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?

mummytoamonkey Sun 08-Jul-07 19:55:41

My daughter went to the prep department of a private school and it was awful. Fees were a fortune and they only had a teacher in the morning, in the afternoon till 2 the had nursery nurses who just didn't care and they just played , hey I understand that they are little and need play but what really bugged me was that from 2pm onwards they went to the tv room and were there when i picked her up at 6pm (apart from tea) every day either watching tv or drawing on scrap paper. My daughter just didn't progress at all and got no s.e.n intervention, she came home with one picture in six months which staff had stuck stuff on and she had just drawn over the lines on her name (her s.e.n is related to her speech and not other abilities so this wasn't the problem). Just seemed a lot of money for four hours a day in a tv room.

The state school she is at now is fantastic, the staff really care and she gets the intervention and education she needs but then again its a small village school with low class numbers in a wealthy area so basically its runs on the same idea of a really good private school with lots of financial input from the well off parents in the school.


I guess it depends on the individual schools quality. I went to an independent school and did pretty well academically but it hasn't really assisted me since leaving school. In the higher education that I did everyone else was state school grown.

I'd have a look round the private school and the state schools, my dd goes to a primary 7 miles away cause they are in a village and they aren't enough kids in the village to fill school places so we were lucky and got in. Maybe its worth having a look at schools in any nearby villages.

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 19:59:11

Can I be frank and suggest that the competition for Bishop Wordsworth is so fierce they won't be looking at 'followers' at all? Unless your child is truly gifted he'll struggle at BWGS- or a DD at SWGS for that matter. The Salisbury Grammars aren't like your Kent/Bucks type at all in that they're alone is a sea of what the ed authority like to call 'Comprehensives' but OFSTED correctly calls Secondary Moderns. If you truly think your DCs are grammar material in the Salisbury sense, go for it but you really have to go private to learn the 11+ tricks. State schools are not officially allowed to tutor for 11+, but if you feel your DCs will only get in as a result of intensive tutoring, are they grammar school material?

I believe the grammars don't have catchments at all, just 'reasonable travelling distance' which can be 50 miles for the determined parent. That's a LOT of competition. I'm surprised the Salisbury tax paying parents put up with it, tbh, but that's another issue. I do understand what is said about wanting a particular educational ethos which might be found in a grammar or a private, but if it's 'bought' at the expense of a child struggling to keep up, is it worth it? Have you considered the Winchester comprehensives? There's a reason there are no private secondary schools there (I'm not counting Winchester College or St Swithuns because the DCs who go there's parents would never consider state anyway- different league!).

Finally, I AM an ex SWGS girl (73-80) and am frankly appalled by the way the schools have become the cheap private option for parents who can afford to effectively buy their kids in via prep schooling.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:14:44

only thinking of grammar for one of them, not the other two who would be happier in less academic environment. I think unlikely they would be able to get into Winchester comps- from other parents experience I think they are oversubscribed.
As far as the morals of the situation, I can't believe i am even thinking of sending them to private ed having always had faith in the state system - but it has been knocked. but I have never critised other parents for being "selfish" for going private, so I wouldn't feel to hypocritical in doing so. As a parent your duty is to do the best for your child. The only one to blame is the government for not supporting teachers and not allowing them to deal effectively with bad behaviour.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:16:16

in case any more spelling corrections - "too" not to.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:16:16

in case any more spelling corrections - "too" not to.

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 20:16:41

Can I be frank and suggest that the competition for Bishop Wordsworth is so fierce they won't be looking at 'followers' at all? Unless your child is truly gifted he'll struggle at BWGS- or a DD at SWGS for that matter. The Salisbury Grammars aren't like your Kent/Bucks type at all in that they're alone is a sea of what the ed authority like to call 'Comprehensives' but OFSTED correctly calls Secondary Moderns. If you truly think your DCs are grammar material in the Salisbury sense, go for it but you really have to go private to learn the 11+ tricks. State schools are not officially allowed to tutor for 11+, but if you feel your DCs will only get in as a result of intensive tutoring, are they grammar school material?

I believe the grammars don't have catchments at all, just 'reasonable travelling distance' which can be 50 miles for the determined parent. That's a LOT of competition. I'm surprised the Salisbury tax paying parents put up with it, tbh, but that's another issue. I do understand what is said about wanting a particular educational ethos which might be found in a grammar or a private, but if it's 'bought' at the expense of a child struggling to keep up, is it worth it? Have you considered the Winchester comprehensives? There's a reason there are no private secondary schools there (I'm not counting Winchester College or St Swithuns because the DCs who go there's parents would never consider state anyway- different league!).

Finally, I AM an ex SWGS girl (73-80) and am frankly appalled by the way the schools have become the cheap private option for parents who can afford to effectively buy their kids in via prep schooling.

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 20:18:36

me too miljee 1984 - 88
they werent so clever then
agree re travellling and agree that oyu ahev to be REALLY clever to got there these days

NKF Sun 08-Jul-07 20:20:02

As to whether it's worth the scrimping and saving, the answer can only be individual. How much scrimping? How much do you hate scrimping? Will things get easier or are you looking at years and years of unpalatable scrimping?

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 20:20:07

the girls school is much more of a hot house than BWgs

If i had a girl and she failed the 11plus i'd be more than happy wiht st Eds tbh

Quattrocento Sun 08-Jul-07 20:25:45

LOL at the cream of Salisbury being rich and thick.

Don't know anything about the area at all so cannot comment on either the state or the private schools.

I am a firm believer in obtaining the best possible education for your children. If this is not provided through the state system then I would probably vote for scrimping for a couple of years ...

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 20:25:55

Sorry, didn't mean to post twice! Looks like I'm really trying to make my point! I just hit the rtn key to wake my screen back up and it was over the post message box!

No, I can see why parents, when 'allowed' to use the tricks that so many parents employ to gets their DCs into the Salisbury grammars go right ahead and do so. It's just that it does seem so wrong! I'm not 'anti-private' as such, just anti taking the state grammar school place of a state educated child of lesser means by buying one's own child that place. Might I say I believe it IS rather selfish to send a child privately just to 'ensure' a grammar school place that one's DC may not necessarily have attained without the spoon feeding? There's 'wanting the best' for one's child and there's 'riding rough-shod over everyone else to get it'!

I live near Romsey are there are quite a few DCs from here getting onto buses to Winchester every day, so there must be a way!

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 20:31:32

Cod, when I was as SWGS St E's was considered a good SM school back then, too. Interestingly it was about the only SM that fed anyone into our 6th form! I gather it's still considered good- possibly one thing that has happenend in Salisbury that many parents take one look at the GS situation and decide not to put their 'above-average but not brilliant' local primary schooled child up for the 11+ at all so as to avoid likely failure when up against The Cathedral, Chaffyn Grove, Leaden Hall etc etc. Thus schools like St E's get some brighter girls as well. As for the BOYS, well, is there hope in Salisbury??

PS 'The Best' won't be a grammar for a less than bright child!

katelyle Sun 08-Jul-07 20:31:46

A simple answer to the OP - In my opinion, no.

pyjamaqueen Sun 08-Jul-07 20:34:28

I would say, if you're not happy with the school nearby, then definitely YES, it's worth paying to go private. I wouldn't be worried about what the other parents are like - there's normally a really good mix!

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Sun 08-Jul-07 20:46:10

Actually, many doctors, lawyers, as well as council house tenants send their children to the state school DS won't be attending.

As I said in my last post, choose what suits you better. In our case it was the private school but it would have taken very little things to be different for us to opt for the state school nearer to us.

sanae Sun 08-Jul-07 20:49:44

Of course it will depend on the quality of your nearby state/private schools. i was just interested to see whether there was anyone who felt they might have done things differently given the choice again. Don't know how we will make the decision in the end, and really I am just gutted that there are no places in there previous primary school. Private wouldn't have crossed my mind if there had been.

NKF Sun 08-Jul-07 20:51:22

I think with schools, people tend to be pleased with their decision if only for the reason that it was their decision and it's too late to worry about it now.

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 20:56:44

there may be hope for boys in abotu 2 years
the new head at wyvern is improving it but tbh he can't make it much worse
it was a shockign state thats chool and i odnt know how ANYONE let it get so far down the drain.
imo id shove all the schools on the laverstock site into one and have done.

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:56:55

your kids will hate you at 15 anyway. so i personally would go for quality of life - they either
a) won't appreciate your martyrdom
b) feel obliged to be a top calss lawyer out of duty to your martyrdom and be completely headfucked and endd up resenting you and spitting on your grave

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:58:47

and you will have to pay for "headfucked" therapy - and get another job being a prostitute in the evening

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:58:59

and you will have to pay for "headfucked" therapy - and get another job being a prostitute in the evening

Tortington Sun 08-Jul-07 20:59:11

and you will have to pay for "headfucked" therapy - and get another job being a prostitute in the evening

miljee Sun 08-Jul-07 21:10:26

Cod- I agree re Laverstock!

And Custardo, though I couldn't have put it as eloquently as you (lol), I think there IS a risk of a parent who has really had to sacrifice to get their DC into a private school feeling quite resentful when the DC shrugs and reminds DP it was THEIR decision!

Hulababy Sun 08-Jul-07 21:32:33

Seeing as the private fees go up well above rate of inflation/cost of living each year, average is 6-7%, then don't chose private if you are having to scrimp and scrape in the early days. As time goes on it will become relatively more expensive and harder to pay for.

FioFio Sun 08-Jul-07 21:35:45

Message deleted

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