ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.

When to go private?

(279 Posts)
Vijac Mon 21-Oct-13 12:18:13

If money is limited, which stage do you think is most beneficial for a child to have private education? 4-7, 7-11 or secondary? Secondary is obviously where you get all your qualifications etc and where you are most likely to go off the rails and participate in club. But then, if you don't have the best start in education could it set the tone in a child's attitude and would they get into the more academic secondaries? What do people think. Just as an aside, I do know that there are good state schools available too.

Vijac Thu 24-Oct-13 15:32:55

At the risk of wading back in (yikes). I i didn't mean to criticise state schools as a whole, or even at all. You have more ability to choose the best school for your child with private (rather than just being allocated). Knowing my local options, the private schools would have smaller pupil to teacher ratios (35 vs 15-24 depending on school), better grounds and facilities, more optional extras and also likely less variation in abilities (as selective and presumably all from parents who especially value formal education). The latter point making it easier for the teacher to focus her teaching and to stretch everyone together. The combination of these things means that I think it is likely that my child would get a better educational and all round experience in private vs. my local state school.

I know that this is not always the case and that there are millions of children with top grades and positive experiences coming from state schools. One example is my husband who loved his state primary, secondary (not grammar) and college, made great friends, got top grades in science and maths subjects a level and went on to a Russell group uni to get a first. Meanwhile I went private throughout and disliked my first school 4-7(convent), but loved the rest. I got good grades but not always A's. However, I think the sport I did competitively with school, stopped me going off the rails as a teenager and made my secondary school experience especiallyamazing. This sport was not a mainstream one (I was rubbish at netball, tennis etc) and I would not have got into it outside of school either. I hope this very long winded explanation gives some insight into where I was coming from. Didn't mean to start a bunfight!

Kenlee Thu 24-Oct-13 14:14:01

I don't know what it means to your C and P...I do know its a good example that kids from state primary can integrate into private sector.

Whereby Im sure private students who wish to return to state say at A level can also.

The message is clear both sectors has its sucess stories and downfalls...

I like private because it fits my child. Others may disagree either politically or ethically about my choice.

Its my child so I do what is best for her.

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 13:58:18

Sorry, posted before I added "what does this mean?" To my c and p.

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 13:57:44

"I would like to add my daughter was state educated in Hong kong and she can still compete with her selective private peers in the UK. So its not all doom and gloom."

rabbitstew Thu 24-Oct-13 13:17:13

I agree it depends on the teachers and the teachers in turn depend on the leadership of the school. An unhappy school will not be making the most of its best teachers, let alone its worst!

Kenlee Thu 24-Oct-13 12:34:16

I think state or private doesn't matter....

It depends on the teachers. If they are motivated they will get the kids through. If they are just there for the pay check. Then it really doesn't matter if it is private or state.

I would like to add my daughter was state educated in Hong kong and she can still compete with her selective private peers in the UK. So its not all doom and gloom.

It also depends on the cohort at the school. If they are all ultra competitive then your child will either join in and do well or end up on the fringe. Private small classes will help but even then some still fall through the gaps.

What happens if your poor and you can't afford private..... I dont have a solution for that ..
but its worth looking at Bursaries

Reastie Thu 24-Oct-13 10:51:13

Gah, why are things always taken the wrong way on these threads. I'm really not looking for a discussion about this, just interested in the topic OP posted I didn't mean I don't think I will instil a positive work ethic myself or that all state primaries (or private for that matter) don't do this confused , I just think the way a primary school (be it state or private) motivates students and gives high expectations can give a great foundation for future learning and attitude towards it when these things are formed and developed.

rabbitstew Thu 24-Oct-13 10:28:36

I think I'm quite capable of instilling a positive working attitude in my own children when they are little. |Tbh, I think learning a musical instrument is one of the best ways of coming to understand the connection between work and positive results and that's something a child can do outside of school time.

Reastie Thu 24-Oct-13 10:17:26

curlew I'm just comparing the state vs private school DD would go to in my area, not about all state and private schools. It's not a generalisation, it's an opinion of the 2 specific schools we are looking at.

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 10:06:23

OK- I'm really sorry this thread seems to have taken off in directions the OP didn't intend - but "primary might be more beneficial to instill positive working attitude"

Why are you assuming that state schools don't "instil a positive working attitude"?

Reastie Thu 24-Oct-13 10:01:46

marking place as we have similar dilemma and live in grammar school area so if DD had to go private my thinking is primary might be more beneficial to instill positive working attitude and more individualised help/learning to stretch/nurture her to carry her through to secondary (and hopefully grammar)

Farewelltoarms Thu 24-Oct-13 09:57:45

Re. a point made further up about how state schools are so continually dismissed by people who don't necessarily have direct experience of them...

There's a post on this board asking for recommendations of schools in Queen's Park and Kensal Rise. Here's the only reply:

I would buy a cheaper house and send the kids to the best private school you can stretch too, its a sad state of affairs but many state schools are failing and churning kids out with a very poor education.

JustAnotherUserName Thu 24-Oct-13 09:45:24

Curlew that must be right. Perhaps because MNers posting on this thread tend to be hope I don't get flamed aspirational from an educational perspective (AFAEPs). So if you look at the percentation of AFAEPs who go private, it is probably more than 10% (certainly in London where I am - in my middle class circle of friends/aquaintances I'd put it at 50% for secondary (much less at primary)).

And it all depends (i) if you can afford it; and (ii) what the state options are? ie individual circumstances.

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 08:40:58

"The reality is that on these boards, as in life, we private school users are small in number."

I'm sure I saw a statistic somewhere that, while in the population at large, only 10%ish of families use private schools, on Mumsnet it's nearer 45%. Can anyone else remember this?

It certainly feels like that when you post on education threads regularly.

teacherwith2kids Wed 23-Oct-13 23:12:36

[To clarify, I don't live in Winchester. I live in a totally different part of the country, but one where the state schools are again better than all the privates except for one [internationally known] school.

I only chose Winchester College 'off the top of my head' as an example of a private school that might generally be regarded as 'outstanding'.]

Teacherwith2kids, Winchester is quite an extraordinary place. Just looked at all our options ( winchester College never an option) and came out with a state school as the best option.

I think Thornden, Kings and Westgate ( state secondaries) all get better gcse grades than the non selective indies like Gregg or Hcs.

However, the rest of the UK is not necessarily like that ( ie state options outperforming the privates) usually it is the other way around.

So yes, it depends very much where you live.

In a place like Winchester I'd go state

musicalfamily Wed 23-Oct-13 20:47:32

However, as parents do not always try a state to state switch before moving sectors, differences are frequently ascribed to a change of sector but may simply be due to a change of school

Absolutely agree with this - sadly because schools are so oversubscribed (including the one my DD1 is leaving), the private option can sometimes be the only realistic alternative.

Whatelseisthere Wed 23-Oct-13 20:18:04

It depends utterly on the individual schools around you, on your individual child and your individual circumstances

Yes, absolutely. I do know that my experience was not the same for everyone in the state sector. All children should thrive in the right school,

And probably on your individual ethos (or family ethos, more accurately)

Much less so.

When my Marxist nutter of a DF died and left me all the money they'd refused to invest in sending me to a school where I would have fitted in, I promptly spunked the lot on therapy.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 20:12:44

Differences WITHIN a sector are at least as great as those between sectors -

I agree with that. The problem is that not everybody can choose to swap to another state school if not happy with the current one due to class sizes and many areas being hugely oversubscribed. But YY, different state schools can be very different from each other (and different private schools too).

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 20:10:05

There aren't just sector differences, there are Key Stage differences. My children were not that enamoured of reception or KS1 at their school, but blossomed in KS2 of the same school.

teacherwith2kids Wed 23-Oct-13 19:51:31

"But quite a few of us said we went state for many years and had bad experiences."

The thing is, DS had a terrible experience in a state school - and absolutely fabulous experiences in two other state schools with comprehensive intakes (ie a 'plain vanilla' state primary and a comprehensive secondary).

If DS had gone private ater the first school, then I am sure that I too would have put down th difference between the experiences as being a 'sector' difference. But it wasn't - it was a difference between one state school and another.

Differences WITHIN a sector are at least as great as those between sectors - the difference between Winchester and one of our local private secondaries is far wider than between the latter and a local comprehensive (for clarity, I should point out that the comprehensive's results are worse than Winchester's, but considerably better than the local private).

However, as parents do not always try a state to state switch before moving sectors, differences are frequently ascribed to a change of sector but may simply be due to a change of school.

Different schools also suit different children - many parents were very happy (rightly so) with DS's first school, though it was poor for him. And if DS had SEN, I wouldn't send him within a mile of his current comprehensive.

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 19:45:37

Well said, Elibean.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Wed 23-Oct-13 19:45:30

Wordfactory as always, you post is spot on. People who choose indie education usually do have experience of state. We do, we were at sttate schools, our DC were at state primaries, now at indie secondaries. I teach in a state secondary. Schools vary, not just between schools, but between classes and year groups within schools. I don't think there is an answer to the Op, simply because YMMV - it depends entirely on the circs of the DC and the available schools and classes and sets within those schools.

Elibean Wed 23-Oct-13 19:43:12

As usual, on all these private/state threads here on MN, this is what I would add to the mix OP:

It depends utterly on the individual schools around you, on your individual child and your individual circumstances. And probably on your individual ethos (or family ethos, more accurately).

We looked at state and private schools for dd1, as we had no clue what was best. We ended up choosing the state primary that, at the time, many of our neighbours raised eyebrows at (no longer). It just was simply the right place for our dd, and for us as parents, at the time.

We are doing the same with secondary school. No preconceptions, we're looking at both.

I honestly don't think there is a 'best', or a one rule fits all. If you look for one, you will get massive arguments and no solution wink

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 19:24:00

Oh and I do post about schools and stuff that happens in them all the time, in fact. For various reasons, not the least being that I'm sure you dont' stalk me over the boards, you might not be on the same threads, but I'm sure you don't think that that means I only post about this, ever?

I don't 'tell them they're wrong' - that would be stupid. But I will argue and debate and give my opinion where I want to, and I do.

Finally - why does it bother you? Why do you think I and others like me shouldn't say we think state education is, by and large, pretty good - and why shouldn't we take massive umbrage at posts suggesting you need to go private 'for the basics' or 'for deep learning'? What do you want - we all take our state education but either regularly say it's crap and we're jealous, or regularly go to confession and admit our sins in buying a house in a leafy area or some crap?

I confess I don't know whether you think I just have low standards/expectations, or I bought a posh catchment - I'm fairly sure the first isn't the case, and I know the second isn't. I just care a lot about state education and it makes me very annoyed when people post silly ignorant things about it. Which not everyone on this thread has done, but plenty have. Am I supposed not to mind?

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