Areas where state schools are better than private?

(538 Posts)
Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 09:45:42

Does anyone live in an area where the state schools are really better than the private ones? I picked this up elsewhere but am afraid to comment there.

I have lived and worked in the Midlands where there are few private schools to choose but the state schools are not very good. I have lived in Nottingham, where again I felt the state schools were poor.

Even in London there were some awful schools and private was best.

I currently live in Cornwall having got here working in Exeter, Plymouth and Barnstaple. None of the state schools were good there.

Just wondered where the good state provision is. Is it just odd schools within a mass of poor provision or are there really whole areas where state schools are better?


(PS I have my own DC in a boarding school partly because of the state schooling and partly because we move around so much)

Bonsoir Mon 29-Oct-12 09:48:13

In Kent there are some excellent state grammars (super selectives) that are many families' first choice schools.

Arisbottle Mon 29-Oct-12 09:48:15

I doubt there is anywhere that all the state schools are better than all the independents.

This may be skewed by the presence of grammars, meaning that the indpendents may largely focus on less academic children.

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 09:53:02

@narrie if you worked in Exeter then you will know that there is one state school which is accessible to kids in Exeter which is significantly better than not just the private schools in Exeter but most of the private schools in the UK.

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 09:55:06

Oh - and where I grew up in London my state school was at the time considered as good or better than the local private girls' schools (girls would leave the paying schools to go to our school for sixth form, especially if they wanted to do music). I understand that it's not better than them now, although it is still very very good.

vampirestakeknickers Mon 29-Oct-12 09:56:54

All the schools here are excellent, both the v. famous public school and the state secondary. Hence v. few day boys/girls at the public school.

We routinely beat them at rugby and get better IB and Alevel results than them grin

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 10:05:04


With respect one school with limited access because it is over subscribed does not make the whole provision any better. How about the other school in Exeter which is amongst the worst? I did ask for areas and not just odd schools.


MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 10:09:09

Narrie with respect you made a sweeping statement about Exeter and I just pointed out a caveat. I was very clear it was one school I was talking about. Athough there is a comp in Exeter which gets pretty good results at GCSE (no sixth form, the biggest drawback to state education in the city IMO) certainly better than some of the private schools (though obviously not the 3 most well known ones). However since you were using Exeter to support your obvious thesis of state =rubbish private= good I thought it was worth pointing out your ......incomplete disclosure, since in fact Exeter/Devon is one of the best examples of an area where there is a state school which is significantly better than most private schools.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 10:20:02


Where is "here"?


Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 10:22:32


Maybe you and I do not share the same definition of what is good.

I still asked for areas not one school. In Exeter the provision is very mixed.


noisytoys Mon 29-Oct-12 10:26:43

I'm in Southend. We have super selective grammars. We have about 800+ applicants for 100 spaces and they have removed grammar catchments this year so they will get more applicants and more competitive.

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 10:29:22

I don't think there are any, are there? There are individual schools in both sectors that are better or worse than individual schools in the other sector. But I can't imagine an area where all of one sector is better than all of another.

Bit of an odd question. iMHO.

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 10:31:16

Narrie I think that for a comp to get 74% 5 GCSEs including English and maths at A*-C isn't bad. In the same year (2011) St Margaret's, which charges umpty thrumpty grand a term, got 78% on the same benchmark.

In your OP you asked for areas where state schools are better than private. Exeter (well - Devon) is one such area. If you meant areas where all the state schools are better than all the private ones then perhaps that's what you should have asked for.

wordfactory Mon 29-Oct-12 10:33:36

I think what is a good school is entirely subjective.

If we are judging in bald results, there may be grammar areas where the grammar schools compare (results wise) with the independents.

But most parents don't base what makes a school good or bad based purely on that, do they?

middleclassonbursary Mon 29-Oct-12 10:38:22

In parts of Wiltshire state comp academic results will be comparable if not better than many of the non/less selective independent schools in the country. But if you look at the FT school league tables there are only three state schools in the top 20 and those are very selective and 25 in the top 100.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 10:52:23


Bit of an odd question. iMHO

Odd maybe, but it is something I see said here. I just picked it up to ask - to see what these people mean. I have lived in a number of places mentioned orginally. Whilst some schools may seem to some "good", generally I have found the whole picture very depressing to be very honest. Sometimes the good schools are not so very good. But that is me. Maybe I do have different standards. Maybe I should have asked that question, I do not know.


seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 10:58:14

I haven't ever seen anyone say that the is a whole area where state schools a better than private- or the other way round! It woul be a bit of a bonkers thing to say!

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:00:58

No grammars round here, but some rather outstanding comps ....
The BBC page for Hampshire's league tables says it far more clearly that I can
and none of that stress about grammar school exams where you might end up on the wrong side of the fence

middleclassonbursary Mon 29-Oct-12 11:01:53

OP you make a good point the whole picture can be "very depressing". Our local comp providing a so called "education for the whole community" is selective at 6th form and is quick to chuck out those who don't perform to its required standard! Its one of the highest comps in the league tables but its not providing an education for all of our rural community many of whom have to travel up to 30 miles to other schools 6 th form colleges!

eatyourveg Mon 29-Oct-12 11:04:22

By best I assume you are talking solely % A*-C, if so I would imagine most of the exam factories super selective grammars are "better" than quite a few of the small independent schools that exist up and down the country.

scarevola Mon 29-Oct-12 11:08:45


The two "best" comprehensives (non-grammar) area are truly excellent, and are on a par with the local private schools. And even the "sink" schools would be middle-ranking to good in some other areas.

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 11:11:58

And at the very top of the league tables there is very little difference between the schools- one person getting an unexpected C can skew the numbers!

leosdad Mon 29-Oct-12 11:14:09

Unfortunately comprehensive state schools will always get lower results, they are not allowed to select on ability, behaviour, motivation, parental support, whether a child has eaten before coming to school etc, etc.

Theas18 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:15:04

Super selective grammars here are (possibly?) better than private for kids who thrive with a really academic schooling . However the range of experience isn't that of the fee paying schools- and the "scores on the doors" are the same.

If I could have paid for my 3 would I- YUP!

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:16:08

"state schools better than private"
- academically?
- sports?
- music?
- art?
- inter school competition?
- trips and outings?
- DofE provision?
- facilities to allow children with SEN to excel at what they can?

sadly, the definition of "best" often excludes so many interesting, intelligent and dynamic people
that is why I like comps ....

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:17:30

how do you reconcile that with comps getting over 75% of their kids through 5 GCSE A*-C ?

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 11:22:51

@middleclass of course the FT tables use slightly madey-uppy stats to derive its tables in order to re-enforce its own prejudices. The DfES stats show rather more state schools doing well 'by results' than the FT does. But even accounting for that, one area specifically mentioned by the OP as having appalling state schools (with no caveats) has a state school in the FT top 50. And no private schools even close to the top 50. Hence my disquiet really since she is obviously pursuing the tired old state=rubbish private=great agenda. Yes, the school in question is highly selective but it is still a state school. And very very good by any objective measure unless you consider being open to those who can't afford the private schools as being a mark in its disfavour and thus disqualifying it from being considered as 'good'.

The comp I mentioned above is the school my DS goes to and while it could be better administratively (as could all schools and frankly most organisations in any sector) I do most definitely think it is a Good School. And I don't think there is anything wrong with my standards.

EvilTwins Mon 29-Oct-12 11:24:04

We have excellent state grammars where I live, and people routinely wait to see if their kids get in before sending them to the private schools. Having said that, we have one particularly famous Independent Girls School but I think that's mostly boarders, a lot of whom are overseas students.

I think it's an odd question, though, OP. It's down to person choice and what's best for the child, surely. I would never send mine to private school. I could afford to, but I choose not to.

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 11:27:26

@Talkin ""state schools better than private"
- academically?
- sports?
- music?
- art?
- inter school competition?
- trips and outings?
- DofE provision?
- facilities to allow children with SEN to excel at what they can?

sadly, the definition of "best" often excludes so many interesting, intelligent and dynamic people
that is why I like comps ...."

I often disagree with you but I completely agree with this post. I have two kids at two different types of school - because my kids are different from each other. I think both the schools they attend are really very good. And I feel pretty lucky that both my elder DCs have been able to go to the right school for them.

scarevola Mon 29-Oct-12 11:28:08

If your local private schools routinely get 95%+ achieving A*-C, then there's nothing to reconcile, surely, in describing 75% as lower.

Whether the grade at the end is as important as the educational and developmental journey getting there, is hilly subjective.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:30:26

and for those without the resources to choose private or to drive children to different schools on the same day (ie the vast, vast bulk of the population)
decent comps are what we hope for - to bring out the best in each and every one of our children.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 11:52:00

I am always very dubious of exam results. I have met a lot of fiddling massaging of results to make things look good. I dont just mean in private schools. I have seen a lot of it amongst grammar schools who are said to perform highly and amongst some sixth forms colleges with "good results". I dont think exam tables show the full picture. But its not just the selective schools doing it. Many comprehensive schools I have seen push their results up by using various criteria to analyse their results. Grammar schools are a muddy area because if like us you have to move the grammar school is not an option open to you always. Of course selective schools will be good. That is what selective means isnt it?

I didnt want to make this a private vs state issue. I am interested in the comment I read elsewhere as to the state schools in an area (unspecified) being better than the private ones. So I took that as my starting point. I dont know of any such places. Clearly I have not lived in the right places. That is why I asked.

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 11:57:36

How have you seen a lot of massaging of results in grammar schools (plural) when you haven't even sent your kids to such schools? I'm intrigued.

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 12:00:12

how do you reconcile that with comps getting over 75% of their kids through 5 GCSE A*-C ?"

Because a selective school, regardless of sector will get nearer 95%-100%.

Whwt people forget when they look at stats is that the schools which get 95% A*-C don't have any children who are likely to get Cs and Ds. The A* and A kids would be A* and A whatever school they were in.

And because at some schools the 5 A*-Cs can include equivalent vocational qualifications. A*-C including English qnd Maths is worth looking at.

Narrie- where did you see anyone saying that there were areas where all the state schools were better than all the private schools? Because I am a education threadnjunkie and I've never seen anyone saying that!

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 12:00:14

Too right schools fiddle their results.
League tables are good in that they shine a light, but it is SUCH a narrow beam.
More revealing could be
- how many FSM kids get DofE
or how many kids do a non timetabled activity every week (lunchtime / after school)
or how many of the top 30% of pupils go on to RG Unis and then do not change courses (a sign of having been supported to make the right choices)

the trouble with selective schools is that their criteria may exclude kids who are great at some things and rubbish at others, but who would in fact add to the experience of everybody in the cohort - even more of a problem in state selective schools which have often turned into middle class islands full of people who do not realise that they are not representative demographically.

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 12:00:59

And I am also very puzzled about how you could massage figures at grammar schools......

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 12:02:33

And because at some schools the 5 A*-Cs can include equivalent vocational qualifications. A*-C including English qnd Maths is worth looking at
THe BBC page I was talking about specifically said GCSE - no equivalents or Btecs ....

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 12:02:48

Another interesting thing to ask a private school is how many pupils have been asked to leave between year 7 and 11. Bet they won't tell you!

Arisbottle Mon 29-Oct-12 12:03:09

I have some experience of grammars, admittedly I left very quickly , and living in a grammar school area I know lots of grammar school teachers. Kids are pulled from exams if it is thought they won't get the best grades. The same happens in some independents.

Lilymaid Mon 29-Oct-12 12:23:50

"Another interesting thing to ask a private school is how many pupils have been asked to leave between year 7 and 11. Bet they won't tell you!"

Our local comprehensive has always been well known for kicking out the trouble makers at the end of Y10/beginning of Y11 - so that they end up with about 5 hours teaching per week at a referral centre and little chance of getting 5 good GCSEs.

middleclassonbursary Mon 29-Oct-12 12:25:16

In both the state and the independent sector children are asked to leave if they do not get good enough grades to go into the 6th form. Even at my local comp those with "poor" AS level results are asked to leave. The league tables are ultimately an indicator of a schools ability to select children in the first place, children that suit your way of teaching and are motivated and prepared to work hard.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 12:25:51

They are not allowed to do that any more.
The pupils results still count as theirs and they have to pay for the PRU now out of the school budget ....
The only way round it is a permanent exclusion and that is very hard to get now

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 12:26:41

sorry - my post was at Lilymaid

6th form is not compulsory so they can pick and choose who they like

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 12:37:46


I have worked in some grammar schools and I have also worked in a so called top sixth form college. I might be speaking out of turn if I said what I have seen happen wrt exams. Several posters have mentioned some of the things that go on. I have seen the following:-

Schools remove pupils from the exams / and or the school if they think they will not secure a suitable pass.

Schools entering their less able in other schools (a grammar school I worked in did this)

Schools asking students to leave just before the exams because they will not obtain suitable grades to keep the scollege up the league tables (sixth form college this one)

Schools entering candidates who might spoil the results as private candidates.


LaVolcan Mon 29-Oct-12 12:41:40

Schools entering candidates who might spoil the results as private candidates.

But then refunding the exam fee if the child does better than expected so that they can claim the result? I have only heard rumours of this - I can't say it definitely goes on.

teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 13:07:51

I sometimes make the point on here that the state schools available to my son FROM MY HOUSE are better than the local private schools. That does not mean that every state school in my county is better than every private school.

If I look at the top 20 schools for A level results in my county:
The top is a superselective state grammar.
Grammars also come 3rd, 4th and 5th.
The top independent (nationally known school but single sex) comes second. Other independents come 7th, 9th, 15th, 16th and 18th.
The top comprehensive (technically a secondary modern due to the presence of a grammar school) comes 6th.

Thus state schools where my son could go (right gender, catchment including my house) come 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th. First private school he could go to comes 7th.

LadyofWinterfell Mon 29-Oct-12 13:20:03

I agree with teacher . The State schools available to my DC, from my house, are far better than the 'local' private school. I also have a choice of 4 secondary schools, and numerous grammar schools near here. My DDs will thrive in 2 different state secondaries. They'd be lost at the grammars.

I live in the Midlands.

Welovecouscous Mon 29-Oct-12 13:23:42

Where I grew up the local girls private school got lower results than my co ed comp. my old school is still ofsted outstanding 1 not sure how the private is doing.

leosdad Mon 29-Oct-12 13:36:51

There is a huge difference between just getting the 5 A*-C's (ie 5C's) including english and maths which is the basic "target" result required for entry into the next level of education and the 10 A*/A which is about the norm for a selective school (state or private).

The other advantage that a comprehensive school offers is the range of abilities (academic, sporting, artistic etc) of the children within the school which is more like the outside world. Also in the sixth form there were the ad hoc sessions encouraged by the teachers during study periods where the more able students explained the subject material to those who were a little weaker which also helped the more able students with presentation skills and understanding of other people. I don't think you could get that in a hot house environment.

parsnipcake Mon 29-Oct-12 13:39:57

In Trafford there are lots of excellent state schools, both grammar and state. The SEN provision is generally very good too. The private schools aren't great, they are pretty mixed. However I think it's impossible to generalise and answer your question as things can change very quickly, and every child has its own needs.

teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 13:42:49

Should also have made the point that I am considering school choice bearing in mind my own child. He is a) a boy, b) bright (hence why A-level results are my 'benchmark of choice' as he will still be in school at that point), c) on the ASD spectrum.

If I had a less able girl, with particular needs or without the ASD complication, then I might look at schools in different ways and rank them differently.

teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 13:44:27

Leosdad - that's another reason why I use A-level points as a 'benchmark of choice', rather than any of the ones relating to GCSEs.

difficultpickle Mon 29-Oct-12 13:47:49

I always think that value added is a better indication of how good a school is. Just because a school has high results doesn't mean they have done their best for their pupils. A very academic cohort will always do well wherever they are at school.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 13:57:26

at my DCs comp, the top 80 or so in each year group are expected to hit the 10 A* / A and maybe a smattering of Bs
The 6th form colleges - because that is the system here - get outstanding results with kids from all types of school.

And yes, the attitude to mentoring and support would not be possible in a school that had weeded out all those who were a bit different at the start.

diabolo Mon 29-Oct-12 14:07:32

I'm in Suffolk - some of the state schools get better results than some of the independents. Some are in specials measures / being forced to turn into Academies.

I am fairly sure the same can be said of any county in the UK. If there was a particular area where every state comp outperformed all local fee-paying schools, can you imagine the house prices???? grin

middleclassonbursary Mon 29-Oct-12 15:12:21

"If I look at the top 20 schools for A level results in my county:
The top is a superselective state grammar."
Ive just done that on the BBC website that you listed when I filtered by A level results/points St Swithans come top followed by Winchester! Both independent I believe. Not that it really matters as I've said above.

teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 15:13:00


Unfortunately value added information is not available for independent schools, so when making cross-sector comparisons it can't be used.

Added value has also to date flattered selective schools, particularly superselective grammars, because Level 5 was the 'ceiling' on SATs results for league tables.

Superselectoves take lots of children who are already Level 6 or higher on entry, but in the 'value added calculation' are treated as being Level 5. So the school may do very little indeed for such children but they would still 'numerically' seem to gain at least 1 or 2 levels, simply because they were actually that level on entry IYSEM.

teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 15:13:56

I said 'in my county'. I believe that you live in a different one?

ethelb Mon 29-Oct-12 15:19:00

overly vauge question but Hampshire. Some parents take their children out of private to go state.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:20:18

You've sorted Hampshire.
We have no grammars and hardly any of the state schools have 6th forms so its not really a surprise that those two come top
boarding schools are rarely a good measure of a county : Hampshire is stuffed full of them - not many of the parents live in Hampshire though!

ethelb Mon 29-Oct-12 15:24:05

yes, there are only a handful of (very large) 6th form colleges in Hampshire.

weegiemum Mon 29-Oct-12 15:24:05

Scotland, in particular, for bilingual education.

My children go to Sgoil Ghaidlig Ghlaschu, the Glasgow Gaelic School. There's not a private school I've ever heard of that would provid totally bilingual education.

I couldnt buy the education they are getting by any means other than by getting private bilingual tuition.

scarevola Mon 29-Oct-12 15:26:05

"can you imagine the house prices????"

Info for Harrogate (average £272k) The same BBC tool can be used for any part of the country which gets a shout-out on this thread.

Takver Mon 29-Oct-12 15:27:31

I think if you look at small provincial towns where the private school is a non-selective 'I don't want my child to mix with the nasty estate children' sort of school then you'll often find that the state options are better on any measurement other than that of 'speaking naicely'.

Certainly that was the case in the town where I went to secondary school (in the midlands), and I believe it is still so. However, if you then spread your net a little more widely, you'd immediately come across excellent independent schools in the same county.

I imagine there are unlikely to be any areas where state facilities are systematically better than private, otherwise why would anyone bother paying?

Lancelottie Mon 29-Oct-12 15:28:42

Good grief, Talkinpeace, how big is your school if the top 80 get all A and up?

Munashe Mon 29-Oct-12 15:30:47

Why assume grammar = good?

I am in a full grammar area and while almost all the grammars get 100 A-C, the proportion that gets A/A* is appalling considering how selective they are at 11. A level results often being the worst and dismal and I can see why more people do A levels private.

Even some of the so called super selective ought to get better results. When a school selects about 100 from more than 1500 they should get better results. Have a look at the Sutton Trust report and they are about 20 state schools of the top 100 schools in UK. This is if you have a narrow definition of defining best by academic ability only.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:32:15

300 per year group
they had 6 got 14 x A* last year
once you include A's and B's its around the top two sets and a bit
allowing for the grade squeeze - which has turned into a numbers squeeze - the top ones are only taking 10 or 11 this year - they should get that again.....

Lancelottie Mon 29-Oct-12 15:35:41

Right, I was comparing with son's much smaller year group (where that would represent over 50% of the year) -- but all the same, wow!

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:38:47

The school up the road gets a lot better than that!
Its amazing what big comps can do with well spread cohorts ....
hence why - as ethelb says - many kids come out of the fee paying schools to join them at the 6th form colleges

middleclassonbursary Mon 29-Oct-12 15:44:03

Teacher sorry thought you said you lived in Hampshire must have been someone else! I can never find people posts when I want them.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:48:21

Here is a county with superselectives
no matter how you spin it, they whump the fee payers !
and the majority of the other schools are pretty acceptable too.

middleclassonbursary Mon 29-Oct-12 16:03:43

Talkin they dont "whump" all the fee payers my DC independent schools results were significantly better than the one that came top as were the other two schools he was offered places/bursaries at!

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:10:45

the top four schools are state selectives however you click the buttons on results ...

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 16:23:29

@middleclass According to the BBC there was;t a school in the country did better than Colchester Royal Grammar school on A level results, in 2011. The 2012 results aren't final yet of course. So I'd be interested to know which 3 private schools got better results. I know the FT ranks schools differently but that's because they make stuff up (or more importantly, choose to disregard stuff), in order to present the picture they wish to present.

mnistooaddictive Mon 29-Oct-12 16:41:06

I grew up in a town with NO private schools. I guess in that area, the state provision is better! Peopole wanting private education had to travel long distances to other towns. Some did it , but it put some people off who would otherwise have paid.

Munashe Mon 29-Oct-12 17:28:34

Colchester grammar school children do many A levels and so the points per pupil is higher. It does well but it wasn't the best, look at the A*/A table on Telegraph and the Sunday times. The best state schools are Hanrietta Bennett and Queen Elizabeth in terms of scoring higher grader. Colchester still a tidy 4th

The BBC table is the worst of all because it ranks by points per pupil so a school that does many subjects does better. Universities care about quality and not quantity so other league table metrics available elsewhere are much better.

Anyone who thinks state schools perform as well as Indies is just deluding themselves. The statistics are there to prove it. Of course there are rubbish indies too but when it comes to the top 100 school, 80 are indies...If anyone cares go and have a look on Sutton Trusts, its all there. Those super selectives everyone here raves on about about are the ones that make the 20 that are in this league.

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 17:47:51

You do realise that the telegraph tables are as much an excercise in obfuscation as the FT ones? There is no direct comparison between the two tables, state and private. The state table has A* then A*/A/B whereas the private table has just A*/A (a fairly sure indicator that the private school A* standalone figures aren't so good).

You can prove most things with the appropriately selected stats. I'm a mathmo. I know how it's done. grin But, of course, I won't argue with you that there are plenty of superb private schools. However there are also some superb state schools, and in some areas, such as the one in which I live, the top state school is significantly better than the top private school. And to try and pull some kind of 'well, that one doesn't count because it's one of the really good ones' thing doesn't wash.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 18:06:42

The truly accurate tables with be the Dfe ones - I have the KS4 on my PC.
As every school (private or state) has to submit exactly the same data to prove they are an education institution....

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 18:15:30


Do you have a link for those Dfe tables please?
I would like to see them.
Are there any for A level as well?


uoYekorByMredluomS Mon 29-Oct-12 18:19:04

In areas like Sutton with superselectives and only one official indie school then the superselectives will obviously do better but that's not measuring all the indies within striking distance and isn't a value added score. It can be argued that the non selective girls indie does better with what it is presented with than the superselectives.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 18:21:37

Funny you should ask that :-)
Here is the link to the A level tables by subject and school type
Table 1c is the most revealing - once you have hidden rows 12, 14 and 17 as they are subtotals....

have not yet found it by school, but suspect it won't be there because the numbers of students are small enough to be a data protection issue

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 18:23:14

Here is the link to the GCSE data set - its huge : I have summarised for my own purposes

Munashe Mon 29-Oct-12 18:34:23

That table you linked to just proves what I was saying;
Table 1c of 16-18 year old shows that 51.9% achieve A/A* in indies compare that with 41% in state grammar schools. Bearing in mind not all indies are selective, you can't argue with figures.

Those figures would have been more revealing if they have shown the breakdown of subjects by sector too. My nearest grammar has psychology and business studies as the most popular subjects. Yes its a grammar school. Most indies doesn't even do these at A level.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 18:38:45

Thank you

teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 18:39:39

But Munashe, the question was not about ALL Indie schools vs ALL state schools/ grammar schools. It was about specific areas.

The point is that in some areas, the best schools are state schools. In others, the best schools are independents.

The best school for your child might not be the best school in the tables.

The best school in terms of what it does for all children (as opposed to simply taking on the brightest / richest) won't be at the top of these tables, but might well be exactly where you want your child to be.

Actually Nottingham has got areas - e.g. West Bridgford, where all the state schools are excellent, in fact all the primary schools in the area were outstanding.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 18:50:21

EVERY independent school is selective : only the mind numbingly rich will spend school fees on children who will not achieve an Art GCSE without the teacher's help.....

In fact round here it works both ways : the less bright kids get pulled out of the private school to go to the free Sixth Form college
and the uber bright kids go to the college because it has the mega resources ....

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 18:54:31

All independent schools are selective. It doesn't matter what criteria you use for selection, a selective school will do bett then a non selective.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 18:56:03


It is about areas. Its also about what is considered "excellent". Personally I was not impressedwith the area whereI was living at the time.

It does seem though that many posters want to say how brilliant the grammar schools are but forget that most children will not be able to go to these. They also forget that many of us are not necessarily able to buy houses in the catchments for the schools they recommend. This is not a feature of cost always, its availability. Exeter is classic for that

When I lived in the West Midlands I lived in a borough which did not have any local independents and the schools were all comprehensive. Most of them were broken comprhensives. Of course a few miles away there was a very good grammar school in a different authority and a good independent around 15 miles away. No good for my job though or for my OH.

I now live in Cornwall. I have a choice of one school. The area I live in is very good in terms of where to live but the schools do not reflect that. But then most of those I live by are older and retired. Most potentially good schools are spoiled because they have a wide catchment and they take in many different children from different backgrounds and whilst some people think that is good, I do not. It does bring problems with it.
That is how I see it.

It seems though that the areas with good state schools areexclusively those with grammar school systems and its only the grammar schools that make them good. Hang you if you are not able to get your children into them. It also seems that its a small region of Nottingham, not where I lived. Hampshire and Essex where the good schools are.


teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 18:59:55

I should add to my earlier posts that DS goes to the 'secondary modern' comprehensive which is 6th in the county at A level - still above all the Independent schools he is the correct gender for - so no, it's not just the grammars which are good...

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 19:05:01

There are loads of good state schools that aren't grammar schools!

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 19:10:48

So people keep saying. They just do not give a convincing argument to back it up. I look at the figures and the tables and I cannot see what I am told is there.


MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 19:15:43


If you really want to talk about Devon, it is correct that not everyone can live in the catchment for The Kings school (although Ottery is not expensive, and to be honest if it was a choice between moving to Ottery or paying for The Maynard, for example, I know which would be more likely to be achievable for most people). St Peters of course doesn't have a catchment area. Nor does the grammar school. However it seems fairly clear from your latest post that your definition of a good school is in fact one which is socially exclusive. And no, you don't get that in Devon/Exeter, not even in the 3 big private schools which all offer good bursaries and other assistance.

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 19:20:51

Ok. A grammar school educates the "top set" and they get 95ish% A*-C. If those children were at a comprehensive school, they would still get those results. But the school would not get 95ish% a*-c because all the other children who won't get a*-c are there too. So comparing a grammar school to a comprehensive doesn't make sense.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:21:16

You have to compare like with like.

Grammar schools and selective schools by definition do not include the children who make up the bottom sets at a comp.
Private schools by definition only include the children of extremely well off, probably motivated parents and are extremely well resourced, and will not include the kids who make up the bottom sets of a comp.

So, take any of the comps in Hampshire (link above) remove the bottom third of pupils from their stats and THEN compare with a fee paying school.
76% with all pupils there = 100% with the bottom 33% removed ....

I've always thought that there should be a league table of the best 60 results from any school .....
at which stage a lot of the non selective fee paying schools would stop looking so cool!

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 19:24:02

I still maintain that a comp that gets 74% passing at least 5 GCSEs in English and Maths at A-C is doing a pretty good job on the academic side.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 19:25:56


I do not want to talk about Devon. You are not the kind of poster one can talk to anyway. Sorry to have to say that but it is the impression I get from you. You are the kind of poster one agrees with or one shuts up.
I choose to shut up.


Roseformeplease Mon 29-Oct-12 19:28:13

Highlands! All schools good, some excellent. One private school which is shit and stuffed full of overseas students with limited English to bump up numbers. They have non-specialists teaching A Level. By having only one private school it means that state schools are first choice and so are truly comprehensive. Small class sizes in many and high expectations. No grammars to cream off the best. Cheap house prices and amazing scenery!

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 19:32:23

@Talkin I agree - except it should be on percentages not numbers. So, say a table showing the top 33%, the middle 33% and the bottom 33%. That would actually be very useful - it would give an indication of not just how well the top achieves could expect to do but also how well the mid tier are served too.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 19:33:05

I will ask my OH if we can make the Scottish Highlands our next stop.


MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 19:33:16

Narrie - did you really mean to be so rude?

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 19:36:11

Mordion- I suspect that Narrie only wants views that reinforce her prejudices......

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 19:37:35


I did not think it was rude. I just answered you plainly. You want to talk about Devon and I do not. You are a very dominant poster from what I have seen. I guess saying that is what was rude? I am sorry. I still do not want to discuss Devon


TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:37:50

my thought was actually slightly mean - in that picking 60 pupils would still be the top sets of a big comp, but include EVERY pupil at a small private grin

I am not talking about Devon. I am trying to show you in cool headed numeric terms why the results of a selective school (of any type) cannot be directly compared with those of a non selective school ....

It's like the old A level Canard.
Roughly 1/3 of pupils do A levels, they are disproportionaley from selective schools - because why spend fees on a future tractor driver who would never pass the 11+

Roseformeplease Mon 29-Oct-12 19:39:43

All welcome. It would be good to see you.

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 19:40:04


I do not have any prejudice. I just wanted to know where the good areas were. It seems that it is not as clear as it was appearing when the comment was made. I have my answer.


seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 19:44:37

Narrie. Whwt do you want?

MordionAgenos Mon 29-Oct-12 19:45:24

If you didn't want to talk about Devon then you shouldn't have mentioned it, really, then, should you.

And yes you were very rude. But I suspect that Seeker's summation is the correct one.

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 19:46:24

Do you not understqnd when people say that generally there aww not good and bad areas, but good and bad schools? And that anyone who says there is an area where all state schools are better than all private schools is talking rubbish.

fishcakefoxtrot Mon 29-Oct-12 20:10:19

Try Gloucestershire.
Selectives dominate the top state schools at GCSE but when you sort by A level results you have a comp ahead of the second best performing private school.
And, whilst there are some poorly performing schools there is also a fairly poor private school, just to even things up (hsmile)

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 20:13:36

I mentioned the West Midlands, Nottingham, London, Barnstable Plymouth and Cornwall as well but no one else asked me to discuss them or has made a big deal out of it. I was just stating the areas I had lived in. That was the point in mentioning them.
I wanted to know what areas in the country were supposed to be those with outstanding state schools as posters had been suggesting but not saying where they were. I got my answer.


teacherwith2kids Mon 29-Oct-12 20:14:20

But equally, seeker, anyone who says that there AREN'T areas where many of the state schools are better than the private schools is talking rubbish.

Narrie, if you want an area with good comprehensive schools, try, for example, Gloucestershire. Top 10 schools for A-levels:
- 4 grammars (1 of which is the top school)
- 3 independents
- 3 comprehensives (technically secondary moderns)

Neighbouring Worcestershire has no grammars, top 10 schools for A levels:
- 5 independents
- 5 comprehensives

lopsided Mon 29-Oct-12 20:21:29

There are great state comp options in Harpenden/St Albans. Better than many privates. It is very hard to compare the sectors though as some schools take igsces which means they often don't appear on league tables and obvs international bac is different too.

It is disingenuous to compare a selective school of any type (private, grammar, religious etc) and even those comps in Harpenden come with a hefty house price. You don't have to go to the best school, just one that promotes enjoyment of learning and doesn't allow bullying. The 'best' schools get good results not by better teaching but by rigorous selection. I should know I attended one.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 29-Oct-12 20:29:24

If you purely base it on GCSEs then these areas are not great

and this map is interesting

TalkinPeace2 Mon 29-Oct-12 20:33:37

OOH, Maps and statistics.
Am happy now!!
But interesting that it highlights one case I know where a "bad" area is like that because SO many of its kids go to school over the border!

Narrie Mon 29-Oct-12 21:10:18

Thank you. The map is very interesting. I recognise a number of those deep purple areas.


mymatemax Mon 29-Oct-12 21:15:55

Have a look at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham & Farlingaye High. Both in Suffolk - excellent non selective comps & give the local private schools a run for their money

KitKatGirl1 Mon 29-Oct-12 21:20:03

Just wanted to add that whilst it is of course true that you can't truly call an indie school non-selective (small matter of fees) it is nonetheless wholly inaccurate to equate that with 'no bottom set' as talkin peace did up thread. Ds's non-selective indie had 20% 'low attainers' in last yr's yr 11 cohort but achieved 98% 5 a to c inc e & m. As they should.

I think that sometimes the lack of value added in the tables can actually do the independent sector a disservice in some cases, though obviously not all.

And there are many measures by which it is impossible to fairly compare schools even with a similar intake (eg some schools encouraging taking of 'easier' subjects or of more subjects than is necessary or helpful etc etc)

All the league table stuff is a distraction though, really, as many have said, from what really is meant by a 'good' school. Surely it is the school at which your child will be safest, happiest, most well adjusted, exposed to new experiences and all round educated. Not the school where other children get a string of a*s.

I think the op is basically unanswerable because the meaning of 'good' is so personal. And even if we all agreed on what it meant it would be illogical to think that there could possibly be an area where every school got it right so much more than

KitKatGirl1 Mon 29-Oct-12 21:20:45

Often than any other area (or sector).

seeker Mon 29-Oct-12 22:42:16

What does low attainers mean in that context,kitkatgirl?

KitKatGirl1 Mon 29-Oct-12 23:19:11

Coming in with Level 3 at ks2 sats, like any other school would mean by that. Whether you (not you personally seeker) call that a school for thick rich kids or a school with a good SEN dept and good teaching is up to you (but they do have an excellent track record with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ASD - which you know I know does not equal low attainer as ds is a 'high attainer' with AS).

JoanBias Tue 30-Oct-12 01:17:29

There is no such thing as a non-selective state school.

Just as you have to have £13k/year to send your child to St. Thick Child's, you need to live in Exeter to go to a school in Exeter. And so on.

It might be that the input of Shittown Comprehensive is of low achievers, and therefore that school is non selective. But nobody wants to go to Shittown Comprehensive anyway, so it's not relevant to a discussion of 'good' state schools.

A few years down the line, Shittown Comprehensive gets in a new head, starts entering everyone for Btecs in Year 10, devotes Y11 to GCSE Maths and English to the exclusion of all else and is suddenly a desirable school.

At this point Shittown Comp is now oversubscribed and the parents who give a fuck ensure that they are in catchment, that they know the admissions policy, that they submit appeals, and so on.

Shittown Comp is now highly selective, as it is oversubscribed.

Meanwhile Leafyshire Comp has been motoring along with 75% A*-C at GCSE for years, but everyone there is awfully naice since the area is rich and settled and 4 police cars turn up for a burglar alarm going off.

The best state schools either:

* select through religious hoops, tiny catchments, exams, music, whatever
* are surrounded by miles and miles of leafy niceness

And of course if you haven't filtered out all but the 1%, then, particularly in areas that aren't lovely and leafy, then you ensure the really difficult kids are doing BTECs in Hospitality or whatever.

middleclassonbursary Tue 30-Oct-12 07:51:39

"According to the BBC there was;t a school in the country did better than Colchester Royal Grammar school on A level results, in 2011."
Mordion sorry for not replying have been at work! We looked at four schools for my DC all independent here are their A level results Colchester grammars are in brackets A* 53% 52% 50.1% 36.1% (18.3%), A 91% 89% 80% 85.6% (57.4%). These have all been taken off their websites not the FT. I don't doubt that Colchester Grammar is the top performing state school but not the top performing school in the UK.
Ok these results show that these schools including Colchester Grammar have very able teachers and are good at their jobs. But this is only part of the picture it also shows that these schools are super super selective, and exceedingly good at selecting the brightest children and exceedingly good at chucking out children who will not do very well under their systems and also directing children to do subjects in that they are going to excel. IMO their is also the a strong parent factor most parents even if they are paying will supplement any difficulties with private tutoring rather than have their child leave after GCSE's.
Of more interest and I suspect the point the OP was asking is about an area with a high % of excellent state schools and maybe she doesn't just mean excellent results but able to get all children to achieve beyond their initial expectations.

teacherwith2kids Tue 30-Oct-12 09:46:58

KitKat, I genuinely don't think that many state comprehensives would regard "Coming in with Level 3 at ks2 sats" as being wholly synonymous with 'low attainers' / bottom set.

What about:
- Children transferring to secondary school on P levels or Level 1
- Children with no English
- Looked after children, often with a long history of different foster placements.
- Children with long records of low attendance, either through cultural reasons (e.g. Travellers) or through chaotic lifestyles.
- Children who have suffered abuse
- Young carers
- Children from families where drug dependency / alcohol abuse / mental illness / gang involvement / family members in prison etc etc make home life chaotic.
- Children living in sub-standard housing e.g. sharing a single room in a hostel with all family members, bed and breakfast accommodation, sharing a house with several families with very limited personal space.

It is often these 'out of school' factors that impinge much more on children's learning - and would be virtually absent in a fee-paying school - than a level of acadeic ability measured as 'Level 3 at the end of Year 6'.

middleclassonbursary Tue 30-Oct-12 09:57:32

teacher you are right and one of the reasons why counties like Wiltshire?Gloucestershire there are many areas that have such good exam results is that there is a high % of white middle class parents especially in the villages. So as you say the picture is complex.

teacherwith2kids Tue 30-Oct-12 10:09:36


I teach not far from one of the counties that you mention - in a village school - and we have all of the issues I mentioned other than children with no English. 'Apparent' white middle classness from a drive-through may disguise a lot in reality!

middleclassonbursary Tue 30-Oct-12 10:21:42

As an ex resident of one of the poorest parts of London we have found that the difference in exam results in many rural middle class communities to poor parts of London is staggering. Even the best performing non selective London school in areas like Hackney Peckham have only slightly better results than many schools in rural areas which are not generally considered very desirable.

middleclassonbursary Tue 30-Oct-12 10:22:22

Again I hasten to mention exam results aren't everything!

KitKatGirl1 Tue 30-Oct-12 11:10:37

teacher I don't think I ever tried to say that private schools have to deal with all the problems you mentioned. Of course they (almost never) don't. Except the attainment on entry one. Low attainer means the same as it does anywhere else academically and can include not just those au level 3 but anywhere up to it including non readers.

KitKatGirl1 Tue 30-Oct-12 11:10:59

Of course teacher there will be next to no children at a fee paying school who fulfil the descriptions you make - except the very low academic ability one - low attainer means up to and including level 3. and they will indeed take children at ds's school who have left primary school unable to read. I don't think I ever tried to say that there was an even playing field, just to disagree with the suggestion that there were no real bottom sets in a private school and to clarify for seeker that they are using the same definition of low attainer as a state school.
The profile of attainment on entry at some private schools may match or even be lower than the national average and can often be significantly lower than grammars and some (selection by the back door) comps. Their particular results show very good value added. That is all. As they very well should, as I already said.

weegiemum Tue 30-Oct-12 11:22:08

I know the received wisdom is that children do better at fee-paying schools.

I'm an exam marker for the SQA and I can tell you truly there are a lot of parents wasting their money!

KitKatGirl1 Tue 30-Oct-12 11:27:04

Whoops, didn't realise that first post had worked - on phone; kept having to answer it, etc.

But I stand more by my earlier post.

For most people 'good' schools mean 'good results'.

For most schools those good results are achieved by dint of their intake.

Many schools 'cheat' the league tables to some extent; some schools don't let 'non-guaranteed Cs' sit GCSEs including comprehensives; some schools have really good management and others don't; some schools in really deprived area have better discipline than others; some schools in more affluent areas have better discipline than others; some schools have lower or higher aspiration for their children than others in whatever sector/level of selection; some schools deal well with bullying and pastoral concerns and some don't; some schools deal well with SEN and some don't - again in all sectors. I suppose I should say some LEAs are better than others but they're starting to not exist any more.

For all these reasons and more you can't go by results alone. Obviously. And yet people (me included) continue to discuss what is a 'good' school by arguing about results and statistics. I stand by my point that it would be nonsensical to think that any one area has schools which consistently get it right better than and other area (or sector) all of the time.

KitKatGirl1 Tue 30-Oct-12 11:29:27

I get your point, weegie, I really do. Of course some fee-paying schools are not worth the money. But I assume you're not seriously suggesting that you can tell by marking an exam script whether an individual child isn't doing the very best that they can do and they would have done better or equally well anywhere else?

seeker Tue 30-Oct-12 13:21:16

You can't tell marking an exam whether a child would have done better somewhere else, but you can often tell whether they have been well taught, and whether they have done their absolute best.

orangeberries Tue 30-Oct-12 16:17:37

I agree with the posters who said that indeed there are top ranking state schools, but very often the catchment areas are extremely small and very expensive housing.

We looked at moving in an area with a top rated comprehensive, this would mean and additional 300-400k to get an equivalent house, then there is the cost of moving, interest rates for a mortgage, etc and this is why private is a cheaper option, even with 4 children!

Also the problem with moving to a grammar school area is that competition is now so fierce there is no guarantee your children will get in, so then there is the not so comprehensive schools your child will have to go to. None of the options seems that ideal.

The real issue is that the few state schools (grammar and comprehensive) that do a very good job, often better than private are too few and far between and competition to get in is so fierce that they become as unaccessible as their private counterparts option - the real issue is that there should be more good schools around...

duchesse Tue 30-Oct-12 16:38:29

Re the "no bottom set" thing. Having taught in both the state and the private sector, my impressions are that most state bottom set pupils are there not through lack of ability but through lack of motivation, for whatever reason anywhere on Maslow's hierarchy of needs that may be. Low ability motivated kids tend to be in lower middle sets. Those are precisely the children one tends not to see at all in private school, or in such small quantities that their presence has no noticeable effect. Also as has been pointed out below, they can be asked to leave private school, which system keeps them either compliant or shows them the door pdq.

duchesse Tue 30-Oct-12 16:40:16

oops, dodgy editing: I mean the unmotivated children are the ones one tends not to find in private school, not the low ability ones.

muminlondon Tue 30-Oct-12 18:52:21

I found it interesting to read KitKatGirl's post about 20% low attainers in a private school because information about prior attainment is missing from the DfE league tables along with a host of other data. I've just discovered the 'Average point score (qualifications)' section of the 'KS4 exam results' tab. The top school for low attainers (e.g. average B-) is the BRIT school. Given that the Ebacc score is zero even for high attainers, they will be concentrating a lot on performance subjects so must be very motivated. For performing arts, that's definitely an example of a state school better than private school equivalents but there aren't too many that specialist.

But it also makes me wonder how much private schools encourage pupils to take subjects they like and find easy. A private selective in my area enters more pupils for PE GCSE than most state schools, for example. Nothing wrong with that - but there are double standards here and state comps are damned if they do (cater for the less academic in this way), damned if they don't (by having a high entry rate for Ebacc pupils and more failures).

seeker Tue 30-Oct-12 18:59:50

The EBacc thing is a bit of a red herring too- dd's school shows up badly on this measure because quite a lot of the girls do RE as a GCSE with the intention of doing A level philosophy. Which means that quite a few haven't got the EBacc, even though they have "good" GCSEs.

Yellowtip Tue 30-Oct-12 19:15:16

orangeberries is competition really, really that fierce? Lots of myths put about about the 11+. Plenty can be discarded as rubbish.

Clearly the best option for hedging one's bets on the state front is to live in an area with a single superselective but which is 'affluent' (or affluentish). That's bad and sad of course, but for the moment it seems to be how it is. With very rare exceptions of course, requiring quite extraordinary leadership which surpasses outstanding I think (bit semantic I know).

mrspumpkinpatch Tue 30-Oct-12 19:19:39

East Renfrewshire in Scotland regularly has the best schools in the country.

muminlondon Tue 30-Oct-12 19:42:52

RE is compulsory anyway - is it usually just a short course but full GCSE takes up an option?

The Ebacc was an interesting move because it has, in effect, imposed a national curriculum on independent state and private schools alike. Having one exam board will be the ultimate power grab!

seeker Tue 30-Oct-12 19:53:30

Doing RE is compulsorysad Taking the exam isn't. Dd had a very nice time for a lesson a week watching a meaningful film and talking about it. And then took a different humanities subject for GSCE and has the EBacc. The ones who took GCSE RE mostly didn't. Unfair. IMHO.

PlaySchool Tue 30-Oct-12 19:59:43

Well said talkinpeace. How can anyone compare an independent with a comp? Grammars and independents are not inclusive so of course they wil get better academic results. Comps have to make the best out of what lands on their doorstep.

muminlondon Tue 30-Oct-12 20:04:05

As much as I loathe am wary of Gove I can't help admiring his coup with the Ebacc (GCSEs not the future Gove levels). Entries for History and MFL were getting very low. But the syllabus does get very crowded for GCSE and it's hard to be good at all those subjects.

Xenia Tue 30-Oct-12 20:53:09

I am sure there will be some areas like that where no parents earn much at all so few can afford to pay fees, there is only one private school, it is not academically selective and where most children go to state school and where thus the state school results will be better but not most areas.

I'#e searched Hull (which gets GCSEs 2 grades worse than inner London comps) but even that got me 2 independents first around the 200 place in the country and then comps below places 624th.

You can do regional searches on the FT A level tables to check your county. It won't be major cities, Manchester/Cheshire, Newcastle, Leeds, all have good private schools (the SE is a different area and most people with good exam results come from there amazingly yet surely our genes are all the same).

(The Ebacc is simply the GCSEs all children at good private schools do, what I did, what even my mother in a state grammar did in the 1940s. Obviously it is harder to get good grades in all of english lit, english l,ang, maths, geog, history, a language or two, 2 or 3 sciences - which are the core subjects most good children do than the travel and tourism subjects my local comp 34% A- C at GCSE does here)

teacherwith2kids Tue 30-Oct-12 20:58:32

Xenia, I assure you that I live in an area where many parents can afford to pay fees - but with the local comp (let alone the grammars) outperforming the best private school available for boys, the sensible ones don't bother.

Lancelottie Tue 30-Oct-12 20:58:33

Oh sod history and geography, I say. I didn't want to do history or geography (my geog teacher described my work once as 'entertainingly creative'. I wanted to do every language and every science my school had to offer (including the Latin). Got me into Oxbridge, as it did for several of my classmates. I've found an interest in history later in life.

still can't navigate my way out of a paper bag though

muminlondon Tue 30-Oct-12 21:06:32

That is the biggest drawback about the Ebacc, it's true - where schools used to offer two MFL and/or two humanities, they're now more rigid and are only offering one of each. Similar with drama, music, art, or DT, etc. (or RE) from which you only get one choice. Sucking the soul out of school.

Lancelottie Tue 30-Oct-12 21:12:31

Mmm. DS1's school fairly strongly suggested he should cover the Ebacc subjects, DS2's said 'all being equal' they might want to think about it, but didn't in fact jib at DS2 doing music and drama.

DS1's school has far better results on paper but is, yes, a little soulless. DS2's seems to be a madly enthusiastic eccentric place that encourages the kids to find out what they love and go for it.

middleclassonbursary Tue 30-Oct-12 22:39:11

teacher I'm sure this point has been made by many others in the past its not just results (although the school my DC attended has results better than any state boys school) that Im paying for or for that matter the oft quoted segregation from "undesirable children" who ever they are. Education is so much more complex than that.

muminlondon Tue 30-Oct-12 22:54:19

It seems to me private schools are either highly selective or provide options for subjects that average or even lower attaining pupils can be good at because they enjoy them (but wouldn't pass the Ebacc). Information is not provided for comparison so it's difficult to tell how successful they are. In any area you can't expect the private schools to be the same any more than you can expect the state schools to be the same. But state comp bashers (politicians, the media) simply that as 'good' and 'bad' state schools with a parallel homogenous, superior sector of private schools.

In an ideal world we'd get less testing and political interference in state schools and more transparency and similar level of regulation in private schools.

muminlondon Tue 30-Oct-12 22:55:47

simplify that as 'good' and 'bad' schools

JoanBias Tue 30-Oct-12 23:06:31

I'm not sure there's widespread evidence to show a need for greater regulation of private schools. Since they are fee-paying a really diabolically bad private school wouldn't last long. OTOH diabolically bad state schools, of which there are many, are for parents with no other choice, or who don't care, and regulation is vital to spotlight these schools.

It's nonsense that private schools are either highly selective or doing the private school equivalent of GCSE gardening.

A few private schools are super-selective. Others are quite selective. Others take all but low achievers in state school parlance. Others are completely comprehensive. Others are special schools for dyslexia, autism, behaviour problems, etc. Others specialize in rich-but-dim.

You can't generalize. Because private schools, far more than state schools, have to market themselves, there is much more incentive to identify a niche in the market than there is for state comprehensives which can be identikit with no difficulty at all.

Of course the need in the market is the market of parents who can pay the bills, which doesn't include, say, Afghan refugees or workless households in Tower Hamlets. But for those who can afford it, private schools are aware of the different types of students that might pass through their doors. Many will choose to reject those with special needs or whatever. But not all.

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 00:09:31

"But state comp bashers (politicians, the media)"
Maybe I live under a stone or just dont read the "right" papers or listen to the right radio programs but I dont endlessly hear/read the state being bashed. But I am aware that there is a lot of hostily towards private education on MN with comments being made about the schools themselves the children and the parents that are completely incorrect.

sashh Wed 31-Oct-12 05:01:17

You need to define 'good'.

I've given this example a lot, but here we go again. I taught a 17 year old (well I've taught a lot, but this is one in particular) who had arrived in Birmingham aged 14 without a word of English.

At 16 she had 10 GCSEs grades A-C and a D in English GCSE.

Obviously she did not appear in the 5 A-C including English and maths. She makes the school look not very good.

But IMHO the school did a good job.

It had all the things that make a lot of MN parents shudder, lots of ESOL, lots of unauthorised absences, because some parents took their children out of school for months at a time to visit extended family. Lots of mid year admissions.

muminlondon Wed 31-Oct-12 07:29:49

Michael Gove is often bashing comps (e.g LA maintained ones) out of a political agenda: his ultimate plan is to bring in more academy sponsors and then allow them to make profit. Sponsored academies have mixed results and are more likely to be identikit in the hands of chains. In that article I don't see any celebration of the achievements of inner-city non-academies like Bethnal Green which nearly tripled its results to 79% 5 A-C inc English & Maths, despite high proportion of low attainers, ESOL, deprivation etc. The other point is that it has had lots of help and resources like the London Challenge scheme, but instead of offering that help more widely he is just bashing other schools and blaming Labour.

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 07:59:11

""But state comp bashers (politicians, the media)"
Maybe I live under a stone or just dont read the "right" papers or listen to the right radio programs but I dont endlessly hear/read the state being bashed."

<lifts mcb's stone, hands her a cup of tea, her reading glasses, a copy of the Daily Mail and the complete works of Michael Gove, and suggests that when she's finished those, she hangs around the Mumsnet Education threads for a while>

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 08:44:20

But what fee paying schools do NOT cater for is the 93% of parents who cannot afford them.
Which means that they NEVER take the children of poor uneducated parents who have no interest in learning

vesela Wed 31-Oct-12 09:03:59

As others have said, I'm sure there are small areas where the local state school is better than the local private one. Overall, no.

But private schools cost a lot of money. If that means parents working all the hours God sends in order to send their children there, then there may be a significant downside to going to a private school.

Take this article from earlier this year. "Teachers are effectively acting as surrogate parents for thousands of pupils who often eat breakfast at school and remain in extra-curricular activities until the early evening, said Andy Waters, chairman of the Society of Heads of Independent Schools. He said “more and more responsibility” was falling on schools during the economic downturn because of the sheer rise in parental workloads.
He said that – in the current financial climate – “more and more responsibility falls on schools to be the moral arbiters for children’s upbringing”.
“Our often beleaguered parents need us to provide wrap-around care, breakfasts and evening meals, homework clubs and extra-curricular activities so that they can work the hours needed to earn the wherewithal to pay school fees,” he said.
“It may be easy for us to criticise parenting that can seem lacklustre at times, but if our role is not to support the children from such families, then what is it?”

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 10:05:33

seeker im afraid only the Guardian is delivered under my stone with the very occasional copy of Horse and Hound slung in to remind me of a previous life and you can only get a signal for radio 3/4 under my rather peaceful stone!! Not much state ed bashing in any of those I just ignore Gove who is clearly only interested in making political sound bites to win votes.
Perhaps I need to go out and get a bit more of a life although I doubt my blood pressure could stand the DM.

honoraglossop Wed 31-Oct-12 11:03:20

I dont think we are that unusual but our village school is just as good as not better than the local pre prep. It is very small with excellent teaching, sports and music opportunities. Class sizesare 15 or less and my children are really happy. Its not oversubscribed either!
It may be different when we get to secondary age but the local comp seems good too.
We probably could just about afford school fees but im of the generation where im still paying back my student loan and have a crazy mortgage so would rather stick with the state system!

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 12:08:36

That's Market Snodsbury for you!

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 12:45:33

Well spotted seeker but I have to say that life in Market Snodsbury although rather bland at times is also rather nice.
honora my DCs wentoManyne years ago to the highly regarded Little Snodsbury primary school very similiar to yours when they were 8 we wangled a bursary into one if the countries most highly regarded and needless to say expensive preps. Sadly I have to report there was absolutely no similarity between them apart from numbers in each class. At the prep it was all specialist teachers in specialist class rooms two languages were taught 4-5 times a week seperate lessons for each science in proper science children were streamed, games four afternoons a week, endless extra curricular activities 100 acres of grounds to climb trees in etc but they were charging £5000+ a term for day and that was when we started 8 years ago. I'm not saying it was perfect it in fact had quite a few faults but it certainly bore little resemblance to the highly regarded ofstead outstanding Little Snodsbury Primary School.
I'm not entering into the ethical debate about whether it's right that a small % of children should have such a different education because their parents can pay or wangle bursaries although the later is becoming increasingly difficult when we started most people had never heard of bursaries. I just think its easy to assume that an outstanding primary or even senior offers the same as a relative handful of top preps/senior independents my experience is that they don't because they can't.

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 13:26:34

Oh, do you live on Market Snodsbury too, MCB- I thought that was Honoria's stamping ground!

difficultpickle Wed 31-Oct-12 13:31:03

Talkin you are assuming that all of the 93% who don't educate their dcs privately cannot afford to. I don't think that can be true at all. I know plenty of people who could easily afford to pay private school fees but choose not to. Instead they spend their money on a hefty mortgage for a house within catchment for their chosen state school. One near me is very oversubscribed and to live within catchment in a semi-detached house costs £500,000+.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 13:38:19

indeed, but those who can afford £3000 a month for a £500k mortgage must be earning over £150k so are in the top 3% of earners .....

in fact (as per the £60k thread on AIBU) - the 93rd bottom up centile for earners is around £65k - which will NOT buy you a couple of sets of school fees and a house in the current market

there are indeed people round here, lots of them, who could afford to go private but choose to spend their money on other things, but they are in the top 10% by wealth nationally ....

muminlondon Wed 31-Oct-12 14:28:54

The Guardian does more than its fair share of bashing the state sector through their columnists although they usually get bashed back here on mumsnet - remember Andrew Penman (while the school he bashed has been getting fantastic results recently) and Janet Murray? Meanwhile the Telegraph has praised state schools, so the media is unpredictable.

honoraglossop Wed 31-Oct-12 14:49:33

not quite market snodsbury wherever that is.
silly me thinking that just because you live in the countryside schools are not immune to have to work in challenging circumstances. or is it only people in towns who have difficulties??

The OP asked if it was possible that a state school was better than a private school. i said yes I thought it was true in this part of the world.... and probably many parts of the country too. The main reason is the teachers are great .... .coupled with that we are in the middle of nowhere so class sizes are small. I dont get why that means you have to be arsey with me.

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 15:04:31

Really sorry- I wasn't being arsey- I was being PG Wodehouse-y in response to your name!

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 15:06:12

@honora Basically, anyone who says they have a state school which is better than their local private schools (or in my case, better than the vast majority of private schools in the country) gets told their particular example doesn't count, either because it's a grammar or they live in a particular (non counting) place or for some other madey-uppy reason. Then they get insulted. It's how this thread works..... sad

KitKatGirl1 Wed 31-Oct-12 16:05:31

We are only in the top 45% of the income distribution and are paying one set of senior fees. At least half of the parents at ds's old primary are wealthier than us (and are not using private education). But they (most crucially I accept) almost all have two or three children, not one, as well as bigger houses and more expensive cars than us and foreign holidays. Does that mean that everyone can afford private school? Of course it doesn't. Does it mean that more people can afford to use it than do? Of course it does.

There are thousands of individual state schools which are better than individual private schools. I don't think that they are to be found exclusively in one area, though, which is what the OP asked.

And why do people keep saying - this school is better than that one: look at the league if it were the be all and end all?

CalmingMiranda Wed 31-Oct-12 16:35:31

I am confident that 'our' state primary was better than some of the private 'prep' schools around here. That's London. So many private schools for primary age (they aren't really 'prep' as in preparing for Common Entrance, but small schools using ex-churches and the like, smart expensive uniform, kind enough teachers but not necessarily qualified) fees low compared to may private schools, but just enough to ensure that if you can't take your child out of SouthLlondon, you can keep South London away from your child.

I have worked in several of these schools. Old fashioned teaching, old fashioned curriculum, teachers who are in it for the long holidays, or who just couldn't hack it in the state sector. Of course there are great teachers too, and other great preps, but I can list 3 in our locality which I would not have chosen over our community primary.

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 16:56:52

Mordion I've also noticed that anyone who says that some independent schools (not all) are better than any state school can ever be in terms of exam results facilities opportunities etc they too are told that either there example doesn't count or a state school is named which apparently has better results facilities opportunities etc, But IME on close examination this is not the case as demonstrated with Colchester Grammar which has supposedly the best exam results in the UK but in fact doesn't!
Those of you who think the state sector is as good or better than the top independent schools are not only deluding yourselves but being complacent as well and I can assure you that these independent schools are not being complacent. Theyve worked out that as we know live in a global village that our children are going to be competing for jobs university places etc against children from all over the world and that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels so for example many have moved over to the generally considered harder IGCSE and the Pre U. They are looking more and more across the pond at the Ivy League and also universities in Europe. Languages are being taught from an early age and it is the norm in many of these schools to do at least three languages. One of the schools results I mentioned earlier in this thread has increased its Oxbridge entry by 10% this year and is aiming for a 50%+ Oxbridge entry with another 10%+ going off to the Ivy League. These schools are correctly moving with the times they already know they are academic centres of excellence but are going to keep evolving and getting better. So those of you who think some state schools are as good as the likes of Westminster St Paul's boys/girls you need to wake up and demand more from you state schools if you children are not going to be left behind despestely trying to get into good universities/jobs competeing not only against these Westminster and others but those from China Russia and India. I frequently read comments on MN about our out of touch Etonian educated government unless state ed changes significantly then these schools are going to carry on churning out prime ministers heads of MNC's etc whilst parents with children in state ed smugly tell themselves that its comparable with independent ed and that with the saving they are making by not paying school fees they can send their DC off to a couple of extra curricular activities every week and pay for extra music lessons.
If you go to India Russia China they know how important education is; that's what gets you out of he gutter they have no qualms about spending their money on education many are sending their children to the likes of Westminster because for them they know believe it is education of this standard that will have an impact not only on the individual child's future but on them and future generations.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 16:59:19

we're buggered then.
I'll get my coat.

CalmingMiranda Wed 31-Oct-12 17:09:18

middleclassonabursary - so if my children are bright, very bright, but not full-scholarship-to-top-independent super bright, what can I do?

Complacent I am not, we support, urge, extend and nurture our children's minds and schooling. But we cannot pay. Meanwhile those of you who can (or don't need to) are openly racing ahead and elbowing everyone else out of the way.

But there you have it. The wealthy and the competitive will get to the top by any means necessary. That isn't necessarily a good quality, you know.

People don't mind coming second, third even, in a fair competition. It's the unfair and the unjust that makes people wild. Revolutionary, possibly.

Read The Spirit Level.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 17:11:33

you have a lot more faith in the education systems of India, Russia and China than the leaders of those countries do
that is why our fee paying schools are full of their children hmm

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 17:28:45

@middleclass Your stats purporting to show that all the private schools you had had dealings with were significantly better than CRGS (a school with which I have no association, and which I didn't originally bring up as an example of a good state school) did not stack up at all -like the Telegraph tables you were not comparing like with like (and your figures didn't match anything on CRGS's website either). I didn't bother to pull you up on it because you clearly have a fixed idea on these things which will not change but anyone presenting stats where the percentages add up to more than 100%, as you did (I'm guessing you were confusing A*/A with A - but really, who knows?) can't expect to be taken seriously. The DfES says that CRGS had the best A level results last year. That's good enough for me. The FT (laughably biased) table still, after making all sorts of adjustments designed to favour private schools and disfavour state schools, still places DD1's school in the top 50. That's good enough for me. After all, I got to Cambridge from a school which while good (and better than the local girls' private schools at the time) certainly wasn't in the top 50 in the country.

CRGS is clearly a fablas school, plus it's free. I reckon any kid would be incredibly lucky to go there and will get a brilliant education. Anyone who doesn't believe that - well, that's their prerogative. But most private schools don't get the same level of results and they cost a fortune. Those of us who can see beyond snobbishness and prejudice can appreciate that point. Sadly, not everybody can do so.

Incidentally - I never said that there were no superb private schools. In fact, I said quite the opposite. None of them can be found within 100 miles of where I live though.

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 17:32:49

You may think I'm talking crap but both China and Indias economies are growing significantly faster than ours and as the plaque on Bill Clintons desk stated "it's the economy stupid" they are two of the biggest players on the world stage and we do not have a God given right to be there. If we fail to educate our young people properly so that they can compete at least on equal terms against the Chinese Indians Russians in this super competive world we now live in then talkin your children and your grand children may not have "a coat" to get.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 17:38:16

do you read The Economist? You should.
China and India are growing faster than the UK because they are still industrialising, as the UK did nearly 200 years ago.
China's economic figures are controlled by the Communist Party.
India's are mired in endemic corruption and a collapsing infrastructure.

If you think their systems are so good, send your kids to board there -
when in fact the top Chinese, Indian and Russian politicians all send their children to boarding school in the UK.
They also buy houses in the UK

You know nothing about the level of achievement I expect from my children.

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 17:38:24

@middleclass when did you last travel to India, China or Russia for business? I was in India and China (separate trips) earlier this year. Russia last year, going again (sadly) next spring, probably. It's very fashionable for people to talk about India China and Russia (and other countries too, Brazil is an obvious one) as posing these massive threats to the futures of our children and it's not wrong - but often when I check with the people claiming such detailed knowledge of these countries it turns out they have never been to any of them let alone on a recurring professional basis. Talkin is right - the education systems in those countries are not currently considered overly fit for purpose so they are sending their kids here for school university or both. Unless they can afford the US in which case they go there.

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 17:39:54

If India ever get electricity and then proper countrywide internet sorted out then things will be different. But it's a big if and they aren't there yet.

Mind you, neither are we, so.....grin

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 18:03:04

Mordion further up this thread we were given a link regarding top performing schools in Essex that "whump" the independent schools. Top of this list was Colchester County High School For Girls I dont live anywhere near Essex so have never heard of it either. I looked on their website and thats where I obtained my stats from I then looked on the websites of four schools I considered for my DS and took their exam results of their websites. According to Colchester High 18% got A*s and 57% A*s and As. At three of the independent schools over 50% got A*s and between 85-91% A*s and A grades (not B's) you may not accept these figures but that is how they read on the individual websites. I accept that I may not have made it clear that the second figure included A*s and As but I suppose I thought that this was obvious!

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 18:16:16

I have extensive links with India and believe only a fool can ignore them And others and their fast growing economies. As one of my lecturers at university used to say whilst discussing the rise and fall of global economies "nothing lasts for ever." Also here under my stone the general consensus from the many economists on the likes of radio 4 is that these countries and yes I agree about Brazil are becoming increasingly successful this is backed up by the recently published GDP growth for China although slowing its still over 7% whereas us ours has just managed 1% with the general consensus from eminent economist that this may be a one of and that next time the figure could return to 0% growth or even negative growth.
As individuals we do what we think is best for our own children I believe that the top independent schools are preparing children for tomorrows world in a way that the state is currently failing to do. Luckily we live in a democratic society so you are free to disagree with me. wine

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 18:31:26

middleclass It was CRGS which the BBC said was the top school, by results. As I said in my post upthread, which you quoted before then providing your 'stats'. Colchester County High for Girls is lower down the list and gets rather less good results (although still good). No wonder your figures for Colchester County High for Girls(?) didn't match anything on the CRGS website or the old newspaper tables! grin

According to the Graun, CRGS got 80% A*/A in 2012. Can't find the info for 2011. Looks pretty comparable to me. And way better than most private schools. According to the Telegraph 2012 tables which handily;) provide a separate private school table here
only 9 private schools got higher percentage at A/A* (and of course these represent far fewer pupils). None of those schools was in Colchester either. So whoever it was said that the grammars in Essex whump the private schools in Essex was right.

And the thing about assuming people would understand what your faultily labelled stats were supposed to mean? That's what people attempting to cloud the issue always say. I've got a professional interest in dodgy data. grin

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 18:33:08

So - you haven't been to any of those countries for work or pleasure then? That's OK. Not that many people have. I have, though. Too blooming often. grin So I hardly think you can accuse me of ignoring them. Since I've, you know, taken the trouble to go to them. Repeatedly.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 18:39:37

"I have Extensive links in India"
I have "extensive links" in the USA but sadly they give me no understanding at all of the mentality of the Bible belt or most Romney supporters.
93% of Americans do NOT have passports, but 100% of the ones I know do ....

Investment managers have a huge vested interest in bigging up the BRICs - a bit like they bigged up CDOs a couple of years ago.
I'll believe that the BRICS are the true world leaders when their politicians no longer send their children outside the country to school.

Xenia Wed 31-Oct-12 18:39:42

Colchester is 79th on the FT league table. It usually does well. It is a good state school. In fact the head of my daughter's school north London Collegiate I think used to be head there. It was 114th the year before.

It's a bit selective though just to pick one out. On the whole most areas have no grammars at all and most areas find privates do better than state.

Indeed China mentioned on the thread is believe it not hosting UK pubilc schools who set up there and not comps. I wonder why.....

As for those who say it is not fair they picked such careers which mean they cannot afford to do the best for their children by paying school fees - why do you earn so little? Coudl you not take a second job or what is the reason? Secondly it may be unfair you feed your child healthy fiood and your neighbour does not but that does not mean we should restrict you from giving your child a healthy diet or that the sttae school pay for food for your neighbour.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 18:41:23

as you well know and we have argued before, the bulk of the population do not "pick careers"
and who would deliver your shopping if they did?

olguis Wed 31-Oct-12 19:00:57

What you write is insulting. Russian politicians and millionaires send their children to the UK because they intend to live in the UK because it is the only country in Europe that doesn't tax foreign income. And because they have committed all their crimes in Russia, they feel safer abroad. And they adore Royalty because it has been destroyed in Russia. And Russia has a history of abrupt change that they wouldn't like because they would like to save their money. it has little to do with education.

Russia has an excellent schooling system that is what the Soviet Union built that is slowly being dismantled. You need to look for an amount of Russian physisists/mathematicians around the world's universities and laboratories to see that. Cuba, for that instance, as well has an excellent education that supplies the Latin American world with doctors.

You need to stop your imperialist thinking imagining the world evolves around you and whatever flops and burps of education that have traditionally formed are lingering on here are the best... This is nonsense. UK is behind developed countries in schooling their children, this is a fact. Now, why is that??

Xenia Wed 31-Oct-12 19:01:59

However individually they could do better. It is rather silly to say I will become a minimum wage worker for life because as my noble duty as a nation we need the lowest paid in these jobs so I will ensure I never earn much because some muggins has to be landed with the dross jobs and it is my duty to do it. That is a silly attitude. Many many women every year leave one career and p ick one where you earn more and many do that in order to be able to earn school fees. Other women sit at home as housewives never doing a day's work and moan about being unable to pay school fees.

Do as I did. I take 2 weeks holiday a year. I have not even had a maternity leave (I used holiday) over the last 28 years of being a mother. Not surprisingly I can afford school fees. We reap what we sow.

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 19:17:45

@Xenia on the other hand colchester royal grammar school which was the school we were talking about is 3rd.

exoticfruits Wed 31-Oct-12 19:21:06

Some of us just manage to have spare time, an excellent education that opens all the doors for our DCs for free Xenia. Much the better option IMO. Then you don't have to get on a dreadful treadmill of having to find a job that earns enough for the fees-you can do one you enjoy. (If you get a well paid one that you enjoy then it is all to the good if it suits you-the ones I find interesting and challenging don't pay a lot).

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 19:21:37

@xenia I could afford school fees too. But my DD1 goes to a much better school than the private schools round here. And I have 7 weeks holiday a year. grin

middleclassonbursary Wed 31-Oct-12 19:21:53

Mordion you seen unnecassarily aggressive I was not trying to hide my stats as I too have an academic interest in them I confessed that I perhaps didn't make it clear enough but as this is not a disertation there is no need to be quite so critical. Even with you figures for the other Colchester school my point remains valid that ultimately some independent schools "whump" even the best performing state schools.
I also said I have extensive links with India not I've never been to India you seem very good at putting 2 and 2 together and making 5 if it suits your argument. I am not anti state school in fact the opposite and many of my comments could equally well be addressed at parts of the independent sector. I struggle to see where all this is getting your average child in an average school be it state or independent. I just think as parents we need to be aware that things are changing we no longer rule half the world and that this must be reflected in the education we offer our children. I think the very top independent schools are grasping this the state sector perhaps needs to realise this too.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 19:25:29

Anybody willing to praise the Chinese and Indian School systems yet
so that when my DCs grow up they cannot afford coats?

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 19:40:16

@middleclass Not agreeing with you != being aggressive. Picking you up on inconsistencies and inaccuracies != being aggressive. Pointing out that only 9 private schools got a better A*/A percentage than CRGS (which again, I will remind you I have no association with other than being admiring of its excellent results) != being aggressive.

I asked you how recently you had been to those countries you mentioned. I told you how recently I had been to them (Brazil I haven't been to for work since 2001, I've subsequently met my Latin American colleagues in other countries in the region). You chose not to disclose when you had last been in any of those countries. I wasn't the only person to join the dots.

teacherwith2kids Wed 31-Oct-12 19:42:01

"ultimately some independent schools "whump" even the best performing state schools"

I don't think anyone is disputing this. There are some excellent private schools. However, from the schools I CAN CHOOSE FROM, given where I live (and having boarded as a child, it is not an option that I will consider), the private options available to me are not as good as the state ones for a boy.

I could move, I suppose - but then, in the same way as everyone says education is not just about results, life is not just about moving somewhere I would not like to live in order for my children to access (very marginally) better schools.

Xenia Wed 31-Oct-12 20:28:10

Many p arents are happy with state schools. I have no problems with that. The privsate schools educate 8% of children and the children get 50% of the best university places, comprise 70% +_ of judges, lots of the cabinet etc etc. So arguably there is nothing better on which you can spend your money as a prviate school place but if people are happy with their state schools that is great too. I have no problem with that. Strange though if they are so good that China isn't asking for off shoots of the comprehensives to set up in China, only the privates. sStrange they are not shipping children over here to go to our comps rather than our private schools. Of course the answer is that on the whole the private schools are better.

However I certainly agree that many seclective state schools (there are very very few of them) do get a good few chidlren into good universities. We need to chart their careers though because we need to look at what those daughters earn at 40, not did they get into Bristol in order to do a good comparison. Don't discount the soft factors. Some children who are clever may not have all the skills employers need which may be a certainly social skill or accent or lack of accent or whatever it is and sometimes those things can be obtained from private schools but exclusively . I am not hard line about this. I love that we have these choices - home education, religious school, state schools comp, selective private or whatever. Summer Hill, Eton, the Iranian school the Saudi school in London etc

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 20:33:15

sometimes you do type such garbage
Strange they are not shipping children over here to go to our comps rather than our private schools
well of course not, the parents do not live in catchment

PS my kids NON selective school got around 20 into Russell Group Unis last year and 6 into Oxbridge after their 6th form colleges .....
but that's just empirical evidence to be shot down by others

Xenia Wed 31-Oct-12 20:34:55

Actually some parents from Jamaica in London send their children back home to be educated there to avoid some inner city schools.

teacherwith2kids Wed 31-Oct-12 20:45:01

Xenia, I have 2 brothers.

1 of us was educated 11-18 at a private school.
1 from 11-16 state (ex secondary modern comp), 16-18 private.
1 from 11-18 state (ex secondary modern comp, 6th form college).

All of us went to Oxbridge, all got 2:1s or 1sts.

All of us speak the same way (accent is largely a function of home life, not school).

All of us do 'socially useful / creative' work (again, I would suggest that this is due to the value system instilled in us by our parents, rather than due to our education).

None of us regard what we earn as a measure of our success, and partly as a result our relative and absoute earnings have hugely varied over the years. At the moment, I suspect one brother (the state eucated one) is marginally better paid than the other two of us, but I was the best paid for some time, and my other brorther has boom years and less boom years due to his line of work [he is, however, the only one of us who is nationally known in his field].

All of us have, at some point, been SAHPs or had SAHPs as partners (again, a value system instilled in us by our early life - that early education is crucial) and all of our children are academically able and look likely to follow similar 'life paths' to us. All of us are, and remain, happily married (again, an early value system based on the very happy, extremely equal, partnership of our parents).

Apologies if we don't fit your neat pigeonholes. The greatest influence on children's success seems to be NOT buying education or not buying education - it is a set of values and a support system provided by family background from the earliest years.

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 20:48:12

"@honora Basically, anyone who says they have a state school which is better than their local private schools (or in my case, better than the vast majority of private schools in the country) gets told their particular example doesn't count, either because it's a grammar or they live in a particular (non counting) place or for some other madey-uppy reason. Then they get insulted. It's how this thread works..... "

But I wasn't insulting anyone- I was making a very mild joke based on Honoria's name. I wrongly assumed that anyone calling herself "honoriaglossop" was a PG Wodehouse fan.

Xenia Wed 31-Oct-12 21:15:59

Yes, but teacher the 8% at private schools do massively better than the state school pupils whether or not your family is different. Anyway there is no problem =- some parents are really happy with state schools and some parents with privates to each to their own, we are all happy and that's that,.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 21:18:45

end of conversation.
we are back at the one we had in 2010

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 21:24:45

@seeker - I know you weren't insulting anyone. I very often disagree with you about the WOH and SAH dichotomy and about selective schools but I am pretty sure I have never seen you be anything but polite on MN grin But you are in the minority in this thread (and another poster did get arsey with her, which she commented on. sad )

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 21:33:46

I suppose it must be quite difficult for people who have gone to private schools but only done middlingly well academically to understand that it is possible for someone to go to a state school and do really well, and then have a better career than most privately educated people. It's easier for those of us who have succeeded, to, you know, understand how straightforward it really is. But as mentioned upthread -each to their own. Privately educated people with limited horizons will bestow more of the same on the world. It seems a shame but also, inevitable.

exoticfruits Wed 31-Oct-12 21:40:56

The privsate schools educate 8% of children and the children get 50% of the best university places, comprise 70% +_ of judges, lots of the cabinet etc etc. So arguably there is nothing better on which you can spend your money as a prviate school place but if people are happy with their state schools that is great too.

Since it got them all the first choice of career, it worked well. Had I paid thousands out over the years they would still have done the same. Thankfully none of them wanted to be in the cabinet-although I would have supported them if they wanted it-it takes over your life and isn't something that I would want.

teacherwith2kids Wed 31-Oct-12 21:54:42

Exactly, exotic - we do what we want to, and what we would have done however we had been educated..... and I bring my (state educated) children up the same way, to believe that they will succeed and will be able to do whatever they set their hearts on. I don't need a school to do that for me.

Yellowtip Wed 31-Oct-12 22:18:44

middleclassonabursary are you so at the cutting edge of state school policy that you know for sure that only the indies are enlightened? I bet not. Well, it isn't so actually, so you can't be.

Xenia what is this guff now about 'soft skills*? How you backtrack and cling on to straws! State school girlies are well up to getting into Oxford or Cambridge for the seriously competitive subjects armed with and honing soft skills all the while. No need to downshift to Bristol to practice an accent and 'networking' to succeed. Just take the high road all the time smile (If you have the talent, that is).

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 22:21:43

The daughters of four of my friends are currently at Oxford
- French and History
- Physics
- Maths
- Biochemistry
all four went to non selective state schools right through

but Hey! what do I know

Yellowtip Wed 31-Oct-12 22:25:18

And forget these stats about 8% of judges etc because judges are old. Take a rain check in five or ten years time.

If only my girls could have regional accents, they might then be even more successful than they already are. Oh the millstone of a middle class voice!

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 22:26:38

@yellow Lack of soft skills was certainly never a problem for me. grin I think Xenia genuinely believes state school oiks like me (and our kids) just spend our time....I don't know. Chewing straws if in the country, sharpening knives if in the inner city. That sort of thing.

As a matter of interest - your school was aware of my school, right? Did you guys think we were all knuckle dragging yokels destined for grub street poly? I work with someone who went to the boys posh school down the road from my school (T) (under the same deal as you went to your school - superlative performance in the 11+) and he tells me (don't know if it's true) that in his day they considered my school their equal. But then, he wouldn't want to rile me. so maybe he's vaselining the lens through which he observes history, a bit....

Yellowtip Wed 31-Oct-12 22:42:27

I don't think he is Mordion. These schools like T etc. were really good melting pots at a particular place at a particular time. Exemplars of proper equality based on merit, not soft skills or accents or any of this up yourself guff. That's what's deluded and complacent I think. There are only a tiny weeny number of independent schools out there which seem to me to be worth the money. But each of those is so selective and with such a good bursary system that they only replicate the best states. It really isn't about fee/ no fee - far more complex than that.

I know, I know - that only deals with the top set.

MordionAgenos Wed 31-Oct-12 22:51:46

I think the thing that slightly annoys me - and I know I shouldn't let it, but there you go - is the repeated implication - not even an implication but a clear statement - that those of us happy with our state schools don't know any better. This would probably be annoying even if I hadn't had the education I did have, and if I didn't have the career I now have. In the circumstances I find it somewhat inappropriate. While I am very aware that their comments stem from an inferiority complex on the part of the people making them, it is still a little bit annoying. Funny too, obviously. But a little bit annoying.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 23:04:25

well my private school education, Russell Group degree and post graduate qualification left me too thick to realise that round here State schools cannot the best option, just because all the other privately educated people choose to use them too.
The non selective private school is rather nouveau to be honest
and the selective one is just a hothouse for pushy parents

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 31-Oct-12 23:10:50

Northern Ireland has numerous excellent grammar schools, who regularly out perform private schools.

Yellowtip Wed 31-Oct-12 23:12:39

I think the comic aspect has to outweigh the irritant though Mordion. And I think the irritant comes mainly from the fact that the poor suckers have to repeat their manifesto so often. And they have to repeat it so often because it's the only way to give it bulk.

orangeberries Thu 01-Nov-12 08:48:00

But I think the point a lot of people on this thread are missing is that it is in many instances really hard to access a decent state comprehensive school, let alone grammar school.

Where we are there are no grammar schools. This would lead you to believe that the state secondaries are truly comprehensive, but this is absolutely not the case.

There are only 3 decent state comprehensives - 2 are faith and very very strictly so - the other one has a very tiny catchment where houses are so prohibitively expensive, only the very rich or people who were lucky enough to live there 20 years ago can afford it.

Our local secondary school is a sink, it hasn't sent anyone to a Russell Group for a long time let alone Oxbridge, results are diabolical and surpsingly looking at the stats on low/mid/high achievers plus free school meals their catchment isn't too bad, they just do a really bad job. They have always been satisfactory, I am surprised they are not in special measures as their value add is so poor.

So my example above illustrates really that there are good state schools out there but they are just not within reach. Ironically if you are on an average income and have one child you might just be able to afford private but would never be able to buy in the catchment of the good state comprehensive as it would be the equivalent of sending 3 or 4 children to private if that makes sense. So either way if you are not well off and you have 2 children you are well and truly disadvantaged. Where's the social justice in that?? Everyone should have access to a decent education...

middleclassonbursary Thu 01-Nov-12 08:52:13

I don't usually enter into these argument state versus independent because it completely pointless and I don't know how I got drawn in this time. I usually restrict most of comments to questions about bursaries.
Mordion firstly I am not anti state ed but when detailing the exam results of four independent schools I looked at for my DC who now attends one of them I was picking up on your comment on 29/10 "According to the BBC there was't a school in the country did better than Colchester Royal Grammar school on A level results, in 2011" I not disputing that its probably an excellent school but as you then pointed out last night "9 private schools got a better A*/A percentage than CRGS" If you read what I posted after detailing these exam results not once did I say that this was because they were vastly superior to any state school in terms of teaching because I know and maybe you do that the picture is significantly more complex than that.
With regard to my link with India Russia which you seem to regard as spurious the company my DH works has in these recessionary times has successfully turned the the international market and now works extensively with the richest Indians and Russians in the world both her and at home. As child I led a nomad life style half in the city have in the countryside. In the city I brought up with and surrounded by Indians my mothers partner is Indian, my class mates were Indian. I have passion for all things to do with India. With mixed success I've walked two career paths at the same time and as an undergraduate my particular interest was India and the rise of the middle classes but also its economy, music farming history in particular partition politics, Mahatma Ghandi, and Neru and his daughter and grand son, the creation of Pakistan and its religions. I am not an expert on India by any stretch of the imagination but the general consensus from my lecturers when I was at university was that I was and still am pretty knowledgeable and certainly more knowledgeable than you average man in in the street. We personally have links with Delhi and are due back next year.
I am not trying to say that state ed is crap and independent ed is perfect but as a mother of a child in a well regarded 6th form college and from reading many comments on mumsnet and also the frequently mentioned Sutton Trust report re the number of pupils from 4 independent schools going to Oxbridge outnumbering 2000 state schools I genuinely feel that state ed is not moving with the times. The top independent schools are evolving because they have no choice their parents wish for there children to attend top RG universities Oxbridge and of course increasingly the Ivy League as the saying goes he who pays the piper calls the tunes. Even the parents of children at what are generally considered less selective schools are demanding more it is no longer acceptable for their DC to go off to the RAC to study estate management they too want RG universities Oxbridge/The Ivy League. The government can try and make it easier for children from state schools to get into top universities but these independent schools are not going to roll over and oh fine we're send our pupils to third rate universities because like all businesses and lets face it thats what they are they know that to be successful they have to give the customer what the customer wants so they are going to change and evolve to keep their edge.
At a recent lecture at our local exceedingly successful comp I was shocked by how unaware/unconcerned the head/governors were by the rise in students applying to universities from abroad caused by the lifting of travel restrictions the rise of the wealthy middle classes etc, the fact that more and more children are being educated and prepared for our universities in independent schools as I've already said our children will be increasingly competing for jobs university places against some of the best and able brains from all over the world. I am all in favour of competition but worry that that state ed is not preparing our children for this competition in the same way as many independent schools are. Education is not just about exam results it should be about enabling our children to function successfully in the world after they leave school I personally remain unconvinced that state ed has grasped that the world is a rapidly changing place. Im sure many of you are very happy with your state school and thats great but from reading many if the comments on MN I get the impression that many are not, no topic on the education section of MN creates so many diametrically opposed and often acrimonious posting, many so obviously feel that independent ed is unfair as it offers a small % of children a "privileged education" bought by money. I have to assume that those who feel like this believe that this education is better because logically you would feel so strongly about it if you felt it was inferior to state ed. I don't read many comments on the unfairness of those who choose to pay for Steiner ed because most sane people don't think it is superior. My view is that you are right to be angry, I understand why you think its unfair and that unless state ed wakes up the report published by the Sutton Trust re Oxbridge entry will be published again in ten years time and this time it will show the situation is worsening. Im not opposed to state ed and accept that it many cases its doing a good job but as parents we cant afford to complacent. All Im trying to say is that as parents we cant afford to think that our little village primary school offers as good as an education as a top prep or that their is little difference between our outstanding local comp and Westminster St Pauls girls/boys. This government is gong to increasingly reduce funding to our schools this is going to have a significant impact on the teachers building and ultimately the standard of education children receive I don't know what the solution perhaps thats a separate thread.
You may think Im talking rubbish thats fine we are all entitled to our own views I think Ill go back to answering questions on bursaries now!

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 08:53:26

I said we are all happy. How can that be construed as my saying state school parents are living in a fool's paradise?

There are a range of reason private school pupils on the whole do so massively well in the UK and obviously the much better results compared with how many of them 8% are in private schools is a big area. I think there are other advantages too but that doesn't mean state parents don't see advantages in their own choices.

Bonsoir Thu 01-Nov-12 09:02:37

"Our local secondary school is a sink, it hasn't sent anyone to a Russell Group for a long time let alone Oxbridge, results are diabolical and surpsingly looking at the stats on low/mid/high achievers plus free school meals their catchment isn't too bad, they just do a really bad job."

Sadly, all the evidence points to the fact that there are some truly incompetent schools out there that are failing to take pupils to their full potential.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 09:45:33

"Sadly, all the evidence points to the fact that there are some truly incompetent schools out there that are failing to take pupils to their full potential. "

Absolutely - and those of us who argue vehemently that there ARE good state schools would be equally vehement in stating that there are poor ones too (just that sometimes the ones 'believed to be poor' aren't really the worst ones - there are plenty of schools with very poor catchments which do brilliant work [but aren't at the top of league tables] though there are also schools with no catchment excuse which are genuinely poor).

Equally, there are private schools which should be doing better, given their intake...

Mominatrix Thu 01-Nov-12 09:46:57

True, Bonsoir - and in both sectors. However, the incompetent privates will fail due to parents taking their children out and putting them into other schools. However, the parents of the incompetent state school probably won't have such luxury.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 09:51:49

@Orange We aren't missing your point (although you are wrong in your comparison between mortgage costs and the costs of private schooling) sadly. I think everybody knows there are some atrocious state schools out there and some people live in areas with very very little choice. You are right, there is no social justice there. It's one of the reasons I support more grammar schools and completely oppose selection by depth of pocket which is what rigorously enforced catchment area policies really boil down to.

I have also said several times in this thread and many others that there are of course some superb private schools. I didn't actually realise that CRGS was 3rd in the FT table, I thought it was probably about 10th or something. What the private school fanclub seem unable to grasp is that the really excellent private schools are few in number too, and that there are an awful lot of middling private schools which confer little advantage other than snob value. Especially outside London. And some of the people in this thread happen to live in areas where those are the only private schools you can get (the best private school in Devon is 50 places below the best state school in the FT table for example). So it's not surprising that we have said 'I live in an area where state schools are better than private schools'.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 09:55:17

Mom, I'm not quite so sure as you are about the incompetent privates failing... or at least not over a short time frame.

I know of a couple of genuinely poor private schools near where I teach. They have excellent sports facilities, lovely grounds, 'nice' intake, fancy uniforms. Classrooms have desks and blackboards, all teaching is chalk and talk, lots of tradition. Very forceful heads, who tell parents from day 1 how far ahead their children will be compared with local state schools, how lucky they are to be there .... classic 'demonise the other side' stuff.

The last child I taught who came from one of those schools - with a mum who genuinely still believed how far ahead her DD was, wanting her to be accelerated a year in a state school, devastated that she could no longer afford the fees - went straight onto our SEN register because she was SO far behind.

Particularly at primary - which is the age range I know best - parents do not always have the information they need to compare schools accurately, and many do fall for the 'whole package' of well-scrubbed children in beautiful grounds rather than looking at actual attainment and progress.

One of the schools I mention is, gradually, shrinking in size. However, its relative academic failure is very, very longstanding from all the information I have, and so the link between this and parents taking children out is very slow and indirect.

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 09:59:54

If there are most middling useless prviate schools why do the 8% of children at private schools get 50% of the best university places and make up 70%+ of judges etc etc.> It's because many of the private schools are pretty good. Also even those which take very thickets of children seem to add value with small classes and bringing out talents in practical areas or sports to ensure the value added for that child is good.

However yes some private schools are not good and some state are good too. Obviously each parent makes their own choices and those women who didn't pick careers which enable them to pay fees and have no good state school are stuck with a local sink comp often as not.

I think private school parents aer very aware of which are the best schools. We will all have a local pecking order which might have Westminster, St Pauls's etc on it and then go down to the schools which take all comers and those who have not managed to get into any of the harder schools for which they tried. That doesn't mean those bottom results schools are bad for hte less clever child either as they add value well for many. There are also small private schools which are failing and haven't been around long or won't no one would touch with a barge pole but there are not really that many of them.

I still don't really understand why just about every school in all sectors which does well is in the SE though. IQ is not spread like that.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 10:08:04

I'm sure many private school parents and pupils are happy with their choices, even when they do result in less favourable academic and career outcomes than those of state school pupils. However I do worry what those people are teaching their children about the value of money. There is clearly already a disconnect with reality being displayed by some people who attended private school themselves. It's rather sad.

Obviously - since my kids go to great schools where they will do well, and since I did better than 99% of the population myself having gone to a state school - I'm not angry or worried about 'privilege'. The one thing I do think that private schools have going for them is the ability to plough their own furrow and tell Gove exactly what to do with his meddling. Sadly many of them seem to be not doing this though.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 10:08:22


What I would be interested in is what percentage of the children getting into the best universities [judges are irrelevant, as their education was a generation ago - we need to look at what schools are like NOW] from private schools actually come from an elite group within that sector?

My suspicion is that many, many of them come from a relatively few private schools, and that - as with the state sector - there is a long tail of schools which do not confer significant advantage in getting to top universities (in fact, that the number going from those 'tail' schools is less than would be expected given the backgrounds of those students).

I am glad, though, that you have recognised the existence of a LOCAL pecking order. Your local pecking order has private schools at the top. As it happens, my local pecking order [for a boy] goes state grammar, state grammar, state comprehensive, private, state grammar, comprehensive, comprehensive, private, comprehensive, private. For a girl, it goes state grammar, private, state grammar, state comprehensive, private etc.

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 10:12:27

Teacher I think you make a fair point about parents not knowing the whole story when they fist sign up.

TBH I chose our local prep for my DC based on recommendations and the fact that it was around the corner from where I live. I had no idea it was superlative as, frankly, I didn't have a fullly formed idea of what a superlative education might consist of. I was lucky.

I was a lot more clued up at secondary level. But even then, my ideas were subjective and didn't coincide with my DD's ideas wink...

I now have a very firm idea of what I think constitutes a good school for my DC. And it wasn't the local grammar as if happens. But this is highly subjective.

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 10:12:53

I didn't consider state schools in my local pecking order - the one nera my house gets 34% A - C in GCSE if you include maths and English. There are no selective schools in the county where I live.

Most areas of the country have no grammar schools at all so they are an irrelevance. They were abolished where I was born in 1970.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 10:15:06

Private schools obviously didn't focus on geography in the 70s. sad

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 10:17:06

Xenia, I know that you don't - but by acknowledging that a local pecking order exists, you will of course understand that in different areas, the pecking order will be different, and might [however hard this may be for you to believe] mean that well-informed parents with the money for private school actively choose to send their children to state schools BECAUSE LOCALLY THEY ARE BETTER.

I do not live in North London, you do not live where I do - we make judgements based on our local circumstances. Parents doing the best for their children locally actively select state schools against private. That does not affect the national picture, but it IS true locally.

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 10:18:07

In fact let us go up there to the NE and leave the special climate of London SE behind. I can't do it. I was trying to find the FT tables and their map or list of schools in that region.

It is never a true comparison anyway. Any school which is selective in state or private sector even if selective by house price as many comps are is going to do better than non selectives ones and in areas where house prices are very low and parents earn little.

I had better earn a crust now though...

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 10:45:25

remember that those lovely FT tables are only for 6th form
so a county like Hampshire looks a bit odd as the vast bulk of schools do not have a 6th form....
the Dfe data is more reliable and has less of a political spin

and as one of the state schools in Xenia's borough gets 40% Ebacc and the Catholic school 59% Ebacc and several of them get over 70% % good GCSEs (not equivalents) maybe a bit of looking out at the real world rather than navel gazing would be in order

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 10:55:23

I know some amazing people who went to private schools. Academic, creative, talented, hardworking, wildly successful......I know lots of similarly amazing people who went to state school. The amazing people who went to private school would very likely still be amazing if they had gone to state school.

I know plenty of private school products who look sort of ok on paper but who fell at the final hurdle - didn't get into Oxford or Cambridge, for example (or didn't try), didn't do anything spectacular with their lives, bumble along, might make a bit of money through contacts but nothing amazing. Nothing that makes you look at them and think 'this person is special'. Would they have done even less well in life had they not had the bunk up from private school? Perhaps. But I don't think that's anything the private school fanclub should be proud of to be honest. I have no problem with the existence of private schools. I have no problem with private school products being disproportionately represented in positions of influence if they are good (not all of them are). I have a significant problem with people pretending that it is impossible for a bright kid to get a good education in a state school qua state. Particularly people who have evidently had a less good education at private school than some of us had at state (no selective) schools. It is sadly true that not all kids have access to appropriate state schools but that's a problem of provision and distribution, not a problem with the concept of state schooling.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 11:11:39

"It is never a true comparison anyway. Any school which is selective in state or private sector even if selective by house price as many comps are is going to do better than non selectives ones and in areas where house prices are very low and parents earn little."

So remind me, Xenia - on what basis are you saying that private schools are 'better' then, if you are saying that no comparison is true?

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 11:30:21

Morion I cant speak for the "private school fanclub" but I agree suggested there are "awful lot of middling private schools which confer little advantage other than snob value" and has already been suggested that the writing is on the wall for many of these.
Secondly your comment "Especially outside London" Ive just quickly cast my eyes over the FT top 100 schools and was surprised to find that over 50% were not in London and the suburbs.

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 11:33:20

I've just read all the other posting I didn't realise that the FT top 100 schools is not always acceptable!

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 11:34:21

One reason selective schools work is that everyone is a similarl evel and the standard of the lazy is pulled up. If most in your class or year group are not up to much many children follow the herd. So if you get into a selective school you tend to do better than if you weren 't in one and expectations are higher.

Don't agree over SE> Most good schools in that table are in the SE, Kent, Herts, London. It's amazing considering lots of chidlren live in Hull etc

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 11:44:37

I also see Shrewsbury, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Birmingham, Devon, Manchester, Chester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Warwick in that top 100 list (some of those places eg Birmingham have more than one entry). Of course there is a concentration in the south east that's where the money is, that's where people often flow to, from the hideous frozen wastes of the North, following the money. The really bright ones obviously find ways to earn London money while not living in London but obviously everyone can't do that.

I really have no problem with proclaiming the supremacy of London against all comers (especially my wonderful little bit of it) but it's clearly false to claim its only possible to get a good education in the South East.

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 11:54:31

Its hardly surprising that so many are in the southeast as London is considerably larger than any other city in the UK as already pointed out the south east is where then majority of the money is.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 12:04:02

Thanks for the link, Xenia - what amazes me is the extent of the FT 'fudge factor', as I cannot get the same ordering of our local schools however I sort the 'official' figures. It happens to disadvantage the local state school and advantage the private school - I wonder why you choose to use that particular source of rankings rather than the DfE figures????

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 12:06:21

I have always trusted the FT most as they were the first to start league tables and they give positions over 5 years or more which are much truer than just one fluke year and they weeded out soft useless A levels some schools were using to ramp up their positions and they go b y A levels, our gold standard. I think they give a pretty good idea. They set out how they work out their data too.

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 12:07:33

talkin do you have a link for the DfE? And does it include a level results?

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 12:08:00

Sorry not talkin teacher I have got my glasses on!!!

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 12:13:01

@teacher the FT tables are renowned for their makey-uppyness. Which obviously stems from private school bias. But even then, they cannot deny that there is a state school which only two private schools can surpass on fudged results. I'd say that is rather telling.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 12:55:58

Here you go
I have downloaded the main table, hidden all the columns that are micrograding and then sorted ....

VERY interesting

the GCSE data is here
massive data set - but once lots of the columns are hidden VERY clear

and they put both your boy's schools on exactly the same footing!

the dfe data goes back a lot further than that ....

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 13:08:46

I think the FT tables are the best but what is clear on the thread is most of us think very highly of the schooling we have picked. That is lovely. So let us all go forth in great happiness content we have picked the best schooling for our off spring.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 13:13:01

Why do you think the FT tables are best?
They are potentially not accurate, surely you cannot approve of that?

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 13:16:24

For me that is the one overiding factor of private schools that sells them...^choice^.

I had quite a large choice on offer for my DC. That felt very empowering. If I were not extremely happy with my DC's school I would send them elswhere in a heartbeat.

Choice in the state sector is rather illusory.

ISingSoprano Thu 01-Nov-12 13:26:14

I would say that in Hampshire, and in particular Winchester the differential between private and state is about as narrow as it gets. The results from the state sector secondaries and in particular the sixth form colleges rival independent schools. I understand our well known sixth form college exceeds our well known boys public school for average points per student at A level!

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 13:26:19

The FT league tables also include results such as % pupils to 'good' unis. Is a rank 200 school that sends 75% of its pupils to good unis better than/worse than a rank 100 school that sends 60%. ??? It is all so complex and you can't even rely on people's opinions of schools as some people are duped by clever marketing into thinking a mediocre school is great.

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 13:30:35

What do league tables ultimately show? The playing filed is not level whether your considering the state or independent sector exam many factors contribute to exam results; how selective tehy are is obvioulsy key but also where your school is, tutoring or not paid for by parents etc and lets not forget how happy our DC's are at the individual school so Xenia is right (I dont often agree with her) its how happy we as parents and our children our that actually matters. word is also right being able to pay in the vast majority of cases gives choice freedom to choose the school we hope our DC's will be most suitable for.

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 13:40:31

All league tables tell you is how many pupils got how many grades.

They don't tell you the board. The resits. The subject. Whether the pupils are thriving and doing lots of other lovely things. I mean...they're just bald figures no?

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 13:42:17

OP, our 'outstanding' local state school get 90% 5 A* - C at GCSE with 100% of pupils getting 3A levels. Have a guess at the Ebacc %...'s 0% shock.

That matters to me. <wonders if there's been a mistake>

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 13:46:31

"I understand our well known sixth form college exceeds our well known boys public school for average points per student at A level!"
According to Peter symonds Wensite 9.9% achieved A*s at a level, 50.1% achieved the same grade at the much harder pre U at Win Coll, 26.7% (Im assuming not including the A*) achieved an A at PS, 89.1 % (incluidng those who got an A* ) at Win Coll and I think a further 28.7% total 65.3% achioeved A* - B at PS where as 94.% achieved A* - B at Win Coll. At PS 41% went onto RG universities at Win Coll 37% went onto Oxbridge and the all the rest the ivy League and RG universities. But as I've already said you are not comparing like with like. I drive a super mini I love it it does exactly what I want it to do its particularly fuel efficient, my DH drives a ridiculous sports care he loves it it accelerates at an eye watering rate speed and guzzles up petrol he loves it. You cannot compare the two because they do different animals.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 13:47:32

is that 90% including English and maths?

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 13:50:42

pickled a family memeber called me yesterday about her DC at an 'outstanding' school. She has DC in the smae school year and wanted to pick my brain.

In year 9 her DD has already started her GCSEs with a view to just getting them done. Resitting 'as many times as necessary'.

She said it was bloody awful for the DC (her eldest has already been through this regime).

It is a completely cynical way to ensure the school emains hih in the league tables and has nothing whatsoever to do with a good education ...

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 13:50:54

just that sorting by 0% ebacc and then by % getting 5 a-c ince English & maths, the highest percentage is 81% and that's in a Boys Catholic school ....

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 13:52:48

then your family member needs to check the data from the school because the curriculum has changed to linear - no modules and resits for current year 10 downwards - its all exams at the end of year 11 (or year 10 if they sit a year early)

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 13:58:30

My daughter's school NLCS did not allow the resitting thing. I remember her being cross about it or not at some of the times.

I think the subjects do matter. My local comp does a lot of mechanics, childcare and tourism GCSEs. It got about 30% A - C GCSE including maths and ENglish. That rises to 52% if they take out maths and English.

I just came off a work callt o someone who mentioned an A level her son was doing somwhere for a potential career and he enjoys the A level. I did not like to tell her the A level is not the one to do for that subject. No one obviously told him it has a low reputation and will affect his career in the subject. Schools should not be doing that to chidlren.

I think where chidlren go after is a good indicator whatever theg rades. If you want tyhem to get jobs then mnay employers recruit from the better universities so if they get lots into those that's a good sign. If they don't however good the A levels are then that matters.

ISingSoprano Thu 01-Nov-12 13:59:13

happygardening in 2011 PS average points score per student was 1041 compared to 1019 at Win Coll. I was simply using these statistics to illustrate my point that in my home town the gap between state and private education is perhaps narrower than in some other areas.

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 14:02:56

talkin they already started the courses early so 'jumped in' for the tail end of modular IYSWIM. Another cynical move IMHO.

The scores on the doors for this school are 97% 5 GCSEs. Hoorah.
Except many of these GCSEs will have been dragged out of the poor kids by resitting ad infinitum.

If you include English and Maths it's only 57%.

And no stats for I'll make my own assumptions.

Oh and the number of A*s is not big. No one got more than six last year. Probably because they were all sitting them Too Bloody Early...

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 14:04:39

Xenia pupils receiving crap advice on subject choice is a huge bugbear of mine!!!!

Many a bright student has scuppered their chances thorugh poor subject choice.

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 14:06:14

no mention of eng and maths TalkinPeace, 'tis a catholic school in Bury St Edmunds

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 14:08:33

having just worked out which school you are talking about (I love mining data sets!) nothing surprises me any more

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 14:11:27

"2011 PS average points score per student was 1041 compared to 1019 at Win Coll'
I dont fully understand points or what you get them for; A levels, AS levels, how many subjects you do? As far as I understand the boys at Win Coll only do three subjects as the Pre U is so much harder although each grade carries more points that the A level equivalent. They also don't do AS levels but ultimately points are irrelevant their university entrance figures and % of each grade are what most parents look at if looking at how successful a selective school is. The results should be significantly better than PS which I am aware is highly regarded not because its an independent school but because its highly selective school.

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 14:14:08

yes, 81% inc. eng and maths but still, zero for ebacc - how can that be considered a great or even good school

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 14:14:55

Yes, it was't law but it could have been. Her son adored the A level (not one of the real academic ones really but a subject he wants to study at university and perversely by taking it at A level he will have diminished his chances of studying it anywhere good which means he won't have the career he wants.

I don't entirely blame schools. Any parent with a brain or teenager can do a web search of university websites to see what A levels they like. If I at 15 before the itnernet could write to lots of universities with questions off my own bat I don't see why today's teenagers cannot do their research.

That's one reason I like league tables. Before they came out only those parents in the know knew that say Manchester Grammar was betetr than a local school with a nice shiny front. At least the tables give some raw data so parents without much knowledge can look things up.

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 14:16:00

Actually a quick look at the website of the school in question (another RC one) shows that the early taking of exams really impacted on the high ability students IMVHO.

The number of A *s is definitely low.

English - 6 students.
English Lit - 3
German - 0
Japanese - 0
History - 5

This is a massive cohort of kids. About 250 in the year. It is a faith school and has highly supportive parents...honestly it makes me so bloody cross.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 14:18:13

TBH comparing Winchester and Peter Symonds is like comparing sandwiches with cars.
Incomparably different intake, scale and intention.

The interesting bit is that PSC gets really rather good point scores with an intake criteria of 5 A-C inc E&M
whereas WC and St Swithuns (to give the skirts a chance) do not have as significant an advantage as one would expect given the level of academic and financial selection they have undertaken in the years leading up to the exams.

tracking their data across, they appear not to be doing languages .... it is the one I thought :-)

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 14:31:24

"pickled a family memeber called me yesterday about her DC at an 'outstanding' school. She has DC in the smae school year and wanted to pick my brain.

In year 9 her DD has already started her GCSEs with a view to just getting them done. Resitting 'as many times as necessary'.

Wordfqctoy- you really need to call her back. Unless I have got it very wrong, what the school is doing does not fit the new GcSE criteria. I really don't think, unless I have misunderstood, that this is doable for this year's year 9s

ISingSoprano Thu 01-Nov-12 14:35:57

*TBH comparing Winchester and Peter Symonds is like comparing sandwiches with cars.
Incomparably different intake, scale and intention.*

I realise that. I wasn't actually trying to compare the two, just to illustrate the point that based purely on results in Winchester the gap between state and independent schools is quite narrow.

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 14:39:12

ah, that explains it somewhat TiP

Wonder what the rationale was behind that particular decision hmm.

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 14:40:48

it's a mixed school though, TiP, not boys

That is exactly what my dd's school is doing wordfactory, they have already done two GCSEs in year 9 and are doing two more in year 10. The pupils who didn't get a-c will keep doing re-sits.

I am not happy about it at all.

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 14:48:37

Ising, I suggest that the points per student is really not a good measure to compare schools with until and unless subjects like gen studies and critical thinking that require little or no teaching time are excluded from the figures.

The FT probably has the right idea with its table in that rather than giving all subjects equal weighting it just looks at core subjects, and then considers both the actual grades achieved as well as the numbers of subjects taken (quantity and quality). However I don't know how it defines 'core subjects' - obviously the more vocational type courses it excludes the more it will disadvantage comprehensive schools, but I suppose it is their attempt to make an A level distinction between schools offering mostly good solid A levels and softer ones (a bit like the ebacc measure did for GCSEs). I would have thought simply excluding critical thinking and general studies would be a fairly sensible approach rather than widening the net of exclusions further, or just looking at points per entry rather than per student which I think is a much more useful figure.

Generally though, what tables (and indeed anything except hindsight) cannot tell you is how your child will fare at a particular school which of course is the most important factor. Agree that if people are happy with their choices that is important and good.

pickledsiblings Thu 01-Nov-12 14:53:43

Some people don't know what's good for them or their DC gelo.

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 14:56:44

That's all too true pickled, but many people think they do, so they end up happy anyway.

ISingSoprano Thu 01-Nov-12 15:02:10

I don't disagree gelo but any system of league table is going to be flawed. What we're really saying is that you cannot compare two state schools let alone a state school and an independent school. As for comparing generically all state schools with all independent schools ..... well, all 280 messages in this thread were a waste of time entirely grin

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 15:12:29

Points per student is very obviously not the way to compare schools because although PS has more points than Win Coll, Win Coll has significantly better grades there is no critical thinking or general studies (what ever the hell they are) at Win Coll.
Surely if anyone wants to see how successful PS is then it would be better to compare it with other 6 th form colleges requiring the same criteria for admission in a similar area.

ISingSoprano Thu 01-Nov-12 15:15:02

Yes happygardening but the subject of the thread is comparing state to private schools in any given area. There are plenty of threads comparing PSC to other sixth form colleges - it is a well trodden path.

Yellowtip Thu 01-Nov-12 15:15:59

I think there is an issue amongst some of the private school parents that they actually haven't a clue what is going on in the best of the state sector. Perhaps this is because a large dollop of what they pay goes on slick marketing to convince the punters that the private sector alone can deliver for their child, that it alone is on the inside track.

middleclassonabursary the state school that my DC all attend or have attended is completely abreast of all developments in the university sector both here and in the US. It is really quite ignorant of you to suppose that there are mysteries about this stuff that are kept secret from those in charge in the state sector but I suppose you just make assumptions because it's not your patch. Top universities in the US are actually reaching out to the brightest state school students in the UK. For those who want to go there (none of my eldest four did, not as undergraduates at least, but the opportunity was certainly there).

The idea that all state schools dance around with modules and re-sits is also not universal. Our school has done all GCSEs as linear and in one sitting for as long as we've been there (since 2001), with no messing around (well, for the past three years students have taken a single Physics module early, but apart from that. So my eldest four all sat 11 or 12 GCSEs in one go, with no re-sits. That's a far more challenging way to do it educationally of course and far better preparation for juggling a workload in the Sixth Form and life beyond.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:17:48

Do the FT list which A levels they count in their tables - as then at least it would be honest discrimination, rather than hidden!!!
A bit like the RG coming clean about the A Levels they want

But as has been said, there is some shockingly bad guidance given to children

interesting article in Private Eye I read this morning : that some people are trying to promote Computing A Level and getting lots and lots of press coverage for it.
Shame then that the prerequisite for the computing degrees at top Unis around the world include Maths, applied Maths, a science but NOT Computing .....

Accountancy A level actually counts against you for the CCAB courses unless its accompanied by an A* in Maths and at least one other rigorous subject!

Private schools have been better than State at this for years
but the (decent) state schools are getting their act together pretty quick

we'll see the outcome of this discussion in about 15 years time grin

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 15:26:44

ISing the point I was trying to make is that it really only makes sense to compare like with like either in the same area or nationally any other comparison is ultimately meaningless.

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 15:27:52

Competition is brilliant. If state schools start to do better if they took say 92% of good university places as they have 92% of chidlren that would spur on the private schools who teach 8% of children and get 50% of the good places. No one should fear competition and variety in different sectors is a good thing.

I am happy with our children's private schools and most parents on here seem happy with state schools chosen so there is no problem at all.

It says core academic subjects as defined by University of Cambridge.

"The FT school league table for 2012 includes the top 1,000 secondary schools in England, measured by performance in A-level, International Baccalaureate Higher and Pre-U (an alternative to A-levels) qualifications. Based on results in 2011, the analysis focuses on core academic subjects, as defined by the University of Cambridge.

Of the 3,000 or so schools in England, just under 2,180 qualified for the FT ranking. The criteria for inclusion were straightforward: schools must have had at least 20 students registered for A-levels, IBs or Pre-U exams in 2011, with an average of two or more exam entries per candidate, and an average of at least one core subject per candidate.

Due to the lack of consistent information for the devolved administrations, which have control over education, schools in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are not included in the analysis, but the independent Scottish results can be seen in a table elsewhere in this report.

Like the government’s own performance tables, which include information on results in all exams, the FT has used the Qualification and Curriculum Development Agency’s tariff to assign points to grades obtained by students. For example, an A at A-level is worth 270 points, while an E scores 150 points.

The introduction of the A* grade at A-level in 2010 and of Pre-U exam results in 2011, alongside the inclusion of IB Higher exam results for the first time in our table, make comparisons with data for previous years difficult. Overall, the average number of core points per candidate has increased slightly compared with results for 2010.

The ranking itself is derived from The Good Schools Guide research, using Department for Education pupil-level data. Two measurements have been devised to rank the schools: the points per candidate and points per entry, in terms of core subjects only. Using these two measures gives an assessment of the quality and quantity of exam passes in 2011.

An FT score has been calculated for each school. First, Z-scores were calculated for both ranking measures – these are a mathematical formula that creates numbers reflecting the range of the points. These were combined, to give a total. A positive score indicates a performance above the average for qualifying schools in England; a negative score equates to a below-average rating.

The left part of the table deals with the core A-level results, the FT score and subsequent ranking. Performance for two earlier rankings is also shown.

Given the closeness of many schools in the league table, and the volatility of the underlying measures, only large changes in rank are likely to be significant. Additional variables are shown for information, including the proportion of entries in core subjects graded at A or A* level (or Pre-U/IB equivalent).

In addition, the fees data are collated from the ISC census that was conducted in 2012.

. . .

The FT school league table for 2012 details the top secondary schools in England, measured by performance in A-level, Pre-U and International Baccalaureate (IB) qualifications. Based on results in 2011, the analysis focuses on “core” academic subjects, as defined by the University of Cambridge.

Key to the table

FT API Rank 11: position of the school, compared with its peers, cal­culated by the FT (based on the FT score for core points at A-level, Pre-U and IB).

FT AP Rank 10: equivalent position in 2010 (based on the FT score for core points at A-level and Pre-U only).

FT A Rank 09: equivalent position in 2009 (based on the FT score for core points at A-level only).

School type: type of secondary school (6th = sixth form college, AC = academy, ACC = academy converter, Comp = comprehensive, Gram = grammar, Ind = independent and other).

FT score: total score assigned using the FT’s ranking methodology. This combines the points per candidate in core subjects (to measure quantity of work), and points per entry in core subjects (to measure the quality).

Core entries/candidate: average number of entries per candidate in core subjects.

Points per core entry: average number of QCDA points scored per entry in core subjects.

Points per candidate (core exams): average number of QCDA points scored per candidate in core subjects.

All entries per candidate: average number of entries per candidate in all subjects and all exam types.

Number of candidates (all exams): total number of students taking exams in all subjects and all exam types.

Government rank (points per candidate): government ranking for the school, based on the average number of points per candidate in all subjects and all exam types.

Points per candidate (all exams): average number of points scored per candidate in all subjects and exam types.

% A*/A grade per entry (core subjects): proportion of entries in core subjects graded A* or A (or equivalent at Pre-U/IB).

Number of A*AB grades per candidate (core subjects): average number of entries per candidate that achieved A*, A or B (or Pre-U/IB equivalent) in core subjects.

% girls: proportion of female candidates.

Day fees (£000s): cost per annum for non-boarders.

Board fees (£000s): cost per annum for students who board.

% boarders: proportion of students who board.

World-ranked university rank: position of the school compared with peers, calculated using the proportion of students entering an ARWU ranked university.

Average entrants/annum (2005-09): average number of students entering a British university per year, between 2005 and 2009.

% world-ranked university: percentage of students entering a British university between 2005 and 2009 who went to a British university ranked among the top 500 universities in the world, according to the 2011 Academic ranking of world universities.

% Oxbridge/UCL: percentage of students entering a British university between 2005 and 2009 who went to Oxford, Cambridge or University College London.

singersgirl Thu 01-Nov-12 15:34:24

But comparing league tables of any sort is pretty pointless and reductive. The vast number of different tables out there show how you can add many sorts of bias

If you take average point score, the schools where children do General Studies come out higher (though most pupils don't actually do very well at this and there are few A* grades). Some schools also encourage more A-levels eg if you look online you'll see that one clearly incredibly bright boy at Colchester RGS got 8 A*s - some schools don't let any pupils take more than 4 subjects.

Then again, if you want to compare A* grades rather than A grades, for example, you'll see that Colchester got 26% A* in 2012 at A-level compared to the 2011 figures for the school below it in the FT table, St Paul's, which got 52% A* (2012 results not posted yet) and, of course, Westminster where 53% of passes were at A*.

So which is the better set of results? And does it matter? I imagine the same child would get the same results at any of these schools.

All these schools are incredibly selective so it would be terrible if they didn't get good results.

I would like to think that most people are choosing schools for the journey as well as the destination based on their own particular circumstances.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:35:41

So the FT bases its list on what Cambridge call real A levels.
I wonder what Imperial, Harvard and a few other top universities think of that?

ouryve Thu 01-Nov-12 15:39:38

There's a state secondary in Durham with a particularly good reputation. The cost of houses in catchment carries a premium pretty much equivalent to private school fees for a couple of kids.

happygardening Thu 01-Nov-12 15:43:29

I couldn't agree more ISing although league tables can be a measure of quality if you could find two indentical schools in preferably the same town/city and did a comparison if one was doing significantly worse than the other then maybe alarm bells would ring. This is what happened in Bristol with paediatric cardiac surgery where the death rate was significantly higher even allowing for adjustments. But you example of Westminster and St Paul's shows that when all things are equal then low and behold results are virtually equal!!

wordfactory Thu 01-Nov-12 15:58:59

seeker thank you. I have sent her a text (she's at work wink).

She says she thinks her DC are part of the 'old' system because they already done some modules. But she will check on Monday with the school.

To be honest, she's looking for a reason to put a cat among the pigeons, as she feels the school has been very short of outstanding both for her eldest who struggles and had to resit ad infinitum to get the school their precious 5 Cs.

But also for her very able youngest, who will be far less likely to reach her potential if she has to sit everyhting so bloody early. Clearly their A* tally indicates this may be so. I simply cannot believe that out of a huge and well supported cohort only a handful of students can get an A* in English!

Umeboshi Thu 01-Nov-12 16:21:38

A truly good school will get the full potential out of each pupil. I don't see how the percentage of pupils getting five A-C GCSEs tells us that.

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 18:00:55

This is the lovely thing - if you don't like academic league tables based on which schools get the most chidlren to the universities which will get them the best careers then ignore them. If you major on classical music you will be looking at whether to pick a good private/state school or else going for a choral scholarship at a Cathedral school or Chetham's or Purcell school etc. If you want them not to have to go to lessons you might go for Summer Hill. If you want them to be posh and finished you will pick XYZ school. If you are fundamentalist Saudi you pick the London Saudi school. Hindu - may be our local hindu primary.

Bright children in my view though tend to do best with other bright children where expectations are high.

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 18:02:06

Also don't underestimate the effect of a school longer term. One of my older children has had someone at work who mattered saying - oh you went there, you must be very clever (as most people who try to get in fail and probably his own children failed to get in). Obviously the same can apply with the working class lad made good who went to a bad comp who finds another such at work from the same kind of place - street cred etc

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 18:49:30

Yes, I've had that 'you went to Cambridge you must be bright' thing all my working life. It's doubled or trebled in intensity because I went to a comp.

I am 'someone who matters' in my firm. Personally I only care about what university our younglings attended, and what they studied - and soon enough, I care only how strong the force is in them (ie how well they are doing the things I care about them doing). Because that's what actually matters.

exoticfruits Thu 01-Nov-12 19:10:07

Once you have been to university it doesn't matter which school you went to-no one has ever asked me.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 19:37:54

Like Mordion, I am judged on the university that I went to - but never on the school that I went to.

Obviously had I NOT gone to university, then my school might have mattered. I suppose it also matters that as an adult i have always lived far from where I went to school. Had I, for example, gone to a London school and then remained in the city to work, then it might have come up in conversation - in the same way that people who have lived their whole lives in one place retain much more 'background in formation / value judgements' on each person than a mobile professional ever would..

Xenia Thu 01-Nov-12 19:58:05

Depends on the people, doesn't it? Some will comment on all kinds of things. Of course it's how well you do your job or not that always is the only real thing that matters. However if you got into a school hardly anyone manages like Manchester Grammar, private or Henrietta Barnett (state) or a university it hard to get a place at that will look good. I agree that if you went to a really bad school and then did really well there and at university that looks good too unless they want someone with the accent of their customers and it will be held against you unless you changed your own accent or never had one that would put customers or or indeed you may be in a company where the customers need someone with a regional accent. All good fun.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 20:48:22

I think really, the thing to be most wary of is that unfortunate creature, the private school product who didn't go to Oxbridge. Obviously Xenia keeps telling us that private school pupils get 50% of the places (in my day it was more, of course). Given that built in advantage it must be very difficult to explain going somewhere else. Whereas for State school pupils merely getting out of bed in the morning is clearly viewed as a triumph in some quarters. Such fun. grin

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 20:50:31

there are plenty of them at Edinburgh, St Andrews, Bath and Exeter

exoticfruits Thu 01-Nov-12 22:07:37

I can't imagine why it would be relevant if I had gone to Henrietta Barnett etc- it is only something that I would mention if it came up in conversation, which is only likely if I came across someone who came from the same area. There is nothing worse than someone who gets stuck in the past. Unless you happen to know someone who went to a particular selective school, or failed to get in, you wouldn't have a clue how difficult it was to get in(or care). I don't live in London and don't have girls and so can't show any interest in how difficult it was to get a place.

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 22:12:21

I went to a very hard to get in school and it's only ever come up once with an employer (soon after graduating) and that was in a 'do you have enough experience of the real world?' kind of way, so it can cut both ways.

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 22:16:43

Mordion you are being silly. Loads of people from all sectors don't aspire to Oxbridge or even university at all and not always because they aren't capable. Poor unfortunates indeed!

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:20:56

@gelo not at all. Xenia keeps telling us how the private schools have the majority of the best university places sewn up. Because they are so much better. Imagine not achieving that given such a massive head start shock

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 22:25:12

I hope Xenia won't mind me breaking a confidence- but her girls went to NLCS. Not sure if everybody knows that.......

exoticfruits Thu 01-Nov-12 22:28:53

I can't remember what that stands for so it would fail to impress me.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 01-Nov-12 22:29:44

seeker you are mean. When she did not comment on me quoting the data from her home LEA ...

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 22:29:48


exoticfruits Thu 01-Nov-12 22:31:29

I have looked it up- I know it is prestigious because Xenia tells us so- but I know nothing about it.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:36:04

You never heard of Miss Buss and Miss Beale?!

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 22:36:04

Having a statistically higher likelyhood of a given outcome doesn't translate to being a 'poor unfortunate' if you don't go down that path and I think you know that all too well. There are many routes to earning loads of money (which I think is Xenia's hope for her dc) and indeed her older children seem to prove the point that oxbridge isn't necessary. My self made millionaire friend went to a good school, didn't go to Oxbridge, didn't get that great a degree at all, but it mattered not one iota.

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 22:36:29

I only know of it because a very favourite book of mine was 'A London Girl in the 1880s', an autobiography of a pupil at North London Collegiate in its early years under Miss Buss.

I know nothing of it now - for all the reasons stated before in this thread, that schools are only discussed between people who come from a similar area, as vanishingly few of them have any kind of reputation (good or bad) outside the local area.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:39:35

That's a great book. As we're its sequels. grin Did you not do the whole miss buss and miss Beale thing in history? Or are you very young? (Bracing myself now to feel old).

exoticfruits Thu 01-Nov-12 22:39:41

Yes- I had -but not enough to remember which girl's school.

exoticfruits Thu 01-Nov-12 22:41:25

If I lived in London I expect that I would be familiar with all the schools- but it hasn't been necessary.

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 22:42:35

"Cupid's darts do not feel"

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 22:42:50

Mordion - at last I have discoivered someone else who has read them! They were back in print for such a short time, I can never find anyone else who has even heard of them.

I shall now ask whether you have read 'My Friend Mr Leakey' as that is my other 'book that I love that no-one has heard of'....

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:44:03

"How different from us"

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 22:44:39

[It was a rather oscure book by the famous Cambridge scientist JBS Haldane, which ends with words to the effect that he will write more children's books when people have stopped inventing such horrible weapons. As far as I know, he never did.]

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:47:39

I've read that book!

If there were no private schools, I wonder what percentage of people would get the best university places and jobs?

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 22:49:55

Mr Leakey? Or London Child of 1880s? Or [asks in hushed tones] Both??

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:50:04

Teacher my um read all 4 books when she was a child - the ladies she was evacuated to gave them to her as part of their 'aspiration campaign'. She bought them for me in the early 80s. DD1 has read them, too grin

I'm afraid I haven't read the other book you mentioned. Sorry.

My 'book I love that nobody has ever heard of' is The Cuckoo Clock. I don't think it has any relevance to this thread though.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:51:07

London child, sorry! My mum had it because she went to NLCS and reveres all mention thereof.

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 22:51:42

<breathes deeply><whispers> "Both!"

drops "The Wind on the Moon" hopefully into the conversation

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:51:43

Nit Clearly the main criterion would be knowing what happened in the Old Shippen.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:51:43

The cuckoo clock is mrs molesworth, yes?

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 22:52:47

TOSN - surely the percentage would remain the same? And in the main, it would probably be the same people as well, though with some variability at the borderline...a little bit like the 11+ or similar exams, where the 'definite passes' and 'definite fails' would remain the same over time but there at the borderline there would be some children who would succeed on another day who fail, and vice versa.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:52:54

The old shippen? Well, baked potatoes get made, coins turn to fairy gold and bullets Rico- whatsit.... Shayed, I mean.

rabbitstew Thu 01-Nov-12 22:53:17

Oh, I would have thought that without private schools, all the universities would have to close, TheOriginalSteamingNit, or sell all their places to those highly educated overseas students who are desperate to study here, or increase the length of their degrees by 2 years so that they could give remedial classes to their undergraduates.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:53:22

teacher, Yes, I rather think it would.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:53:43

nit Yes. Not to be confused with Nigel's mother chizz chizz

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 22:54:10

<retires to Gondal, overcome with emotion. Freezes to death>

teacherwith2kids Thu 01-Nov-12 22:55:07

SEEKER! BOTH??? I have heard of The Wind on the Moon but am not entirely sure that I have read it. Will research

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:55:24

Hello birds hello trees he say.

Love wind on the moon, and have quoted to my girls the line about 'ah but when I'm an old old lady of 92, you'll still be only 90 and going to parties'.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:56:43

Has anyone ever thought it odd that a child like N Marlow, who reads Virgil in the original etc etc is not sure whether it was C Bronte who wrote J Eyre or the other way around?

seeker Thu 01-Nov-12 22:57:53

But can you pla Fairy Bells on skool piano?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 22:59:08

Fairy bells no, adeste fideles because of latimer being classics, yes.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 22:59:54

seeker Quicksnow. (The best people pronounce him Hackloy you know)

Has anyone else bought (and read) Spring Term?

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 23:00:45

Of course we are all shooting ourselves in the feet because just look at how gutted Nick was at the prospect of having to go to the Coleridge Grammar. sad

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 23:01:55

without private schools the big hoo-hah would be why such a big proportion of oxbridge places went to grammar school children rather than comprehensive ones.... unless rabbit has it right.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 23:02:48

Yeah, have read spring term!

If colebridge grammar wasnt a good school, Edwin wouldn't be thinking of sending rose there, would he? Yeah, nice post hoc argument Pam, but if it you thought it was that good you'd be moving the lot of them there not just the nice one, wouldn't you?

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 23:02:54

nit My kids are all acutely aware of the danger of inviting hubris, because of Nemesis, directly as a result of that fateful cricket match (even though I did myself have a classical education, it was reading about that at age 10 that had the most impact)

seeker no I spend all my time reading Proust.

MordionAgenos Thu 01-Nov-12 23:06:18

nit to be fair it's unlikely eithe Gin or Lawrie would actually get in. And Ann was already doing her levels.

I really enjoyed Spring Term. There will never be a book as good as Falconers' Lure though.

lljkk Thu 01-Nov-12 23:08:08

I have read Narrie's posts carefully but she never says how she defines an excellent school. She says that she is wary of defining excellence in terms of exam results. She mentions broken comps (doesn't say how they were broken).

In the meantime most replies are supplying examples for Narrie, in terms of high exam results. confused

It would be nice if someone could supply examples of excellent schools where excellence wasn't defined by exam results. Although maybe too late for Narrie, who left thread 180 posts ago, I think.

Since I don't know what Narrie wants as a satisfactory definition of excellence, I don't know if I can help, either.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 23:10:33

You like falconers lure best? Golly! Interesting.... I think I like cricket term best of ten school ones and prob peter's room best of the holiday ones.

I had to explain nemesis and hubris in a lecture recently. Just wanted to say 'it's nemesis that does the clobbering if it's hubris you've got'

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 23:11:29

The school ones, not ten school ones. If ONLY.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 01-Nov-12 23:29:43

Everything went Marlow and then everyone went to bed, bah!

krystianah Thu 01-Nov-12 23:42:29

Yes... the schools around here are absolutely marvellous [adopts hypnotising voice] you have to move here. We need people like you... really clueless, but motivated people... with, like, kids, who you think are, like, really clever and that... Yeah, move here. No, actually we do need you guys. Have you ever thought about the social good you could do in Harlow?

Xenia Fri 02-Nov-12 08:48:50

Examples of excellence which is not exam results? There are absolutely loads. You don't have to attend lessons at Summer Hill for example. Excellence could be how well you learn your Koran at the Madrass or other muslim schools in the UK (although there is a private muslim school which has good results Sany something or other in N London). Jewish boys who will never work and study at the Yeshivas that for many will be excellent education and nothing to do with results.

Children who are great at sport but a bit thick - they go to Millfield which has big pools and children do sports well.

Music - you may have no interest in exam results and be devoted to your instrument from age 6 and go to a specialist music school. Drama - all those children in London who go to Italia Conti and get on East Enders.

We have a massive ranage of different "goods" in terms of educatino. And in fact although my children went to academically very selective schools in the to 20 in the country it was the other factors too like sport, music, ethos, kindness to others, values which were as important to me as any kind of exam factory which I never sort.

Also there are some very good private and state special needs schools, schools for the blind, schools for people who don't want integration into main stream school etc. Then we have finishing schools cooking and stuff for girls who will marry well - I bet some of those exist. Tudor Hall for example is oprobably where you go to board if you are not at all bright but your parents might want you to marry well.

Yellowtip Sun 04-Nov-12 23:36:23

I doubt that any 'very academically selective' school fails to excel in its provision and achievement for sport and music or ethos '('kindness to others' is a bit confused).

Xenia Mon 05-Nov-12 14:20:26

I agree. If you have girls or boys who are keen to be the best at everything they tend also to be good at their sport and music. Millfield is different because it takes those who don't do well in exams and is then very good at sport.

losingtrust Tue 06-Nov-12 22:28:14

Solihull and Knowledge are very good. No need to go private here for academic or music.

losingtrust Tue 06-Nov-12 22:42:26

Sorry Knowle not knowledge - predictive text. People move to the area to avoid private school kids. In most schools in the area they pretty much guarantee your child will get the minimum five and have plenty of competition to up their game with parents who are keen to get results. No grammars and whilst their are two private schools that get good results often it is for the siblings who need more encouragement.