Private education - a waste of money, for arseholes?

(209 Posts)
Pooella Wed 10-Oct-12 03:40:36

There's a certain irony in this title in that my DCs are both privately educated (both primary age)

And I apologise also for what must be the umpteenth rehash of the 'private vs. state' debate.

That said, what do you think?

I was thinking this having taken my DD to a playground near a state primary school. More community because the children tend to be local.

OTOH I shuddered a little when a couple of 'rough' kids came into the playground (about 9 or 10, swearing, etc.)

Though diverse ethnically the social profile of parents at private is very homogenous - if you're not a middle class, skiing at Christmas, type, you don't fit in.

We are quite well-off, about £150k/year net, but even so I'm conscious that senior education for 2 DCs is about a quarter-of-a-million. It is a little hard to see the value in that you can buy a whole set of after-school activities for about £1k/year (music, ballet, drama, sports, whatever you want), and then for bright children GCSEs and A Levels are not much of a challenge. (I went to a comprehensive school (albeit a rather leafy one) and got As and A*s in everything and then Cambridge, so hard to see what benefit I would have received from private.)

Outcomes so far from private? Posh accent, good behaviour, good levels of academic progress. But, we don't 'fit' in to the prep school parental mould, so not much social interaction for the DCs outside school (compounded with the greater distances to school), which is a shame.

My old school (now) gets about 80% A*-C, so it's not exactly Stabton Comprehensive, but I'm not sure if the 50-60%-A*-C-type places are necessarily mediocre (as in, if you've got the option to pay for it, as we do, then you'd be mad not to), or what.

There are some independent schools known for being for the 'nice but dim', but they still seem to get 80%+ on their GCSEs, and assuming the intake at these places is not up to the standard of the average comprehensive (which seems likely, unless you believe that being able to afford school fees means your kids are brainy), then they are presumably delivering better outcomes. But whether that is because the parents are more motivated, or because the school is better is not clear? Perhaps the expectations on the lower sets in comprehensives are not high enough? Or are they just too many kids/parents there that don't give a shit?

So is it in fact the nice-but-dim kids that get the value from private, where they will be coached to an inch of their lives to get them up to GCSE/A Level standard, whereas the brainy ones would get their A*s (almost) anywhere and might as well just go to the local comp and save £100k, and there will be plenty of motivated top set kids there to mingle with.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:10:25

"In places where state secondary education is much better, the independent schools have much more of a Tim nice but Dim intake."

I don't agree. In West Kent, where there is a lot of excellent state education, the independent schools are also very hot. Competition is good!

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:11:50

Portofino - in order for state schools to improve radically, teachers need to be of higher calibre and better trained. That costs a lot of money. Closing private schools will not release any funds whatsoever to the state education system - on the contrary, it will cost state education a lot of money!

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:12:01

Investment was a big priority under Labour and nothing much improved in terms of standards. In fact it diminished.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:13:00

I was thinking of Kent! We looked at a number of schools a few years ago which really could not compete with the grammars at all. Oh well, happy to be corrected.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 11:13:24

I don't think you can really say too much about Ed's kids since they are 3 and 2!

Apparently Ed's alma mater was rough, but popular with Marxist types.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:14:21

I think people in favour of closing private schools think that all the parents and pupils who then enter state education will improve standards by osmosis. Not true, so long as the national curriculum and teacher training doesn't train. (experience of this)

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:14:55

doesn't train? Doesn't change.

ladydayblues Thu 11-Oct-12 11:15:20

Its not just the academic education its the holistic environment. My two youngest went to prep schools because I wanted them to learn to read and write. The local primary schools were constantly on strike and I just literally had a fit one day so pulled them out - rang a Prep school on Monday and the next Monday they were installed in new uniforms innew schools. I took two jobs and a lodger, to pay those fees and dont regret it. The prep school was just what I wanted but I never made friends "at the gate". At secondary level they both went back into the local comprehensive system. For both of them it was absolute hell for the first year. Not only were they quite advanced academically which the teachers seemed to resent, but to survive they quickly had to get rid of thier RP! Both of them were thrilled to discover that all the after school Clubs were either free or a negible cost, whereas in the prep school I was constantly saying we cant afford extras. They joined everything so became very popular as everyone knew them either in sports or music. My only minus was that my son who had reasonable French was left on the sidelines and ended up with practically no French. Yet my daughter who was years ahead in Maths was allowed to sitin with the 6th formers for Maths by the time she was 13. The biggest advantage - the schools were within walkin distance, their new friends were in the local area. I didnt have to fetch and carry them. As Londoners they made friends from all walks of life and have that "Estuary" accent, but slip easily to RP when they are together. I too made friends locally and my children did well, very well academically and socially. I may not go skiiing every winter, but the kids did with the school. Every single school trip to Europe they were on it. Heck of a lot cheaper than breaking my neck to find school fees for two kids at an Independent School.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:17:11

Brycie - schools like Tonbridge and Sevenoaks are right bang in the middle of the hot grammar school catchments.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:19:51

Aren't the teachers in Private Schools trained in the same places as the teachers in State Schools?

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:21:56

They don't have to follow the NC until 13, and a lot of teachers in private (in my experience also) have a more traditional approach. They don't actually have to have a PGCE at all.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:23:10

Bonsoir, I stand corrected.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 11:23:47

"I think people in favour of closing private schools think that all the parents and pupils who then enter state education will improve standards by osmosis"
By closing independent schools (although no one ever say how this would be policed) those in positions of power and with money who could possible have the biggest impact on state ed will simply send their children abroad to receive the education that they want.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:24:18

Where Bonsoir said about the better training for teachers, I would just go with better educated. I don't mean all state school teachers are badly educated, obviously and certainly not the case, but some are.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:24:25

No, Portofino, they aren't.

Private schools are, on average, able to recruit teachers who have better degrees from better universities. All my friends and family who have gone into teaching are ex-private school pupils with degrees from top universities who walk the private school walk and have a full range of skills. None of them ever intend to set foot in a state school.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:25:06

I wouldn't send a child abroad for a better education. One of the most expensive English speaking schools in Europe is really rather mediocre.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 11:25:28

"They don't have to follow the NC until 13,"
Independent schools don't have to follow the national curriculum at all most do follow it but often take their children way beyond it and others e.g. Steiner dont.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:26:35

No I was thinking if they set GCSE they have to fall into line then. But if they don't, they don't have to NC. Mine do IGCSE.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 11:28:35

Brycie Im not talking about current schools but the big names they will just move abroad and carry on what they have done for many years it is not country dependent. Many are already setting up schools in other countries and of course many have a large number of children from abroad already on their books so the move would ultimately not be that difficult.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:28:56
rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:30:24

I'd like to see ALL British politicians in positions of power sending their kids overseas to be educated there and see how easy they find it to be elected next time!!!!!!!! grin Load of rubbish that absolutely everyone who could afford it would pack their kids off to schools overseas to avoid state education if the private schools in this country no longer existed. We all know perfectly well they'd just change the rules to enable rich parents to give colossal donations to the state schools their children attend and let the minuscule minority of the rest educate their kids overseas along with all the other overseas kids who used to be educated here grin.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:30:39

Are you thinking of Dulwich college in Asia, that sort of thing? Maybe. But don't have a rosy view of English speaking education abroad. Lots of teacher turnover, lots of teachers there for the trip etc.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:31:31

Lot of bitterness in your post there rabbit.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:32:20

Public schools over here moving overseas means a different staff complement and different exams, too. And I'm not sure all those wealthy Russians would actually want their kids' schools to be in Russia... their kids are probably safer in another country...

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:32:24

Gosh, Portofino, you think that is a good article? I think its an apology for the race to the bottom...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now