state primary to independent secondary

(27 Posts)
code Thu 28-Aug-14 12:27:18

Just going into yr 5 so have quite some time to ponder, however the independent choice is highly academically selective so will need to organise small amount of tutoring to prepare for being speedy at the test.
DD is top set of everything and possibly top of year based on what her teachers have said.
State secondaries in the area seem to stumble from special measures to satisfactory and occasionally good. There are no 6th forms in the options available although some plans to re-create them. The independent has a fantastic reputation, my friend teaches in the area and says it would be her choice.
We can afford private fees.
However, DD isn't keen as her friends will all be going to state. How important is it to listen to her wishes? I don't want her to be miserable and resent me but I also feel maybe she isn't best placed to make this decision based on friendships. I'm also a bit concerned that it is so academically selective and whether it will be full of tiger parents and pressurised. My mother is anti private schooling so isn't helping my making derogatory comments. No-one in my family went to independent school although DH did.
Any words of wisdom and experiences you can share would be appreciated. Especially would like to hear from people who have children in academically selective independents or high achievers in satisfactory state secondaries. I ultimately want a happy child but feel part of that is the best opportunity to achieve her potential. Thanks

Coolas Thu 28-Aug-14 15:50:40

I think it needs to be your decision. If she makes friends easily there is no reason why she would not at the independent school.
Maybe try and talk to some parents of kids at the independent school and gauge what they are like.

It sounds like she would do really well at whatever school she was at.

Muskey Thu 28-Aug-14 15:55:11

We changed from state to private when dd was going into year 5 although we had planned to send her to private for year 7 we had to change because of bullying. From our own experience it has been the best decision we ever made. I think pp is correct it really needs to be your decision.

iseenodust Thu 28-Aug-14 16:41:33

I feel it should be majority parent decision. Talk to people with DC in secondary school and they have different friends to the ones they desperately wanted to be in a class with at age 11 by the end of that same year usually.

We moved DS to a selective independent at start of year 5 because having looked at local secondary schools we hoped it would be best for him. It has worked out well so far (one year on). He didn't want to leave his friends but is now far happier and can be himself more, not having to hide his abilities for fear of teasing. Far more opportunities for after school activities though DS won't go near music or drama!

No tiger parents identified so far but we are not in the SE. Just lots of professionals or self-employed working hard to pay those fees.

Seeline Thu 28-Aug-14 17:21:39

Have you and your DD actually visited any of the schools involved yet? I would recommend doing this as soon as possible (open evening season will be upon us as soon as term starts). Both my DCs have had quite strong opinions based on these visits, which were not necessarily the ones they had had before. It may not work in your favour though.... grin
My Ds went from state primary to selective private at the beginning of Y6, the school having a junior year, although treated as secondary school pupils. We have had no problems in terms of making friends (he was the only one from his school in his year), and the parents seem very normal (well like us....). This is south London.
It sounds as though you have more than one state option, so surely all your DDs friends won't be going to the same school in any case?

Georgethesecond Thu 28-Aug-14 17:24:47

Do it. They all make new friends in year seven if if they go to schools with existing friends. Mine went without knowing a soul. They haven't looked back.

VelvetEmbers Thu 28-Aug-14 17:27:25

My eldest went from Y6 state to Y7 private but it wasn't as highly academic a school by the sounds of things.

As pp have suggested, take your DD to an open day and let her see what sort of facilities the private school can offer that the state won't.

I tend to be of the opinion though that 11 is too young to make decisions on something that will affect the rest of her life, and as the parents you are best placed to make that decision.

Hakluyt Thu 28-Aug-14 17:27:44

Have a look at how the high attainers do at the secondary schools you are likely to get in to. That's a good starting point.

longtallsally2 Thu 28-Aug-14 17:34:17

High attainers can get top grades at almost any school, and get extra credit when applying to Universities. It's also great life experience if you can do well in an environment which is varied.

Having said that, she might feel differently if she gets to know the schools. Can she apply for academic scholarships at the independent school? A friend of ours did this. It's a great way to find out how good you really are, may get you a big reduction in fees and also gets you the chance to spend a week there, completing the exams, but also getting to know the school.

Moid1 Thu 28-Aug-14 19:48:04

DS2 is going from state primary to mildly selective independent. He knows no one, bit nervous but he knows that he is good at making friends. Smart but not very academic.

code Thu 28-Aug-14 21:57:00

Thanks all, very helpful insights. She makes friends easily and hasn't had any friendship problems to date. Her friends will be going to a small range (4) state schools. I've read their ofsted reports and my secondary state teacher friend knows them all so helps me navigate. The concern I have from the reports is all say the high achievers are not fully catered to. Having said that the high achievers seem to do fairly well at GCSE in all the schools. Obv stats are lower than the selective independent. I'm a bit scarred from my own schooling. Mum held me back from going to the grammar and my comp was bloody awful. The only way to survive there was to goof off and I remember being bored and unmotivated. I'm sure things are much better now but it does worry me. Of course we'll visit them all to get a better feel for things.

code Thu 28-Aug-14 22:00:28

longtallsally2 we earn too much to qualify for an assisted place. The school only offers 2 per year (1 is music) and you can only apply if household income is less than a certain level. I agree it's good to be with people from a wide range of backgrounds and this is something to consider.

IvySquirrel Fri 29-Aug-14 08:09:32

I have 2 sons who went from state primary to highly selective academic independent secondary. The older one knew nobody, the younger knew a few through his brother plus one from a sports club he goes to. It was quite tough for DS1 initially but he very soon made friends.
It is financially hard (to say the least) and the state schools round here are actually quite good. But we still think it's the best thing we ever did. It is a fantastic school both academically and pastorally with opportunities they wouldn't get elsewhere. The result of everyone being a high achiever is very high expectations and healthy competition. Your peers don't tease you for doing well - they applaud you (unlike my school experience!). And contrary to what many on here say they do not live in a private school bubble full of rich people - through primary school and extra-curricular activities they have friends from every school in the area (state and private) and no-one cares which school you go to.
So our experience has been completely positive (except the poverty - and that is worth it!).

TheWordFactory Fri 29-Aug-14 09:18:44

Most secondary indies will have DC joining in year 7 from state and from preps. Most will have organised induction stuff . That's no problem. Friendships amongst 10 year olds really should not be a mega consideration in education. Selection is a different thing. Do you believe that academic selection provides a better education for the brightest children? Do you believe they are better in a mixed cohort or amongst like ability peers?

summerends Fri 29-Aug-14 09:22:51

You would have to be cautious about using Hakluyt's strategy since the exam results may not reflect what is being done for high attainers by the school but what is being supplemented outside the school by parents.
That parental input may even include keeping a watchful eye on the exam syllabus in case patchy teaching quality means that teachers don't cover it (that has scuppered exam results of DCs that we know in both private and state schools). Some parents are able and have the time to do that, most can't.

TheWordFactory Fri 29-Aug-14 09:27:48

summer indeed. and raw exam results won't tell you how the highest achieved are being challenged outside the prescribed syllabi.

code Fri 29-Aug-14 09:36:21

thewordfactory I'm not sure what I believe. My own experience was a mixed ability cohort held me back as teaching staff concentrated efforts on pupils who we're misbehaving / uninterested. Whether that is still the case some 30 years on I don't know. I do know that Ofsted reported the state schools were not concentrating hard enough on stretching the most able and that worries me. At the same time I'm concerned a little about concentrating high achievers into a hot house environment. It's a difficult one.

TheWordFactory Fri 29-Aug-14 09:47:12

FWIW my son attends a super selective school and it is fab. Properly challenged with lessons going way beyond the syllabi. And he 's just an ordinary guy. Not remotely an academic outlier. dd attends a mixed ability independent and it has been great but she wants to move for A level to the super selective.

code Fri 29-Aug-14 10:01:12

That sounds promising, thanks

summerends Fri 29-Aug-14 10:25:59

Similar experience to WordF for superselectives for both my DCs. They also have a realistic sense of their abilities in relation to high academic achievers. However some superselectives are more about racing through syllabuses and drilling for exams.

Hakluyt Fri 29-Aug-14 12:31:42

"You would have to be cautious about using Hakluyt's strategy since the exam results may not reflect what is being done for high attainers by the school but what is being supplemented outside the school by parents. "

That could have been why I used the expression "starting point" hmm

summerends Fri 29-Aug-14 12:36:29

Just to add that I think that a critical factor in choice is the DC's self motivation and how best to develop it. A DC who will remain completely selfmotivated throughout adolescence and can access through school /family materials to supplement their knowledge will do well even in a mixed environment although may feel isolated.
I think most of us have DCs whose self motivation will be influenced by their peers at some stage and thus may benefit from some competition and the different interests from lots of bright peers. Parents can step in to provide all motivation and guidance (--pushiness--) as needed but I don't think that is the best route to developing an independently minded self motivated DC.

summerends Fri 29-Aug-14 12:40:18

Sorry Hakluyt I missed the emphasis of 'starting point'. Obviously if there are no exam high attainers that is very telling

MehsMum Fri 29-Aug-14 12:47:03

I wouldn't worry too much about friends: one of mine moved up with a best friend and they fell within a term or two (quite nastily, as well, having been very close before). Another at 11 went to a (private) school where she knew no one. She found the first term or two quite tough but loves it now: she is currently upstairs with a schoolfriend. She is being stretched academically, and now believes she has a brain, whereas she left her (state) primary very miserable and demotivated (due to her class teacher, mostly).

Open days are well worth going to: trot round a few, and you'll get a good idea of the staff, the kids and the ethos.

LondonLees Fri 29-Aug-14 22:29:14

Another vote for visiting all possible schools this October. Many many people do this. You can then start to narrow it down even by ruling one or two in or out. Then revisit, reflect, research, ruminate for a bit without pressure. You'll know and so will she. The current friends are already going four ways so following all her friends won't be an option. I promised mine she would end up with double the friends and she did! Best decision we ever made. The 2-3 weeks of relentless open days and evenings (which we did in Oct of year 5) was utterly exhausting but an education in itself!

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