working tirelessly to work around this problem. No doubt I'll hear teachers saying they do try to resolve it, but if this is the case, what exactly are the methods used, and why aren't they working!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:25:15

That's fantastic Ilovegeorgeclooney

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 01-Sep-13 23:25:48


You take the top 105 of available intake at a point in time by test.

As for the SEN as Tiggy posted private/independent schools don't have to cope with the same range of SEN that state schools do.


its interesting that just as state schools are allowed to take IGCSEs they start saying that they are too easy.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 23:33:08

Let's just get this clear, despite Gove/Daily Mail saying so GCSE grade C and above are not just given out for turning up. What would be the value of an exam that 99% got a C or above for?

BTW teachers are working tirelessly to improve but we cannot cure all the problems of this broken society which has elements that have never worked since Thatcher.

To be honest Just I find your post naïve and insulting and I doubt you have a clue about what is 'challenging behaviour'. How would you deal with an SEN 13 year old boy who is playing up because his stillborn sister is in his sitting room for over a week? Do you have a simple solution? Because I didn't and it took the school, SS, Police and mental health professionals a lot of time to sort out.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:33:28

I honestly don't believe that the 'top 10%' of state primary kids is any less clever than those who opt for private education and as such, don't therefore understand the disparity in grades further along the track.
As for SEN if this is affecting the education of state educated kids to the extent that bright kids are underperforming (which they are if they don't achieve the same grades as their private counterparts) why aren't there better strategies to avoid this?

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 23:35:40

Sorry if I am being rude, probably pissed off because I go back tomorrow and my sister who works in an indie has another 10 days!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:36:37

Perhaps I am being naive. I went to a bog standard comp. I know what challenging lives some people can have. A girl in my school , together with her mother worked as a prostitute. My DH had possibly the most 'challenging' childhood imaginable but I don't see these things as an automatic reason for a lost education.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:40:58

I understand ilove that it's really fucking hard. A family member worked in a school in my home town where school shoes were left at school because if they went home, they'd be sold by drug addicted parents. Despite this the school was amazing and the results were first class.

joanofarchitrave Sun 01-Sep-13 23:42:30

A relative of mine was asked to leave a famous public school at 15 a couple of years ago as they were unlikely to get any top GCSEs. Job done.

Lilka Sun 01-Sep-13 23:43:50

The majority of private schools mostly have students who are at least average. There are a few private schools which are designed and specialise in students with a range of SEN's but they aren't the ones getting top results

State schools will have the entire cohort including those who are working very significantly below average and who are not capable of achieving C grades and above no matter how good the teaching is

Overall the range of SEN is much wider at state schools. There ARE many children with significant needs who are floundering in state schools with poor support, children who would probably do a bit better is special schools with small classes and teachers knowledgable in handling their issues. EBD provision is very poor in some areas - I'm LUCKY that my DD1 and DD2 were both able to attend an EBD specialist school, which is quite close to where we live.

I had to put up a fight to get my DD2 a statement and therefore her school. And she has/had (IMHO) very significant emotional and behavioural issues, although not extreme violence

I know many parents whose children are in mainstream state schools, and those children have needs ranging from autism to schizophrenia to Down's syndrome.

And I do think it's realistic to say that behaviour and emotional issues among students will always create a divide between selective private and state schools.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 01-Sep-13 23:47:49


No one is saying that it is "an automatic reason for a lost education"

but there is a huge difference in a class that has a child that throws furniture across the classroom disrupting the learning of the entire class and the same class when the child is removed.

In a private school the child would not come back in a state school the child will be back in a couple of days/lessons (depending upon the timetable).

It will take the school months (more likely years) to build a case for the child to be moved to better provision. The learning environment for pupils in that situation is not going to be conducive to learning.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 23:49:15

I am passionate about making sure pupils are give all sorts of opportunities. We make regular theatre trips and all sorts of extra opportunities such as Latin GCSE after school but state schools do reflect the society they operate within and I feel teachers are all to often blamed for society's problems. When programmes such as Geordie Shore show stupidity and a total lack of morality as a path to success it makes it very difficult to inspire high aspirations!

I have to say if you compare the top 10% IQ wise of pupils you would find no difference in grades. The top 10% at my school came out with a minimum of 10 A/A* grades, oh yes we had the jumping girls! The real difference are the pupils who would be on the C/D borderline in the state sector who often emerge as solid B in indies.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:53:01

By definition though, the vast majority of children in comprehensive education will also be average, in which case they should be competing on a level playing field with privately educated children. At my comp there were children who were below average, as well as dyslexic pupils, children with physical disabilities etc. It was situated in one of the most socially deprived areas in the UK at a time of deep economic depression and social unrest (we were at the heart of the miners' strike). I would be severely pissed off if I thought my teachers used this as a reason to provide me and my classmates with anything less than the education we deserved.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:54:42

bomeyback The situation you describe is a scandal. Children are being let down by a failing system.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:55:53

Please note I say a failing system, not poor teaching!

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 02-Sep-13 00:05:17


I agree that the system is wrong, But it is what happens when all inclusive is misused.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 09:30:13

justgive - many independent schools say upfront that they cannot / will not cater for children whose additional needs will have any significant impact on the rest of the class in terms of disruption or pace of learning. State schools obviously do not do this and whereas only specialist independents will have a high % of children with additional needs, some state schools naturally have this. The average and high ability children aren't always shared out equally between schools.

Independent schools can be quite ruthless in forcing children who are disruptive ornot likely to get good grades to leave. State schools are not able to do this - only extreme cases of disruption would ever result in permanent exclusion whereas in private schools, they will get rid of a troublesome child because otherwise 5 other paying parents annoyed by this child disruption their own will go elsewhere.

If a school can select its intake by ability tests and interviews (or as a minimum just filter out those with significant delays and behavioural problems), and if it can ask children to leave who behave badly or who turn out to be of lower ability, it is hardly surprising they will go on to achieve great results! I know one child who was forced to leave her private school to prevent her from messing up their exam results and this is not uncommon - she wasn't even the only one at that school in that year.

tiredaftertwo Mon 02-Sep-13 09:36:00

Surely the more fruitful line of enquiry is why state schools with similar intakes have such very different results? And why pupils in some achieve so much more highly than others? Then start asking why.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Mon 02-Sep-13 12:24:56

I don't accept that 'disruptive pupils' is the only explaination.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 12:34:03

It isn't the only explanation.
There is also the smaller class sizes, more individual attention, better facilities, longer school days, better staff or staff retention, parental interest in education (if only because they're paying for it and want value for money), freedom to teach what suits their pupils in the way that suits them without government changes and directions, experience in jumping through the hoops to get the desired outcomes, knowledge that continued existance depends on each year's results being great....

But like all schools that do well (defined purely by exam results), independents are allowed to select their pupils. When a school selects who it wants to take and who it will reject, it tends to get better results than a school forced to take all who apply.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:03:39

But why can't state schools have smaller classes and then be able to give more individual attention, given that the amount they get per pupil is sufficient to allow this if money is managed better. Look at the examples of my local prep and state school - prep charges 6500 per year and has 15 pupils per class, state gets 5200 per pupil and then 900 pupil premium for each FSM child (about 15% in this area) but has average 30 per class. Perhaps the state school can't manage 15 pupils per class, but based on their level of funding they could afford to employ an additional part time teacher (say two thirds of a full time equivalent) to provide more individual attention.
Also, you are right that private schools have longer days but they also have shorter terms (around 3-4 weeks less than state schools), so it balances out at not much difference in actual teaching time.
Obviously you cant change things like parental attitude.
State schools can never fully mimic private schools but there are some things that they could work towards that would help improve standards and results.

Talkinpeace Mon 02-Sep-13 16:19:23

Many, many small private schools are nearly going bust with classes of 15
and where do you get your pupil share figure of £5200 from? it was £4500 at DCs school.
Also state schools have to have qualified teachers - private schools do not.
And state schools deal with social issues that private schools refuse to handle.
Having been a state school governor, there WAS NO SPARE CASH.
And £6500 a year is really, really cheap for a prep school - round here its nearer £10,000

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 16:20:32

Plus prep school fees go up 4-6% every year. I am pretty sure the state schools don't see those kind of increases.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:06:34

The figures are based on Manchester schools. Most state schools around here get an average of £5200 per pupil plus pupil premium and most prep schools around Manchester and Chesire charge between £6000 and £7000 per year with class sizes anywhere between 12 and 24, but most well under the 20 mark. I am aware that Stockport state schools get less funding (average around £4200 as they are amongst the lowest funded in the country). These state school figures rightly don't include special schools where the figures can be as much as £25k per pupil (but probably needs to be more for the children with complex needs).
I am aware that some schools have gone bust but this is partly due to falling pupil numbers due to the recession which puts the less popular schools under additional pressure, the schools near me with classes of 15 are thriving and investing in new facilities.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:07:48

And my local prep school has all fully qualified teachers and publishes all the teachers qualifications in the schools brochure.

ReallyTired Mon 02-Sep-13 18:27:23

"Most state schools around here get an average of £5200 per pupil "

That is secondary funding and not primary funding. Primary funding is substantially less.

Runningchick123 why don't these incredibly cheap prep schools become free schools if they are close to going bust?

Where I live you will get reception for 6 to 7K, but it is 12K a year for year 5 and above.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 19:25:13

It's primary funding - take a look at the figures for central Manchester.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 19:40:22

Funding figures for any region can be found here - Manchester primaries get on average more than £5k per pupil plus pupil premium.

A few prep schools in manchester /cheshire and their fee schedules an be found here:
This one is just nder £6k per annum up to and including year 6
This one is £6360 per annum up to and including year 6
This one is less than £4500 per annum (but. Don't know anything about this school other than its location)

So my figures are not unrealistic.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 22:57:05

From your figures, it seems Manchester is one of the areas that has a higher than average amount of state funding and lower than average private school fees - which makes sense really: in pockets of the country where children are deemed particularly affluent, they'll get less state funding per head and the local prep schools know they can charge higher fees). That's not any comment on Manchester other than to say it may not be very typical of the national picture.

The median spend per pupil nationally is £4147 from the government (not including any funds the school may raise itself).
And, even in the outer regions of London, prep school fees hover around £10,000 per year eg here or here - the national average being about £8625 per year so again Manchester gets a good deal that isn't typical of most areas.

Runningchick123 Tue 03-Sep-13 06:56:43

Manchester does get a good deal all round. Wages in manchester and property costs are also lower in Manchester than in London which goes some way to explaining why the prep fees can be a lot lower. I do appreciate that in the South fees are a lot higher and in many regions prep schools charge over 10k per year.

But just looking at Manchester as an example, most state schools are full to bursting so £5k per pupil per year = class income of £150,000 (not including pupil premium which in some of the inner city schools will be paid for up to 70% of pupils). Private school with 15 per class charging £6500 = class income of £97,500.
Do state schools also get extra money for major building work? Private schools obviously don't but still manage to maintain their buildings.
Stockport, which is a neighbouring town to Manchester has average funding of £4200 per primary pupil, but for a class of 30 that's still £126k income per class.
The govt should give all schools the same level of per pupil funding (small village schools and thos affected by London weighting allowance would need extra).
I would also like to see the pupil premium being spent on extra teaching staff, more technology and homework clubs and rather than some schools using it to give children free karate, cookery and horse riding lessons.

Mimishimi Tue 03-Sep-13 07:19:28

Well if they did, all the parents forking out £18,000+ would be up in arms wouldn't they? Well, apart from many being involved with the arms industry in some way of course wink

Lazyjaney Tue 03-Sep-13 07:34:29

My kids have been in school in a few countries around the world, the UK comprehensive system is unique in:

- the lack of discipline, and the power given to pupils/ parents over teachers, leading to total inability to deal with disruptive children
- the huge focus of classroom resources on the poorest students, at the expense of the average and above average
- the massive and continual government involvement
- a market in exam setting, leading to different standards for the same exam
- overall, the use of schools as surrogate social service systems rather than just education systems

There is so much to be fixed, but while everyone seems to want them to reform, they also want to meddle and make schools carry out their pet agendas.

Eeeeeowwwfftz Tue 03-Sep-13 08:05:16

Are private schools exempt from disability legislation?

Kleinzeit Tue 03-Sep-13 08:49:28

Eeeeeowwwfftz asked Are private schools exempt from disability legislation?

Indeed they are not exempt, but disability legislation is not clear-cut – it’s all based on “reasonable adjustments” and what’s considered reasonable for a private school may not be quite the same as you’d expect in the state sector. Private schools aren't subject to the state's obligation to educate everybody somehow and after all, private schools can’t call on the same support that state schools can get from the LEA. I think things are slowly changing so that e.g. you might not have to pay for extra TA support if it’s due to a disability, but I’m not sure.

And realistically - say you have a child with behaviour problems due to a disability and a private school might decide to exclude them rather than support them - you might not want your child to be the one who fights the legal fight, not if there’s a decent state option available, because although the battle may benefit future generations your kid will have suffered even if you do win in the end.

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