state v private - is it worth scrimping and scraping to go private?

(97 Posts)
sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 16:44:46

We have moved area and I am really not happy with school here. Not a bad school, but DCs were in an excellent state school before and I have to say I am really disappointed with this one. We are considering a move back but the old school is full. I have wondered about trying an independent school(in Andover)but we would really have to scrimp and scrape to afford this and I would have to go back to working full time, long hours etc. Is private education really so much better considering it might mean missing out on other things eg holidays, extracurricular activities? Would I feel out of my league with other wealthier parents? Also I would like one of my kids to try for grammer school(Salisbury)and thought independent ed might be better springboard for 11 plus. Anyone any comments?

Kaz33 Sun 08-Jul-07 16:51:19

As you say there are good and bad state schools and I am sure that is true of private schools.

Only way to find out is to go and look private schools and see what you and DC's think, and hang around and see the parents at drop off etc...

Personally I am against private education on principle - education has to be "good enough" as there is a lot that you can do at home with the kids etc.. Exam results are not the be all and end all and hopefully in the state system they will gain other experiences.

Good luck, luckily I am not in your position.

Elk Sun 08-Jul-07 16:53:07

The eleven plus in Salisbury is supposed to be changing from verbal and non-verbal reasoning to a more knowledge based approach. My theory is that the independant primaries will be better geared up to teach to this. (could be very wrong though)
The catchment area for the Salisbury grammars is quite small so people from a large distance away do get in (eg Andover!)
I have made the decision to go private for primary as I didn't like the local primary for a variety of reasons ( and my nearest school is in fact a private school).

NKF Sun 08-Jul-07 16:56:31

For some people it would be. Definitely.

LIZS Sun 08-Jul-07 16:56:38

Depends on the school tbh and what you are looking for in terms of "better".

Extra curricular activities are part and parcel of the day as the faciltiies and specialist teachers are on site and clubs run before/after school or in breaks. The longer school day also allows for a more diverse curriuclum and are not necessarily tied in to National Curriculum and KS2 tests. If you live in a state grammar school area you could probably focus on their 11+ entry. At ours there is a split in year 6 between those who are planning to leave at 11+ (about 1/3) mainly to independent schools as no state grammars here and those staying until 13, and adapts teaching accordingly.

Ours has a cross section of wealthier and less affluent parents, latest 4wds and beaten up superminis share the car park !

ScummyMummy Sun 08-Jul-07 16:59:30

You say potato and I say potato.

GrowlingTiger Sun 08-Jul-07 16:59:47

There isn't a single answer to this:- access to private education simply extends your choice of schools. It isn't always the case that private schools are "better" or even value for money. So the decision will be different depending on where you live and what you value in schools.

Does the school your dcs attend have a track record of getting pupils into the grammer school? If so then there are presumably some parents around who know the drill ie if and when they starting coaching/tutoring. If you want your children to go to the grammer school but the primary school doesn't have anyone going there, then I'd look around to be honest. Ot at least decide whether you are happy with the route that most children from your priamry school follow.

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:00:59

aha the grammar schools in Salisbury
Get a tutor

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:02:24

there si no catchement area fo th grammars as far as i knwo and there is no way the prep schools are better for 11 plus practise at all
our local state school runs and eleven plus cluba dn has a 30 % sucess rate

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 08-Jul-07 17:02:27

It all depends in the private school and what you are expecting from it.

In our case the thing was clear, the state school in whose catchment we live has no policy to keep severely allergic children relatively safe, the private one have a zero tolerance to nuts.

Regarding feeling out of your league with wealthier parents... hmm... I was VERY afraid of the same, until I went to the parents evening of both schools and realised that I felt more at home with the group of parents at the private school.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 17:03:12

this will only be an issue if we move back, and if I could get them into their original state primary I would, but as I say, full. Yes, that previous one did have a record of at least as few kids each year getting into grammer. I think though that is not the only issue. if we do move I feel i've got to get it right this time,

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:03:22

Also i dont knwo of any really good private schools in this immediate area
a lot of them cater for the cream of salisbury - " rich and thick"

theStallionOfSensibleness Sun 08-Jul-07 17:04:29

oh and the 11plus att eh moment as far as i am aware is thus IQ tests then fo borderline folk a timed piece of writing under timed conditions.

seems the way to get girls in

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 17:18:37

SOS, sounds as though you know the area/system well. Does one of your children attend the grammer?

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 17:21:23

no but we face the hwoel thing soon

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 17:21:34

adn i wnet to it

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 17:34:29

I went to grammer as well. Always thought I'd avoid single sex schools, but question is, really, what's the alternative around where you live. Good comps are also getting more difficult to get into. However TBH I am really more concerned about the quality of the primary, as if the basics are high quality I believe you can then cope with a less academic secondary and still do well. Hence the thought of trying private school. Wondered what other people's experiences were, and whether anyone either regretted making the sacrifices and didn't feel it made a lot of difference, or wished they had got their DCs educated privately. suspect that looking back most people will be happy with their choices either way, which probably says something in itself. But I would love to be surprised by some unexpected answers!

Judy1234 Sun 08-Jul-07 17:47:23

Our children went to private schools and we met many parents over the years who did make sacrifices to go there. Lots of parents do and feel it's worthwhile. But I don't know about the private schools in your area. The only I've heard of is Salisbury Cathedral School.

muppetgirl Sun 08-Jul-07 17:54:01

My son is starting a mixed private school in sept -nursery 1st - I did feel a little out of my league with the other parents. We have money -I just lack confidence with it!

Our local schools are 'interesting' (Swindon) and although a lot of regeneration is going on in Swindon with new schools being built they still seem to have the old 'problems.'

We have a lively, bright boy who isn't really a sheep -more of a leader and we feel that he needs a firm hand which I'm afraid some schools just aren't able to do (I am an ex teacher who has taught in a special measures school as well as supply taught in loads of difficult schools in Reading)

Our local primary already has children stating they 'know their rights', refusing to leave the room when asked 'go on, make me.' and Our frind who's a TA has had a stapler thrown at her by one child. PRIMARY!!

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 18:16:38

It's not just about academic results either is it? Something about wanting a certain ethos, and your DCs being in a class with other children who want to do well. You shouldn't have to go private/grammer to get that, but unfortunately it seems that too often a small minority in the state sector are allowed to spoil it for everyone else. My DS is a bit of a follower, not a leader, and I can easily see him getting distracted if he is in the wrong environment. Not behaving badly but just not learning. He will behave beautifully with other well behaved children. Not so much of an issue for my DDs. I may be wrong in thinking private ed is more likely to deliver this, but I assume that as parents pay, and most parents want these things, there is a lot of pressure for the school to deliver them.

Judy1234 Sun 08-Jul-07 18:39:48

Definitely. The parents are paying. They are all therefore interested in education and want their money's worth and support and encourage the children. In a school where no one pays fees there are bound to be more parents who aren't so interested in education.

(Also 7% of children are at private school and 50% of those getting into good universities come from private schools and 43% of parents would send children privately if they could afford it). But just be careful - some private schools are not very good. Look at where the leavers from the school get into if it's primary. Are the schools they get into for the very thick or do they get scholarships to some of the best schools. That says a lot about the academic standard.

Caroline1852 Sun 08-Jul-07 19:05:09

Independent School parents are no more likely to be of a type than parents at any other school. At my son's Independent there are extremely wealthy parents (who probably pay the fees out of the petty cash tin) and parents who make sacrifices to meet the fees. There is new money and old money. Doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, teachers, professors, gov workers, sercretaries etc.
I am a bit surprised how many of you went to grammar school but still can't spell grammar !

wordgirl Sun 08-Jul-07 19:07:26

I went to a comprehensive and can spell grammar

ChipButty Sun 08-Jul-07 19:15:57

QED, Caroline!

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 19:50:02

very good Caroline, lesson learnt! Why did you use the private system. Silly question I know but I'd like to hear it anyway - I agree parents aren't going to be "of a type", but surely of a type in the sense that they expect more from the school than non-fee paying parents.

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