To find people say X public School is OK because

(389 Posts)
NoComet Tue 03-Sep-13 13:08:14

It gets DCs into Oxbridge and RG universities, a daft justification for choosing a school that costs £15,000 plus a year.

We have a local secondary (not even a true comp as there is some creaming off of bright DC by Grammar schools) that is in Special Measures that has just got two pupils in to Oxbridge.

And this is hardly news, bog standard state secondaries and sixform collages all over the country send DCs to Oxbridge and RG Universities every year.

My very ordinary Welsh Comp sent someone in the year above me to study medicine at Oxford, there were others at prestigious med schools and, now, RG uni's me included.

Yes, private schools are very nice, yes DC avoid some DCs with a bad attitude to education, Yes DC get good sports facilities and yes DC may study a wider range of subjects, esp. MFL.

But in the end your DC will, quite likely end up at exactly the same uni, doing the same course, just with poorer parents!

ceramicunicorn Tue 03-Sep-13 13:11:42

But results at public schools are better In general than state schools. Therefore kids are more likely to get into a better uni.

lunar1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:13:47

I chose independent because we are denied good schooling in our area because we are not religious. The only option left to me would have meant I would have home schooled rather than send my boys there.

I feel very sorry for parents that have no choice other than to use the only school that is an option if you are
Not applying on faith grounds.

angelos02 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:17:40

I think you are massively underestimating the amount of extras you get by going private - smaller classes, disruptive pupils swiftly dealt with, loads of sports facilities, experience in getting pupils into the top universities, all pupils supported by their parents etc etc.

Runningchick123 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:19:17

Thre is also a difference between independent schools and public schools.

elastamum Tue 03-Sep-13 13:19:22

Same here. State ed in our rural area is dire and there is NO CHOICE. You get your catchment school wherever you apply.

My dyslexic DS1 would sink without trace in our local comp. As it is he is as happy as larry and getting straight As. He goes there for the quality of education, not just as a means to get to Oxbridge or RG.

Pixieonthemoor Tue 03-Sep-13 13:22:45

Yes but ceramic has it right - results across the board are better so you are not talking one or two into Oxbridge/RG from a private schools 6th form, you are talking most of the year.

5Foot5 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:29:15

Yes but ceramic has it right - results across the board are better so you are not talking one or two into Oxbridge/RG from a private schools 6th form, you are talking most of the year.

Does this take in to account any selection process though? Many of the top independent schools are not just expensive they also have extremely tough entry requirements, so they start off with academically able children who probably also have access to extra tutoring. The state school down the road will probably be taking everyone, whatever their abilities and background. Consequently you would expect that to have some difference to the results. I suppose you would need some way of measuring the added value made by the school

eurochick Tue 03-Sep-13 13:34:12

Your logic only applies to the 1 or 2 who would have got in any way from the state school, not the much larger number who would have managed it in a good independent.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 13:43:35

The main reason for the difference is subject choice. There was a survey of A level results in the Russell Group facilitating subjects (Maths, sciences, English, languages, history, geography) and it found that very large numbers of state schools had no pupils at all scoring AAB in RG subjects, let alone the A*AAA you need to apply to Oxbridge.

I always think its odd. you'd think that fee paying schools would offer the big list of vanity subjects at A levels- the ones that are easy to get As in, but dont get you a job or a Uni offer- and state schools would teach a much smaller number of tried and tested subjects that all get you somewhere. In fact, its the other way round.

I get cross when I see kids encouraged to choose the wrong subjects and then fail to get to the Unis they could have done. Three As in subjects like drama, music, art, business studies, general studies, critical thinking, law, RE, dance... these subjects are OK as fourth subjects, but unless you are doing a music or art degree, you need three other RG subjects. That's what independent schools get. And independent schools also get the A8s in those harder subjects- which state schools dont always, especially in science, because of the shortage of good science teachers.

Tailtwister Tue 03-Sep-13 13:44:53

We went private because there was no other option (unless we lied about our religion). I don't presume it will send my DC to Oxford or Cambridge, but I do think it will give them a chance. A chance to learn in a calm environment, with a decent class size and play in a playground with no graffiti or broken glass. Yes, the other advantages are a bonus, but I just want them to have the opportunity to discover who they are and be the best they can be at whatever they choose.

Sadly, state schools don't always provide that.

NoComet Tue 03-Sep-13 13:51:48

Round here it's not so much direct selection, as the fact that it's bright MC parents, with bright well supported children who can afford to go to our independent schools.

I recon if you closed their schools tomorrow and sent them to the local comps, they would still get just as good a set of results. Perhaps in a slightly smaller number of subjects. DDs BF certainly would have.

In fact many of their results would look better as they would get 8-10 A*/A rather than that plus a couple of Bs in subjects they would have dropped given a choice.

Yes there are a few DCs who no doubt wouldn't do as much work in the more relaxed attitude of a mixed comp, but I'm not sure that would be a huge number.

I have a dyslexic DD1, she certainly doesn't sink at her ordinary comp.

DD2 might actually learn some German at private school, but I think that's the sum total of what I'd be paying for.

Also remember those Stella results you see include incredibly bright far Eastern DCs and incredibly clever children like my DFs DD, given a scholarship because, she would get A* across the board if you gave her the textbook and bite size and no lessons at all.

Wallison Tue 03-Sep-13 13:53:23

People go private because they think they can buy privilege. Unfortunately, they are correct.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 13:53:59

5foot5 "The state school down the road will probably be taking everyone, whatever their abilities and background. Consequently you would expect that to have some difference to the results."

Not true where I am. Our local state school takes everyone up to age 16, but then they exercise their right at sixth form to be highly selective. It makes me pretty cross, actually, as kids who have been at their local comp all their lives are kicked out post GCSE so that the sixth form results look better. And lots of kids come across from private schools so that they can put "state" on their University application and get an advantage.

luckily the local FE college is fab and welcomes the other kids with open arms.

Even then, the local comp only manages to get abour 4% to Oxbridge; DS1's school in the same town it is 30%, with 100% RG/medical school. the value added of our local comp is terrible when you consider what they have as raw material. but they offer this wide range of soft subjects, so that's the big difference.

FobblyWoof Tue 03-Sep-13 13:56:59

If I had the money I would send my dc to private school. I'd pick that over a nice car/holiday any day. The results speak for themselves and although, as stated, children from state sxhools are capable of getting into oxbridge etc, private gives the best possible chance.

BrokenSunglasses Tue 03-Sep-13 13:58:53

People use private schools for all sorts of reasons, but they don't have to justify it by saying anything about where students go on to. It's no one else's business.

You don't think it's worth the money, and that's fine. But if other people choose to spend their money in that way, then that's their, perfectly acceptable, choice.

I don't really understand what your point is, except to take a cheap shot at private school parents.

My dc are at state schools btw.

Wallison Tue 03-Sep-13 14:00:59

<<so that they can put "state" on their University application and get an advantage.>>

Ahahahaha! Yes, state school pupils have all the advantages and are discriminated against by the best unis.


Wallison Tue 03-Sep-13 14:01:29

Sorry, that should have read 'private school pupils are discriminated against by the best unis'.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:02:06

I think if the OP believes this

But in the end your DC will, quite likely end up at exactly the same uni, doing the same course, just with poorer parents!

then her position makes sense.

The difficulty is, the evidence says that she is wrong about that.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:02:50

wallison- thats what they believe when they move over. I agree they may well be disappointed. I'm only summarising their position, not my own.

chickydoo Tue 03-Sep-13 14:05:25

My DS is at a private school that got 14 A level students in to Oxbridge this year. Most of the rest have been accepted to RG unis.
Our local comp is dire, although the class sizes are now smaller than they used to be due to parents taking kids out to go elsewhere.
Most of the kids at my DS's school would have gone to the dire comp if parents hadn't sent them to his school. I don't think all 15 kids would have got straight A*'s there

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:09:49

But this is really about A level. GCSE is a different ball game, because of course you have bigger classes and some disruptive kids while education is still compulsory at the comp.

But come 6th form, there ought to be so much less difference between state and private. And - I know I am banging on- if only state schools were prepared to focus on teaching just 20 core subjects at A level, it would be cheaper for them and the kids would get to the Unis they deserve.

There are signs that this is starting to happen, and that's why results dipped a bit this year.

burberryqueen Tue 03-Sep-13 14:13:10

(many) people do not send their children to independent for a better education but so they will not have to mix with thick plebs. Xenia said so.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 14:15:45

Sigh.... private school results will be better 'across the board' because their board is not very broad. Whereas at state school the brightest and best will get the top results, they will not form 95% of the cohort. So 'across the board' that school's results will not be the same.

Your child's odds are not the same % as the pass rate for the school they go to.

burberryqueen Tue 03-Sep-13 14:17:42

exactly steamingnit

NoComet Tue 03-Sep-13 14:18:57

Sixform is as another poster said a mess.
Some state schools are just as selective as the local private schools (no A at GCSE, get lost), some take a far wider range of pupils, do 'soft' subjects or have loopy option groups that force DCs to go else where.

Comparing sixform results is a nightmare.

Also, I think at sixform, private schools may have an advantage. The sort of teachers who love their subjects and are good at teaching A level, may not be the ones with the skills to cope with a comps Y9 set 5

One of our local collages also as lovely, older science teachers, who I suspect may be there to actually teach

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 14:20:21

beast I agree that it's a massive and rarely discussed anomaly that comprehensive schools can suddenly get picky at A level - I was really surprised by that when looking around last year.

To be fair, though, they don't say you can't do anything if you don't have the grades' (where we are), just that you must have the right grades for the subjects you want to do at AS and A2.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 14:21:53

The sort of teachers who love their subjects and are good at teaching A level, may not be the ones with the skills to cope with a comps Y9 set 5

I think good teachers do both - and also of course within departments there are usually some staff who tend to teach lower sets, and some who teach mostly A Level. At dd's school the HT only teaches 6th form, for example.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 14:23:37

I think it is pretty funny and brilliant that all three of our local comprehensives got better GCSE results at age 16 and 18 than all the local private schools in a twenty mile radius.

How pissed off must those parents be? grin

meditrina Tue 03-Sep-13 14:39:51

I've never really heard parents with DCa t private school say they do it because of grades and university offers.

Usually, they don't seem to feel the need to justify it (and why shoul they?), but if they do it's along the lines of "we thought it was the best school's for them" (nfd). and I really isn't about the exam results - it's about whole educational journey.

They're probably not pissed off either when others do well either. They will know just as well as all other local parents the qualities of their local state schools. And still choose a different style of education. It's not necessarily a utilitarian grades-are-everything choice.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:42:05

our comp has both- requires certain grades to do the subject, plus a baseline level of acheievement to be allowed to progress at all. It is definitely a very very different school at sixth form.

Mignonette- sounds as if your local private schools are not very academic/good! I dont have a huge sympathy for that kind of private school, TBH. I have a lot more time for the old grammar schools who went direct grant- they were the Academies of their day, and only ended up private because of politics.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:44:28

meditrina- I did! or rather, the teachers at DS1's old state school quietly took me aside and said that they didnt have the science teachers to cope with him and if we could possibly afford it, we should jump ship to the ex-grammar school, now fee paying, in the same town.

Where we lived was moving from three-tier to two tier and staff were leaving because of the uncertainty. We definitely moved DS1 for the quality of science teaching he would get.

woozlebear Tue 03-Sep-13 14:48:35

My very ordinary Welsh Comp sent someone in the year above me to study medicine at Oxford

But the thing is, OP, that in a lot of independent schools, there will be several such people every year.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 14:51:44

Come to that, woozle, I went to Oxford from my very ordinary state comp. But that didnt make me remotely normal for that school.

Lets take two schools where I am. local comp- very selective at sixth form- sent 18 people to Oxbridge last year. Lovely. except that is 3% of their (highly selective) sixth form. DS1s old school sent 30% of their year group. Local comp needed to send 180 kids to Oxbridge to be in the same range as that.

elastamum Tue 03-Sep-13 14:52:10

Well said, I have absolutely no problem with anyone elses educational choices. But I do think that it is a sad thing that in parts of the country, education is not all that good.

Most of my DC's friends and my DP's children are state educated. However, they all live in good catchment areas, where there are good state options. We dont.

Its my money and my choice, which I am happy with. And its not just about grades. As I am a single parent woking full time, who gets home late and travels a lot, my choice of school school offers my DC a lot of options that they wouldnt get if they got home at 4pm every night to an empty house.

The cost BTW is equivalent to a second mortgage. If it makes you feel smug that you dont do what I do and pay out that much for a good education for your DC, then at least I've brightened your day smile

BeattieBow Tue 03-Sep-13 14:53:55

chickydoo, my dd's state school got 14 children into Oxbridge too.

It makes me cross people who say "I had no choice but to send ds/dd to private school, the only other choice was a dire state school.". Because those people did have a choice clearly - most people do not.

but agree, standards of state schools do vary considerably, and I think you have to get quite a few A grades at GCSE to get into the sixth form of my dd's state school.

Crowler Tue 03-Sep-13 14:57:08

In neighborhoods having sink estates, many parents will send their children to private schools to avoid the kind of influence brought to bear.

Abra1d Tue 03-Sep-13 14:57:14

'I think it is pretty funny and brilliant that all three of our local comprehensives got better GCSE results at age 16 and 18 than all the local private schools in a twenty mile radius'

To know whether that was really brilliant or not I'd need to know which GCSEs each school offered. Because if the better results were in Sociology and Business Studies, rather than Latin and Physics I might disagree.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 15:11:01

Oxbridge take around 10,000 students a year
The rest of the Russell Group take another 75,000
600,000 students a year take GCSEs
(and in comps and sec mods around 1/3 take mostly non GCSE courses)

Private schools select.
Public schools more so.
It is therefore utterly unsurprising that selective schools get more of their pupils into selective places of higher education.

Just hope those folks can find a plumber, a mechanic, a hairdresser and somebody to drive the Ocado van - as that is where the non A level students at the "dire" state schools end up.

whois Tue 03-Sep-13 15:11:06

It's not normally just about results, it's about choosing the right school for your child to enable them to thrive. Be that academically, in sport, socially or at some other activity.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 15:12:05

I agree that most often, parents who choose to send their children to private schools don't say 'it's for the results, and Oxbridge'. I guess that would be a bit of a hostage to fortune anyway!

What you do hear, though, is that state schools need to up their game and get the same results, or that 'the results speak for themselves' and so on. (see the first post on this thread, in fact).

In fact of course the results do anything but speak for themselves - they are themselves, and they are wilfully misunderstood.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 15:14:01

Talk- actually, its only 7,000 admitted to Oxbridge (6,937 this last year).

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 15:16:54

Steamingnit- agree. All subjects are not equal and straight As in soft subjects are not the same as straight As in RG subjects. They just dont give the same opportunities to the kids. I actually think some kids are being badly, unkindly misled by their schools on that one.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 15:18:24

Then again, at least those children wouldn't have been turned away at year 7, which they would at the private school...

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 15:18:58

Sorry to disappoint you Abra but they are gold standard RG approved subjects. They also offer Socio/Psych/Theology and RE/Music Theory & Practice.

The Math/English/Science/Language/Hist/Geog were all better than all three local Private schools.

That is why it is so brilliant and testimony to very dedicated, hard working teachers, ancillary staff and pupils. You know you are super bright, committed and hard working when you get these results without the advantages of private education.

Well done to all those. They'll know who they are.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 15:21:54

true, steamingnit, but state schools could have it both ways. They could take the full range of kids but just teach the RG subjects at A level. And if they did, they would at a stroke remove the single biggest barrier to wider participation in RG Universities.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 15:27:33

Hmm, yes but not everyone who wants to do A levels, or indeed go to university, wants to do a traditional subject at an RG university. What about those ones?

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 15:34:14

One of our local 6th form colleges gets no children at all into Russell Group Univerities

In fact only a tiny minority of its students take any A levels at all

and yet its courses are so successful and in demand that students travel from miles and counties around to get there
400 of them live on site so they can do the courses

many of the courses are massively over subscribed
and employment prospects afterwards are excellent

there is life outside the narrow blinkers of many private school parents (and politicians)

burberryqueen Tue 03-Sep-13 15:40:03

that is a good post talinpeace - there does seem to be this assumption on mumsnet and elsewhere that the only way forward at 18 is a clutch of 'hard' A levels and a place at a RG uni, everyone is consigned to the bin of life.

burberryqueen Tue 03-Sep-13 15:40:14

*everyone else

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 15:40:36

yes, very true.

We come back to the quality of careers advice and subject advice in schools. There are two groups:

There are still kids who do want those things, but who get the wrong advice because the schools are not keen. Theres a thread at the moment about a kid wanting to do Maths with french at UCL and being unable to do both French and Maths. But the school hasnt even discussed doing Further Maths- which all the competition at UCL will be taking, for a maths degree.

Then there are the kids for whom sixth form is about something else. Even then, I would take a lot of persuading that they couldnt get there with traditional subjects. To study Sports Science, you get in just as well with Biology as you do with Sport A level. To study astronomy, they would much prefer you to do Physics A level than astronomy. To get a job, you will be just as acceptable with RG subjects as with others.

I come from an older generation- i left my comp in 1980 and in those days we only studied RG subjects at A level -but then only about 70 people stayed on out of 2,000 kids. We werent exactly an elite even then- but a lot of people left in those days who probably would stay on today.

the acid question must be- would kids stay on to do RG subjects if they understood that they deliver better jobs and more opportunities? or are some kids genuinely only prepared to study things with attractive titles, so we would lose those kids to education?

My own view is that our totally brilliant FE college, where DD goes, offers true vocational subjects with a professional edge, so the comp could afford to fiocus on fewre higher value subjects. but many teachers' careeres are built around the toehr subjects, and there is no doubt the results would dip a bit, so I can quite see why they would not be keen.

Abra1d Tue 03-Sep-13 15:46:27

mignonette not disappointed, but a bit envious!

crumpet Tue 03-Sep-13 15:52:49

My personal experience of the 4 schools I attended between the ages of 11-18 (two private and 2 state) is that although I was reasonably bright the 2 state schools allowed me to coast along whilst each of the private schools had higher expectations of me which I rose to, and consequently performed better at.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 15:52:59

Many, many students have absolutely no interest in academic subjects.
Why should they be shoehorned into them?

This course
has utterly excellent employment prospects and companies queuing up to hire the kids when they complete it.

Do Astronomy graduates?
Or History?
Or philosophy?

crumpet Tue 03-Sep-13 15:55:13

I was the kind of child who needed a kick in the backside...

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 16:04:44

talk- But we agree! this is a FE college and as I said above, they offer true vocation training with a professional edge. They do it far better than studying a vague A level at school. DD is doing childcare NVQ Level 3 at our FE college and it is superb. The links with employers and the quality of work experience make these courses second to none.

I was talking about people doing A levels in soft subjects, which seem to me to be dangerous. They are neither the kind of high quality privision you are talking about, nor are they subjects that are useful for Uni entrance.

SoupDragon Tue 03-Sep-13 16:07:18

Oh good. A private school bashing thread.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:08

I agree the OP is a little bit bashy, but actually if you read the posts SoupDragon I think they are quite thoughtful.

AKAK81 Tue 03-Sep-13 16:17:23

A private education can certainly have other advantages. I've found it helps open doors both professionally and socially in my town as a lot of the more successful people went to the same school so the old boys' network is alive and well.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 16:18:09

Abra That was bitchy of me writing that about you being 'disappointed'. I'm sorry.

Yes we are fortunate I guess although knowing a lot of the teachers well, I know the price they pay for such excellence. They work so hard and are very driven by the head teachers who are under their own set of pressures.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 16:19:34

Not bashing Private schools, just clarifying that the perceived advantages may only apply to a small segment of the population - even if funding were not an issue.

Sparsholt and Southampton City specialise. Because Peter Symonds and Barton Peverill also do : on academic kids.

I find it sad that tweps like Gove slag off colleges for not getting into RG - when places like Sparsholt were never trying to.

I also find it sad that people who manage to earn large amounts of money to pay private school fees have such a weak grasp of statistics that they cannot see that DCs school getting 4 or 5 kids on to Oxbridge out of a cohort of 300 is actually above expectation.

burberryqueen Tue 03-Sep-13 16:24:23

yes well a lot of people are over-educated and under-clever tbh

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 16:24:43

Talk- confused now, dont we agree? i thought we did?

Quite agree that getting kids into RG Unis is not what most FE Colleges aim for and there is no reason at all to evaluate them on something that is not their main focus. I would be evaluating FE colleges on employment record- which would show up the excellence of your example.

Abra1d Tue 03-Sep-13 16:29:11

mignonette smile

Very impressive schools. Lucky pupils.

blueemerald Tue 03-Sep-13 16:30:46

I've just googled my old public school and this year they got 13 into Oxford, 15 into Cambridge and 86 into other Russell Group universities.

So 114 into Russell Group Universities altogether. 3 went to Art School and 2 to American universities.

The results are not comparable as the cohorts are not comparable.

elastamum Tue 03-Sep-13 16:37:30

My DC's public school take children non selectively from age 4 into their junior school and ALL of them who want to stay on go into the secondary school. They sit common entrance at 13 but I have never heard of anyone from the prep failing it. They have 6 levels of ability sets in maths and english. Not everyone goes to oxbridge or RG, but they are encouraged to find the right university for them and most get in where they apply.

Having observed my DS consistently upping his grades in secondary I think the key positives are good teaching with good facilities - particularly in science - a strong work / achievment ethos throughout school and 2 hours homework every night done at school with access to tutors. My DS leaves for school at 7.30am and finishes at 9pm. He gets to do a lot of activities, but he also studies hard. EVERYONE always does their homework.

I think that is the key. Everyone studies. Every night. If you have a DC who is academically minded and does 2 hours extra study most nights in term time with access to a tutor if they need it, they will probably get great results in the state system as well.

mignonette Tue 03-Sep-13 16:56:58

And probably quite unusual too but we live in a pretty naice area although it does have a lot of poverty that the town council does a good job of pretending does not exist mitigating.

Without going to the minor public school I went to, I could not have taken the range of subjects and extracurricular activities I did. And it was that breadth that got me my university place.

We turned down the "sixty per year to Oxbridge" state sixth form college in favour of the "only me in my year to Oxbridge" public school because it was more likely to get me to Oxbridge.

Public schools can offer subjects to very small cohorts - I was the only person in my year sitting one of my subjects, a friend was the only one sitting his, and state schools simply can't/won't justify that kind of ratio.

They also have smaller classes - one of my subjects was split into two sets because it was considered intolerable to have ten in an A-Level class; my contemporaries at university had been in classes of 30+.

That kind of thing makes an awful lot of difference to borderline pupils.

There's also the question of expectation. The staff are used to Oxbridge application processes, have contact with former pupils at Oxbridge who can help, and even just the fact that Oxbridge is an automatic consideration for bright pupils is a help. That culture does get them on.

LadyBryan Tue 03-Sep-13 17:19:38

We have decent local schools and an excellent private. We chose the school that was best for our daughter. Had that been the state she would have gone there.

As it is, it was the private and the opportunities, class size and emotional care and education are second to none.

And whatever she does when she's 18 I will never regret doing the best thing by her when she's younger

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 17:21:27

Why are you calling them FE colleges?
They are 6th form colleges.
Schools round here stop at 16 : so ALL kids go to college.
And luckily each of the 6th forms has specialised up to a point.
But places like Peter Symonds send a bus load to Oxbridge every year : it has dedicated staff for Oxbridge and overseas universities.

LadyBryan Tue 03-Sep-13 17:23:59

As a statistic for last year. Every child in top class took a number of exams to other private secondaries.

There was a pass rate of 100%, with each child getting a place at each school they tried for. Well over 2/3rds were scholarship level.

Talkinpeace - that bus is the exception. I'd hazard a guess there is one very keen member of staff behind it.

And there is a difference between a SFC and a FEC - the former is largely academic and the latter also offers pure vocational subjects like construction, travel & tourism, hospitality & catering, etc. Generally you could take A Levels at either, but the focus would be quite different. Your area will determine what you have access to. Frinstance, where I grew up there was one of each, but you often needed straight As at GCSE to get into the SFC.

Viviennemary Tue 03-Sep-13 18:44:27

Comprehensives do get pupils into Oxbridge. But if people opt for private school that's up to them. I certainly would have considered it if I could have afforded it.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 18:51:15

You misunderstand me. There are staff employed to be Oxbridge liaison
and PSC is not unique - its just the one I've been to on an open evening.

And the snobbery at the difference between SFC and FEC is what I find offensive.
All of the colleges around here cater for 6th form students. Therefore they are 6th form colleges. END OF.

wordfactory Tue 03-Sep-13 18:54:07

Her's the thing OP.

It may be that either of my DC would do 'as well' in state school. If by that you mean their net of exam results when they leave.

Who can say?

Frankly, I don't really care.

What I'm bothered about is the journey. I want it tailor made. I want it to be the most suitable I can lay my hands on.

As for the money, again who cares? We earn it, we spend it. Why worry grin?

racingheart Tue 03-Sep-13 19:01:15

I'm not sure the pupils who move to state schools at 16 do it to get into unis. Most unis take into account schooling from pre GCSE. A lot swap because their parents have run out of money and figure their children now have a good work ethic and are well trained in how to structure work and in exam technique, so they can do well wherever they are.

wordfactory Tue 03-Sep-13 19:03:16

Moving to state at sixth form won't provide any real advantage if the GCSEs were gained at a good private school.

Oh I see, re bus. I still maintain it's very unusual, whereas I would be amazed if any academic private school didn't run such a scheme.

FE colleges step away from the SFC label because they are often catering for those returning to ft education as well as those going straight from school, and/or for those put off by a perceived academic focus. Many of them are extremely good. I used to work at one that got A Level students into RG/Oxbridge and mature students into full time employment in skilled trades, every year.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 19:47:31

Talk, I was just going on what their websites said

sheridand Tue 03-Sep-13 20:12:05

Just give me 15 years. 15 years where schooling is truly across the board and one size fits all. Imagine a system where everyone attends the same schools, and that by geographical basis. Within 15-20 years you'd have a system that would be next to none.

I had in my class of a "sink school" the daughter of a European ambassador. He chose the comp way, and his daughter did excellently. What is more, she collaborated with others, and showed them what was possible.

I have a dream.... and it kind of looks like this:

Please watch it, it's amazing.

With no public/ comp/grammar but one system that helps ALL children, instead of just those who can afford private, or afford to move, or afford to pay for 11+ tutoring. I want to support those parents who say, yes, I AM part of a whole, and so are my children.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 20:21:00

Please remember that one of the reasons the UK public schools get away with charging so much and being so picky is that they are happy to take the children of the rich from countries that ban private schools (such as China, North Korea, Russia, Finland etc)

And if you work on a strictly area basis you may end up with the "superzip" problem they have in parts of the USA where house prices around good schools are even more distorted than they are already in the UK.

Only on Mumsnet are boarding and fee paying schools other than an irrelevance to most people.
Selective state schools are a much more poisonous issue and should be abolished today.

sheridand Tue 03-Sep-13 20:36:07

I agree! And so should the housing lottery that allows people to buy into the key areas. Please do take a look at the link I posted, the real issue is the moribund state of the ideology of our schooling.

If we just had the balls to do it..... it would take mere years, and I think only a few, for schools to be all encompassing. I take on board zip coding, but that wouold only be true if the boundaries allowed it. If we were strict, not so. And bear in mind, much of this is urban centric. I would wager, being rural, that ALL rural schools would bump up levels were it not for some pupils being creamed off for selectives / private schools with selective feeders.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 21:22:09

I've seen lots of Sir Ken Robinson's talks and as inspirational as they are, he has spent too long only in the company of people as bright as him.

housing lottery that allows people to buy into the key areas
how would one ever deal with that?
and how could you change boundaries to stop it - have you seen the gerrymandering of school districts in the USA?
ALL rural schools would bump up levels were it not for some pupils being creamed off for selectives / private schools with selective feeders
Sorry but I have to utterly disagree with you there.
Look at the Isle of Wight schools as a microcosm of your plan.
Its not good is it.

Very few children go to private schools in the big scheme of things.
If a comp is good it tends to stay good - if there is another school in the area to keep it on its toes.
Where there is no competition, laurel resting kicks in.

As I say, selective state funded schools (by academic, religious or any other metric) are the real problem.

My country doesn't allow ANY private schools. Where we are moving to, we will have crap secondary (and primary) schools. Unfortunately, a lot of schooling is decided by money. What area you live in will almost certainly decide the results of your comprehensive. There are many exceptions, but the fact is, the best schools are often in wealthy areas, or at least take children from wealthy areas (by 'best', I don't mean the school, but the results). Private is a more extreme form of that. As we can't afford either, we have a choice between a super selective and a failing comp, you have no choice t to tuition your child for the superselective and even a few bond books won't see you through, so that's out for a lot of people. Your finances WILL affect where your child goes to school, private schools are an extension of this. Personally, if I could afford a private school which was achieving better results (whether through selection processes or amazing teaching, or both, or something else) then I would definitely do it, because the option is available.

My home country, not current one, sorry.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 21:30:31

But if the superselective was not there, those resources and bright pupils and motivated teachers would be spread among the other schools and they would have resources for bright kids.

holidaybug Tue 03-Sep-13 21:36:40

I send my DC to private school because (a) it is the best school in the area and (b) I want to send them to the best school to give them the best chance in life. If the best school happened to be a state school, I would have tried to get them into the state school, but it wasn't so I didn't.

Tinlegs Tue 03-Sep-13 21:36:45

I think one thing (other than money / facilities) that makes independent schools do well is that they are ambitious for all their pupils. It is hard to keep your focus on the best possible results when, for some pupils, just sitting still is a result. Being surrounded by bright and motivated pupils has an effect on a child, just as being surrounded by the disaffected will cause problems.

I have taught in both. I always felt that for the very bright, both systems would probably work out OK. What the independent schools do really, really well is getting the next ones down, those closer to average, to perform really, really well too.

I taught in a top London Public School. One of my A Level sets got all As. I was not surprised and felt it had little to do with me; anyone could teach those pupils, as long as they had their respect. The results that really take sweat, effort and dedication are those who are C/D and, by putting in the hours and giving them extra support, they get an A.

My school in London, because of their peers, our work ethic, our expectations, did very well. My existing school does very well by pupils. But many of them are not going to University, whoever and wherever they are taught. They too need the best possible chance. This is where time and resources will be of direct benefit to the individual and, ultimately, the nation,.

maraisfrance Tue 03-Sep-13 21:41:31

Fair point, luv. I send my lad to private/independent school because I like the school, I like the experience and education the school offers, I hope my boy will have a better time of it than I did at a crappy, clapped out state grammar, and that it will get him to 18 and decisions about what happens next in better shape than I was. (Incidentally, I passed everything in sight, and went to Cambridge). So I'm not paying for Oxbridge, why would I?

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 21:45:00

You are right about middling kids - the non selective private round here gets lots of those who would be lower set 2 at the comps and nudges and pushes them till they get grades equivalent to lower set 1.
Sadly once the nudging stops, so does their progress - particularly at University.
But the sense of entitlement and connections that Private school brings protects them. Sadly.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 21:51:28

And yet state schools are continually berated for focussing all their attention on the middling kids, to get them to C not D, thus failing the bright and the least able!

When they're not being accused of focussing only on the least bright and worst behaved, to everyone else's detriment.

Very odd.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 21:55:22

And yet state schools are continually berated
no need to add any more, those words say it all!

MrsAMerrick Tue 03-Sep-13 22:00:12

The bottom line is that most people send their DCs to private schools because, at heart, they are snobs. They only want their DCs to mix with PLUs. (waits to get flamed)
If there were no private schools, education - whilst not perfect - would be more of an even playing field for all children.

holidaybug Tue 03-Sep-13 22:01:37

What a load of tosh MrsAMerrick

That's not the only reason, MrsAMerrick, but I agree it does happen.

SunnyIntervals Tue 03-Sep-13 22:04:49

My only way of getting my summer born dc into school only when the dc is ready, rather than going at 4.2 is to go independent.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 22:05:47

Well, some do: they've openly said so on MN! Others cite lots of other reasons, to be fair. I just don't find any of them valid

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 03-Sep-13 22:07:07

Sunny, can they make 4.2 year olds start school now? Lots of parents with summer born children just used to wait until after Christmas or Easter when mine were in reception.

holidaybug Tue 03-Sep-13 22:08:15

Well, most don't. Private school education is too expensive for 'most' people to pay for it simply because they are snobs.

Taz1212 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:11:25

I have one child in a private school and one in a state school (hopefully to follow her brother in 3 years). I'm in Scotland and our local high school has effectively been pegged as a vocational school. The percentage of students who achieve enough Highers to even attend university is under 7%. In 2010 a working group set up by the council decided to slash the number of Advanced Highers on offer because it was not cost effective to run them for 3-4 students each year. My DS wants to be a vet - which obviously will likely change but to make a point... He can't attend our local high school and go on to be a vet or doctor or anything science related because the school does not offer the required Advance Highers. It's also one of the schools that is going to limit course choice in S4 to 5 courses compared to 8 at his private school.

We are very very fortunate to be able to afford private schooling for both of our children. If we had a school that catered equally to those with university aspirations as well as vocational ones we may not have made the choice we did. However, I want my DC to have an education similar to my own and that simply won't happen at our local state school!

holidaybug Tue 03-Sep-13 22:13:09

And if there were no private schools, then the scarcity of state school places would only become worse.

Wallison Tue 03-Sep-13 22:15:52

Only 6% of pupils go to private schools. Wouldn't make much of a dent for the little treasure to have to go to the awful rough comps along with everyone else.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 22:18:29

There will always be private schools. Its not even worth imagining a situation where they do not exist.

Get rid of the state funded discriminatory schools : THEY are what impact on parents without the funds to choose alternatives.

DS is late August and he's doing fine at school. somebody has to be the youngest in every class after all.

holidaybug Tue 03-Sep-13 22:19:29

Then it wouldn't make much difference in terms of a level playing field either. The reality is that there are vast differences in the state sector too - there are some very good state schools but then that pushes up house prices in the area. Life is unequal - it's not restricted to education.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Sep-13 22:26:46

The schools I want to see the back of are
- religious schools (you want heavy duty RE, pay for it)
- academically selective schools (because they penalise late developers and summer babies, let alone those without sharp elbowed parents
- any state funded school that is not equally open to all pupils within reach of its catchment.

And yes, house price pockets will happen - I live in an arse end pocket, houses safely in the Thornden catchment have a 20% price premium!
But because the admission rules are transparent, my kids are not at the sink school (admittedly making the problem worse but thats another story)

BoffinMum Tue 03-Sep-13 22:27:50

State maintained schools have been improving since 1988 because the middle classes have started to use them more.

But there is still social discrimination internally within schools.

BoffinMum Tue 03-Sep-13 22:28:28

I am another one who thinks it is not the role of the tax payer to fund religious schools.

(Even though I am religious).

holidaybug Tue 03-Sep-13 22:30:45

My DC's prep school is selective - they take into account summer babies as part of their assessment. Tbh though at that age, they are looking more at behaviour/temperament than ability.

merrymouse Tue 03-Sep-13 22:35:41

Many private schools invest huge efforts in networking with ex pupils at Oxbridge etc., building contacts, getting feedback following interviews and employing teachers with contacts. It's not just old school tie - staff are employed to organise networking events and encourage ex pupils to stay in touch via social media etc.

They tailor exam choices and extra curricular activities towards what they think their target universities want. In general they don't have to worry that much about providing broader career advice.

Despite universities actively seeking out pupils at state schools, private school pupils are still disproportionately represented at 'top' universities, so it seems to work.

SunnyIntervals Tue 03-Sep-13 22:38:49

Talkin, but I imagine he doesn't have my DS's challenges of hearing problems and language delay. He is not ready for school.

SunnyIntervals Tue 03-Sep-13 22:41:00

Nit, sorry - missed your question! The state primary here tells me all schools have been told not to offer flexibility on entry now. They must start the September after 4th birthday with no exceptions except for very severe statemented SN.

I don't even believe in private education, but I can't let DS sink.

NoComet Tue 03-Sep-13 23:34:35

Snobs is not a nice way of putting it, but I do think some people send bright DCs, who'd get A* in any 1/2 reasonable comp., to private school.

A) because they went to private school
B) they went to grammar school and now live in a non grammar area
C) they wished they went to private school
D) their friends DC are going there

A,B and D are pretty lousy reasons to my mind.
C, if they had a bad experience at school themselves is probably forgivable, but still slightly unreasonable.

However much we all hate Ofsted, league tables and the prescriptiveness of the NC, most state schools are far better than they were.

My school did a very good job with top set science, maths, English, Welsh, history and geography(despite the geog teacher not being any use with disruptive DCs).

However, it did a diabolical job with the less able in some classes and some subjects . Bottom sets got teachers that Ofsted would have failed on the spot.

We didn't have any formal discipline system or organised detentions, HW was distinctly optional.

The DDs school is way better well over 1/2 of DC get a decent number of GCSEs. Many state schools do way better. In the past only 25-30% even got to try.

ie what I'm trying to say is I wish parents of bright DCs for whom affording private is very marginal would give their local state school a chance.

A) for purely selfish reasons, more nice bright kids would improve teacher recruitment, and their parents would be great governors, fundraises etc. They would mean we had a truly great sixform.

B) DDs best friend would have a lovely savings account for uni.

C) most important - a whole sector of society would have a much more rounded and realistic view of how people really live.

Given many of these children are our future doctors, lawyers, bankers and accountants and one day maybe councillors and magistrates too. That can't be a bad thing.

NoComet Tue 03-Sep-13 23:44:57

Sunny your DS wouldn't sink. 4.2 is too young, but reception teachers know that. They would look after him and he'll be just fine.

It's a tremendous leap of faith sending summer born boys to school at 4. DFs late August DS worried her terribly being behind in YR. Later she told me she wished she'd relaxed, he caught up just fine.

I know he did, I used to go in and hear them read.

A private school may let your DS stay in nursery another year, but in Y1/Y2 you may find yourself cursing a pile of HW that a state school wouldn't think of giving children that young.

There is no perfect answer.

Jinsei Tue 03-Sep-13 23:46:25

If you have a really bright child, I think private education is probably a waste of money, as some kids will just do well wherever they go. However, if you have a child on the upper end of average, I think private education is probably a fantastic investment.

SunnyIntervals Tue 03-Sep-13 23:48:22

Star, the school we are considering is very pastorally focused, minimal hw and 'progressive'. They're happy to let him do another year of nursery, which is great.

If I could do the above at the outstanding state school I moved here to be close to then I would.

grumpyoldbat Tue 03-Sep-13 23:52:00

Why should people have to justify how they spend their money? If someone wants to send their child to private school and they can afford it then they should be able to.

NoComet Wed 04-Sep-13 00:29:49

Because they do justify how they spend their money and that justification is often a lot of muddled thinking and half baked ideas rather than the truth, which is they think.

Either "My DC is better than your DC"
Or I'm a better parent than you"

That sounds very bitchy, which it's not meant to be because I think many private school parents are very insecure and brain wash themselves into thinking their is no alternative.

TeacakeEater Wed 04-Sep-13 00:41:46

Your last post does not describe my thinking Star.

I want my child to have a different education to that on offer at the local high school. I have zero power to influence what the head there is doing.

If we pay for private my child will perhaps end up with the same qualifications in their final year, but the pathway will be different with a wider range of subjects and more extra-curricular opportunities.

I think the problem is that they've started and have been around for centuries. The damage has been done. Why would you send your DC to a school with (taking three schools my DC could go to) a 30%, 28% and 44% rate of pupils eligible for GCSE getting one A*-C GCSE when you can send them to a school which has a 90% or higher one? Too much risk. I wouldn't either, if I had the choice. If there hd never been private schools, maybe the spread would be more even, but the problems have been made and even if you don't go to a private school, if you can afford a nicer area, you'll probably end up with children in a better school.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 07:11:18

I think many private school parents are very insecure and brain wash themselves into thinking their is no alternative.


FamiliesShareGerms Wed 04-Sep-13 07:16:24

Compare my Oxbridge interview preparation at a very large community college (ie the year head telling me that lots of tutors were very sexist and I might have to answer some tricky questions on why I wanted to go there - but not actually giving me and tips on how to manage those questions) with a friend's child at a top 5 independent school who had a series of preparatory interview, including one with the headmaster at Eton...


Jinsei Wed 04-Sep-13 07:42:46

Compare my Oxbridge interview preparation at a very large community college (ie the year head telling me that lots of tutors were very sexist and I might have to answer some tricky questions on why I wanted to go there - but not actually giving me and tips on how to manage those questions) with a friend's child at a top 5 independent school who had a series of preparatory interview, including one with the headmaster at Eton...

Sure, but the interviewers know that the level of prep has been completely different, and the preparation doesn't always help anyway. I had no guidance at all before my Cambridge interview, and was completely thrown by some of the questions, whereas I know that some of the privately educated candidates were much more confident and managed to bullshit their way through because they'd had more practice. I went home and cried my eyes out, as I felt so utterly inadequate next to the competition. But I got in and they didn't.

I later asked one of my tutors want they look for at interview, and how they make their choices, as I couldn't figure out at all how I'd made it through. He said that his top priority was "intellectual honesty", followed by "genuine independent thought". Some things can't be taught.

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 07:45:20

DS1 is an Oxford medical student, his (state) school "gets" one or two kids into Oxbridge most years, and many into RG. The school is in a Scottish university town, and because its in Scotland, it has entry by catchment area (if you live in catchment, you get a place).
The results this school get have little to do with the school - it's the parents (small town, very high number of university lectures parents).
There is no encouragement to apply to the "best" universities, or most challenging subjects, so for example my son had no prep or interview training for either medical application or Oxbridge. No help or advice with personal statements. I am sure many able pupils at this high performing school are missing out on opportunities due to lack of preparation.

At the private school in a nearby town, pupils are given extensive interview prep and advice re application to university, with small groups run by teachers for different groups (Oxbridge/vet/medic, law etc). Personal statements are scrutinised, much advice given. Of course all that extra attention gets more of those kids into the "best" universities! It's what people are paying for when they pay the fees - advantage.

SunnyIntervals Wed 04-Sep-13 08:05:51

Raw if the school has the name of a curry them my ex went there - great school smile

Taz1212 Wed 04-Sep-13 08:08:49

StarBallBunny I'm not insecure in the slightest. What I feel is pure relief that my DC will have the same educational opportunities that I had. If they went to our catchment school their opportunities would be extremely limited and that's pure fact not brainwashing!

wordfactory Wed 04-Sep-13 08:08:50

jinsei Oxbridge do indeed take into account those things at interview, but there is no doibt it is hugely helpful if a candidate is used to regularly discussing a subject at a much wider level. A far bigger block to entry however is not having the right grades in the right subjects! This is something too many state schools get wrong and it is entirely avoidable and unacceptable IMVHO.

Gunznroses Wed 04-Sep-13 08:19:33

Raw if the school has the name of a curry them my ex went there - great school

Vindaloo high? grin sorry just couln't resist blush

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 09:09:57

I too am intrigued by the curry named school!

wordfactory Wed 04-Sep-13 09:22:04

The imagnation runs riot!

^ grabs takeaway flyer and skims list of curries^

wordfactory Wed 04-Sep-13 09:24:52

BTW nit, am I right in thinking your DD had results this summer?

All ok?

Taz1212 Wed 04-Sep-13 09:38:59

Ha ha, ha, I think I've worked out the curry school. If it's what I'm thinking of it is a good school! We briefly looked at moving into its catchment but the house prices are far higher than where we currently live.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 09:41:24

If we pay for private my child will perhaps end up with the same qualifications in their final year, but the pathway will be different with a wider range of subjects and more extra-curricular opportunities.

Which subjects?
As state schools are constantly being slagged off for have too wide a range of subjects.

Which extra curricular?
As many state schools do lots, and if they don't the cash saved on school fees can be spent on those activities so the kids of motivated parents get them anyway.

wordfactory Wed 04-Sep-13 09:46:37

Talkin it is sometimes impossible to source the ECs. Then there's the logistics.

Most people have more than one child and one pair of hands. Motivation only goes so far!

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 09:51:55

What is it impossible to source?
Genuine question?
What activities can one ONLY do at a public school?
(I'll discount the Eton wall game and real tennis as they are too niche and polo is easy for good riders to pick up later)

I have two children and manage to fit in riding, dancing, tennis, rugby, music, swimming, badminton and still have weekends free and one evening a week free.

iseenodust Wed 04-Sep-13 09:55:39

Talkin a wide selection of less academic subjects in our catchment state secondary. However, no option to do triple science however capable, fewer modern languages, no latin and less timetabled sport in terms of choice and time. So DS starts indie today.

wordfactory Wed 04-Sep-13 09:56:23

FFS, have some imagination!!!!!

Not everyone lives in or near a good sized town.
Not everyone has a car.
Not everyone is able bodied.
Not everyone is free to drive their DC from class to course to tutor.
Not everyone thinks that's a good way to spend their evenings...

Not everyone (and I knwo this will be a huge shock) lives excatly as you do!

Tailtwister Wed 04-Sep-13 09:57:17

'Only 6% of pupils go to private schools. Wouldn't make much of a dent for the little treasure to have to go to the awful rough comps along with everyone else.

Where we live the figure is more like 25%. If those pupils were to come out of the private sector the state system wouldn't cope. I'd like to see the uproar then!

I don't understand the problem some people have with private schools. The same people seem to be more than happy to pay over the odds to live in a good catchment, lie about their residence or change their religion to get into good schools.

holidaybug Wed 04-Sep-13 10:05:13

Another factor in sending DC to private school is because private schools are far less subject to the political tinkering/lack of funding that state schools are subject to. And if places are going to become scarce as is predicted, then how do you think they are going to satisfy demand? More schools being built or bigger class sizes? Suspect it is going to be more of the latter. So, given the choice (and ability to fund that choice), more people will choose to send their DC to private school with class sizes of 20 with a full time teacher and teaching assistant or less rather than state school with class sizes of beyond 30 and probably beyond 40 going forwards.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 10:06:30

i struggled with the choice of sending ds to a prep. he got a place in an outstanding school (not my first choice). how this school got an outstanding ofsted report i do not know. compared to the other school in my area that is outstanding, impossible to get in unless you have a sibling there you can not compare the two when you see the results children are getting

i am very happy with ds school, he is getting the education that he needs and deserves but not all children are and of course they should be. luckily we have the choice and i would not be sending ds to a state school (unless it was very very good) just because politically it is the right thing. he is getting an advantage i know that but it is something he will have to live up to the pressure is there from a young age his school is a very good feeder school with the best secondary school in our area (most are private)

elastamum Wed 04-Sep-13 10:07:35

Well done to you TP, you sound incredibly smug smile

Do you have a partner? Because if you lived as I do your DC wouldnt get the opportunity of being ferried around in the evening to do lots of extracurricular stuff as you would be AT WORK and they would be home alone.

As I am a single parent, my DC's public school provides a far better environment for them than they woud have as rural bussed in latch key kids in the not so local comp where only half the pupils get 5 GCSE passes.

As WF says, not everyone lives like you do. I have no problem with your choices, what I dont understand is why you should have such a big problem with mine?

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 10:08:25

Talkin, often it is the chance to do further maths and three strong sciences at A level,and triple sciences and modern foreign languages earlier. But also, it is the chance to be taught physics by someone with a physics degree, which is pretty rare in state schools, and so forth. the shortage of science teachers in state schools is very frustrating and sad. I dont think we are alone as parents in having both been to state schools, and having only gone private when faced with the reality of science teaching at state secondary school, with a DC who was gifted that way.

The riding etc was not a factor at all and actually not even on offer where DS went. He went to a scruffy ex-grammar with large classes and superb results, but no fancy-pants drama and arts complex or the like.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:16:32

Word thanks for remembering - yes, thank you, she did really well. School say some of them can consider doing a 5th subject in sixth form, which is leading to all sorts of frustrations and annoyances at home, but that's another thread which I probably won't bother with! Other than that, really enjoying swanking around as a sixth former smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:18:59

Now this is the kind of thing that annoys me:

I don't understand the problem some people have with private schools. The same people seem to be more than happy to pay over the odds to live in a good catchment, lie about their residence or change their religion to get into good schools.

I don't know whether you know people who've done just that, tall, and if so then I have no respect for them in the latter two situations particularly. But although it would be easier to work on the assumption that everyone who thinks differently about private schools is a hypocrite, and thereby discount their argument, it's not true.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 10:21:18

I have to say I have come across all three types of behaviour, but I wouldnt try to argue that they were typical.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 10:23:40

I know plenty of people who have moved to areas where there is a good school, of course it pushes house prices up. some and have also rented properties for 6 months. it is common knowledge that happens with certain schoosl around here. it is cheaper in the long run than sending you child/children to a private school but really it laughable that they can claim they would never consider private as they certainly would if they had the money and their children did not get into a good school

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 10:27:27

We have one very good state primary locally, and there is a new build estate in catchment. Coincidentally, or not, there is a brisk trade in rented houses ther,e and many more six month leases advertised that you normally find ( a year being the norm). They are 30% more expensive to rent than houses just out of catchment, I would say.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:29:11

Hmm, but would they, Freudian? I do know people who would certainly consider the catchment of wherever they were buying, but would also not particularly want the private school environment or ethos for their children - whether because they feel uncomfortable with it, are opposed to it, or don't feel it's for them.

Although I also don't know of any areas round here where the price difference of the same sized and standard house would be enough to fund 7 years of school fees even for one child, though perhaps that's different elsewhere.

But really, unless we're saying that anyone opposed to private schools has to somehow convince the authorities to give them a council house in the least desirable area with the least desirable catchment there is, then their arguments are invalid, I think we have to allow that people will live in different areas based on what's available, what they can afford, whether they like the area (if in a position to choose), proximity to work/family, and quite possibly schools as well. And after all that, they're still allowed not to be in favour of private schools!

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:31:17

This article goes some way to explaining why some parents of bright children might choose to move from state to private. There are lots of similar articles available from credible sources stating similar, a quick google will bring it up.
So we could argue that some children in private schools have been placed there by their parents due to the local state schools not meeting their needs adequately and ensuring that they reach their full potential. Any good parent who sees their child not reaching their potential due to the schools failings would want to do something about it if possible. For some parents that might mean tackling the state school and going to the board of governors if necessary, which may or may not have some effect. For some parents that might mean seeking a better education elsewhere, choosing a school based in its results, specialisms, teaching style etc rather than having no choice but the state allocated school.
The article also raises the question of; do private schools have a significant number of bright students not just because of them being selective but also because many of these children have been failed by the state sector?

Local prep school to me gains a fair few children in year 3 because two of the local state primary schools combine classes in key stage 2 so the class goes from being 20 children to 40 children. As a parent I would be very concerned about a bright child being taught in a mixed ability class of 40 with only one teacher, especially given what research shows often happens in these circumstances.

Tailtwister Wed 04-Sep-13 10:31:26

'But although it would be easier to work on the assumption that everyone who thinks differently about private schools is a hypocrite, and thereby discount their argument, it's not true.'

I did say some people, not all.

I don't know anyone who wouldn't choose the best possible education for their child simply out of principle. Whether you pay for it by moving or going private or simply live near a good school, nobody in their right mind would take the inferior choice.

There are so many variables why people choose private school.

My children are summer born and so I preferred the smaller class sizes for them.
They are not Christian so we had no hope of getting into 3 out of the 4 nearest primary schools, the one we did qualify for was more that 3x oversubscribed.

My children are late summer born boys (who also happen to have mild dyslexia) so I felt they have some disadvantages to overcome. I am lucky enough to pay for choices to help them overcome those issues (I know this isn't an option for many people). Its not that I think my children are better or that I am a better parent but simply I am in the position to choose the school that I think will best enable my children to acheive their potential. Out of the range of choices available to us I think the school we have picked is the best option.

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:32:04
Tailtwister Wed 04-Sep-13 10:37:38

'I don't know whether you know people who've done just that, tall, and if so then I have no respect for them in the latter two situations particularly.'

So, why is it any better to use your financial advantage by moving to a more expensive area than pay school fees? You could argue that by paying the higher property prices that you're fuelling the divide and limiting the choices available to those who don't have the financial means. Yes, I do know people who have done all of those things and are happy to crow about it too.

Takingthemickey Wed 04-Sep-13 10:37:39

If you are happy with your choice of school why would it be any concern of yours that people are sending their children to private schools and 'wasting' their money?

Just enjoy your great free choice and we can carry on wasting our money in peace.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:38:27

It depends what the parent in question measures 'inferiority' by in a school, doesn't it?

If I had the choice of the day school in town with the high fees and results or the comprehensive my children are at, I'd choose the latter because I'd rather they were there, in that environment, having that life. And I think I'm in my right mind grin

Running you'll forgive my lack of surprise at the Telegraph's POV on state schools and the new Gove-style Ofsted's 'findings'!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:41:53

The article reports Wilshaw as saying Ofsted will crack down on schools they perceive to be doing that... it does not say that such practice is routine - it doesn't even give any numbers for setting vs mixed ability! But the Torygraph have of course managed to suggest that That's What Happens In State Schools.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 04-Sep-13 10:43:43

My hubby's brother's kids go to a non-selective public school - and have found that as they are not the brightest in the bunch, they are struggling and their choices are getting more and more limited - No single science O levels for them - if they are entered and might just get a B - imagine what would happen to the school's grading points...... so they are steered away from subjects that they do enjoy because they will not excel - not everyone can, even with tutoring....... look at the royal family's qualifications!

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 10:44:39

Triple sciences, further maths, languages : I agree, it is a crying shame that all state schools do not offer those. They should.
Teachers with relevant science degrees : I agree, it is really sad that bright people are put off teaching because idiots like Gove slag them off non stop no matter what they do.

Not everyone has a car / is able bodied etc : not needed when most of what my kids do is either at school or within walking distance of home.

And yes I work as does DH, but we are both self employed : we have sacrificed earnings for flexibility.
Very few people live exactly as anybody else does, but I am no means alone in being a comparatively well off highly motivated state school parent.

The only state secondary school round here that has mixed ability classes is Thornden. It does not seem to harm their pupil outcomes.
All the rest set lots and lots and lots.

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:45:24
FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 10:45:42

yes i believe they would or very few wouldn't

they are moving to get the best for their children. most peoples political views, feelings on what is socially right go out of the window when it comes to what is best for their child

if ds got a place in the very good state school i would be happy (but comparing his work to my friends children i see that he is working at a more advanced level but probably down to class size)

anyway the very very good state schools around here are full of middle class children from middle class homes they are not representative of the area on the whole and if only slightly more than ds prep school is

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:47:09

C&P from the BBC one -

*Head teachers questioned the statistical basis of Ofsted's claims.

Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Brian Lightman said: "I have real concerns about Ofsted's evidence base for drawing these conclusions.

"Level 5 is a wide band that includes a range of ability levels, not just the brightest students. The government has said that for children who come into secondary school with a Level 5, expected progress means a B at GCSE.

"Of course we want those children to achieve even higher, but for Ofsted to say that they are underachieving if they don't get an A or A* is unfair to those students and their teachers."*

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:50:47

most peoples political views, feelings on what is socially right go out of the window when it comes to what is best for their child

You may 'believe' this, and you may have experienced it yourself, but please don't assume everyone else is the same.

And again, I have to say that 'best for' might well entail, for many parents, not going to private school!

And re. that Wilshaw stuff again - bit unfair to blame schools for the fact that many children are 'bright-eyed and bushy tailed' at 11, and somewhat less so at 16, don't you think? Or maybe not - if only I'd known I could have bypassed all the teenage grumps and sulks and changes if I'd not sent them to state school!

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 10:51:47

At private school they would be expected to get an A or A* and encouraged and supported to try and make that possible, instead of settling on a B being good enough.
I got a B in GCSE maths and the (state) school were thrilled as I was the first student in more than 10 years to get above a C grade in Maths. I like to think that a private school who hadn't managed more than a C grade in over a decade would have closed down due to rapidly falling pupil numbers. BTW - I took responsibility for my own learning in order to try and get better than a C.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 10:53:08

A school that does mixed ability classes .... Look up Thornden's results and then tell me that the article is not Gove and Wilshaw bashing comps because they hate them and have nothing better to do.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 10:55:06

Private schools SELECT therefore it is statistically invalid to compare them with non selective schools.
Same as comparing Kings Winchester with a school in Grimsby would be invalid because the areas are too different.
Your stats are nearly as weak as Mr Michael "I want all pupils above average" Gove

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 10:57:11

that is why i said most

areas that are changed within a few years (parts of peckham are a good example) do these parents give any thought to the families they are pushing out of the area, or renting empty flats to get their children into the state school of their choice making the catchment area smaller, in turn making it the area where the nice families live

it is hypocritical to claim that you would never send your child to a private school but are willing to move into an area that a few years previously you would have never considered because it now has a good school with nice families living in that area

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 10:58:35

You also can't extrapolate from your own time at school, I don't think.

My school got away with a lot (1989-1996) that it wouldn't have not very long after - your Maths B would have been just the sort of thing, in fact. And indeed it did not continue to get away with it - I've seen the Ofsted reports that put it in Special Measures and they flag everything that was wrong with it when I was there, and it has improved hugely.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:00:48

it is hypocritical to claim that you would never send your child to a private school but are willing to move into an area that a few years previously you would have never considered because it now has a good school with nice families living in that area

Maybe so - but why not engage with those who would never send a child to private school and haven't done that? Or at least acknowledge there are lots of us!

Otherwise it's like me just saying again and again 'well most of them are snobs and I know some who definitely are, and I believe that most of the others probably are' and never getting past that.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:04:33

i find ofsted reports a joke

how can a school get an outstanding ofsted report when the
far fewer children are reaching level 4 and 5 in english and maths than in other outstanding school in the area

strangely this school is now being used by estate agents to lure people into looking to buy in that area. give it 5 years the background of most pupils will be very different to what it is today

MadeOfStarDust Wed 04-Sep-13 11:04:36

some select - some do not....

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 11:06:08

Tony Bliar has a LOT to answer for with his darned "parental choice".
The genie is out of the bottle.
But if people HAD to go to their local school they would do something about it.

I am one of 500 parents who have chickened out of that on our local school ... if we ALL went back to it, it would improve, but if only 20 of us did, our kids would fail.

PS I'm not against private schools : I have considered it for my kids as I went to private. I am against selective state schools and I do find the prevalence of the 'old boys network' depressing.

But really I just wish Gove would get reshuffled to another planet.

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:06:46

Moving to an area with a good school (for that reason alone) is effectively buying a better education. It might satisfy some to say that "we would never go private as it creates a two tier system and is a waste of money and something that only snobs would do", but spending an extra 100k or however much is almost the same thing - spending money to try and get a better education / school experience.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:07:30

i have said some

but i am also standing by it is hypocritical to say you would never but blah blah what i had said before

if you child got a place in a state school where pupils were underachieving, problems with discipline, disruption in classes, high levels of absence would and low grades would you really still send your child to that school if you had a choice to be able to provide with them with a good education?

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 11:08:06

ALL fee paying schools select : either by exams or by wallets - none of them allow open applications from anybody in the area.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:08:45

Freudian because Ofsted doesn't (or shouldn't) rank the school on its intake, but what it does with, and for them.

Thus a 'good' school might well get more level 5s at year 6 because its intake is strong, and it's pretty good at teaching them, its management is solid enough &c.

An outstanding school may send fewer year 6s out with level 5s because it is working with different children, but it might do management, teaching, extra-curricular stuff, creating a safe environment and setting meaningful homework &c &c &c than the other.

If you just want to know who sends the most year 6s away with the best SATS, you don't need ofsted, you just need league tables.

Tailtwister Wed 04-Sep-13 11:10:07

'I am one of 500 parents who have chickened out of that on our local school ... if we ALL went back to it, it would improve, but if only 20 of us did, our kids would fail.'

This is the problem isn't it? Nobody is willing to sacrifice their child's chances if they don't have to and rightly so imo. There's too much at stake.

'Moving to an area with a good school (for that reason alone) is effectively buying a better education. It might satisfy some to say that "we would never go private as it creates a two tier system and is a waste of money and something that only snobs would do", but spending an extra 100k or however much is almost the same thing - spending money to try and get a better education / school experience.'


TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:10:24

Freudian, hand on heart, I would not ever ever send my children to private school.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:11:02

even if your child was going to receive a poor education?

why not?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:11:51

Because I disagree with them and wouldn't want my child to go to one - did I not say that already?

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:12:26

i would rather home educate than send ds to some of the school i have seen

thankfully in this area school are being turned round, but at a price, house prices are going up, area is changing (i only moved here a few years ago because of the schools was one of the reasons)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:12:37

Daft argument anyway - why would I suddenly have the money to send them to private school if I was in a position of having to send them to an unmitigatedly awful school?

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:13:31

that is all you have said

are you children at good schools?

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 11:18:14

When I was applying to get my kids into secondary I was quite open with them that I would rather home educate than send them to the catchment school.

To picture the scale of the failure ....
One dire school of 700 pupils is merged with a poor but tolerable school with 800 pupils and converted into a sponsored academy.
Within a term the combined school is down to 750 pupils.
They get a groovy new building for 900 pupils built (so accepting that 600 pupils have vanished)
but only have 400 on roll as of today
so 1100 pupils have found schooling elsewhere ....

Luckily we have enough good state options round here that most parents have found non fee paying places.
But if we hadn't I suspect my kids would now be at the fee paying school and I'd have extended my mortgage by ten years.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:19:05

Well yes, it is all I have said, because I assume people are no more interested in individual cases than I am, but rather in the issue more broadly!

There are some things I like a lot about their school, some less so.

It doesn't matter what their school is like or what I think of it, though - I'm telling you, since you asked, that there are no circumstances in which I would consider private school! That's it!

wordfactory Wed 04-Sep-13 11:20:11

Nit super news about your DD.

All very grown up, now in sixth grin.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:21:39

Thanks Word grin (not flowers - I always think they look a bit sarcastic).

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:24:18


i think you are in the minority though

and really i struggle to understand why any parent if they had the choice would cling onto their political beliefs if their childrens education would be far better at a fee paying school

maybe in your area you do not have schools that are so underachieving it is shocking, but a few minutes up the road an outstanding school with excellent results and an area changing rapidly

Taz1212 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:29:42

TheOriginalSteamingNit you'd mentioned not having the large price difference in house prices according to school areas where you live. If you want a good example, look at Linlithgow. It's one of the top 5 ( or 10 maybe?) state schools in Scotland whilst most of the rest of West Lothian languishes around the bottom of the tables. People actively move there for their high school and you'll pay a pretty premium- for the equivalent of our house it's around £150k more which is roughly what we're looking at paying in school fees over the next decade or so. I know lots of people who have done the "move to Linlithgow or go private" decision- we were one! At the end of the day, whether you go private here or move to Linlithgow you are using your purchasing power to get access to a broader education for your kids.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 11:38:49

That's pretty stark Taz - can you get more than one lot of school fees for ten years out of that?

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 11:43:24

it is the same in london

the areas of clapham, dulwich, balham, battersea and very good examples of how london is changing and the differences a good school makes to an area

Taz1212 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:55:45

Nit We have two children and each will get 1 year of Junior school and 6 years of Senior school- they'll be three years apart. I know the fees will go up, but I figure it's really rather more than a £150k premium for the house if you need a mortgage to cover the difference (I.e. what you'll pay in interest) so it's roughly the same premium to move to Linlithgow vs private. I actually think the private schools here are pretty good value for money- we weren't paying much less than that when the kids were in full time nursery in Edinburgh!!

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:57:40

I used to be solidly against private education due to the two tier system that it creates.
Then I became a parent and my child's happiness and education became a bigger priority than my principles.
Home ed was the first consideration but not a realistic possibility for a number of reasons, so after a dreadful few years at a supposedly good (according to ofsted) school I had to swallow my principles and do what was best for my child's well being.
Do I really care if my neighbour thinks I'm a snob for moving my child to a private school or do I actually care that my child is happy to go to school, not coming home crying everyday? Do I really care if my neighbour thinks that I have misguided ideas of superiority or do I actually care that my child is learning and having the chance to reach his potential when he goes to school?

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 11:59:48

Steaming nit when you talk about the private school environment or ethos for their children my only comment would be- there isn't just one. There are many private schools that I would be deeply uncomfortable with. I am really only happy around the former direct grant grammar schools. I think their ethos is indistinguishable from that of the surviving grammar schools, and if we had one locally, that's what I would have used.

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 12:00:40

I live in a moderately revolting bit of London and my daughter's comprehensive is pretty damn good, actually.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:01:05

Probably no more than I care whether anyone thinks I don't care about 'my child's happiness and education', just because private schooling isn't an option I'd ever consider, Running!

grumpyoldbat Wed 04-Sep-13 12:01:49

TBH I don't think I would send dd1 to private school even if I suddenly had enough money. The hot housing high pressure atmosphere that seems to prevail in the private schools commutable from where we are would, IMHO destroy her. She's already very hard on herself and spent 2.5hrs on one piece of homework last week because she was worried it wouldn't be good enough. It would have been longer but I took it off her because I could see how stressed she was.

Before I'm flamed, you will see that I'm not against people sending their dc to private school, other children would thrive in that environment. I was just challenging the assumption that people who can afford to but don't send their dc to private school don't because they don't care about their dc's education.

I'd also like to highlight that I was referring to private schools in our area (nearest about 20miles away). I have no idea about the educational culture in other private schools.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:03:43

Well no, the ethos is 'you can come here if you pay for it', though beast, and that holds true for all of them (yes bursaries yadda yadda, but basically a private school charges for education and I find that fundamental ethos unpalatable).

I'm not talking about stripey socks or ski-ing holidays or Russian oligarchs - of course I know that there are all sorts of private schools with different atmospheres at that level.

But all of them charge, and none of them bestow their apparently superior teaching methods on anyone who can't pay for them, and that is the bit I don't like.

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 12:08:41

Ah, I've got no educational standards and don't give a damn about my children's happiness and/or welfare. Obviously.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 12:20:56

steaming, I can understand and respect that, and I didnt expect to find myself doing it either. Expensive tutoring and catchment areas raise similar issues, in my view, but I agree that actually charging for entrance is one step further.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 12:21:02

A good friend has her DD at the non selective private near here. The cost of six years of school fees (year 5 to 11) was less than the price differential in mortgage payments of moving out of their area to where they would get her into one of the decent school
NOTE : not all the comps in Hampshire are great, but most of them do well by most of their kids.

If I were to buy my size of house over the catchment boundary towards my DCs school it would cost me £200,000 more
which in terms of mortgage payments each month for 25 years ....

LadyBryan Wed 04-Sep-13 12:23:32

There seems to be a real myth surrounding parents that choose to send their children to private school that automatically we are (a) snobs and (b) suggesting that all state schools are abysmal and (c) suggesting that all private schools are wonderful.

None of which is the case for us. We spent a lot of time visiting schools before choosing one for our DD. We visited both state and private and chose the one that was the best fit. That happened to be a private school. It wasn't chose simply because it was private, but because of what it offered. If that had been a state school we would have gone with that.

I am secure in the knowledge that we are doing the best for our DD. She adores school, is flying academically and is happy. What more could we ask for?

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 12:23:59

I really find this tired old cliché of 'leafy middle class comps' a little...unrealistic. I know it's a convenient one to fall back on, this allegation that we have all purchased privilege by virtue of our naice postcodes - but for many of us, it simply isn't the case. It just makes you feel more comfortable.

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 12:29:36

Steaming nit - your children have obviously been successful and happy with your choice of school. Just because I chose to move my son to a private school for his well being doesn't mean that parents who don't do the same are neglecting their child's welfare. To even suggest that from m post is ridiculous. I was clearly stating that MY child was coming home crying daily and not learning at the school that HE was at and these are the factors that influenced my choice. If you want to twist my words to make it sound as though all state school kids have uncaring neglectful parents then go ahead.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:30:14

There seems to be a real myth surrounding parents that choose to send their children to private school that automatically we are (a) snobs and (b) suggesting that all state schools are abysmal and (c) suggesting that all private schools are wonderful

But nobody has said that, though. I think someone said yesterday it was usually snobbery, to be fair, but that is not what anyone's been discussing for the last few pages.

Obviously you are doing what you think best for your children - I would just like people to stop with the myths from the other side that all of us would send to private if we could, or else that we all bought expensive houses for excellent schools. It is perfectly possible to

1) like some things and dislike others about your own children's school:
2) live in an average semi in a mixed area
3) value education
4) have a fundamental problem with the whole idea of private education and know that it would not be an option you'd ever choose.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:31:29

No, Running but these emotive posts about 'why wouldn't anyone want to do the best for their children' keep coming up, don't they?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:35:04

Don't we all 'things we know we'd never want/like'? Mine would be, off the top of my head:

1) To live in Dubai
2) To have a dog
3) To live anywhere isolated
4) To go to Disneyland
5) To take a husband's surname
6) A private education for my children.
7) Sky Sports

LadyBryan Wed 04-Sep-13 12:36:15

Agreed nit - all about assumptions innit wink

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 12:36:19

But why wouldn't a parent want to do what's best for their children and what's emotive about that?
For some children the best thing might be state school or home ed or something else.
I only have one of my children in private school as it wouldn't be a suitable environment for my other child.
See; I chose what is best for each of them.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:40:42

Of course a parent wants to do what's best. I would never think of a private school as that for mine. That is all I'm saying.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 04-Sep-13 12:43:23

It's not emotive to state that most parents would do the best they can for their children, including give them they best education they can.

It's just normal. Even if you have no intention of ever considering private school, you still look round schools and apply using the one you like the best as your first choice.

It's only an emotive subject for someone that isn't happy with their own choice of school, or the schools available to them. But that's an entirely separate problem.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 04-Sep-13 12:44:14

the examples you are about yourself and what you want feel would benefit your and your family, not just your child/children

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 12:46:54

Actually I think having a good education system isn't just about me, or my children, or my (shudder how I hate that word) family. It's a wider issue. But as you were...

grumpyoldbat Wed 04-Sep-13 12:48:18

What is emotive running is some people suggesting you don't want what's best for your child because you've done something different. Some people refuse to acknowledge that what's best for one child isn't best for another.

I've said in my previous post that I wouldn't send dd to a private school because it isn't what's best for her as an individual. Yet there are people who would suggest that I don't want what's best for her if I don't send her if I had the money. All hypothetical as I have no option other than the local school. This doesn't mean I don't care either because I'll support her as much as possible.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:49:31

School choices are about what you feel would benefit the whole family as well, though.

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 12:50:32

I'm sure there are local private schools in which my children would absolutely flourish. I have not, for a number of reasons not all of them economic, considered them.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 12:51:46

When I say 'you' below, I mean it in the plural, not at any one person....

The point I am making is - don't tell me I would if could; don't tell me where I live and what it's like and don't tell me my principles would fall down in any of the extreme situations of 'unbelievably shocking' schools you want to paint pictures of for me! And don't tell me that, because they wouldn't, I don't care about my children!

Nit that's a position I've heard from other people many times and I find it curious, so if you'd be willing I'd like to hear more from you on that point.

Many of my friends who say this will never be in a position for it to matter (eg they are Catholic in catchment for the successful and highly regarded Catholic state school, and/or they won't ever have sufficient income to go private even if they wanted to) so IMO it's moot.

The standard MN position is that one should find the best fit school for one's child(ren) and that if a school turns out not to suit a child, either because of its educational focus or its pastoral care, all reasonable available steps should be taken to secure a place in another school.

Obviously what's available to some families isn't available to all - you might not live within twenty miles of more than one secondary school, the schools might be single sex halving your choice, they might all be horrifically oversubscribed, etc.

So I genuinely don't understand the position where a parent would rule out the only suitable school (hypothetically, and I'm sure it's a genuine dilemma for nearly nobody) based on the parents' political principles rather than the zillion and one practical/logistical/financial considerations.

I'm not sure I hold any political convictions strongly enough to imagine a hypothetical situation where my child's well-being wouldn't come first. I give to food banks ... once my children are full. I give to Oxfam ... once our bills are paid. And so on.

I firmly believe that although there are technically second chances and opportunities for almost every educational step, the disadvantages of missing out first time round are huge and I wouldn't sacrifice my child's chances on the altar of principle.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 12:55:23

I want the very, very best for my children's education.
I expect the highest standards from them and try to give them excellent opportunities.
Paying school fees is not part of that equation the way it turns out in my household.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 13:02:34

Well, as you say, it's a genuine dilemma for nearly nobody grin - and as such, I haven't considered living somewhere there are no state schools and one private school, I'll be honest.

As for the rest... well I wasn't in the position you describe of Catholic with great RC school, just, y'know, schools. I didn't dismiss private (though absolutely certainly with the tightest savings could not have afforded it when dd was year 6) because I had a safe option. Just not on the radar as well as not something I'd want.

Only one secondary school within 20 miles - well, I did say I'd never want to live somewhere isolated! That to me would be the kind of set-up I'd already have rejected years before (and did). I don't know: if circumstances really forced me into a rural situation like that, I'd still roll with it and the state school.

Of course, if there was genuinely not a place to be had, I'd fight that tooth and nail, but I truly can't see myself using a private school then either.

The thing is, I'd never see it as 'sacrificing my child's chances': in a bad situation I'd have to do more, and fight more, but I wouldn't just think 'well if they go there, they're fucked, but at least I have my principles'.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 13:10:16


I didn't dismiss private (though absolutely certainly with the tightest savings could not have afforded it when dd was year 6) because I had a safe option - I mean, that's not why I dismissed it: I didn't have a safe option.

That to me would be the kind of set-up I'd already have rejected years before (and did) - I mean that I rejected it cos I like living on a street people walk up and down and not having to get in the car to buy a stamp, not that I rejected anywhere because there was one school 20 miles away. That's never been suggested.

Fair enough grin And it does sound like you've avoided the dilemma by making sensible choices along the way - choices which aren't available to everyone, as I'm sure you'll concede - and presumably by having obliging DC who so far make a good fit with the available schools wink

I'm suspicious of anyone who says "always" or "never" in relation to politics. You'd "never" vote Conservative? Even if they changed their policies so that every single one was matched up precisely with what you say you believe in? That sort of thing.

If there isn't an "unless <vastly unlikely thing>" I reserve the right to raise an eyebrow. <pedant>

Addendum (since we are going all Latin):

I think there is a difference between "I intend never to x" and "I would never x". The former acknowledges that there could potentially exist extenuating circumstances.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 13:20:11

Then they wouldn't be the Conservatives, would they? wink

But ok, in that spirit, yes I would send my children to private school if the private school stopped charging fees and was funded by the state instead, and stopped selecting academically, and just let in everyone who lived nearby. You know.... if they had a comprehensive basis? You found the chink grin

I don't know about 'sensible choices' - and I don't think anything I've done is unusual either (ie living where we work and not in a hamlet miles away from it - like we could afford a house in a village anyway!).

I'm also not sure my children are 'obliging' - they're different from one another and from lots of other children, in lots of different ways. That's the thing about a comprehensive - you can't really say there would be such a thing as a 'good fit' for it. Cos it's comprehensive.

LadyBryan Wed 04-Sep-13 13:20:46

Our biggest, absolutely BIGGEST criteria was class size. Having DD who is slightly delayed physically and gets very nervous and worried in a lot of hustle and bustle.

She would have "coped" in a larger class environment but I don't want her primary years to be about coping. I want them to be about happiness and fun and gentleness and delight in her education.

Weegiemum Wed 04-Sep-13 13:22:08

Both dh and I went to (the same) RG university - Edinburgh.

I did a strong subject course (Geography) and later did a pgce and I'm a teacher.

Dh did medicine. Now he tutors medical students through his work (as a GP) and never in a million years would he suggest Edinburgh to them if asked - the best place in Scotland for medicine is Dundee (you can hardly get further from RG!).

Sending students to anywhere if you don't know where is best means nothing. I probably could have got into Oxford for Geog, which at the time was the best uni in the uk for it. I went to Edinburgh (at the time it ranked #2). Cambridge was well down the list!

There's no point saying "ooooh yes Oxbridge" if actually they're not good at the subject.

My other point about schools is opportunity. We could afford private education if we wanted - it's been hard to explain to my dad why not as it was his dream to send me and my siblings private. We choose not to. Partly we don't agree with private education, but there's more than that. Our dc go to a bilingual school (English/Gaelic) and are totally and fluently bilingual. We started with it as we lived in a Gaelic-speaking area but after moving kept it up as it gave the dcs so many advantages. I honestly couldn't buy, no matter how much money I had, the education my children get in a state school.

And ds (currently 11) is planning on going to Dundee uni for their IT courses - future game designer!!

racmun Wed 04-Sep-13 13:29:41

My ds has just started private prep, 2nd day today because quite frankly the local state school was, in our opinion, full of parents and the other is a church school and we're not religious.

Tbh I don't feel at all guilty if it gives our son an unfair advantage over another child, he's our son and the only one I'm actually interested in. Life is unfair, earnings, housing and schooling is just part of that.

Can you imagine the squeeze on resources if they stopped private schools! And the government had to find places for all children.

The system is the way it is and all you can do is what you think is best for your child.

sue52 Wed 04-Sep-13 13:36:49

What's wrong with the local state school encouraging parents to get involved racmun ?

racmun Wed 04-Sep-13 13:55:20

Sorry post should have said

Full of rough parents

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 13:58:27

TheOriginalSteamingNit - if, despite your best (parental) efforts, you found your child's school to be totally inadequate - would you move? Homeschool?

And, what would you do if your local comp was seriously, seriously rough?

Apologies if this has already been asked/answered.

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 14:00:15

Do you mean 'rough' or do you mean 'poorly achieving'? Interesting that you've conflated the two...

There are some seriously rough kids at DD1's school. It's educating her well, though!

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:02:01

How do you know she's conflated the two, motherinferior?

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:05:12

I do find it interested that on mumsnet that if you go to your local comp school gates and see a preponderance of rough parents (i.e. smoking, swearing, etc) and decide to opt out this is viewed as snobbery.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 14:05:23

How do you know they were "rough"?
What empirical evidence brought you to this description and decision?

It has to be admitted that TOSN is able to hold onto her principles because they have not been tested to the limit.
And none of us can really imagine what we would do if things really changed ....
if those who are implacably against sending their kids to state suddenly found themselves bankrupt and living in a dire area ....
would they home educate?

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 14:06:49

you need to go to more comps - very few parents either pick up or drop off - it is secondary school after all
those of us that do are normally on our way somewhere so do not get out of our cars

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:07:25

Local primary then.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:10:44

I'm not philosophically opposed to state schools whatsoever. That said, if I had to choose between a dire state & home educating I'd home educate. That's an easy decision for me to make because I like doing that kind of work at home with my kids anyway.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 14:12:26

I have to say I do kind of find it wearing to be presented with these hypothetial absolute worst examples - most schools are pretty normal, you know! - as if to prove I don't mean what I say. But I suppose I do bring it on myself... grin

Anyway - Well we're at secondary level now, so I don't see the parents anyway...

When you say 'seriously seriously rough', you mean I'd have genuine reason to be concerned for her physical safety?

I'm not sure what I could do - we couldn't afford fees for two children to go private, I'm almost sure. If I felt a child was in danger, I'd remove them first and ask questions later, I suppose, but none of the answers to those questions would be private school. At home in the short term while I fought tooth and nail for a place in another school and continued battling with the violent school, I guess.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:12:59

I would be interested to know who here has kids at secondary/GCSE/A level stage?

State schooling was an easy choice for us at primary- there's not a lot a primary school kid does that I cant do better, so it was easy to help out at home if I felt the academic side needed a boost.

I dont have the same ability to help with A level Maths, Physics, biology and Chemistry, which is what DS1 did. So despite the surprise at finding myself paying for school, we moved DS1 over to a fee paying ex-grammar school from 11. We were lucky he got in, given we didn't pay for tutoring and the like, but he did.

We didnt send DD or DS2 private, though, as they had entirely different needs.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:14:15

xposted with steaming grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 14:14:18

Talkin not to the limit, but they have been tested, actually. And just because I haven't been in any of the very extreme and unusual hypothetical situations posed doesn't mean that those situations are normal or that my principles would falter if I were.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 14:16:44

One in year 9 one in year 11
I am not arrogant enough to think that I could home educate my kids despite DH and I both having science degrees and him being a qualified secondary teacher.

"seriously rough" - year 6 kid taking a machete to school was enough to make me move DD and DS !

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 14:17:30

yes Beast I have a year 8 and a year 12.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 14:18:41

yep, ok Talkin, I haven't had to deal with machetes and I wouldn't put up with that!

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:20:10

TOSN - sure, I find extreme hypotheticals wearing as well. But your position itself is extreme, isn't it?

Most schools are normal, yes. Maybe the people sending their kids privately are dealing with not-normal alternatives.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:22:12

I don't think it's arrogant to think you could home-educate if you have a science degree. I'm intrigued by the whole idea, I toy with the idea of home-schooling for a term all the time just to get a better grasp of my kids' abilities. I can do anything for a term.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:22:49

I dont see the value of putting daft "whatifs" to Steaming. I am interested to hear from her as she takes a view from principle and she has confidence that the schooling will be effective and good, in social ways if not guaranteed academically (we cant know the risks around that as we dont know her DC's gifts or where they live).

I do see education as different from other public services. To me it is like health, iconic that it is free in this country.

I would personally pay some more in tax to support schools. But having been to a comp and having had one DC go through a modern comp (the other two were one private and one SEN school, having all been to the same state primary), I am increasingly a fan of very high quality vocational FE training and separate grammar schools, though I think 11 is much too early to separate the two.

I dont regret DS1's schooling as he has done very well and is set for a career in medical research. I will defend the fact that the quality of his actual scientific education was very much higher than he would have got at our local comp, he worked much harder when he was there, and he has gone on to do very well at Uni. But I do wish none of it had been necessary.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:23:43

Mine are 17,19 and 21 to complete the set, so one finished at Uni, one at FE doing NVQ, one safely in his SEN school grin

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 14:24:56

But private school is not a "normal" situation.
It is an incredibly minority opportunity and choice - more than 80% of the population could not even consider it.
Remember that half the adults in the country earn less than £18,000 a year ....
Therefore TOSN is only unusual in that she could even consider private, as am I and others on this thread

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 14:25:43

I wouldn't say my position is extreme, exactly: quite a lot of people are opposed to private schools!

And I don't quite buy that the people sending their kids privately are all dealing with those extremes - surely not every child (or even the majority) are all there because their local state school is 20 miles away/full of knives/woefully underperforming? Because if that was the case for those 7%, that would be an awful lot of the 93% left who are still having to deal with those issues. And that's not really borne out by anything I've seen.

I don't know why people are bothered by the fact that I wouldn't do this, or refuse to believe it could be true! I'm sure I do all sorts of things you wouldn't ever do!

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:26:04

gawd we couldnt afford it, it was our legacy-in-advance from the grandparents...

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:31:02

Sure, a lot of people are philosophically opposed to private school. I'd wager that of those who could, most would go privately when confronted with a very bad state school as an alternative.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:32:24

true, steaming, not woefully underperforming in our case. But also not equipped to give a specialist education to a child who was at one extreme of the ability range.

not my private opinion- it was the school initially who took me quietly aside and told me to jump ship if I could afford it. It wasnt official advice from the Head, but from the teacher, old-school, long-experienced and dedicated to his school, who advised me that this was going to be very, very difficult. Aged 9, DS1 was reading A level chemistry text books. All our DC had to be tested for IQ by the Ed Psych; the disabled ones got the results you'd expect, while DS1 clocked in at 170 aged 10.

The way I see it, all three of my DC went to special schools post 11.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 14:33:53

Blimey. 170?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 04-Sep-13 14:34:15

Well, we've had believing and thinking so far today on what those people might do.... and now wagering too, but it's all a bit speculative really.

Is it 50% who say they would use private school if they could? If so then surely a good proportion of the other 50% must take that position on principle rather than because they just like sweatshirts better than straw hats or whatever!

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 14:34:35

I'd wager that of those who could, most would go privately when confronted with a very bad state school as an alternative.
Those probably already do.
The rest of us take steps to find alternatives
And most just suck it up because they can afford to do little else.

The primary school with the machete kid was the feeder for the school I've avoided.

DH has worked at schools with razor wire on the buildings
and at a school that Ofsted rated highly that he found utterly disorganised with cannabis growing by the front door.
He's also been to private schools that he really liked and others he loathed.
All schools are different.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 14:35:16

true, though I think a few brain cells have died since then due to application of booze grin. He just came in the top 5 in his year at Cambridge.

motherinferior Wed 04-Sep-13 14:40:44

But there's an awful lot of assuming that schools are terrible which, er, aren't. People shudder at some of the kids piling out of DD1's school. (They seem perfectly nice girls to me, though perhaps quite a lot of their pants are on display.) They say things like "it's quite good, really, isn't it, considering".

Reputations can be incredibly misleading.

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 14:44:28

Sunnyintervals re post of 8.05am

yes! Curry name school grin. It is a good school, but not as good as it should be! By that I mean although significantly above average exam results, if these results are normed against education/affluence of the parents, it is in the bottom quartile of similar intake schools "cruising school". Which make me kind of sad. But new HT with lots of fresh ideas just started, so hopefully it will regain its former glory!

SunnyIntervals Wed 04-Sep-13 14:49:36

Nit, I and probably other parents on this thread don't believe in private education but are still having to consider it for their dc.

I have put hours and hours into mentoring children in two London boroughs, was a school governor in the East End for 6 years and have done literacy projects for 5 years in primary schools where the majority of the pupils have English as a second language. I am deeply committed to the state school system ideologically and in terms of my own time and effort.

I never thought I would consider sending my dc private. But in the end DS has had such a hard time with his deafness and it cannot be denied that he will flourish in a much smaller class where he has the chance to start reception later. This could help him have the start that will enable him to fly. It is totally wrong that this option is not open to all children in DS's position, but as it is open to us I cannot justify leaving him in the less good option.

I don't know what we will do with dc 2 sad

SunnyIntervals Wed 04-Sep-13 14:51:17

Interesting Raw!! I know what you mean that some schools have a great intake - as that one undoubtedly does. My ex still raves about his time at Curry School btw grin

burberryqueen Wed 04-Sep-13 14:52:57

Tikka Academy?
Biriani High?
curiousity is aroused now!

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 14:58:44

Ah, working out that school and town was a doddle !
And the history of the name is interesting too ... bet they are glad it did not get Islamicised with the 'sa' on the end!

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 14:58:56

Taz1212, re post of 9.38am.

We did indeed move into catchment for this school, and while I think this was a good move, the situation re results is more complex than it might seem - no "value added" imvho, it's the opposite of a sink school, people move to get in to it, due the the good results, but its these motivated pupils/parents that keep the results up through tutoring and other means, with very little in the way of pastoral care (3 of my dc have attended so I say that from recent experience).

And they do tend to bin the pupils they don't want post 16.

SunnyIntervals Wed 04-Sep-13 15:09:03

Yes talkin - there is really only one place it could be!!

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 15:30:59

Indeed, the name is perhaps not one you might want to mention, in certain situations in case it was suspected that you had been educated at some kind of radicalisation camp in the mountains of some far off country!

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 15:40:30

Talkin- thank you, that was the clue I needed to work out the curry school!

goes back to work

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:42:23

beast just wanted to say WOW what an amazing child you have reading A level chemistry at 10 (I'm sure all of your other children are amazing too). I like your idea of referring to all of the schools your children attended as special schools smile.
I have two very opposite children too: one very academic (not quite your sons level though) and one with profound learning disabilities.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 16:44:27

I know, I was shock at 170. That's off the charts.

I'm sure it wasn't without it's challenges.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 16:45:31

running thanks! my other two have learning disabilities, one profound, so are vv different. But was not trying to go on about how wonderful etc, just to make the case that sometimes it is reasonable to bail out and go for a highly specialised academic education.

actually think I might delete that post....

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 17:30:10

Beast - similar story here. Our DS currently at Oxford tested at 165 at age almost 6. I can honestly say the difficulties with accessing appropriate education for him was much more difficult than for our DS with Aspergers, or our DS with significant dyslexia and another disability.

Education for all of them has caused many many lost nights sleep (us parents, not them), many many meeting fighting their corners at several different schools.

I think the point you make is valid. You're son has exceptional skills / needs and so requires an educational environment to match that. He is not your average bright kid. If his exceptional skills were music or dance, nobody would question if you selected and possibly paid for a school that nutured those abilities. For some reason exceptional intelligence / academic skills is often seen differently to creative and physical skills.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 17:47:33

I've never tested either myself or my kids : Mensa just want cash if you get a high number
and as Feynmann said, a high IQ does not guarantee success, it just means learning easy stuff quicker

grumpyoldbat Wed 04-Sep-13 17:59:00

When I was at school we were told not to apply to Oxbridge as people like us shouldn't aspire to such things. I hope that's changed and teenagers are encouraged to apply to wherever they want and are able.

<disclaimer I wouldn't have got in anyway as I wasn't good enough. This thread just reminded me of the guidance teacher announcing this in assembly>

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 18:05:40

No, you are right TP- 3 of my dc have been formally tested, not out of curiosity, but as part of ed phyc testing and assessments on behalf of the schools.

A high iq in itself doesn't mean much, or guarantee anything without hard work and application. It can make early schooling years rather difficult though.

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 04-Sep-13 18:10:55

Grumpy, at my school, any kind of university wasn't even mentioned as a possibility to me, ever! Shockingly, I suspect that may have been because I was female (I'm mid 40's but this school is in very rural area and stuck about 100 years in the past). I have family still in the area now, it still has one of the lowest rates of going on to Uni in the country sad.

Talkinpeace Wed 04-Sep-13 18:16:12

My school assumed that all of us gels would marry well or become teachers.
I remember getting little or no careers advice at all. Then again my school was a VERY bad example at that time.
The school my brothers went to was better (I read their info sheets) and the school my sister went to gave her excellent advice.

My family - which includes Ivy League faculty heads - thought otherwise.

Runningchick123 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:33:15

Beast - dont delete your post as you have every right to highlight why your son needed a specialised environment that could meet his academic needs. Come to think of it, nobody bats an eyelid when we have to send our children to special schools due to having profound disabilities, but some pass comments when we choose academic environments for children that require it, thinking that we have done it for our own reasons rather than what's best for the child (or only option for the child).

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 21:35:23

Thanks running!

Thatballwasin Wed 04-Sep-13 22:26:56

I won't be sending my DCs to private school but my colleague does - her eldest has just sat her standard grades (Scottish equiv of GCSEs) so she has two years of school left before university. Last week my colleague attended the "Oxbridge entry" parents evening the school hold every year to talk about the steps that would be taken and the support the kids would be given. My jaw dropped when I heard that. The state school people I know who went to Oxbridge were terrifyingly clever and IME not many people from state schools who aren't even attempt the exam but it seems to be something private school kids who are bright but not on the genius scale are happy to give a whirl.

wordfactory Thu 05-Sep-13 07:43:07

Thatball I think that is one of the huge misconceptions about Oxbridge; that one needs to be a genius.

Yes, a candidate needs to be clever to stand a chance, but a genius? Absolutely not.

I'm involved in the widening access program and it really pees me off that so many teachers still tell their pupils that a. you need to be a genuis and/or b. you must have all A*s at GCSE and A level.


Coming to this late, so apologies if I'm repeating others, but some fee-paying schools get 80%+ into Oxbridge. A school by us (girls) has something astonishing like 95%. A local comp simply cannot achieve that.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 05-Sep-13 08:00:33

You are repeating others, yes! grin

grumpyoldbat Thu 05-Sep-13 08:06:18

A school isn't necessarily failing a pupil if they don't get them into Oxford. A school is only failing them if they don't help them realise their full potential. Getting into Oxbridge may not be their full potential.

I take it that school is academically selective notyou

grumpyoldbat Thu 05-Sep-13 08:16:01

wordfactory there's also the opposite of that attitude which is equally annoying. The " if you didn't go to Oxbridge you're a complete idiot. I was reading some stuff on a student form the other day and the things some Oxbridge students and candidates were saying about the others ranged from mean to vile.

Before I'm flamed please note I said some, I do know there well be plenty of lovely Oxbridge people.

wordfactory Thu 05-Sep-13 08:38:21

That is not a pleasant attitude at all, it's true.

I do find myself (more than occasionally) having to remind my colleagues that not everyone even fancies Oxbridge!!!!!

There are plenty of surprisingly not-clever Oxbridge types too <points at self>

grumpyoldbat Thu 05-Sep-13 09:25:15

horry, of course you are clever.

I can think of a couple of people who deliberately didn't choose Oxbridge despite having the grades e.g. choosing Imperial for a science based course.


My non-RG Uni did better than Cambridge for my subject in the last Research Assessment Exercise

merrymouse Thu 05-Sep-13 11:10:15

The state school people I know who went to Oxbridge were terrifyingly clever

Apparently about a quarter of MP's went to Oxbridge.

I think "terrifyingly clever" would seem to be a bit of an over statement...
Maybe the ones who went to private schools become MP's?

motherinferior Thu 05-Sep-13 11:22:34

I think private schools were, certainly when I was there, better at realising you could be fairly thick and still get into Oxford.

I am (was) clever enough to get a good Oxbridge degree, but I still leave the milk out of the fridge and forget where I left my glasses and read Harry Potter and watch Homes Under The Hammer and so on.

Ok I might currently be reading a 19th century French novel, but most of the time you wouldn't know I was clever. We don't have to wear a label grin

wordfactory Thu 05-Sep-13 12:18:13

mother I think traditionally that was certainly the case grin

These days, I'd like to think the filtering system is pretty robust. That said, private schools do tend to have a more positive attitude towards giving it a go. The reluctance from some of the state schools to encourage their students to try is marked. There seems to be a much greater concern about failure to get in.

grumpyoldbat Thu 05-Sep-13 12:59:12

A sign of TRUE intelligence horry you don't feel the need to have everything high brow to prove your cleverness but can turn to more intellectual pass times when you want.

BoffinMum Thu 05-Sep-13 13:48:30

Like wanking and listening to opera at the same time in The Clockwork Orange then? winkgrin

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 14:23:58

depends on the opera surely

BoffinMum Thu 05-Sep-13 15:00:41

Yes, Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck would be well dodgy, for example.

I can imagine Michael Gove doing it when the Valkyries come on though. And indeed half of the Tory party. They love a bit of strong woman.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 15:09:44

frankly I see most of the cabinet in the drunk scenes in Der Fliedermaus

Are you calling me a wanker?


grumpyoldbat Thu 05-Sep-13 15:51:30

shock no of course not.

Beastofburden Thu 05-Sep-13 16:59:19

My old University tutor used to refer to a "one-handed read". I am sorry to say that I was long married before I had any idea what he meant shock

This was 18th C French literature with a sideline in Baudelaire. his pleasures were, um, esoteric, thank god they did not include me.

Eastpoint Thu 05-Sep-13 17:03:42

The school with the highest rates of Oxbridge acceptance is Westminster at 52% & that was for 2012 & higher than the year before. Westminster is the most academic famous school & is the only one with a mixed 6th form.

grumpy I was talking to Boffin et al. The cheeky bastards grin wink

MrsAMerrick Thu 05-Sep-13 18:25:04

My DH went to boarding school, went to Oxbridge, got a Double First, still manages to be totally clueless about lots of things. That's not the reason we're not sending our kids to Private schools though - we're not sending them because the system is elitist.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 05-Sep-13 18:26:40

beast wasn't that said of de Sade? I remember an introduction to Justine or something that said 'if this is a book one reads with one hand, one must have a sick bowl in the other'!

marfisa Thu 05-Sep-13 21:35:19

It's from Book 1 of Rousseau's Confessions. He mentions "ces livres qu'on ne lit que d'une main" (these books that one only reads with one hand). grin

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 02:07:57

Well I never, and there was me thinking Rousseau was such a smug holier than thou type... Typical of my old tutor that he pinched the reference. He teaches in the US now (he must be 70) and I see him on rate your professor with all these students saying what a lovely old man he is. I want to log in and say, do you clean-living preppy types have any idea what a filthy old reprobate he was int the 1980s, you are riding a tiger here if you think he is a sweet old man....

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 02:10:00

Steaming.. Sade used to really upset me, he was so cruel and disgusting and I have never been quite able to clean my mind of his description of anal sex...

BoffinMum Fri 06-Sep-13 07:15:16

Talkin, true about Fledermaus.grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 08:55:34

Beast - yes, I made the mistake of reading it because I read some critic or introduction or something saying no-one who hadn't read de Sade could hope to understand Flaubert.... but frankly it wasn't a price I was willing to pay, in the end.

Never did find out what happened to Justine in the end, but I'm sure it wasn't nice.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 09:31:32

It was completely revolting and there were things he did to his MIL in I think another book... I rebelled and wrote an essay on Casanovas memoirs instead which was very much nicer.

Actually Sade was a total creep and spent not quite enough of his life locked up IMHO, I objected to even showing that i agreed with his reputation by writing about him.

No idea how reading him is meant to help with Flaubert though, some critics do really go looking for ways to be different....

Crowler Fri 06-Sep-13 09:36:11

Simone de Bouvier.

Crowler Fri 06-Sep-13 09:36:32

Beauvoir, damn it.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 09:53:53

What about her, crowler? Did she read one handed too? There's equality for you....

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:03:14

Beast I think it was in relation to Salammbo... and Flaubert did like de Sade, but then he was a twat in many ways, too.

Crowler Fri 06-Sep-13 11:10:50

Simone, one-handed reader. Ha!

I was wondering if that was the person TOSN was speaking of, I think she was not exactly an admirer of the anal sex saga but found it worth reading or something.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 11:25:17

Oh, Salammbo, I had forgotten that one. Actually I think I didnt manage to finish it but from memory it was a bit weird and twisted and kind of self-indulgent?

Flaubert was OCD seems to me, all that stuff about spending all morning on an adjective.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:33:10

I didn't finish it either - only really liked Mme Bovary and the one about the old maid and her parrot!

He wasn't a very nice man, certainly... never thought of OCD!

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 11:39:17

bouvard et pechuchet- theres another unreadable one, actually always made me think of Gilbert and George.

I do have a theory that many of these writers are only famous because there was very little competition and nothing much else to do. people who devoured Flaubert probably didnt get the option of reading say Fontane or Hardy, and there was no telly or internet...

None of it is a patch on liaisons dangereuses, my fave book of all time.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 11:41:27

Crowler, how interesting, she was a big femimist, perhaps she was trying to show how unshockable she was, as a more sleazy, sexist, mysogynistic set of books you would be hard put to find. And of course full of the line that the women enjoyed the pain and humiliation

still fuming after 35 years

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:43:56

Oh I read B&P, god it's depressing.

Actually I think Mme B is fantastic though - just a shame about everything else he ever wrote.

BUT, actually there was loads of competition to break through - the shadow of Victor Hugo, Balzac, George Sand..... I do think Mme B was genuinely something new and impressive.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:44:48

(I have derailed: sorry. I prefer this, though, to being presented with ever-more improbable situations in which I might send my children to private school wink)

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 11:45:45

Mme B was excellent, agree. Just think Flaubert didnt write muich else that was good...

Balzac... I am still scarred by the week where I had to do both Balzac for my French tutor and Nietzsche (in German) for my German tutor... I didnt know there was so much writing in the world...

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 11:46:39

sorry to collude in derailing, but it is nice to find fellow linguists and revisit the grave of my former intellect smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:53:35

My MA was on Flaubert - it was very basic, looking back, but I just wanted to write lots and lots about Mme Bovary!

SunnyIntervals Fri 06-Sep-13 11:54:16

Thing is Nit, I spent years steadfastly saying I would never send children to private school. When the improbable happens - stupidly never thought that I would have a child with both summer birthday and speech problems

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:57:18

Well, I only have 2 more to go with dd1, so fingers crossed...

To be honest the summer birthday in itself would not concern me: there are always several children with August birthdays in every class and they seem to be alright. Speech problems I simply do not know about, you are right.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 11:57:58

2 more years to go, I mean. Having got through 11, with all their highs and lows!

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 12:15:11

we did the whole range from medieval to 1960s in both french and german so I only spent a week on flaubert which from memorty was plenty...

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 12:18:11

I only have one left at school now- the one in SEN school. Quite a change from before- he is in sixth form and has sent the last two days colouring in, apparently, lol (we cant be sure as he cant tell us)

SunnyIntervals Fri 06-Sep-13 12:46:33

Did Flaubert with great teacher at my comp in 1991!! Still remember it!

We did Les Bonnes and Les Negres as our modern texts. I hate reading plays. A good linguistic comparison with Anglo-Norman French and a slice of Gargantua though grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 06-Sep-13 12:52:49

Yeah, reading plays can be tiresome: it always makes me think of the Victoria Wood sketch where she's being interviewed for medical school and they ask her what she thinks the main theme of Othello is: 'um, I don't think it's got one, really - it's just various people talking and sometimes they do things in brackets' grin

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 13:26:12

Gargantua, Horry you dirty beast shock

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:22:43

I did medicine at Cambridge. I was offered a free place at the local public school as I won a scholarship due to parents low income. However I point blank refused to go as I did not want to deal with toffs. Sadly when I got to Cambridge it was full of bloody toffs and wanted to leave but my parents said they would disown me for bringing shame on the family if I left. I bloody hated Cambridge!

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:25:02

Hell will freeze over before I send my son to public school

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:27:05

Can I add social intelligence is actually a far better predictor of future earnings than exam results. I believe children who get to mix with others from a more diverse background develop a better social intelligence.

Social variety... I spent my sixth form living with girls from all over the world (thinking of the corridor I lived on, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Hong Kong and the UK). Some on Army scholarships or church bursaries with nearly no money, some with frighteningly rich parents. That's a damn sight more varied than a thousand children who happen to live within a mile of a school.

Oh and Arnie I suspect you were at the wrong college - mine was nearly 80% state school and off the tourist trail, up the hill.

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:44:36

No I went to Churchill too and the students there were pretty cool it was all the toffs I got stuck with in the medical lectures and dissections. I can remember in my first week the lecturer said hands up if your parents are doctors and virtually everyone put their hand up. I just hated the place but that was partially because I did not want to study medicine anyhow but had uber pushy toxic parents. My degrees are not worth the paper they are written on as I quit being a doctor after it caused severe depression and all I have to show for it all is 8k of student debts to repay

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:46:01

Oh hang on you are talking about Girton aren't you? I was always scared of that place as it is rated as the most ghost haunted college in Cambridge

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:47:12

I think the most valuable lessons a child can learn are staged in the playground

That's a shitter. I'm sorry that was your experience. I was just over the road but did MML/Linguistics which may have had a lower arsehole quotient.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 16:56:09

Just because you can afford private doesnt mean you have a bright child. I have a average DS re academic achievements. However putting him in a fairly academic private school where he just managed to scrape a pass meant he was surrounded by some very clever kids.

So when he took his GCSE's he didnt get A* across the board (and not many pupils do!) but he did get 8 A*, and A's. I honestly honestly dont think he would have got that at our local state school.

99% of pupils go to the RG uni's and he is aiming to do so too. Its peer pressure but in a good way I think. He has had the time of his life at boarding school and we have no regrets whatsoever.

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 17:03:53

But that is exactly the problem
because you can afford feeds, your average bright child has displaced a really bright but poor child from their place in the queue for good courses and universities

That is exactly the reason that some state school careers staff give up : because their brightest cannot compete against better resourced but less innately intelligent rich kids.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 17:28:51

How insulting Talkingpeace. You dont have a chip on your shoulder about private education do you? What on earth has it got to do with you what I spend my money on!

goinggetstough Fri 06-Sep-13 17:35:58

talkin thats just not correct IMO. * Handcream's* DS has worked hard and has been supported to reach his potential and deserves his place. DCs at even private schools do actually have to work for their results contrary to what the average mumsnetter believes about them being handed to them on a plate!

Yes but it stands to reason that if school X confers an advantage, a child not at that school is relatively disadvantaged. If you choose a school to help your child then you are acknowledging that a child of similar ability at a "worse" school will do less well, and equally logically that a child from a worse school who does nearly as well as your child was probably cleverer to start with.

LadyEdith Fri 06-Sep-13 17:43:10

It's not just a matter of fees though Talkinpeace is it? In state schools, average bright children with professional, university-educated parents soon displace very bright children from other backgrounds, from the top sets. My dc are teenagers and I have witnessed the shocking reality of this in recent years. Their school seems complicit in this angry

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 17:47:22

Handcream I benefited from private school, and I have been sharp elbowed with my kids (state) school.
Your child has been able to reach their potential.
Those of parents who cannot afford fees will not - therefore will miss out on 99% of pupils go to RG Unis
Which means that the long term benefit of the country is being jeapordised

goinggetstough a child who passes the exams deserves their place.
BUT it has to be taken into account that passing exams is much easier in certain circumstances than others
even the idiot Gove has realised this

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 17:49:37

I'm not sure what you mean : is that because of parental help?
Surely if tests are the basis of setting, mummys car should not affect it.
Certainly DCs friends in the top sets reflect the mix of the school.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 17:50:05

That's why we chose the school - to reach his potential - which he did. Now if state schools arent doing that for their pupils that's another issue.

Of course I recognise that not all schools are equal. I went for the small classes, the regular reports, the endless options for after school clubs and sports. The teaching standard at the school. The fact that almost all went to uni.

He could have gone to the local sec modern. However I went to a state school and looking at the two options for us - we decided to go private. My sec modern school was a load of rubbish.

I took the theory - surround yourself by pupils who want learn and behave and it will rub off. For example - if I had been taught tennis by Jimmy Connors - I wouldnt be as good as him but I would definitely be able to hold my own!

Why are we trying to drag schools to the lowest common denominator. Some state schools are bad therefore its not fair that some private schools are good.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 17:53:57

If state schools do not allow pupils to reach their potential you need to
address that.

Next someone will be saying that we all need to be paid the same as its not fair that some get more than others.

North Korea or the old USSR anyone?

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 17:56:03

Ah, SecMod - OK different situation. I wish sec mods could be abolished tomorrow. Along with ALL state selective schools of all hues as they put parents in horrible situations. Let alone kids.

I'd like all state schools to be dragged UP to the standards that are achieved by the best comps. Sadly with the Academy system and fragmentation of networks, the opposite is likely in some areas.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 18:07:09

Surely if we just had comps they would end up being selective anyway ie. in the nicer areas the schools would be better. You would effectively buy your way into a nice catchment area. Around here we have the 11+ and a great bun fight it is too. Parents do pay over the top for houses in certain catchments. Why wouldnt they?

Although my DS's go to well known boarding schools I think you would be surprised who else goes too and whether they get help with the fees. The boys dont really know and tbh - dont care. They just want to know that you are a good egg, ready for a game of football or to go swimming.

I am absolutely no one special or rich to our eyeballs. My DH and I had children in our mid 30's. No previous relationships and children. Both in full time jobs. Do I think its an accident or unfair we can afford schools fees. No - I dont. We have made some good decisions over the years and have had a bit of luck but I agree with the poster who says - these private schools pupils dont get automatically given A's just because they go to a certain school.

Neither do I think we should start looking at pupils circumstances and giving them more marks because for example they came from a single parent family with little money to go around or they lived in a rough area. It would never end.

I also wanted my boys to go to uni. Obviously I cannot force them so I surrounded them by people who do.

LadyEdith Fri 06-Sep-13 18:19:11

Mummy's car is nothing to do with it, in fact often it's not even about money - just background, attitudes, values.

I know several kids from humble backgrounds whose parents left school at 16 and aspire for their kids 'to do well at school' but don't think about it really any further than that. Parents listened to them read etc etc and at primary school, these kids did really well and got L5s at age 11. There is a choice of 2 secondary schools where I live, one much more middle-class than the other, and funnily enough much better results. These parents choose the lower achieving one without even being aware that it is lower achieving, because the HT is a lovely bloke and because they don't think their dc will fit in at the 'better' school. Then their kids become teenagers and get gobby and rebellious and get into trouble at school and and their achievement starts to slip. By Y9 they are no longer in top sets. Then they are allowed to choose bollocks options at GCSE. They then get a few Bs Cs and Ds but the parents are thrilled because they themselves got no qualifications at all.

In the meantime the m/c kids with the graduate sharp elbowed parents who only got L4s at age 11 have gone to the better school, parents descend like a ton of bricks on the kid at the first detention let alone exclusion, they bang on about EBacc and know what an RG university is, by Y9 kids are in top sets and doing triple science, history geography French etc and they get a string of As, decent A levels and guess what go to an RG university.

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 18:19:25

You are absolutely right that leafy comps are not the same as tower block comps and the house buying is already going on
if all state funded kids went to their local schools, and the pupil premium is used to support schools that are less leafy
schools have to explain why their top set are not all at good Unis,
it will change.

Much as I loathe Gove, the Ebacc has already done a huge amount of good at forcing all schools to put all non SEN kids in for proper grounding exams.
That and the wide publication of the RG subject list has made 6th forms more aware of keeping doors open for their pupils.

The next thing is to get rid of a lot of the stupid degrees (see other thread) and encourage more apprenticeships for the non academic.

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:20:14

To be honest I am not in the slightest bit fussed how my son does academically. I am more interested in him developing a high social iq

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:21:34

Oh god not leafy comps do know that plenty of us send our kids to schools of stunning unleafiness, don't you?

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:23:16

All of you who think a string of a grades will translate into success should read a few Daniel Goldman books

Talkinpeace Fri 06-Sep-13 18:28:45

Yup. And I send mine to a leafy one so their results are on a plate, not due to hard work wink ... on another thread I posted links to the data on a selection of local comps that show the incredible disparity, even over short distances.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 18:46:34

LadyEdith - thats me you describe!

However I never expected my DS to get A*'s in everything, late August birthday and all that. I do know what a RG uni. I know what are considered soft subjects because I read up on the subject. And I agree with Talking, get rid of the rubbish degrees, make apprenticeships as important as degrees and allow people to choose. I wouldnt be calling the CEO of Lloyds when there is water pouring through my ceiling. I would call a fab plumber who would sort it out (and it has happened and yes - I did kiss him and give him a bottle of champagne) When that water stops it is the biggest relief in history!

The worst thing the Labour gov did was get rid of grammar schools and state they wanted 50% of pupils to go to university. This meant offering stupid degrees and letting all instititions become uni's. Of course by just doing a little research you find that not all uni's are equal.

Arnie - are you saying NO qualifications should be the aim then?

Arnie123 Fri 06-Sep-13 19:25:00

No I never said no qualifications is to aim for and that is an utterly ludicrous statement. What is a far more important predictor of success is social intelligence. That is not just my personal opinion that is fact as there is a far higher correlation between social IQ and future earnings. It is far better to be street smart than book smart. I despair at the complete naively of people who feel that a public school or a September birth will result in a wealthy future. Scientific trials have proved time and time again this is not the case. Look at Lord Sugar's twitter feed. If it was a GCSE English project he would get an F as his spelling and grammar is dreadful.