Sending my average DS to the local comp....or private?

(76 Posts)
Parmarella Wed 09-Oct-13 11:52:54

DS in y6 is average. To me this is an achievement as only 2 years ago he was 18 months behind!

I was thinking of sending him to our local comp, as it is quite good (good pastoral care, friendly, 85% 5+ A-C GCSE INCL Maths and Engl. but of course big classes and some low level disruption which is distracting)

Most MNers seem to have above average kids.

So I was wondering if anyone who has a more average DS, and sent him to the local comp, could tell me how they fared?

Lots of my friends send kids private, but the private schools here do not have better results than the comps, apart from one super selective he would not get into anyway.

Am I deluded in thinking an average kid at a local comp could do well in the end? Or will they slowly sink without a trace in a middle- bottom set? ( as MIL seems to think).

He is clever enough, just not "school clever" IYKWIM.

Have my heart set on the local comp, DS would liek to go there too, but no experience myself of the state system so am I seeing it with rose tinted spectacles?

Please reassure me about average kids at comprehensives!

GinAndIt Wed 09-Oct-13 12:08:14

Those are good results, and if you like the school and know the pastoral care is good, then I think it's a no-brainer really. Send him to the comp.

The only time I would consider the private would be if I could really very comfortably afford it, with no sacrifices etc, just for the smaller class sizes/hopefully reduced disruption etc etc. But it sounds as if the comp does well the 'average' child.

Most MNers have 'average', normal kids btw wink

callamia Wed 09-Oct-13 12:17:37

Good pastoral care and friendly might matter more to his academic progress than a more pressured environment.

If he's going to be happy at school, then half of the job is already done.

Not everyone is going to be in top set, but hopefully he'll have ample chance to find out what it is that he enjoys and wants to do in the future.

meditrina Wed 09-Oct-13 12:20:42

85% is considerably more than "quite good" in most areas.

handcream Wed 09-Oct-13 12:22:11

Can you afford the private option? I think SOME children do get lost in big classes and some average kids (I have one!) thrive within small classes and more attention.

He did much much better than expected in his GCSE's so we dont regret out decision for a moment.

mummytime Wed 09-Oct-13 12:30:49

My friends have a DD who was seen as well "below" average all the way through primary. She went to the same fabulous Comp my DC attend, and did fine in GCSE, she is now studying for an Art BTec and is hoping to go to Art college.
If your privates aren't that great, I'd save my money and get tutors if and when necessary. A Comp probably offers a wider range of opportunities if it is a good one. There are also increasingly chances for following more specialist paths at 14+ (specialist 14-19 schools). One may open near you, and be ideal if your son has found what he is passionate about.

AngryFeet Wed 09-Oct-13 12:33:25

Christ those are very good results for a comp! I would send him there. Private schools are not perfect and there are quite a few snobs. I went to one and did no better than friends who went to good comps.

GinAndIt Wed 09-Oct-13 12:48:29

Would it be possible to have a discussion about private vs state without someone dragging up the tired old 'snob' cliche?

handcream Wed 09-Oct-13 13:01:57

There are snobs everywhere. I thought there would be when we started in private education. I was wrong.

I'll be honest. If I had the money and an average child I would go private to give them a wider range of activities and opportunities. My DS's confidence has grown because he is turning to a nice little golfer and also he has had a go at Fives. Do I think he would have done as well academically if we havent chosen a private school in his case. No, I dont.

Kenlee Wed 09-Oct-13 13:43:36

I would go Private....

My daughter is doing really well there...

curlew Wed 09-Oct-13 13:49:09

85% a-c with English and Maths is very good for a comprehensive school,

Before you do anything else, look at the league tables and see how the low, middle and high attainers do. And what % of each the school has. If for some reason it has a very high attaining intake it might be that the high attainers do very well at the expense of the middle and lower. But it's more probable that a school with those figures will be doing well across the board.
If you like it and he likes it then go for it. You'll then have money to spare for golf and fives lessons out of school.............grin

silverangel Wed 09-Oct-13 14:17:52

85% including A-C is really good, by comparison our best local comp is 64% this year...I'd go for the comp and spend the money you save on fees on skiing holidays!

TeenAndTween Wed 09-Oct-13 15:08:08

My 'average' DD is doing well at our local comp, much better than we expected from her y6 SATs. Definitely no lost middle there. I think those results are very good, and it seems to me that a motivated child would be likely to do fine.

Save your money for a subject specific tutor if needed, and for extra curricular stuff.

TwistedReach Wed 09-Oct-13 20:21:07

Anyone who asks private or my local comp tends to go private. Iwould be delighted to be proved wrong.
People who consider private often dont have the conviction not to.
It's sad I think.

Parmarella Wed 09-Oct-13 21:13:35

Thanks for responses. Interesting point Twisted, I think I know what you mean.

I am genuinely undecided though. I am not British and have no preconceived idea ( or experience) of private vs. state.

I was state school educated myself and private never even occurred to me to start with. But you get sort of sucked in.

So far we have decided to sign him up for our local state school. I just did nog like the private school, partly for blathering on about stately homes and grounds. I don't care about that stuff, I want my children to be happy, independent and well educated. Am not into the posh and status stuff and frankly baulk at expensive school ski trips etc.

The results are above average, but so, to be fair is the intake (lots of pushy middle class parents at our comp ;) )

Maybe it is all more or less the same?

Parmarella Wed 09-Oct-13 21:16:38

Callamia, I would love to believe that. Do you think it is true?

Parmarella Wed 09-Oct-13 21:17:55

Kenlee, is your local comp no good? Or would you not have considered state school anyway?

ReallyTired Wed 09-Oct-13 21:21:04

Which school do you think your son would be happiest at? If the local comp is good then it makes sense to use it and save the money for university fees or a desposit for a mortgage.

muminlondon Wed 09-Oct-13 23:17:48

I'm assuming you've visited and talked to the teachers? The GCSE results do sound really high if it is a comprehensive, unless it has a exceptionally high level of prior attainment in its intake (about 1/3 high attainers is the average).

Class sizes in state schools can be much smaller than you might imagine in a secondary school (e.g. 25 per tutor group but smaller for some subjects - the average is something like 20). It varies. If your DS likes it - sounds like a great option.

Marmitelover55 Wed 09-Oct-13 23:27:37

I too think state. The results are pretty good and it sounds like you aren't bowled over by the private school. You ar luck o have such a good state option.

Loopytiles Wed 09-Oct-13 23:35:36

Those results are great. Would try out the comp, unless privates are over-subscribed you could always switch if it doesn't go well.

JustinBsMum Wed 09-Oct-13 23:43:04

Well, if the comp doesn't work out he can move!

Your DS seems to be coming on v quickly, perhaps that will continue. My DCs went to comp. It had a v good name locally, I visited during the school day for some reason, sat and waited to see the deputy head, it was break, all the children were moving between classes, smiling and cheerful, laughing and chatting, gave such a great impression. Perhaps you could visit the comp during school time to get an idea of the atmosphere there, perhaps take DS too.

BlackMogul Thu 10-Oct-13 00:50:54

Having experience of both sectors there is one key difference and it is nothing to do with class sizes, golf, GCSE results or subject options. The top private schools are brilliant for networking, parties and getting to know the future movers and shakers. If the local private school isn't in this league, and you don't think there is a difference between it and the comprehensive, keep your money for other treats and have some fun.

Mutteroo Thu 10-Oct-13 01:57:39

DD originally went to the best secondary school in the area & we were pleased to get her in there. Shes bright but had undiagnosed dyslexia, plus a lack of confidence which led to her becoming a victim of a nasty little bully. By year nine, we were at our wits end & felt our DD was being failed by her school. After being told by the head of year that teachers don't have time for the 'quiet, middle of the roaders when they've got so many loud mouths' to deal with, (yes he really said that), we moved DD to a private school we thought would be the making of her. It wasn't a particularly academic school, but it was small & had a reputation for being nurturing. We presumed it would help restore DDs confidence, instead it also ignored her dyslexia & presumed DD was being obstructive.

This private school was more interested in getting bums on seats & 18 months later, it was announced it would merge with another school. Thankfully DD had a very happy time at the new merged school who really looked after her. The state school later went on to be Ofsteded & was deemed to be coasting & not fulfilling its promise to all pupils.

Do your research OP & note private does not always mean better. if you've got good schools to choose from, why not see what they can do for your child? You could always move him if things don't work out? We don't regret going the state route & wish we could have stayed with it all the way through our DCs education. A bit of mix & match was the best option in our case.

Parmarella Thu 10-Oct-13 06:59:22

Reallytired, I think he might be happy at the comp( it is known for great pasterol care and settling in the y7's)but he can't comcentrate when there is too much distraction. My main (only) worry is ongoing low level disruption.

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