If you went to private school, do you feel you should do the same for DC?

(102 Posts)
LauraMipsum Wed 31-Aug-16 12:59:11

DD is only a toddler so we've got a couple of years, but weighing up private v state education. Private would be lovely, great facilities etc, but would mean both parents working in high pressure jobs and would rule out another child. State schools near us aren't great and moving is out of the question.

I went to private school and I wonder how much of my inclination to go private is a fear that I'd be doing "less" for DD than I got myself. So as not to be accused of drip feeding, private school took me from school-refuser to academically successful, I was diagnosed with ASD as an adult. I also wonder if my ASD has got me into a rigid "this is what's happening" state of mind which I'll later regret when I'm looking at 14 years of school fees.

I don't know much about the state system other than it totally failed for me. Has it changed all that much since the 80s? I feel like I'd be doing my DD a disservice not to try to give her what I had, but equally, 93% of kids go to state school, it's not like I'm condemning her to the coal-mines.

I don't want a state v private bunfight (there's enough of that on the grammar threads) but any insight /experiences would be gratefully received.

Bubblebloodypop Wed 31-Aug-16 13:02:53

Perhaps you could compromise, not private school but pay for extra tuition/activities as you can afford. IMHO children will thrive in a happy home where parents aren't being worked to the bone to pay for private school.

loosechange Wed 31-Aug-16 13:03:04

It's not financially viable for us, despite well paid jobs. I think it is also the same for many others.

That said, I am very happy with my local state schools so far, and don't think I would swap even if I won the lottery tomorrow.

MrsHulk Wed 31-Aug-16 13:03:52

I went to private school, DH went to state.

I don't think one system is necessarily better than the other: our local state schools were pretty shit, but I met loads of people at uni and later who went to excellent state schools and were much better educated than I was.

Maybe the way to look at it is that you'll do the best you can for your DD: depending on your local schools, her interests and abilities she actually may be better off in a state school.

No need to feel like you'd be doing less for her just by choosing state.

Sunshineonacloudyday Wed 31-Aug-16 13:08:29

Dd pays £28000 a year son leaves with 1 GCSE. Its up to the parents if you want your child to succeed not the school.

juneau Wed 31-Aug-16 13:08:37

I went to private school and yes, I baulked at the idea of state for our two DC. They are currently at a private prep school BUT we're putting DS1 in for the 11+ and he may well go to state for secondary. Back-of-the-envelope calculations for two DC at private secondary revealed it will cost us £250k, so unless our financial situation looks VERY rosy indeed in three years' time I can't see how we can commit to that and I'd really hate to have to pull them out part-way through if we run out of money.

I'd LOVE to send them both private all the way through (for the reasons you describe), but in the end we refuse to work like dogs to make it happen. There really is more to life than that and the DC that do well at state schools (even less than stellar ones), are the ones whose parents invest time and effort in them outside school to give them that well-rounded education that they'd benefit from at a decent private school. Holidays, days out, museum trips, intelligent conversation, books at home, instilling a love of learning, motivating them, rewarding them for their efforts, helping them to have high expectations for themselves - those are all things YOU can do for your DC at home and those things will make up a great deal if you ultimately decide that you can't afford to privately educate.

FWIW I see lots of parents at my DS's school who are both working FT and who live really modestly simply to afford private school. I don't think its worth it and I think most kids would rather go to a state school and have their parents around more and a few holidays and trips.

0hCrepe Wed 31-Aug-16 13:12:04

I went private secondary and have taught in private and state schools. My DC went/go to an excellent state primary and ds starts at state secondary next year. Dd might try for scholarship for the private school but will probably go to the state secondary too.
I would start state but have private as an option for secondary. You can save them too. Be aware that there is much more movement in private. I know many parents with Sen children who have moved from private to state; also parents moving their kids between private schools. Having taught in both I would say the teaching is not better in private. It's easier with no SATs, smaller class sizes, longer holidays and a selective intake though! I think you're mainly paying for the peer group, class sizes and expectations.
Have a look round different schools and take a list of questions to ask each one. Don't be dazzled by the look of private!

Sunshineonacloudyday Wed 31-Aug-16 13:12:30

I meant dad pays. I am a very tired mummy.

DrDreReturns Wed 31-Aug-16 13:15:11

I went to a private secondary. My kids will be state educated because, apart from anything else, we can't afford to go private. From what my parents have told me, private school fees have gone up massively since I was at school - it used to be a lot more affordable. The state schools where we live are very good too.

BertrandRussell Wed 31-Aug-16 13:17:07

You have to look at individual schools.

But, frankly, I can't imagine what benefits private education could give that would trump having a sibling.

Sunshineonacloudyday Wed 31-Aug-16 13:18:14

Why not try for a grammar school.

DrDreReturns Wed 31-Aug-16 13:21:06

Not all areas have grammar schools.

naturalbaby Wed 31-Aug-16 13:23:12

Yes, totally. I have my mothers words ringing in my ears almost daily: "Education is the priority" and "we wanted the best for you".
My DC's went to a very good private school and then we moved so now they're in the local state school doing o.k. I have daily guilt and still think about what they're 'missing'.
A little part of me regrets not being a part of the local community and feeling like we had special treatment by going to a private school. I want my kids to feel like a genuine part of society and their local community.

LauraMipsum Wed 31-Aug-16 13:30:51

No grammar schools in our area. There's an ex-grammar school but it doesn't get any better results than the neighbouring ex-secondary modern - both of them running at around about 50% managing 5 A* - Cs at GCSE.

Coming from a school where failure began with a B you can imagine that the idea of sending my DD to a school where only half of them get five Cs or above is unattractive! I don't want her hothoused like I was necessarily but at the same time that does feel like teaching to a minimum standard.

Bertrand DD was an assisted conception so a sibling isn't just a case of keep DTD and see what happens - no guarantee that it would happen even if we went back to the clinic and tried for another.

Thanks for the POVs, lots of things to think about.

EssentialHummus Wed 31-Aug-16 13:32:37

Went to private abroad, but we lived in a country which makes the state education system here look like Finland, and fees were not as eye-watering.

DP went to a hell-hole of state school in Russia.

We're a few years off still, but my plan is to move to the catchment of the "lovely" state school in the area, that gets good results at all levels. (I found myself checking their recent GCSE and A-level results, which is a tad over-invested.)

Two main reasons: I hated the level of entitlement of most students at my school. After 18 years in the private education bubble, they (we?) just did not have a clue what the ordinary world was like. It's not that I want my little darlings to be able to use Jayden from the estate as a learning experience, more that I want them to see in practice that people are not all of a type.

Also, fees. Until I left City law, we were pulling in £200k between us. Now it's less. We both now enjoy our jobs, and I don't want to have to work all hours, or have DP stuck in a job he dislikes, for the sake of private schools.

The best answer I've found, thanks to MN, is that not all schools are the same and not all children are the same. If we need to go down that route, I hope we'll judge each school (s or p) on its individual merits and how it meets our child's needs.

It's difficult though. Friends have children in some of the preppiest of preps (The Hall, Dulwich...) and I have to have a word with myself about whether I'm disadvantaging my child by not joining in the arms race.

sandyholme Wed 31-Aug-16 13:41:39

'STATE ' failed me to and like you OP only being diagnosed 7 years ago , i share you concern about any non 'selective ' environment.

Any school that lets 'anybody' in no questions asked is asking for trouble. Unfortunately that is the 'raisin d' etre' of the majority of comprehensive schools.

The very things you say you want from a private school, are the very things grammar schools offer!

Wanting a 'private' school type education on the 'state' is frowned upon on by the very people who benefited from 'Private schooling and Oxbridge' themselves.

LauraMipsum Wed 31-Aug-16 14:22:18

We both now enjoy our jobs, and I don't want to have to work all hours, or have DP stuck in a job he dislikes, for the sake of private schools.

That's similar here hummus - we are both self employed and enjoy it. To go private realistically we would both need to get back to being employed in a big soulless company. I'd need reasonable adjustments for my ASD which at present I make for myself.

BUT that's hardly a huge sacrifice in the scheme of things..... I'm fortunate that I could transfer into a well paid job.... even if I'd hate it, isn't that just something I should suck up as a parent?

I don't know why I've picked today for angst about this. Must be all the back to school stuff in the shops! grin

EssentialHummus Wed 31-Aug-16 14:50:10

even if I'd hate it, isn't that just something I should suck up as a parent?

Who knows? The other side of the coin is a child with happier, calmer, more available parents. But I don't know if that's worth more or less to the child than a top-notch education. Wish I did!

0hCrepe Wed 31-Aug-16 14:55:54

Any school that lets 'anybody' in no questions asked is asking for trouble. Unfortunately that is the 'raisin d' etre' of the majority of comprehensive schools.

Er yes, state schools should try to meet the needs of all children, not just cherry pick the easiest and most academic. They have the right to a good education too.

Solasum Wed 31-Aug-16 15:06:16

I went private from day one, and always assumed I would send my own children private. Now looking at schools and there is no way we can manage private all the way through without major bursaries/inheritance.

We are now aiming at private secondary and state (plus tutors if needed) until then.

I feel my private education exposed me to a far broader spectrum of subjects and experiences than the local state schools would have done. That said, I grew up in an area where there were lots of competing private schools and the state alternatives were pretty ropy, obviously, many state schools are brilliant.

elQuintoConyo Wed 31-Aug-16 15:07:16

I was privately educated, hated it, parents poor (military paid 1/3), came out with 2 GCSE passes, one in art blush None of the extras were included in the cost, my parents didnt have anything leftover for extra music tuition or pony club etc.

DH went to 4 different private secondary schools, his nickname was Flexitime, need I say more?

DS will go to state all the way through and we can spend money on judo/piano/whatever interests he has.

We are fairly fortunate to be in a country with pretty decent state education- we live DS' primary and gave had an excellwnt relationship so far with teacher and other staff.

I have taught great swathes of privately educated children/teens in the last 8 years and to a T they have been less 'educated' than the state kids who have a thirst to learn and are polite.

<awaits flaming> grin

HPFA Wed 31-Aug-16 15:16:35

I'm not sure why the grammar thing has come into this. As your child is a toddler isn't it a bit early to know whether this would suit them?

Have I missed something but are we talking about state for primary or secondary? What are the primary schools around you like? If they are good could you postpone the decision about secondary and then have a look at what's available to you?

As someone who went to private in the 80s and has DD at state comp I certainly feel her education is much better than the one I had. But that could easily be down to the individual schools, I wouldn't use that to claim that "state is always better". All types of schools were pretty much unaccountable in the 80s, plenty of things that went on in them wouldn't be tolerated now. Having had a French teacher who proved unable to communicate with some French students who came on an exchange trip I can certainly claim that.

EssentialHummus Wed 31-Aug-16 15:24:41

If they are good could you postpone the decision about secondary and then have a look at what's available to you?

Can you say more about this please? One of my fears is that if we go for state primary, SnowflakeHummus will miss out on the stuff that makes him able to pass a selective entrance exam / 11+ if we wanted to go down that route. So I end up worrying that I need to educate privately at primary level, in order to educate privately at secondary...

Sorry for the hijack OP.

LauraMipsum Wed 31-Aug-16 15:38:55

Not a hijack hummus more of a collaboration of concerns grin

What are the primary schools around you like?

Uninspiring. Very large classes. They teach them to read and write and add up so they pass the various SATS and things, we're not talking knifecriming each other in the sandpit or anything. Ofsted think none of them stretch the bright ones. Excellent SEN provision at our local one, which is a bonus, although no idea as yet if DD is likely to need this, it suggests that their devotion to inclusivity isn't just lip service.

There isn't much work by the children on the walls (the local school is used for community stuff sometimes so I've been in) and the stuff that is up just seems very.... meh. Seems like a bit of a babysitting service with sums.

HPFA Wed 31-Aug-16 15:44:41

You would probably need to start a separate thread so that people who have that experience can help you but certainly children went to selective privates from DD's primary - I don't know what they had in the way of extra tutoring though.

This is purely my own feeling but I would think that an able child at a decent primary should be able to pass the exams with extra tutoring to cover areas that the state curriculum might not cover. If a child needed intense pushing from an early age to pass the exams I would wonder if a highly selective school would suit them? Maybe a less selective private school if private is what you decide on.

Quite apart from politics, DD would have been miserable at the local very selective indie, she's a laidback child who dislikes competition. So the comp suited her very well, she takes private pride in keeping up with the top pupils in her best subjects without feeling under pressure in her weakest. So the best thing for her was also best for my politics, conveniently!!

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