Private education - a waste of money, for arseholes?

(209 Posts)
Pooella Wed 10-Oct-12 03:40:36

There's a certain irony in this title in that my DCs are both privately educated (both primary age)

And I apologise also for what must be the umpteenth rehash of the 'private vs. state' debate.

That said, what do you think?

I was thinking this having taken my DD to a playground near a state primary school. More community because the children tend to be local.

OTOH I shuddered a little when a couple of 'rough' kids came into the playground (about 9 or 10, swearing, etc.)

Though diverse ethnically the social profile of parents at private is very homogenous - if you're not a middle class, skiing at Christmas, type, you don't fit in.

We are quite well-off, about £150k/year net, but even so I'm conscious that senior education for 2 DCs is about a quarter-of-a-million. It is a little hard to see the value in that you can buy a whole set of after-school activities for about £1k/year (music, ballet, drama, sports, whatever you want), and then for bright children GCSEs and A Levels are not much of a challenge. (I went to a comprehensive school (albeit a rather leafy one) and got As and A*s in everything and then Cambridge, so hard to see what benefit I would have received from private.)

Outcomes so far from private? Posh accent, good behaviour, good levels of academic progress. But, we don't 'fit' in to the prep school parental mould, so not much social interaction for the DCs outside school (compounded with the greater distances to school), which is a shame.

My old school (now) gets about 80% A*-C, so it's not exactly Stabton Comprehensive, but I'm not sure if the 50-60%-A*-C-type places are necessarily mediocre (as in, if you've got the option to pay for it, as we do, then you'd be mad not to), or what.

There are some independent schools known for being for the 'nice but dim', but they still seem to get 80%+ on their GCSEs, and assuming the intake at these places is not up to the standard of the average comprehensive (which seems likely, unless you believe that being able to afford school fees means your kids are brainy), then they are presumably delivering better outcomes. But whether that is because the parents are more motivated, or because the school is better is not clear? Perhaps the expectations on the lower sets in comprehensives are not high enough? Or are they just too many kids/parents there that don't give a shit?

So is it in fact the nice-but-dim kids that get the value from private, where they will be coached to an inch of their lives to get them up to GCSE/A Level standard, whereas the brainy ones would get their A*s (almost) anywhere and might as well just go to the local comp and save £100k, and there will be plenty of motivated top set kids there to mingle with.

tiggytape Wed 10-Oct-12 08:02:59

Well I'm not so sure about your title but your thinking has pretty much summed it up:
There is no such thing as an average comp - they range in 'leafiness' value from the very bottom to something virtually indistinguishable from a great independent.
There is no such thing as an average independent - they range from academic and supportive to something akin to a posh social club.
There is nothing that will make some children work hard enough or gain the ability to achieve 12A* no matter where you send them.
There are other children that are destined to achieve this at virtually any school.
The figures at any school are bouyed up by the number of naturally bright kids or those with motivated parents.

All of that means some children will benefit (in a purely 'higher grades' sense) more than others from having money spent on their education. Local state options are a big factor in decision making as are how much you value the extras you get at private school (the hours of sport, freed up curriculum, longer school days, ability to get a place without living close to it etc)

Bonsoir Wed 10-Oct-12 08:06:50

I think a lot of people choose private school because it is a lot more comfortable than state school - more attractive premises, more polished community, lower teacher:pupil ratios, smarter uniforms, newer books... etc etc etc. Comfort is something that money can buy.

Pagwatch Wed 10-Oct-12 08:09:59

Every school is different.

And anyone who choses a school simply upon the basis of what results their child will get isn't really thinking it through.

happygardening Wed 10-Oct-12 08:10:21

I dont want to get too drawn into this long standing and often acrimonious debate with neither side backing down but regarding your comment:
"It is a little hard to see the value in that you can buy a whole set of after-school activities for about £1k/year (music, ballet, drama, sports, whatever you want),"
My DS is a boarding school which I accept is different from those at day schools but even if you live in central London you would be pushed to provide the range of extra curricular activities, its not just fencing clubs, rackets and croquet, that his school and others like his offers. Whether you consider thats worth the huge fees is of course a personal choice.

MrsShortfuse Wed 10-Oct-12 08:26:57

IME some parents see private school as a kind of an insurance policy i.e. kids are more likely to do well at private schools and not get in with a bad crowd etc. Not guaranteed, just more likely. Therefore if you can afford it but don't do it, if everything goes pear shaped you'd think 'oh if only I'd sent him to that private school none of this would have happened'.

Also IME people transfer their dc to private only to get a very big shock to find that swearing and bullying still goes on and that the school doesn't insulate dc from all of life's realities.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 10-Oct-12 08:38:21

It depends on exactly what choice of state and private schools you have available, and on what sort of child you've got. Private schools can be a total waste of money (DH regrets he was sent to a mediocre private school when he could have got into a grammar with better academic standrds - many of his schoolmates were dim and some were not nice at all). Or it can be the best money you've ever spent. Or it can be somewhere in between - if you've got enough money you might think that even marginal benefits for your child are more worthwhile than a flashier car.

DD went to a private primary, state secondary - in each case we made what seemed to us the best choice for her. We think the primary was money well spent, but the secondary suits her down to the ground and it would have been a waste of money to send her elsewhere.

ThisisaSignofthetimes Wed 10-Oct-12 08:43:13

There is such a huge variation in schools across all sectors. I don't recognise the "if you don't go skiing at Christmas you won't fit in" profile from my own experience. Predominently middle class, yes but then the middle class is a rather broad church these days!

I'd agree, especially for those parents who have been educated in the state sector (myself and DH), it is an insurance policy. My DD is bright but the state secondary that she would been offered a place at achieved around 35% A* - C at GSCE, I can afford a private education for her so I am not prepared to take the chance with the local comp. As for being able to buy the equivalent after school activities for £1kpa, I wish that were the case, I estimate if I had to pay separately for those activities, it would add up to around 2.5 - 3k - drama, music, 3 x sports clubs.

rabbitstew Wed 10-Oct-12 09:03:47

Things are never a waste of money if you are happy with them. And who's to say what makes someone an arsehole when they aren't a hole in your arse? grin

rabbitstew Wed 10-Oct-12 09:05:12

I agree that better exam results don't automatically equate to better teachers and higher teaching standards.

scaevola Wed 10-Oct-12 09:15:19

It's not just the results though, it's the educational journey over the years.

If you take the utilitarian approach that only the grades count, you'll probably make different choices to others who put weight on other aspects of a school.

(And following the title, any school could be a waste of resources for arseholes).

orangeberries Wed 10-Oct-12 10:17:17

I agree that it entirely depends on the local choices available. Ours is a run down, low achieving comprehensive and I think sending them there is a higher risk than say the very selective independent a few miles away.

Not sure about the skiing at Christmas brigade, the highly academic independents in our area tend to be very large schools with all sorts of parents, many whom just about manage fees and certainly don't have 150k net a year, not on an average "middle of the road" doctor/lawyer/accountant's salary anyway!!

ouryve Wed 10-Oct-12 10:25:34

There's plenty of arseholish parents of state school kids, too. Of all classes.

On a personal level, private education is where my socialist ideals fall down. If you can afford it and think it'll benefit your children, go for it.

Bonsoir Wed 10-Oct-12 17:53:59

"I agree that better exam results don't automatically equate to better teachers and higher teaching standards."

This is so true. Rigorous selection of children on the basis of their IQ and whether or not their parents are willing and able to plug any gaps with £££ and tutors --> good exam results, albeit in a very stressful environment.

wordfactory Wed 10-Oct-12 18:13:23

The great thing about private school is that (within reason) you get to choose. So you can avoid the ones that don't ring your bells.

I've chosen two entirely different schools for my DC. Tailor made to their intellect, personality and learning style.

I could only do that because a. I can pay and b. the choice was available.

Exam results are low on my list of reasons really. First, DSs school is so selective it should be a given. DD's school actually has the more impressive results as it's a lot less selective (hardly at all on IQ)...they are on par with the local grammar, often better.

We chose them because DS needs a real challenge. Far more than a mixed abaility school can provide. Indeed far more than most selective schools cvan provide.

DD needs lots going on in terms of music and drama and dance. It's like the kids from Fame with great exam scores grin.

mnistooaddictive Wed 10-Oct-12 19:34:05

I think that if money is no object, then you can afford to pay for the percieved advantages. Even if they are tiny, why wouldn't you?
What I struggle to understnad is people bankrupting themselves and making huge sacrifices to fund very mediocre private education in an area with excellent state schools. I understand some of them may have genuine reasons, but for some, they feel if they are paying it has got to be better. A friend of mine at primary, at roughly the same academic level went to a very expensive independent school. I went to my local comp and have better GCSE and Alevel results. AS do all our contemporaries. In fact out of the whole group of us, she has the worst results. She spent a year resitting Alevels and still has the worst results. There are plenty of stories the other way round I know, but why make huge sacrifices for this?

Chubfuddler Wed 10-Oct-12 19:43:58

Not all private schools are academically selective.

You really cannot generalise in any meaningful way, all anyone can do is look at the schools in their local area and pick the one they think best suits their child's needs. I think a blanket "never state/never private"!is a bit daft.

jabed Wed 10-Oct-12 20:33:33

At the risk of being controversial I take the view that these days it is really a caseof private education or no education. I do not believe that there are many good state schools. The very few there may be certainly do not exist where I live. They also seem very hard to get into and it is probably as expensive to buy a house in the catchment as it is to buy an education privately.

I dont know why other people consider a private education worthwhile. I have asked this question previously and it got a little heated. For my own part I am looking to buy a school with small classes, good staff and emphasis on good manners and a work ethic. I am also looking for confidence and a competitive edge. I think all of those will increrase in importance in the future world. I also want flexibility because I do not like the NC or the way in which the nanny state dictates what children should be taught or at what age.

I am also buying "people like us" as I have said before. I want my DS to feel he fits in - not that we go skiing every winter. I want his peers to share my attitudes and values. I want them to be well spoken and I want my DS to continue to be well spoken. Not with a dialect or accent, just RP

So I guess I am just an arsehole wasting my money, but its my money and my choice.

Have a nice eveningsmile

jabed Wed 10-Oct-12 20:43:31

One other thing I might add that I am looking for in a school for my DS. I want him to grow up with a solid moral code, an understanding of right and wrong against a single standard or principle - not wishy washy boo hurrah ethics or situation ethics. He can develop those laterI am sure. I also want him to develop a sense of feeling for other people, respect and to understand kindness. Those are difficult things to come by in state schools these days

Portofino Wed 10-Oct-12 20:48:30

I don't agree with Private schools on principle. I think that if the powers that be didn't have the option of opting THEIR children out of state education, there would be more of a focus on ensuring state schools are fit for purpose.

difficultpickle Wed 10-Oct-12 21:40:58

I chose private initially for my convenience. My primary concern was having a school that offered wraparound care so ds could do after school clubs at school and I didn't have to negotiate pick up times with the CM.

If I had more choice then I would have probably chosen state schooling. As it is ds has changed schools from one that finished at 11 to one that finishes at 13 so I feel as if I'm being sucked into privately educating ds to 18, which was never my intention.

shopofdreams Wed 10-Oct-12 21:52:02

Jabed
When you talk about accents what is RP?

difficultpickle Wed 10-Oct-12 22:02:03

Received Pronounciation like wot the Queen speaks, innit?

OwedToAutumn Wed 10-Oct-12 22:08:51

The point is always that if you can afford the fees, you get to choose out of a greater number of schools.

So, you would be an arsehole if you sent your child to a private school, if it wasn't the best place for your DC. (IMVHO)

BlastOff Wed 10-Oct-12 22:11:12

Recieved pronunciation shopofdreams

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 22:13:02

Extraordinary.

OwedToAutumn Wed 10-Oct-12 22:13:47

mnistoo, the question is not whether she got better/ lower marks than you, but whether she did better at the private school than she would've at the state school.

MsAverage Wed 10-Oct-12 22:14:17

RP seems to me a good investment if you strongly plan to live in this country (say, have a family business). Beyond the borders nobody would tell apart south England from Newcastle. Even in London, with its 30% of foreign-born population, not everyone would appreciate it.

I would vote for a house as a gift for a child rather than for a dialect for the same price.

HanSolo Wed 10-Oct-12 22:20:18

MsAverage- I beg to differ- people in the US watching British television programmes need subtitles to understand programmes with people speaking in Scottish, Geordie, Liverpudlian etc accents in them, as they cannot understand a word they're saying!

Way2Go Wed 10-Oct-12 22:37:23

It depends on circumstances. The child, the schools, the parents, the finances, the area..etc etc.

Repeat ad nuseum.

.………………….………………….……………….………………….………………….……………………

We saved ourselves about £100,000 - £150,000 by not sending our DS1 to private school, he loved his very school, and he is now studying medicine. I am sure he would have also enjoyed private school but he is glad he went to our local school.

We have two more DC's at our local comp. it's going well but I will have to let you know in a few years whether or not it was the right choice.

It's much easier to know the right decision retrospectively. grin

rabbitstew Wed 10-Oct-12 22:44:25

Even retrospectively you don't know the right decision, you just know that the decision you made didn't turn out as expected grin.

Way2Go Wed 10-Oct-12 22:45:36

Too true rabbit

APMF Wed 10-Oct-12 23:15:51

OP - Actually the irony is on you. YOU are the type of indie parent that gives the general population the idea that they don't want to mix with indie parents who are quick to judge others.

Feckbox Wed 10-Oct-12 23:19:24

In answer to your last paragraph, yes

jabed Thu 11-Oct-12 06:27:58

I don't agree with Private schools on principle. I think that if the powers that be didn't have the option of opting THEIR children out of state education, there would be more of a focus on ensuring state schools are fit for purpose

I had a mother like that - principled about state education until she had my troublesome brother, then she changed.

All removing the differentiation of private education would cause is ( asin comprehensives) a lowering of standard to the common denominator.
Those in power would still ensure their own childrens education, either by catchment (Ed Milliband) or by going abroad I suspect.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 11-Oct-12 08:04:23

>I do not believe that there are many good state schools

You need to look at evidence when choosing schools, rather than going on 'beliefs'. The evidence when we were choosing our DDs school was clear enough- her private primary was better (for her) than the state school options available to the child of atheist parents; her state secondary is better (for her) than the private schools in the area.

They didn't speak RP at her primary... non-broad Lancashire. Perfectly comprehensible with short vowels.

Farewelltoarms Thu 11-Oct-12 09:50:43

God where does this idea that Ed Miliband lives next door to the fanciest state school in Britain come from? His wife is a governor at Brookfield which I dare say is where their kids will go and it's a very normal primary school with, I'd guess, higher than average FSM. The comp he went to was one with very few middle class people precisely because it was located in an expensive area where most in private housing go private.
There was another thread talking about 'Islington millionaires living next to the best comprehensives' which made me give a wry laugh, since I live in Islington and it's the second poorest borough in London.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 10:14:52

As someone who probably would be described as speaking RP apparently I sound just like a posh version of Princess Ann I am unconvinced that it necessarily helpful. Many people are initially wary thinking that I might be "stuck up" and I'm far from that. It would be disingenuous to change the way I speak but I as I work with Joe Public from all walks of life I am aware that barriers can be erected on first meeting.
I also love regional accents the beautiful but now sadly virtually extinct West Devon/North Cornwall accent with its fascinating vocabulary, a colleague with a Welsh accent, the beautiful sing song Nigerian accent, and even the Newcastle accent with its warm terms of endearment and a true South London accent accent although I'm less keen the hideous Kent estuary accent.
So I personally am not paying for RP or "people like us" (God help us) nor do I want "his peers to share my attitudes and values" because I'm hoping for diversity and that my DS having been exposed to a variety of views and opinions will grow into his own man than a clone of myself.

scaevola Thu 11-Oct-12 10:20:23

RP is pretty much extinct. Not even the Queen speaks it any more (she did in the 50s, but her voice has changed); Princess Anne appears never to have done so. It's not a synonym for any posh accent, nor for standard English.

It's one specific accent (think 1950s cutglass newsreaders in evening dress). It would be quite a handicap, I think, nowadays, and would probably come across as risible.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 11-Oct-12 10:23:49

>a posh version of Princess Ann
grin she's a bit common and horsey isn't she (Zara of course eschews RP)

But you're right... the stranglehold of RP has gone, you only need to listen to R4 with its selection of lovely, well modulated and comprehensible accents to know that its not the be all and end all nowadays. DDs school did elocution, it was all about clarity and expression, not forcing RP onto them. I do regret the teacher didn't get DD speaking nice Lancashire instead of having picked up my accent which is a bit too dahn sarf.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 10:29:30

i do think the advantage of what is perceived as RP is understandable clear pronunciation. Few people struggle to understand me! i know from personal experience of the West Devon/North Cornwall accent that it can at times be as incomprehensible as Swahili to those from the outside and as we now live in a multicultural world clear pronunciation is probably very helpful.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 10:31:28

GrimmaTheNome I think I speak normally but I am assured by my gently teasing colleagues that i dont!!

scaevola Thu 11-Oct-12 10:36:04

"what is perceived as" - hmmm. If you mean learning to speak in a standard English accent, taking elocution lessons to reduce regional accent, then just say so.

That's nothing to do with RP, which is a defined and specific accent, just like the various regional ones.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 10:44:27

"If you mean learning to speak in a standard English accent, taking elocution lessons to reduce regional accent, then just say so."
No clear pronunciation not reducing regional accents I struggle more with the hideous Kent estuary accent than I ever did with Devon/Cornish accent (admittedly I had lots of practice) or my fiends glorious Newcastle accent both have their own vocabulary intonation and diction which those unfamiliar with it might struggle with but their pronunciation of the actual words was often pretty good. In fact Im rather sad at my lack of regional accent most people ask me "where do you come from?" as I am completely devoid of any accent perhaps I should start cultivating one.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 10:49:32

"God where does this idea that Ed Miliband lives next door to the fanciest state school in Britain come from? "

No idea, it isn't (wasn't!) mentioned in this thread.

I don't think that general private versus state discussions are ever very fruitful. I take the view that you need to look at the school options in your particular area and work out the best path for your children.

We have chosen private at primary level because we wouldn't get into any faith schools and I wasn't happy with the quality of teaching and facilities at the primary schools we were eligible for. Additionally our local primary schools were dominated by one or two ethnic minorities (our children belong to one of those minorities) and I didn't want my children only mixing with people from a similar culture, speaking DH's language to their friends to the exclusion of anyone outside that culture etc. We got better ethnic and cultural diversity at the private school (although not economic diversity).

If we carry on living where we are then we will probably go down the private route for secondary as well because the results of the local state secondaries just don't compare. The private schools where we are have better facilities offer and more music and sport than the state schools. The local secondary academy near where we live has less outside space than my sons' prep school.

tiggytape Thu 11-Oct-12 10:56:23

That is very true Chaz - some of the fiercest anti-private-schooling people are also the ones who happen to live near incredible state schools with great teaching and fantastic facilities.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 10:58:42

There's one way to get rid of private education; improve state education. In places where state secondary education is much better, the independent schools have much more of a Tim nice but Dim intake.

Farewelltoarms Thu 11-Oct-12 11:03:02

Skippy - jabed in a message a couple above mine said that of miliband. I think he's not a great labour leader but I don't think that's a fair accusation.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:10:17

I believe that if there WERE no private schools, there would be more of a focus on ensuring there were no crap state schools. Investment in education would become much more of a priority.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:10:25

"In places where state secondary education is much better, the independent schools have much more of a Tim nice but Dim intake."

I don't agree. In West Kent, where there is a lot of excellent state education, the independent schools are also very hot. Competition is good!

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:11:50

Portofino - in order for state schools to improve radically, teachers need to be of higher calibre and better trained. That costs a lot of money. Closing private schools will not release any funds whatsoever to the state education system - on the contrary, it will cost state education a lot of money!

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:12:01

Investment was a big priority under Labour and nothing much improved in terms of standards. In fact it diminished.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:13:00

I was thinking of Kent! We looked at a number of schools a few years ago which really could not compete with the grammars at all. Oh well, happy to be corrected.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 11:13:24

I don't think you can really say too much about Ed's kids since they are 3 and 2!

Apparently Ed's alma mater was rough, but popular with Marxist types.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:14:21

I think people in favour of closing private schools think that all the parents and pupils who then enter state education will improve standards by osmosis. Not true, so long as the national curriculum and teacher training doesn't train. (experience of this)

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:14:55

doesn't train? Doesn't change.

ladydayblues Thu 11-Oct-12 11:15:20

Its not just the academic education its the holistic environment. My two youngest went to prep schools because I wanted them to learn to read and write. The local primary schools were constantly on strike and I just literally had a fit one day so pulled them out - rang a Prep school on Monday and the next Monday they were installed in new uniforms innew schools. I took two jobs and a lodger, to pay those fees and dont regret it. The prep school was just what I wanted but I never made friends "at the gate". At secondary level they both went back into the local comprehensive system. For both of them it was absolute hell for the first year. Not only were they quite advanced academically which the teachers seemed to resent, but to survive they quickly had to get rid of thier RP! Both of them were thrilled to discover that all the after school Clubs were either free or a negible cost, whereas in the prep school I was constantly saying we cant afford extras. They joined everything so became very popular as everyone knew them either in sports or music. My only minus was that my son who had reasonable French was left on the sidelines and ended up with practically no French. Yet my daughter who was years ahead in Maths was allowed to sitin with the 6th formers for Maths by the time she was 13. The biggest advantage - the schools were within walkin distance, their new friends were in the local area. I didnt have to fetch and carry them. As Londoners they made friends from all walks of life and have that "Estuary" accent, but slip easily to RP when they are together. I too made friends locally and my children did well, very well academically and socially. I may not go skiiing every winter, but the kids did with the school. Every single school trip to Europe they were on it. Heck of a lot cheaper than breaking my neck to find school fees for two kids at an Independent School.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:17:11

Brycie - schools like Tonbridge and Sevenoaks are right bang in the middle of the hot grammar school catchments.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:19:51

Aren't the teachers in Private Schools trained in the same places as the teachers in State Schools?

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:21:56

They don't have to follow the NC until 13, and a lot of teachers in private (in my experience also) have a more traditional approach. They don't actually have to have a PGCE at all.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:23:10

Bonsoir, I stand corrected.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 11:23:47

"I think people in favour of closing private schools think that all the parents and pupils who then enter state education will improve standards by osmosis"
By closing independent schools (although no one ever say how this would be policed) those in positions of power and with money who could possible have the biggest impact on state ed will simply send their children abroad to receive the education that they want.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:24:18

Where Bonsoir said about the better training for teachers, I would just go with better educated. I don't mean all state school teachers are badly educated, obviously and certainly not the case, but some are.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:24:25

No, Portofino, they aren't.

Private schools are, on average, able to recruit teachers who have better degrees from better universities. All my friends and family who have gone into teaching are ex-private school pupils with degrees from top universities who walk the private school walk and have a full range of skills. None of them ever intend to set foot in a state school.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:25:06

I wouldn't send a child abroad for a better education. One of the most expensive English speaking schools in Europe is really rather mediocre.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 11:25:28

"They don't have to follow the NC until 13,"
Independent schools don't have to follow the national curriculum at all most do follow it but often take their children way beyond it and others e.g. Steiner dont.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:26:35

No I was thinking if they set GCSE they have to fall into line then. But if they don't, they don't have to NC. Mine do IGCSE.

happygardening Thu 11-Oct-12 11:28:35

Brycie Im not talking about current schools but the big names they will just move abroad and carry on what they have done for many years it is not country dependent. Many are already setting up schools in other countries and of course many have a large number of children from abroad already on their books so the move would ultimately not be that difficult.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:28:56
rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:30:24

I'd like to see ALL British politicians in positions of power sending their kids overseas to be educated there and see how easy they find it to be elected next time!!!!!!!! grin Load of rubbish that absolutely everyone who could afford it would pack their kids off to schools overseas to avoid state education if the private schools in this country no longer existed. We all know perfectly well they'd just change the rules to enable rich parents to give colossal donations to the state schools their children attend and let the minuscule minority of the rest educate their kids overseas along with all the other overseas kids who used to be educated here grin.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:30:39

Are you thinking of Dulwich college in Asia, that sort of thing? Maybe. But don't have a rosy view of English speaking education abroad. Lots of teacher turnover, lots of teachers there for the trip etc.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:31:31

Lot of bitterness in your post there rabbit.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:32:20

Public schools over here moving overseas means a different staff complement and different exams, too. And I'm not sure all those wealthy Russians would actually want their kids' schools to be in Russia... their kids are probably safer in another country...

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:32:24

Gosh, Portofino, you think that is a good article? I think its an apology for the race to the bottom...

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:32:25

Why would they move abroad? There are no private schools in Belgium in the sense they exist in the UK. The Royal Family send their kids to State Schools.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:33:16

Not bitter at all, Brycie. You can't be bitter about something that hasn't happened, can you???? grin I think you mean cynical.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:33:45

I know an awful lot of people in Belgium, Portofino (a large percentage of my secondary school friends went to university there, and made their lives there) and they all seem to pay an absolute fortune in school fees.

oohlaalaa Thu 11-Oct-12 11:34:29

I was educated privately. I loved my state primary, but was bullied at my primary school, and hated it.

My cousins were state educated, their parents always made sure they had lots of hobbies outside of school, extra tuition in certain subjects (chemistry A level), and they did attend a good state school. One of my cousins is a vet, and the other a dentist. They were bright anyway, but I don't think they'd have done any better than all their A stars, and straight A's at A level, at a private school.

My husband went to the local state school, and we both plan to state educate our children. Although we're not in the position to afford private school.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:34:50

If I didn't have private schools available to me, I wouldn't use them... I think most people are like that...

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:34:54

A race to the bottom? Someone else mentioned earlier 'the lowest common denominator". Is that not just saying that YOUR kids are better than others, or that poor kids are less able and not entitled to the same opportunities in life?

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:36:51

(Not that I am actually using private education at the moment, but one day I might do, if the alternatives are dire!).

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:37:30

Bonsoir - are you referring to the likes of BSB? Which costs 25k a year and is not all highly regarded. We did a boot fair there once and not one of the pupils could calculate the change for a coffee correctly. Nice facilities, though and a friend of mine does very well out of maths tutoring due to the poor standard of teaching.

oohlaalaa Thu 11-Oct-12 11:37:37

Sorry that should read bullied at my private secondary school! I never fitted in.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 11:39:24

Portofino; - yy and a good argument for why improvement by osmosis wouldn't happen.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 11:39:53

I don't know anyone at BSB (the people I know are not British) but there seem to be rather a lot of very expensive schools (and spoiled children!).

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:40:15

See the argument seems to be that State Schools are crap - so I can choose to go Private - why should MY child suffer? Instead of saying "Why are schools so poor - what are WE going to do about?" We are just heading for generation after generation of old boys networks and haves and have nots.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:41:07

I said the "likes of" Bonsoir.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:47:21

Well, in my experience, some schools are allowed to be poor, or allowed to be good but not exeptional because parents don't do anything about trying to improve them, except to remove their children from them. Most people think they can't actually do anything to help, they are just helpless consumers.

How many state schools actually find parents and members of the local community clamouring to become governors and then really taking that position seriously, rather than complaining that the school never does anything to fit around working parents and they can't even get to their own kids' parents' evenings, let alone commit to anything else? Around here, most people just seem to think they don't have the time and they may well be right... Who does have the time, energy and fight in them to get a whole community together to make things better when politicians can't even achieve that?

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 11:48:30

Are we going to have to leave it all to special interest bodies who do what they want without any accountability?

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 11:51:40

That is my point. If everyone HAD to use them - people WOULD be asking questions, kicking arse etc. You or I may not have the money, time or influence, but other parents will.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 11-Oct-12 11:55:27

Why's that article indicative of a race to the bottom?

Farewelltoarms Thu 11-Oct-12 12:00:39

Indeed to all those saying politicians and those with power/money might behave differently if their children went to state schools. Cameron said yesterday (I paraphrase) 'I won't apologise for my education. I went to a brilliant school and I want all children to have the opportunity to go to a similarly brilliant school.' Yes, that's why you'll be making government spend per pupil £30k pa then is it Dave?

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 12:15:32

Independent schools are generally about 15k pa. Boarding would make it 30.

I don't think so Porto, look at BSB.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 12:25:27

That article is dreadful Portofino.

Points I picked up:

* you can save £100k by not going private - fair enough
* if you go private the other kids will be motivated, mentored and monitored, whereas if you go state some of the kids will be left to their own devices. Apparently this is a point in favour of state schools?
* apparently if you go to state school you learn to wait your turn, because the class sizes are so large
* it's better if Muslims are at your school (state) then if you merely learn about Islam in RS (private)
* private education teaches you to hate poor people (my rejoinder here would perhaps be that you'd hate them very much more if they were disrupting your maths lesson in person)
* if you go to state school you will learn to swear in patois
* it's bad for the country

And basically yes 'private education is a waste of money for aresholes'

The entire article is predicated on the 'London is the UK' assumption of many meeja types. The fact is that outside of a few cities the UK is quite homogenous. You won't rub shoulders with Afghans at a comprehensive in Glasgow, Jamicans in Padstow, or meet many Muslims in Sevenoaks.

So all the supposed multicultural advantages are missing for most parents and only really available (assuming they are advantages) for the super-rich who can afford to live in London.

So all you are left with out of that article is that private schools cost more than state schools.

Well thanks for that, I really need a journalist to tell me that.

Portofino

How many parents who currently use private schools would be clamouring to improve state schools in general. They might move near the already good state schools driving up prices in the area and reducing the social mix of those schools even further. They might put time, effort and money into their child's school to improve it.

Would this really benefit a school in Tower Hamlets, or the deprived parts of Liverpool or Bradford? My family live in the S Wales valleys very very few children go to private school there. Removing private schools would make very little difference because there won't be a cohort of MC parents suddenly coming into the state school system.

I think you need to separate the idea of what people do for their own children within a flawed system and getting people to understand that it is a social good for us all that all children are well educated. The problem is far deeper than private education and I think an over emphasis on the impact of private education means that other issues such as a negative attitude to education as a whole amongst some young people are not addessed. After all "go to school, get qualifications and get a good job" rings a bit hollow if you live in an unemployment blackspot.

Skippy

Just to add - muslims go to private schools too
My sons are muslim and they go to a prep school shock

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 12:30:52

There's a Muslim boy in my son's class at prep school. There were two, in fact, but the other went back to his home country.

I think outside of London private schools will tend to be much more diverse than state schools in terms of racial and national background, since they take many expats, but socially they are more homogenous.

YouMayLogOut Thu 11-Oct-12 12:34:33

I'm not bothered about the social class side of private education. However until there are grammars available everywhere then it's the only way to find an academically selective school in most areas. (No, I can't afford private anyway).

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 12:36:10

The system is flawed because the people who have the power to fix it have the choice to opt out - meaning it will never be the number one priority. In my eyes education should be everything! The UK is failing children badly. They are spending so much time and money on statistics and testing that should be spent on facilities and equipment and training.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 12:37:48

I think, without any proof for my assertions, of course, that many parents who currently use private schools do it because they think they are too busy to spend time improving the local state school, so plump for using the cash they are earning to get their kids into a school that they already consider to be good enough. Then, when they have the time on their hands, after their kids have left school, they become governors at their kids' old private school, because that's what they now know and feel they want to give something back to (and they probably think they don't know enough about state education to be welcome on the governing body of the local state school, anyway).

FangsGoForTheMaidensThroat Thu 11-Oct-12 12:40:42

" I shuddered a little when a couple of 'rough' kids came into the playground (about 9 or 10, swearing, etc.)"

I can't believe you actually typed that

Portofino
90%+ of children do not go to private schools. That's a hell of a lot of campaigning power if even half the parents got motivated. Ultimately politicians want to get elected and if millions of parents were making a bigger fuss they would do more. The fact is that the proportion of state school parents campaigning hard on this topic is not high. My Dad was chair of the PTA at our school (state Comp) and I know how much trouble he had getting even a handful of the parents motivated.

AllPastYears Thu 11-Oct-12 12:51:43

"The system is flawed because the people who have the power to fix it have the choice to opt out"

I am in no way under the illusion that I could fix a failing school, or improve an average one, by sending my children there and joining the PTA or writing letters to the governors. If only I were that powerful!

tovetove Thu 11-Oct-12 12:52:24

Xenia said something very true on another thread about private education - it encourages and rewards determination and grit and constant hard work in the way that IME state school just doesn't. Sports clubs that run whatever the weather, kids that dont train and attend regularly are not on the team etc. This doesnt happen in my youngest child's state primary - grit and determination are not rewarded unless perhaps it is someone at the very bottom of the class who has achieved. Diligent, hardworking, consistent children seem to just get either ignored (no trouble!) or used to sit with more troublesome children as a calming influence. No real reward (ie star chart system at my dds state primary) is ever given and there are no compliments given.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 13:11:08

"many parents who currently use private schools do it because they think they are too busy to spend time improving the local state school"

?

Why would these parents be able to improve the state school. What makes them so special, and able to do what the hundreds of parents already at the state school cannot do?

Private parents are not some sort of ubermensch, capable of performing miralces.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 13:11:15

miracles

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 13:13:24

Yes Porto you do rather assume that private school parents are better than state school parents.

wordfactory Thu 11-Oct-12 13:14:59

I'm always a little puzzled by the idea that private school parents can make much of a difference. What is it exactly they're meant to be doing?

I've been a volunteer at my local primary. I'm still a governor at a state secondary, and there really is very little you can do to make any meaningful difference.

You can't get more resources. You can't change the curriculum. You can't get rid of crap staff. You can't get rid of disruptive pupils. You have no cntrol over the pupils and parents' attitudes. You can't influenece the local culture.

From where I'm standing you can't do very much at all on a macro level.

If I sent my DC to those schools how would that help anyone?

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 13:16:49

Are your DC at private schools wordfactory?

wordfactory Thu 11-Oct-12 13:24:52

Yes.

But I ended up volunteering at my local primary because a. the HT asked me and b. no parents would do so.

It was hard graft. I went in at least two mornings a week, often more. So I did make a fair committment, I feel.
But the school had deep seated problems that I couldn't help with.

Similarly I was asked to be a governor at a state secondary and I feel I've been able to make bugger all difference. The problems are just too deep seated and institutional.

I don't know what more I could do if my own DC attended. Or what another well meaning middle class parent could manage to achieve. You only have so much time, energy and expertise. And of course you can't have any sway over decisions taken on a macro level ayway.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 13:32:00

Yes I think it would be very easy to say 'this is not accepted at my kids' (private) school' or 'we do things this way' and come across as arrogant/interfering. Unless people are proposing to make rich people private school parents the HT, don't see what you can do.

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 13:43:21

But I am talking about the Politicians and their chums the leaders of Industry etc - the ones with the clout - as the ones who can influence what happens and how much money is invested. Not you and I necessarily. If everyone was forced to use their local state school.....I know this is a bit of a lefty dream of mine and is hypothetical.... I do believe that state education would become much more important on a political level. ..Yes people would move...they do that now. There are things that CAN be done to improve things for everyone. But on these threads no one ever discusses what those things might be - it is always, Well I am alright Jack.

wordfactory Thu 11-Oct-12 13:59:45

Ah but you see porto if the politicians and those currently running the country were forced to use state education, said state education would not look anyhting like it does now.

The changes they would seek to make would be wholly unpalatable, especially to the teachers.

They'd want reintroduction of selection. Much more traditional methodology. Plenty of homework and exams etc etc

The teaching unions already have a collective heart attack every time Gove tries to introduce his agenda. Can you imagine how they would react to 'parental pressure' from the movers and the shakers on education policy?

Bonsoir Thu 11-Oct-12 14:04:29

"The problems are just too deep seated and institutional."

I know exactly what you mean, wordfactory. And parents who volunteer and who are clear-headed, knowledgeable and have the communication skills to say what needs doing scare the living daylights out of teachers and school administrators whose brains are scrambled after year and years of operating in a corrupt and incompetent culture.

Portofino
I am very cynical about politicians especially career ones like Cameron, Clegg, the Millibands etc. They all live in a bubble. Yes the Millibands went to a state comprehensive but they were hardly from a typical background. They are part of the North London intelligensia and their experience of the world was vastly different from some of their school counterparts.

Some politicians will act out of conviction but a lot of them will act if they are pushed and there are plenty of parents out there who should care enough to push.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 14:13:08

"But I am talking about the Politicians and their chums the leaders of Industry etc - the ones with the clout - as the ones who can influence what happens and how much money is invested. Not you and I necessarily. If everyone was forced to use their local state school.."

Yes but if you have £50 million in the bank, then you can ensure that your local state school is a good one.

Not by improving the local sink school, that won't happen, but simply by buying a house nearby.

And that happens already.

There are some outstanding state schools, and there might be a few more if the private sector closed down, but there aren't enough pushy plutocrats to transform the entire sector.

The privileged already pick and choose from the best of the state sector - expensive housing near good schools, religious education, selection (private tutors, more books at home, etc.), so that wouldn't change at all.

If it turns out that the local school near your £50 million mansion in Kensington is good for crack, smack and knives, but not so good on math and English, then you'll just send the kids, with the nanny, to your leafy second home in Kent where the local school is delightfully middle class.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 11-Oct-12 14:15:39

Could I just say that the vast vast majority of schools are neither 'sink schools' nor 'delightfully middle class', though. This kind of binary isn't very helpful or realistic.

YouMayLogOut Thu 11-Oct-12 14:19:35

>" I shuddered a little when a couple of 'rough' kids came into the playground (about 9 or 10, swearing, etc.)"

>I can't believe you actually typed that

My thoughts exactly Fangs.

wordfactory Thu 11-Oct-12 14:21:54

No there not, TOSN but they're still nothing like what the average CEO or QC would want them to be.

If the idea is that we get these people involved at a macro policy making level in education, I think much of the populace would be horrified.

My idea of a good school would positively terrify your average MNer grin.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 14:28:40

"Could I just say that the vast vast majority of schools are neither 'sink schools' nor 'delightfully middle class', though. This kind of binary isn't very helpful or realistic."

No it's not, but the parents who ask 'Eton or Winchester' would in a 'no private education' scenario would instead be coming and asking 'London Oratory' or 'Wimbledon College' - they'd be picking between schools on this list:

pp.include-digital.com/table/state-secondary-schools

You don't come to spend £30k/year on education by being indifferent to which school your child goes to, and that £30k/year would simply be diverted to ensuring that your child goes to a delightfully middle class state school, and not the ones where most children are speakers of English as a second language, etc.

tovetove Thu 11-Oct-12 14:29:21

mine too grin

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 14:30:23

or indeed, not something sort of middling - people currently do, and more would, devote their considerable resources to ensuring that their child's state school was not merely average but THE BEST.

At no point would this result in state education getting better.

FangsGoForTheMaidensThroat Thu 11-Oct-12 14:31:12

YouMayLogOut- I am so glad at least one other person found that objectionable smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 11-Oct-12 14:33:49

Yes, but it's an opposition we see a lot on here, and I think it's unhelpful. I don't want to get QCs making policy in schools anyway - it's a leap from saying 'it would be better for society if everyone just went to school where they live' to saying 'I want posh people to change our schools for us'!

I don't: I just think that theoretically it would be an awful lot better and nicer if everybody went to the same school. The problem is that if you say 'ah well you probably live near a good school and paid billions for the privelige like old Ed Millibands, but if you lived near a bad school you'd sing a different tune', you're missing the point that the vast majority of us live near schools which are at neither end of those extremes.

RosemaryandThyme Thu 11-Oct-12 14:41:41

Private Education buys a lifelong ability to be totally arrahagant.

I'd love to sail through life with me nose up in the air, and given half a chance would buy the package for my own children.

TOWIE is testamont to the fact that the nice but dim still can't be saved no matter how much money is thrown at them.

TOSN
Fair point. But what I would also say is that the benchmark for a good school is too low in my view. Our children are going to have to compete in an international market place. A school that gets half its pupils through 5 gcses (or replacement) a-c isn't really good enough, its not a sink school by any stretch of the imagination but its not particularly impressive either.

OwlLady Thu 11-Oct-12 14:44:12

I think you will find a lot of children of 9/10 and onwards swear when not with their parents, it has nothing to do with parenting or schooling.

Brycie Thu 11-Oct-12 14:45:22

Rosemary: be careful, you're insulting people's children. You aren't talking about mine for a start.

Rosemary
If you sail through life with your nose in the air do you bump into stuff? Maybe flies get in?

I'll have to check my children out later for bumps and insects.

Gunznroses Thu 11-Oct-12 15:06:05

Private Education buys a lifelong ability to be totally arrahagant. I'd love to sail through life with me nose up in the air, and given half a chance would buy the package for my own children. TOWIE is testamont to the fact that the nice but dim still can't be saved no matter how much money is thrown at them.

Ever heard the term "Wearing your ignorance like a badge ?" hmm

Portofino Thu 11-Oct-12 15:07:55

I read on here often when someone is talking of which are the good schools near them, that Ofsted should be ignored, and that schools DO go from bad to outstanding (and vice versa presumably) so this CAN happen with the right focus and leadership. Why should ANY school in this day and age be THAT bad?

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 15:27:12

Lots of people believe behaviour/'standards' in this day in age are very much worse, so unless you believe that a good or bad school is determined primarily by teaching methods/funding, it seems that in this day in age the schools will be getting WORSE.

Certainly it's not hard to see that the overwhelming majority of 'good' schools have a disproportionately middle class intake, and pretty much ALL the 'bad' schools take the poorest kids from the poorest areas.

Which is why so many people select state schools, in effect, not on the quality of teaching (so hard to measure), but on whether they are stuffed to the gills with 'nice' (i.e. middle class) children or not.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 11-Oct-12 15:32:25

>Lots of people believe behaviour/'standards' in this day in age are very much worse

Someone in every generation always thinks that. It ain't necessarily so.

Honestyisbest Thu 11-Oct-12 15:47:04

Going private is the best thing we've ever done. We have/are making sacrifices to pay for them both, but to date it's worth it. It is however a personal decision. So listen to everyone's opinions, but only you know what is best for you and your children. Good luck deciding.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 15:47:37

Maybe a school is only as good as its pupils grin. In terms of academic learning, you do better if your classmates are all relatively well behaved in class, well fed, have done their homework and are willing and able to join in with what is being taught. Even I think you get more of that sort of pupil in a private school.

Abra1d Thu 11-Oct-12 16:07:12

'but they still seem to get 80%+ on their GCSEs,'

It depends on WHICH GCSEs they are taking.

'Cause the school getting 80% on IGCSEs or GCSEs such as Latin are doing better than the school getting 80% on GCSEs including Business Studies, Statistics, etc.

And are they getting 80% A*-Cs, or is that 80% at A? There is a huge, huge difference. At my children's schools, anything below A is considered disappointing. B is barely acceptable (somewhat worryingly, given one of my children's performance in sciences).

At our local comprehensive, the headline 'best' results were a few pupils (one or two) getting 7 A or A*s at GCSE. At my son's school the headline was the children who'd got more than ten A* (this won't be my son, btw). There's no question that my son is going to do better at his school than at the local comprehensive, where he'd be pushed into early entry for GCSE and everyone would be happy if he got a C+. Except for us.

wordfactory Thu 11-Oct-12 16:35:29

Tosn I think it was porto who raised the suggestion that the way to improve state schools was to close private schools thus galvanizing the private school parents to help make changes.

My pint was that if you did that, you might not like what you got as a result.

What you're essentially saying is that you don't want private school parents to do anyhting to state schools. That mostly it's not needed. But that they should be forced to use them anyway, even if the eduction on offer is absolutley not to their liking. For social cohesion?

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 16:46:44

I think quite a lot of state school parents would actually quite like a more private school style education for their children, wordfactory...

I also think that if more parents did actually find out exactly what their school's budget was, how it was used, what teaching methods were used, what had to be taught (rather than whining about the national curriculum without necessarily knowing what was in it and therefore how it HAD to be interpreted and how much of what went on was an unnecessary interpretation by their school, etc), observed what really went on in the classrooms, what regulations teachers had to get around and whether they could be got around etc, etc, they would have more educated opinions on what really needed doing to improve their children's schools and, frankly, more educated views to pass on to politicians. As it is, everyone whinges and whines but most of the whingers and whiners don't actually have a clue what really goes on, they just like to whinge and whine about it and claim utter powerlessness, despite the fact it is taxpayers' money going into these schools.

mnistooaddictive Thu 11-Oct-12 16:53:04

" There's no question that my son is going to do better at his school than at the local comprehensive, where he'd be pushed into early entry for GCSE and everyone would be happy if he got a C+." Actually I think there is a question. At the local comp, he would be needed to help get the higher grades they are targetted at getting (schools aren't just graded on C+ passes - that is just the league tables). Whereas at the current school he is a low achiever who won't any difference to the headline grades andf therefore isn't a priority. The thing is, no-one will ever know where he will actually do better, but we all like to believe we have made the 'correct' decision.

Chubfuddler Thu 11-Oct-12 17:58:32

Out of interest, how much per head roughly does a primary school get per year? A state one I mean.

gelo Thu 11-Oct-12 19:38:24

mnisa, there maybe some question, but it seems v unlikely that a child would outperform every other child at the local schools and take more/higher qualifications than the school offered. And if they had done so then they'd have stood out like sore thumbs, instead of being in the top groups without actually being top which imo is better for them and less likely to result in arrogance. I do take your point though that you never really know how things would have turned out if you had made a different choice with your dc's education.

I agree that results shouldn't be the main driver for choosing a private school even when they are clearly better. I like all the extra curricular things that just happen as part of the normal routine for example. Again, my dc have achieved more in those areas than they'd have been able to if it had to be done outside school and I think it has enriched their lives.

As has often been pointed out though, state and private schools vary hugely in their provision of extra curriculars and in terms of results too, so private may well be a waste of money from that perspective in some instances.

People all have different priorities over what they consider important in education and also what, if any, sacrifices in lifestyle are worth making if a private education has what they want when a state one doesn't, the really difficult thing is weighing up what the differences actually are.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 11-Oct-12 19:43:05

"And anyone who choses a school simply upon the basis of what results their child will get isn't really thinking it through. "
So so so true. Exam results are exem results. they are not education. I loathe the attitude which equates the 2. My ds will probably never pass ane xem in his life; does that mean his education is not worth investing in? Most assuredly not. I feel sorry for people who haven;t the imagination to see beyond league tables.

Way2Go Thu 11-Oct-12 19:45:52

KarlosKKrinkelbeim. Nice post. smile

jabed Thu 11-Oct-12 19:50:06

you only need to listen to R4 with its selection of lovely, well modulated and comprehensible accents to know that its not the be all and end all nowadays

You can actually hear them and understand them? Nothing grates more on my ears than some of those regional accents. I can listen to John Humphreys and similar but not strong accents. They are not as comprehensible as you would like to think. In fact the only reason the BBC use them is politically correct " diversity".

I still stand byt the statement. I do not want my DS learning to say " unnit" and worse swearing or even to copy East Enders or Scum ( or shame or skins ) or whatever it is called.

I do believe that in a future where international trade is important a single RP will be required to do business. Its what international speakers learn.

jabed Thu 11-Oct-12 19:52:13

"God where does this idea that Ed Miliband lives next door to the fanciest state school in Britain come from? "

No idea, it isn't (wasn't!) mentioned in this thread.

No, I didnt say he lived next door to one. I indicated ( correctly) that he and his brother went to one. Its was the socialists "state " haven for those so principled they couldnt go private.

pianomama Thu 11-Oct-12 19:54:41

Yep, exactly.

OP, I don't understand your point. What were your reasons for going private and then describing it as a waste of money for arseholes..
I dont think you can calculate how much each A will cost you over the years- if you do then it is a waste of money.

jabed Thu 11-Oct-12 19:58:52

Aren't the teachers in Private Schools trained in the same places as the teachers in State Schools?

Yes, as a general rule. The exception is when they are not trained at all but just take up teaching as " graduates" which isnt common these days.

Does beg the question exactly what sort of training it is that isnt supposed to be good enough doesnt it?

jabed Thu 11-Oct-12 20:09:14

The entire article is predicated on the 'London is the UK' assumption of many meeja types. The fact is that outside of a few cities the UK is quite homogenous. You won't rub shoulders with Afghans at a comprehensive in Glasgow, Jamicans in Padstow, or meet many Muslims in Sevenoaks.

Many independent schools are ethnically diverse because they have borders but they are very singular in certain attitudes toward education. Afgans, Jamacians or Muslims, they will all share the middle class values of wanting their children to succeed, work hard and have a good education.

It reminds me of something I heard a parent say to his child as he dropped him off this morning "I'll see you later , dont forget, work hard and play hard." That sums it up really. That is everything state schools are not IMO

rabbitstew Thu 11-Oct-12 20:21:05

I'm not sure Pooella opted for private in the first place in order to ensure her children get strings of As and A*s, she gives the impression more that she is disappointed to find that maybe that is the only real benefit her children's private school appears to be giving anyone that the state may not be able to offer. So now she's wondering whether all private schools are like that, and whether she is now too scared to go back into the state sector, in case it is just the same as the private school but with worse behaviour and without any promise of good exam results for her children. In other words, if that's all that is on offer to you (an exam factory with good results and other parents you aren't keen on, or an exam factory with very variable results and some parents you feel you've got something in common with), is it worth paying for it just for the exam results? Even if your children are quite bright and would hopefully therefore be among the comprehensive school kids that do get the good results?

At least, that's the impression I got. ie that her kids' private school probably isn't worth the money she's paying.

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 11-Oct-12 20:33:12

" they will all share the middle class values of wanting their children to succeed, work hard and have a good education."

Why is that limited to the middle class. I am not, I live on an estate that is mostly council housing. My children go to our local state school. I want them to succeed, work hard and have a good education.

In answer to the original question, I agree with what other have said about it depends what other options are open to you. I grew up in a town with an outstanding secondary state school. It had lots of middle class families and very good results. This town also had a small private school. It was known as "the school for yogarts" because the only children that went there were the ones who were rich and cultured but also a bit thick. grin It was like their parents thought they could buy their intelligence.

So if there is an outstanding state school then I would say it would be a waste of money but if you can afford it and it's the better option then why not?

Abra1d Fri 12-Oct-12 09:26:38

Whereas at the current school he is a low achiever who won't any difference to the headline grades andf therefore isn't a priority.

This is far from being the case. His teachers know he wants to go to a Russell Group university to read History and they will do all in their power to help him obtain as many As and A*s in his dreaded sciences as they can.

boschy Fri 12-Oct-12 10:05:29

"It reminds me of something I heard a parent say to his child as he dropped him off this morning "I'll see you later , dont forget, work hard and play hard." That sums it up really. That is everything state schools are not IMO"

oh jabed do you really think that state school parents (and teachers) dont encourage their children to do their best??

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 10:07:56

I think I would have thought someone was being a bit odd and performance parent-ish if they said in the playground 'work hard and play hard', yes. From memory, I think I used to say 'have a good day, love you', or 'be good, see you later'.... the working hard and playing hard would be a family ethos and expectation that you wouldn't really feel the need to say in public.

Mind you, dd couldn't usually hear me for all the other parents instructing their offspring 'remember, chuck chairs and swear'.

To go back to the idea of everyone using state schools: I think any CEO who thought he or or she was going to walk in and say 'I am a CEO and I want to see a bit of Latin around here goddammit' would be in for a well-deserved disabusal of his/her arrogance! So I don't think the 'careful what you wish for' argument necessarily works on that level.

What I do think though is that intake makes a big difference to non-curriculum things: ie, 'oh do you know what, let's shelve Speech Day this year, nobody ever turns up and it's pointless', and the kind of atmosphere which prevails if you have a school that is shunned by ambitious or aspirational parents. Similarly with PTAs, governors, smart PE kits, parents who are willing to say 'there should be a choir/debating club/hockey club here: why isn't there?' and so on. So all the little extras which are sometimes perceived to be lacking in some state schools, and the atmosphere more generally, are what would change - nobody wants, or would allow, rich parents to come in and demand curriculum changes!

happygardening Fri 12-Oct-12 10:42:39

Would someone please tell me how you would police the closing of independent schools?
And do you really think that you would galvanise the private school parents to help make changes?
If some do idealistic dogooder tried to close my DS's school I would fight it tooth and nail as would all the other parents many whom I suspect have significant influence over policy makers.
Secondly I have no time or interest in making changes at my DC's school. I don't at the current independent school I just send him and trust that they the experts are doing the right thing.

wordfactory Fri 12-Oct-12 10:52:59

I always say to my two 'Make good choices' in an American accent.

It's a quote from Freaky Friday.

wordfactory Fri 12-Oct-12 10:55:45

TOSN what you say is correct, I think.

In the school where I volunteered I saw a gradual caving in by the staff.
Parents never turned up tp anything. Reading was never done. Homework ignored.

In the end they just gave up.

To an extent I can see the same at the school where I am a governor.
The staff bang a particular drum for a period of time, but it is very dishearteneing^ when they're getting no where fast...so things slide back.

Houseworkprocrastinator Fri 12-Oct-12 10:59:05

"Mind you, dd couldn't usually hear me for all the other parents instructing their offspring 'remember, chuck chairs and swear'."

grin

mrsruffallo Fri 12-Oct-12 11:10:11

'I also want him to develop a sense of feeling for other people, respect and to understand kindness. Those are difficult things to come by in state schools these days'

With you as a parent, I doubt he will grow up to respect anyone who is state school educated.

And when did having a regional accent become a bad thing?! I missed that meeting. Assuming that RP is the correct way to speak or that a private education makes you a morally superior person is laughable and the type of old fashioned snobbery that I find highly amusing. Honestly, you sound archaic!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:11:35

I don't want to galvanize private school parents to make changes! In the unlikely event that I get made benevolent dictator of the British Isles, I would do away with private education, yes, but I wouldn't worry too much about that contingency just yet!

mrsruffallo Fri 12-Oct-12 11:13:08

Original Steaming Nit- Your post made me laugh.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:13:39

Also I'm grinning at the response I might have got if I'd called down the road as dd set off with her friends this morning 'work hard and play hard!'. I think I said 'see you this afternoon'. She knows if the working hard and playing hard aren't happening, there'll be conversations to be had without me making a point of it every morning.

wordfactory Fri 12-Oct-12 11:17:22

But some families have daft little rituals that stick no?

Perhaps the parent had said it once and now says it every morning as a joke. I know I do.

Mine would be disappointed if I didn't say it.

TOSN
Well until that day we will have to look at other solutions wink

I think parental attitudes to education are key and some new research appears to back that up
www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9602564/Good-parenting-matters-more-than-a-good-schoolsc.html

So its probable that the children of most people on this thread will do reasonably well whatever school they go to because we all care enough about education to debate the structure of the education system in this country.

What concerns me is that education is not valued by some people possibly because it has not offered any benefit to them so they don't see the value for their children. This is not traditional working class thinking, I come from South Wales and there used be a strong WC ethic of self education and self improvement such as through the Working Men's Institutes and the like. I'm not sure that exists in some areas any more.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:25:53

Yes, I agree Chaz's. And I think if you add into the mix for children whose parents aren't interested or supportive the view of the OP that they are 'rough' children at whom one shudders and then steers well clear - well it doesn't help.

wordfactory Fri 12-Oct-12 11:27:00

I wonder if education is seen as less valuable in some sections of society now as a direct result of consumerism and celebrity culture?

Plus the speed of modern life with immediate access to information, media on tap, instant communication and fast food is in direct opposition to dep seated learning, which is, by its very nature, slow and requires delayed gratification.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:27:29

Yes to rituals. And if it was that, fine - but to go from over-hearing that to making the assumption that a 'work hard, play hard' ethic is the sole preserve of private schools just because someone said it either as a little bit of performance parenting or a jokey ritual doesn't seem very logical!

wordfactory Fri 12-Oct-12 11:29:05

Well I hope if anyone were to overhear me they'd know I was taking the piss.

But then perhaps someone without any sense of humour would think I was being all California New Age.

boschy Fri 12-Oct-12 11:31:14

YY TOSN to both your previous posts.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:35:10

But they might be really impressed with Californian New Age! You don't hear enough of it round here. Perhaps on Monday I'll say 'now honey, you go right on out there and be the best that you can be!'. That would go down well grin

happygardening Fri 12-Oct-12 11:35:12

But TOSN when this day come and you are a "benevolent dictator of the British Isles," and "would do away with private education," how are you going to enforce it? No one will answer this question for obvious reasons; its not enforceable.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:38:47

Hmm, but I wonder whether or when there was a golden age when education was taken seriously by everyone? Not when you left at 12 to go out to work; not when you might not be allowed by your parents to take the 11+ because girls don't need education/the uniform is too expensive/you'll get ideas above your station. Not in the 80s when you could leave with 2 GCEs and a few CSEs at 16 and never go anywhere near a school again.

I think disaffectation (dissafection?) has a specific form now, and presents its own challenges, I'm just not sure what era we should be looking back to.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 11:42:18

Happy do not worry: I won't be! But I guess, thinking about something comparable which got banned - fox hunting - you have to do it and then deal with the law breakers one by one, don't you? People might have secret Boxing Day meets, where they all assemble in a building wearing gowns and saying Latin, but they'd have to do it to an empty hall with no children in it.

How is it not enforceable (in this rather daft hypothetical situation!)? If you start a school which charges entry, you're breaking the law and you get charged with that. Just as you're not allowed to solicit/chase a fox/run an illegal bookmakers

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 11:46:37

happygardening - you know perfectly well that independent schools have never been closed down precisely because of all the issues you raise... Perhaps you would also acknowledge that the existence of these schools has to date been of no benefit to state education and skews the debate on what to do about state education and what we should all be entitled to expect from it.

wordfactory Fri 12-Oct-12 12:05:24

Tossn I'm not sure there has been a golden age.

When I was at school in the seventies/eighties the vast majority of my peers hated school and couldn't wait to leave it.
The reasons were different perhaps.

happygardening Fri 12-Oct-12 12:08:09

"Perhaps you would also acknowledge that the existence of these schools has to date been of no benefit to state education and skews the debate on what to do about state education and what we should all be entitled to expect from it."
Yes I acknowledge that independent ed has ultimately no benefit to state ed despite what many in the sector would claim and I couldn't agree more that it does skew the debate on what to do about state ed. In fact I personally think that people should stop bashing independent ed; its not going to go away because even if we had the best state ed in the world there will always be those who believe that the independent sector at its very best provides vastly a superior education and will carry on paying and secondly because as we both agree it doesn't have any effect on state ed and is just a distraction.

happygardening Fri 12-Oct-12 12:19:59

TOSN the sort of people who can cheerfully pay £33 000+ a year per child (Im not talking your average middle class family here) are not gong to roll over and let their DC's schools be abolished, they will carry on taking them, they will make a stand and pay fines (have you any idea how much money these people have?) or if they don't you can imprison them or maybe arrest them as they drop their children off at their boarding houses or how about shoot them and have done with it once and for all or maybe take their children into care, you can erect barbed wire fences and call in the army to stop these schools from teaching children.
But Im labouring under the impression that this is the UK, this is not the West Bank or a tin pot African dictatorship. Stop channelling you frustration at state ed into independent ed, channel it into improving education for the vast majority of children make state ed better then the number will decline Mr and Mrs Middle Class don't really want to pay fees they would happily send their children to the local state school if they felt that it that it was a viable option. Leave the independent sector to the jaw droppingly wealthy these are the people in this globalised society who if they cant find it in the UK will go somewhere else and if necessary create it somewhere else.
Finally I'm afraid your fox hunting analogy is a bad one fox's are fortunately still being hunted by hound and killed.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Oct-12 14:00:39

I disagree very profoundly with the idea that private schools do not benefit state schools.

The private school sector is hugely innovative, and that innovation does infiltrate the state sector and improve the quality of our DCs' education. Sadly, not right across the board.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 14:05:34

For the love of god, stop with the barbed wire and tanks and guns stuff every time! grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 14:06:59

I'm also not actually frustrated at state education. Worried about some of the things Gove might do to it, yes, but I don't think I've ever said I think it's no good.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 14:17:00

Bonsoir - if the private sector is very innovative, it also has exceptionally poor marketing. Lots of people want their children privately educated because they view it as a means of getting a more "traditional" education, not because they view it as innovative in any shape or form. Or they view it as something that bears no resemblance to anything mere mortals will ever get, because that would require colossal amounts of money to get them the state of the art facilities, choices of every imaginable subject, teaching staff that would laugh at the thought of state sector wages, etc.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 12-Oct-12 14:20:51

Can you give an example of such innovation, and where it has filtered through, Bonsoir?

slipshodsibyl Fri 12-Oct-12 14:30:52

The private school sector is hugely innovative, and that innovation does infiltrate the state sector and improve the quality of our DCs' education

I would say it is - or has been as I'm not currently involved in maintained education - the other way around: the maintained sector does innovation (but not always properly trialled) well, but the private sector has the luxury of sufficient resources and independence to take the best of that innovation and use it.

apronsandbunting Fri 12-Oct-12 14:35:56

Apologies for not reading the thread in its entirety but noticed that one of the earlier posters suggested the thing to do was to look at all the schools in the local area and then send them to the one they thought was best for their child, whether this be private or state.

To me, this demonstrates how out of touch some parents are if they believe that a majority of the population have this option. For most of us, our only option is to send our child to the school the LA allocates, it's either that or home ed.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Oct-12 14:37:45

rabbitstew - I don't agree that people purchase private education because it is more traditional. Quite the contrary: most people purchase private education because they believe, quite rightly, that it is the best way to broaden their children's opportunities for tomorrow's world. If that includes some of the best features of education drawn from the past, so be it.

If you want to understand innovation in private schools, you really need to delve deep (innovation is not something superficial). The easiest way to start your research, apart from visiting schools directly, is to take a look at the text books that are designed outside the scope of the NC.

slipshodsibyl Fri 12-Oct-12 14:44:15

take a look at the text books that are designed outside the scope of the NC.

Do you have any specific titles or publishers in mind?

Bonsoir Fri 12-Oct-12 14:45:18

On my bookshelf behind me I have a stack of books by Galore Park, I have masses of Jelly & Bean readers and the Apples & Pears spelling books. But there are loads more!

aprons
If that is directed at me as I certainly made a comment about pick the best option it was a comment to an OP whose children are already in private education therefore I know the OP can afford this choice because they already do. Context is everything!

I fully accept that most people (including my own siblings) could not afford private education.

slipshodsibyl Fri 12-Oct-12 15:00:25

Bonsoir, Thanks. I wouldn't have thought to call Galore Park, the only ones I am properly familiar with, as innovative though?

I don't really separate innovation into different sectors as I think they overlap, but I still think my comment above stands. I also heard the same comment made once by the Head of a well known girls' school where I was at interview for a HOD job. I was the only state school employee there and was listening to my fellow applicants discuss the terrible things that were said to be going on in the state system. It certainly stopped them.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Oct-12 15:06:42

If I compare the Galore Park books I have behind me to the books my DD gets from school (both English NC and French NC) they are highly innovative. But you need to work with them for a while to understand why, I think. They are so much better at building deep and secure knowledge than other text books.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 15:15:06

I'm not sure I see Galore Park as innovation???? What's so innovative about it? And the other resources are available and appropriate for use in state schools, anyway, aren't they? State schools aren't obliged to use set textbooks or teaching methods for everything, you know - they have never been obliged to rely on the civil service to make up all their textbooks for them...

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 15:15:48

... and nor do you need the existence of private schools to make up a new reading scheme or method for learning to spell.

slipshodsibyl Fri 12-Oct-12 15:29:04

I can imagine you might have some poor NC books. There is a lot of dross published in the UK. I agree Galore Park are very convenient, thorough and easy to work through at home. They are certainly not innovative in English though. And a highly regarded maths specialist (not my subject) whom I asked to use a GP Maths book to do some work with my DC , described it as 'very boring'. I wish I'd asked why now.

jabed Fri 12-Oct-12 16:35:38

oh jabed do you really think that state school parents (and teachers) dont encourage their children to do their best??

What parents do I cannot say. I do know working in state schools that there is an ethos of under achievement fuelled by "school is not cool"

captainbarnacle Fri 12-Oct-12 16:36:25

Well, I returned two hours ago from my first, prep school open day. As a state educated child, and preKids a state school educator, it was an eye opener. Especially the scheme led and very unimaginative preprep. In comparison to the state school classrooms I taught in, and that my son is taught in now, the technological facilities were lacking. Strikes me that the prep school parents didn't want innovation, they want a good solid grounding in the basics and the classics.

All I see you are paying for is small classes (half the size of his current primary school) and the right sort of classmates, and some extra curricular stuff. I do appreciate that, and think that sometimes innovation and national curriculum initiatives get in the way of state school teaching. But really, my son's current class teacher is head and shoulders above the preprep woman I saw today. I really must tell her that!

I am so pleased I looked around. I don't think prep is ruled out (OH has his heart set on a public school education for DS) but it will certainly be delayed, probably until yr5. And yes, I met some very polite and lovely parents today, products of public education themselves, who did seem a little dim.

jabed Fri 12-Oct-12 16:47:05

Strikes me that the prep school parents didn't want innovation, they want a good solid grounding in the basics and the classics

I think that pretty well sums it up for me. I dont want edutainment. I want my child educated.

I could add in my own feeling that I dont want change and innovation either, I want a level of stability and tradition. I am not against change, I am against change for changes sake.

There are many other things I dislike about state schools so I guess my decision is not for private schools but against state ones. That is the wht abolishing private education nwill not improve state education. If I couldnt pay for a foos school of my choice formy DS I would not be campaigning for a better state system but looking around for another alternative. I am already using HE.

The state system is broken and I suspect now beyond repair. Thats how I feel about it anyway.

jabed Fri 12-Oct-12 16:50:16

captain barnacle - I know a number of people ( or maybe one?) have cited wrap around care and after school clubs as a reason for choosing an independent but they are both low on my list. So low I dont even consider them.

captain
Private school parents rightly get slated for judging all state schools based on experience of one school. I assume you won't be judging all private schools on your experience of one school in the sector either?

I am a private school parent but I am probably not so very polite and lovely (maybe because of my state educationwink) but I do have post grad qualifications as do quite a few of the parents at my sons' prep. Perhaps the school you were looking at isn't totally representative of the sector as a whole?

mumzy Fri 12-Oct-12 16:54:55

I went to view some inner city state secondaries last week with my ds2, what struck me was how much they had copied from the independent schools since I went here with ds2 2 years ago. From the moment I step through the door there was a slick marketing campaign, nice refreshments, goody bag, the beribboned flannel blazers, the multitude of clubs, the prefect system, the house system, head boy and girl, increase in competitive sports, the Oxbridge grooming classes.

Abra1d Fri 12-Oct-12 16:55:44

captain barnacle i agree. We kept our two in the vilage state primary until they were ten for this reason. The reception-year two classes in particular were excellent and my two could not have done better. I also liked the social and ability mix. By ten, my two were getting restless and that is when we moved them both.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 12-Oct-12 17:06:51

I think there are good and bad schools in both sectors. Perhaps the private sector offers more innovation in terms of the delivery of the subject matter.
I do think that the OP is wrong in the assumption that the after school activities mentioned would only cost £1k.
This might be possible if all of these were offered and to a good enough standard, by state provision. However, privately you'd be looking at at least double this/ maybe 3x as much.
I think the only way you can truely have innovative, imaginative and non nc topics is to find your own resources and teach them yourself. Otherwise your dc are confined to the system and teaching methods of the school, private or state.

captainbarnacle Fri 12-Oct-12 17:17:34

Abra1d - yes, I can see us doing that. Chazs - no, of course am not going to judge based on just one private school! But as that is geographically the only possible private choice for us, then it was important. And it was my first dip in the water to see what it is like. I thought I would be more impressed!

Yes, I dislike innovation for innovation's sake. I dislike the prescriptive National Curriculum and the hoop jumping. I like small classes. I like independent learning. I like a wide choice of extra curricular stuff. I don't need wrap around care at the moment.

Anyway, it seems that through OH's sheer bloody hard work, we have options. Lots of options. Very lucky for us. I'm going to keep in touch with the prep school I saw today and see how it develops in the next two years, and see if it is going to meet DS needs.

I just thought that the prep school system would be more.... Inspiring. But then I saw it not through the eyes of a parent, but through the eyes of a teacher (though only 7yrs experience) and I could see gaps between state school and prep school provision, and on some things the state schools I know were out on top.

captain
Fair enough.

I think the key thing is to find the right school for your child. If the state option is the better option at the moment than the only private school in your area then you would be mad to pay for the private option at this stage (there is plenty of time to spend your money in the future). If its a 13+ prep and you are looking at Common Entrance for Senior school then yr7-8 that are the most critical although some Senior Schools do pre-test and/or interview in Yr6.

Its not just about learning styles but also facilities for me. We are in central London and the primary schools have very little outside space whereas my sons' prep has playing fields. They have an active orchestra, ensembles and choirs at a time when state school music is facing cuts. I know that in some parts of the country the difference between some of the private schools and some of the state schools is not very noticeable.

CokeFan Fri 12-Oct-12 17:49:10

If I ruled the world I'd set a maximum size for schools of 700 so that pupils didn't get "lost" in the system. Schools could share sports facilities or whatever if necessary.

I don't think that closing private schools would help the state sector at all. There's nothing that the parents of privately educated children could do that the current state pupils' parents aren't doing already and those with the most money/time/motivation would make sure they moved house to get into the "best" schools and tutoring to make sure they stayed in the top sets with the other motivated pupils, pushing those with fewer resources out.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Oct-12 17:55:28

I don't think big schools necessarily mean people getting lost in the system, though, CokeFan - even that is a generalisation. Sometimes there is an economy of scale with big schools: they get the same funding per pupil, but can therefore be more creative with the money and thus provide, if well run, better support for individuals.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 12-Oct-12 17:59:32

OP, fwiw, if you don't feel you fit in, you should leave.
I say this not out of my own experience but what dh told me of his former work.
He witnessed the effect on the dcs who invariably suffer as they become more engrossed in the school.
When our 2 older dcs were school age we were offered discounted fees/ reductions for this and that, etc. It wouldn't have cost us much.
We refused and I am so glad we did now.
Its not about which school is better, how they are taught, etc.
If you don't fit in your dc wont either.
It was a very good school in a fantastic beautiful location and the education would have been second to none.
My dcs friends would have been Princes, dcs of Multi Millionnairres, Owners of our countries most well established companies.
Talk about fish out of water.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 12-Oct-12 18:14:59

Sorry OP miss read your post, Friday afternoonitis.
However, I still say go for what suits your dc not which appears to offer more.

My eldest ds ended up in the worst secondary school you could ever imagine. Barbed wire, roughest estate in the NW, drugs, knives and resident police presence.
The environment was hostile and teachers were incompetent.
A super head transformed it so much it became a beacon of success and local model for other schools. He finally got the best education he could have wished for and fully reached his potential. He achieved 10 GCSE's all grade C, which was far better than anyone could have imagined for him grin

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 21:05:23

Only one person on MN writes this kind of bizare guff with any degree of seriousness jabedor his recent name change ronaldo

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 21:10:54

Sorry managed to post the above comment in the wrong thread should have been in "Super child - Part 1 (related to 11 plus)" the responses are absolutely fantastic; I laughed so much that I cried and couldn't read the bloody screen!

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