Why on earth would you go state if you could afford private?

(1000 Posts)
Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 11:51:37

This thread is for Maisie and happygardening wink. I like dares!

50BalesOfHay Wed 20-Feb-13 12:02:15

We could afford private but have two at state school because:
our local shools are very good
the children are happy at school
both are bright but not especially academic and the curriculum at their school is varied and suits them
We live in a large, very sociable village and nearly all the children go to the same school and socialise out of school. It's a fab place to live
I'm a bit of an old socialist and am uncomfortable with the idea of buying privilege (although if our school wasn't so good I'd find those principles seriously tested)

senua Wed 20-Feb-13 12:02:19

Norty! You'd never guess that it is half term.grin

Is this from that interminable state v. private v. grammar v. whatever thread? They never move on, never resolve. I'm afraid that I haven't bothered to read the latest incarnation. Too much deja vu.

Because the state schools are better than the private ones in my area!

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 12:04:19

2 reasons for me (not that I can actually afford private!!)

1. I don't like the social exclusion thing. I want my kids to be aware of and relate to people from all walks of life.
Having said that, we are considering grammar school, so I don't mind selection per se, just don't like it based on money, not merit.

2. There are actually some very good state schools, with fantastic results. Not really sure that private is necessary (one of the grammar schools not far from us is in the top 10 schools in county) so why then pay for private?

I also wouldn't want my child to feel like they were the poor relation all the time, as all his friends have ski-ing holidays etc. Actually they have a good life and I want them to appreciate that. I suppose if I could afford private then that wouldn't be an issue.

And we don't live near a good private school, and I would hate my children to board.

Having said all that I went to private school, and I have thought about looking at scholarships. But in the end decided not to look into it for the reason given above (and instead have looked at the grammar schools!)

Theas18 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:04:53

We could afford private for one but not all 3, and the state options for them have all been the better choice of schools (because they are excellent grammars.... yup it's a state v grammar thread!).

We are using our "education budget" as it were, to help them through uni.

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 12:13:57

1. We wanted lots of children - hoping for 5 maybe even 6. We also have a stepson.
2. I want my children to go to the local school
3. I would rather help my local school become a better school than abandon it
4. I don't want my children to just mix with rich children
5. Not paying school fees means my children can do lots of activities and we have horses.
6. My local state school is very good.
7. I teach in a state secondary and live in catchment, I would feel like a hypocrite if I then farmed my children out to a private school.
8. My husband and I went to rather crap state schools and had quite feckless parents and managed to get into Oxbridge, my children go to good state schools and have loving, educated and involved parents. They will be no ceiling to their aspirations and achievements.

because the state school is great?

badguider Wed 20-Feb-13 12:18:19

Because our local state school is embedded in the community. The local private schools are like living in a gated community seperate from everybody else with a self-selecting (purely by income) group.

Ladymuck Wed 20-Feb-13 12:18:53

My political career will be in tatters if I send them to a private school. But I have tutors from Westminster School lined up for each subject, and have their fees ready for university, and I'll use the school fees saved towards their first flat. And of course I have their work experience all sorted for them.

Arcticwaffle Wed 20-Feb-13 12:19:08

Because I feel that state (comp) education served me well, and I see my 3 children thriving and happy in their local state schools.

Because we like local services that don't involve commutes or car use.

Because there is something lovely and bracing and cheery about a good state school. Yes there may be less pressure on children to work hard but I think that encourages self-motivation and gives a certain freedom. My comp-educated children are home at 3.15, they don't have piles of homework, and they have a lot of time to explore their own interests.

Because I'm a socialist lefty who likes the idea of everyone getting the same educational opportunities. It seems fairest, and I think it's good enough.

Because I think actually my children have many educational advantages already (over-educated professional parents) and I don't think an independent school would give them much "added value". Even if the money were just sitting there in the bank, it would seem a waste of money to me.

Branleuse Wed 20-Feb-13 12:20:16

I dont know anyone who sends their children to private school, even though many of us could afford it easily. It just never really occurred.

Branleuse Wed 20-Feb-13 12:26:16

Plus I LOVE the state school my 2 youngest are at. My aunty used to be deputy head, and my mum went to uni with the headmaster. Theyve been amazing with all my children.

Im also growing pretty fond of my ds1s new state secondary school which is popular with the people who missed out on the grammar by a fraction

We can (and do) afford private education. But, we're not rich, and this is a big chunk of money that I'd rather not spend. If we liked our local school, as so many of you seem to, we'd certainly send our kids there and keep the money!

If it's never occurred to you Branleuse, I'm guessing your state school(s) are rather better than ours.

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 12:34:11

Personally I think it is a no-brainer. If you (can afford to live in an area where you) have a state school that can offer a comparable or superior environment/standard of learning than a good private school, why would you pay extra for school fees...your council tax already pays a contribution to the LEA.
It is when your child is not GS material (or in an area where the only GS even vaguely nearby has 12-15 applicants for each place) and the local comp is dire, a private school suddenly seems very, VERY appealing.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 12:41:31


I respect your choice, and yes the quality of your local school does make a difference, but I have to say I do take issue with you over money (in a very nice philsophical discussion type of way - not looking for a bun fight!)

I think I am right in saying that school fees for a typical private school are around 6-9,000? per year (day school)

Taking the lower number, that is 18,000 per year for my 3 dcs

That is more than my annual income.

So although you do not consider yourself rich, and you obviously can choose to do what you like with your money, I think that having 18,000 spare after mortgage and food etc is pretty high up the income level.

I appreciate that each family makes sacrifices (smaller house, lower mortgage, no holidays etc etc) to afford to do what they believe in. But there are no sacrifices I could make that would even get one child into private school

We always define rich as being more than we have ourselves.

ProphetOfDoom Wed 20-Feb-13 12:44:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 12:45:04

schmedz - there were several threads a while ago about places to live with good value housing and good schools. There were hundreds of places suggested. I don't think that good schools = expensive place to live.

However obviously where you live is not only about where you can afford to live, and London is in a category of its own I think

socareless Wed 20-Feb-13 12:47:20

Then this thread is not for you steppemum, you clearly can't afford private school so not a choice you can make anyway. Read the OP again.

Lancelottie Wed 20-Feb-13 12:53:38

Because DS1 has special needs that are best catered for at a specialist unit.
Because DS2 doesn't give a shit about education as long as he's allowed to do drama, musicals, film club, and ooh, let's see, drama.

...but I'll admit that I probably don't quite qualify to answer as it'd be a hell of a struggle to afford more than one lot of fees.

almapudden Wed 20-Feb-13 12:55:04

Where I grew up, there was one excellent, high-performing state school which had excellent facilities for sport, music and drama. A free private school, basically. It only took boys up to 16 but hsd a mixed 6th form

There was also a very good, relatively (!) cheap, girls' private school.

There was no girls-only equivalent to the boys' state school, and no boys-only equivalent to the girls' private school.

There were a lot of parents who sent their girls private and their sons state. It wouldn't have made sense to send the boys to private school when the choice was between one very mediocre, mixed private school and an excellent state option.

PootlePosyPerkin Wed 20-Feb-13 13:00:20

Because both DSs are at the most suitable schools for them - and both are state. DS1 has SN and is at a small state comprehensive with excellent GCSE & A-Level results and an even better "value added" score (which I actually think says as much, if not more about the school) & DS2 is sports mad and at a Specialist Sports College.

Also, there is only one private school locally which takes boys (two all girls schools though), and it is rubbish grin.

AbbyCat Wed 20-Feb-13 13:07:37

Because I believe in social integration. As sits we have to ate people from all walks of life. I don't want my dc to have a sheltered childhood. At the same time I want to protect them from bad experiences. Our compromise is to move to an area with decent schools and hope that dc are exposed to lots of kids from a variety of social backgrounds. I strongly believe their natural ability and the encouragement / support we give as parents is THE most important factor that decides how far they succeed. I went to private school away from my local community and I hated it. Always felt left out as there wasn't anyone from my area who went to the same school and I couldn't relate to other kids in the neighbourhood who went to state school.

AbbyCat Wed 20-Feb-13 13:08:00

Sigh. Stupid phone. As adults!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 13:10:50

What Arisbottle said. As usual.

Apart from the 6 children. I didn't start early enough, sadly. Wish I had!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 13:11:42

And what Abycat said.

NewFerry Wed 20-Feb-13 13:12:29

"This thread is for Maisie and happygardening . I like dares!"

You are aware that HG has one child in state school while the other boards at private school aren't you? confused

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 13:13:41

Seeker we still have 2 more to go grin

We tend to see a job through until it is done though! Something I picked up from my state school!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 13:14:38

It's a wind up thread, new ferry. No reason why we can't tell them, thought!

Steppemum - yes, we do have more money than most, and as such some might call us rich. Fair enough.

We have only gone private for secondary though, and that is 6 years in Scotland, not 7 as in England. Plus, we can't quite afford it out of income so have saved up in advance.

But as you say, rich means "having more money than us!" I would call us well off certainly, but not rich.

TotallyBS Wed 20-Feb-13 13:15:24

Many parents choose a state school despite having the means to go private because their local state is the right fit for their DCs. Just because one is well off does not mean that by default that they want to hot house their DCs or that they attach much importance to their DCs being educated in grand historic buildings.

Other parents prefer a state school because it, goes their reasoning, offers their DC a more diversified education. Well, my local comp is predominantly white MC Brit families whereas the local indie is a mixture of Asians, Orientals, Africans, Europeans and of course British. So it's a bit silly for some parents to argue that their DCs are getting a more diverse education at their predominantly white MC Brit state school.

Some parents will argue that they don't believe in buying an education for their children. Of course them paying a premium price for a house near the school gate of a highly ranked state school isn't them buying an education for their DCs .

JakeBullet Wed 20-Feb-13 13:17:04

My son is in state school (primary) at the moment and it has been fabulous for him. However approaching secondary level (he is only Y5 so far) I wish so much I could afford a private school for him....he is autistic and I am not sure he will cope in MS secondary. State special schools seem to only cater for extreme special needs and my DS is in between. Would love to have the option if private now.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 13:18:54

socareless - sarcastic 'get off the thread' comments not necessary

It may surprise you to know that people do actually consider these things when they don't currently have the disposable income.

The op says 'if'

So - 'if' I could afford it, would I send them to private school?

The answer is probably not, for the reasons I listed
And also for the reasons I have listed I might think differently if all our local schools were crap and/or I lived in a place (eg London) where schools are struggling with being over subscribed.

As I said, I have thought hard about looking for bursaries and/or scholarships as ds is very bright, and we have decided not to ie, not to choose private by that route either

MirandaWest Wed 20-Feb-13 13:20:52

If I did have the money for private education but had good state schools I would rather the DC went to state school and we spent the money on other things.

nagynolonger Wed 20-Feb-13 13:22:38

Because my eldest 3 were already doing very well at a state comp before I discovered MN and found out that it mattered.

If only 7% go to private schools it's fairly obvious that outside the SE a much lower percentage do. In this area every child goes from village primaries to the feeder comp. That includes DC of teacher, doctors dentists etc.

Paying fees for all six of my DC would mean giving up more than Skytv and holidays. It would never have been an option. Also I wanted a large family.

Branleuse Wed 20-Feb-13 13:26:16

Maybe it just is that there are good state schools here. There really are and lots of choice. They certainly advertise which schools catchment area houses are in on estate agents boards etc (for the good ones in affluent areas)and there are very middle/upper class state schools.

When someone is walking with their children in their little private school uniforms round here, its usually assumed its a status symbol rather than necessary.

Im not dead against private or anything, I just havent really seen it as necessary,

maybe I just dont care about my kids as much as the private school parents do ;)

TotallyBS Wed 20-Feb-13 13:26:52

Schmedz - it isn't a no-brainer. An affluent area doesn't by default equal outstanding academic state schools.

Dromedary Wed 20-Feb-13 13:32:47

State primaries have advantages over private schools, in my view. From what I have seen they encourage more independent working, and have a more interesting, fun and practical curriculum (eg I much prefer the way that they teach maths and English - the maths is based on practical methods of doing the kind of maths you need in day to day life, rather than pure algebra, and the English is far more creative than the grammar, spelling and comprehension stuff they do in private schools). They are also well geared at teaching different ability groups within the same class, which is not always the case with private prep schools. And there is more diversity in the other children there, which I think is likely to make your children into nicer adults. There is less of the issue of other children going on lovely holidays or having big cars, etc. And you have a right to have your child in the school - if you disagree with the head over something you're not liable to have your child asked to leave the school. Also the risk of having to withdraw the child if you lose your job etc isn't hanging over you.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 13:34:15

" An affluent area doesn't by default equal outstanding academic state schools."

No. But it is likely to indicate a higher achieving peer group. In general for all sorts of reasons, better off children do better at school than poorer ones. Please note the use of the phrase "in general"

trinity0097 Wed 20-Feb-13 13:45:48

I hate how people with very little experience of private schools always assume that every family is really wealthy. I work in a prep school and we have children from a wide variety of family incomes, many parents work really hard to afford the fees and sacrifice things like holidays etc to afford the fees, others are multi-millionaires and can afford to come to school occasionally by helicopter! Some families are extremely hard up, you wouldn't know it to look at the children, but the school might have paid for their uniform when it needed replacing. I would say that the bulk of the parents are very middle class and for many the fees are paid in full or part by the grandparents.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 13:53:06

We can afford private (with help), and I always intended dc to go to state school. No one in either my or dh families have ever been privately educated. my brothers kids are state educated, you get the picture......

DC both started local primary, and we were so shocked at the lack of ambition / low aspirations / low expectations we took them out. Both dh and I visit private and state schools in our jobs and the difference for us made the decision very easy.

However, if the local school had met our expectations, they would still be there.

Nobody can make any judgements about state v private because schools and children vary so much.

I think what would be wrong would be a parent denying their dc an opportunity to be happy/fulfilled/(in any walk of life) purely because of their own political views.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 13:54:59

I don't assume that every family at private school is really wealthy. However, I know that every family at private school is significantly better off than most. With the exception of the few who are on full bursaries.

But I'm not sure why matters on this thread-which is an "if you could afford it" question.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:13:41

Seeker - you can't say that!

lots of choice of state schools...

Bwaa haa haa!
Here we had the choice between non-denominational and catholic. We are atheists BTW. Some choice! Oh, unless you count the choice that goes "you can put a non-catchment school on your form but if it's a good one you haven't a hope in hell of getting in!"

morethanpotatoprints Wed 20-Feb-13 14:19:11

Maybe the local state school is better than the nearest private school.
Maybe it suits your needs better.
Maybe it offers greater opportunities.
Because it is a parents responsibility to provide their dc with an education and this is what they have chosen.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 14:20:16

What can't I say?

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 14:23:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:27:31

Yes NGNB - that's what I want. Here we are semi rural and have the choice of........1 secondary school, and I think I counted 6 private seniors easily within reach, and more for dd.

We enjoy our lifestyle and chose to buy the education rather than move into the city.

Had the options been 6+ state schools and one private, I know where the dc would be. (state).

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:29:15

Seeker - the bit about KNOWING the financial situation of every privately educated child in the uk.

Speculate yes, but Know - no!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 14:33:46

But I can know. You cannot send you chd to private school unless you have access to more disposable income than most people. There was a
Long thread on the subject recently.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:34:03

Thesecondcoming - I can't be bothered to argue with that. It's just an irrelevant and inaccurate comment. Another sweeping statement. I don't expect my dc to 'use' their friends.

(I am bored at home with an ill dd asleep on the sofa) Need to get off MN!

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:35:22

Maisie here! I didnt put this thread on!!

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:36:45

It may not necessarily be the parents who pay the fees. Think military / clergy / gifted, sponsored pupils. I think you would be surprised.

Dinosaurhunter Wed 20-Feb-13 14:42:30

Interesting - I have one child and my husband earns a very high wage ( I'm a sahm) but it would never occur to us to send him private . I think for a range of reasons but mostly because we are both from council estates having hard backgrounds and would just associate private with posh , stuck up people !
Also his state primary is good and local .
Obviously my statement about posh people is a genralisation and I'm sure completely untrue , however in my mind I can't link my ds going to a private school and my husband laughed last time I mentioned it !

MrsDoomsPatterson Wed 20-Feb-13 14:47:18

'Cos the local private schools are crap? Mine are.

Yes here too. Friend's son just move to our (excellent) state secondary from private, already in trouble because he's just not used to discipline or homework, my ds has told him no, you can't do as you please at this school, you won't get away with that !

amck5700 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:49:25

Again, not that I can really afford it but my kids are very bright and I am sure could have gotten some kind of scholarships/burserys had we been that way inclined.

Reasons why I wouldn't:

A lot of the children I encounter from Private school are not very nice.
My children don't have the right accent etc so would probably be bullied
It would be really tight financially so we would need to forgo things like family holidays while they would be in an environment where foreign hols etc would be the norm.
Our local school is very academic and suits them well.
They sit probably about the middle socially in their school so have friends from all sorts of backgrounds
I'd rather sepnd the money on a decent palce to live and family experiences.
I don't really agree with it politically but am not bothered by people who do (keeps plenty of room in our school) and especially as they are effectively paying for schooling twice.

Reasons why I would:

I think sometimes in state schools children just float through and never really make the best of themselves and I believe that at Private they spend more time looking at the whole child - no idea if that is right though.
In some professions it helps to have the "right" school on your CV - I think it opens doors that are probably closed to state school pupils
The children tend to have a lot of confidence in themselves and I'd like that for my boys.


TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 14:51:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dinosaurhunter Wed 20-Feb-13 14:52:56

Thesecondcoming- well said !

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:54:16

I made a joke on another thread (God, you need to be careful what you say around here!) and tbh I am really pleased that the debate is going this way, lots of people coming out in support of both private and state depending on whether there are suitable choices in THEIR area.

I was on another thread with Seeker (and she absolutely didnt say this!) and I was accused of mixing with hooray henry's, not knowing what real life was and buying priviledge. The best quote was that private schools were full of odd ball teachers! Do you really think that if they were we would be paying the £1000's to be taught by them. Oh no - I forgot. People who buy private education are stupid and conned into thinking they have something better or more suitable for their children.

If only they knew.... But some people dont. They read all sorts of nonsense and then think that is reality.. I really dont have any problem with people choosing whatever is the best for them under their circumstances. You might have a great grammar or a failing comp. You do what is best for you and your children.

tiggytape Wed 20-Feb-13 14:55:10

We know quite a few children with 1 in state and 1 in private. Maybe they can only afford private for 1, I don't know, but it tends to be families where the children cannot go to the same secondary school eg if the girl is at grammar school but the boy missed out on a place at the boys' grammar. Or where the boy got into a really good all boys' state school but the equivalent one for girls is out of catchment or has different faith criteria.
There are some fantastic state schools around - easily as good if not better than the private options - but that's no good if you can't get a place at any of them.
And if 1 child gets allocated a fantastic grammar or brilliant comp but the other child gets offered a much worse school sometimes much further into London, some people then take the plunge and go private so that the kids don't have vastly differing school experiences (the difference between a good private school and a fantastic state is much less than the difference between the best state schools and the worst). The reason they don't pay for both to go private is that there's no need to - they'll both get similar educations and opportunities.

OutsideOverThere Wed 20-Feb-13 14:56:54

In the only example I know of, it's for the same reason they would want to shop at a recycling centre for people on low incomes, than buy new furniture.

ie it costs them less.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 14:58:12

agree with you amck.

But when we visited the grammar school, that also had boys with amazing, charming, confidence in a nice way. So I don't think it is exclusive to private

givemeaclue Wed 20-Feb-13 14:59:02

Prefer to spend the money in other ways

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 14:59:29

Spoke too soon. Here they come now, using insults about private pupils and what is this 'bray, bray', naice etc.

socareless Wed 20-Feb-13 14:59:55

tiggy you are too reasonable for this thread.

grin @ the secondcoming and MrsDoom

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 20-Feb-13 15:02:04

Because the only private primary school within walking distance is no smaller than our local state primary and has a streaming policy which I find frankly offensive (i.e. segregating into "A" and "B" streams at age 7 and then allowing no movement whatsoever between the two). Also, I can't bring myself to buy the kind of car or clothing that would enable me to fit in with the other mothers grin.

And because we have chosen to spend our money on other things, which we think the children will get at least as much benefit from in the long term (mainly a big house extension so they can have their own space).

amck5700 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:02:51

we dont have grammar schools here but our state school is very well regarded and academic - suits my boys fine - the nearest private school isn't very academic but I don't think that is their usp as it were.

socareless Wed 20-Feb-13 15:03:12

Maisie, bray bray naice is the equivalent insult to a private school child as seeker saying someone called comp children scrotes I think!!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 15:19:34

Yeah, absolutely, talking about "naice" freinds is exactly the same as referring to comprehensive pupils as "scrotes". Exactly.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 15:25:14

And anyway, I think the naice friends and braying remarks were aimed qt q very particular type of private school parent that nobody can deny exists- they are probably a small minority, but they are the. Just as the tattooed, feckless, smoking, pit bull wielding state school pqrent exists- once again, a small minority.

The "scrotes" remark shook me more than anything else that has happened on Mumsnet.

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 15:36:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:42:46

Ok - here's a test for some of you.

My dc live a street with a mix of council houses, shared ownership and privately owned homes. All the houses are the same, just owned differently. The cars on driveways range from Landrovers to no cars. All the kids play out on the street. The children aged 4-11 altogether go to 4 different schools. Some kids go skiing, some don't have holidays.

What type of school do my dc go to? How can anyone possibly say people who chose to buy a decent education don't want to mix with a range of people? I really don't care how much people earn. If they are nice to me, I like them. If they are nasty to my, I don't want to be friends with them. It's not about the money.

Please explain how I am buying a social class for my dc. And by the way, I can't afford £10k a year.

I do not enjoy people telling me what sort of "naice" people we are and that we do not like to mix with the "riff raff". I'm sorry, but you do not know me at all.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:43:34

Here it goes again

'full of dim hoo-rah types' All of them really.....

I haven't read the whole thread but what's the verdict?

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:45:27

offensive ignorant tosh.

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 15:46:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 15:47:21

Maisie- one person has said that about one school! Stop looking for insults where there aren't any!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 15:48:17

"offensive ignorant tosh."

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:48:41

1805 - and at my older son's boarding school the boys really dont care who you are - they all wear the same stuff, trousers and jeans need a good pull up (what is that fashion to show your pants!). They just want to know you are up for a game of football, to watch Arnesal v whomever.

Interestingly my DS has just come from a History trip. Clearly on the same flight when I met him at the airport were the local grammar school (they had a card up saying all xxxx school meeting in this place). They looked and acted exactly the same. You couldnt tell the difference from hearing them speak to the way they dressed.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 15:49:11

Sorry, that was supposed to have "What is?" written after it!

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 15:51:21

Loads of reasons.

Fear that the money may dry up one day.

Socialist convictions.

Great state school on your doorstep.

Children clever enough to get into a very exclusive super-selective, so why pay, when those are so fabulous? Why have apartheid by income when you can have apartheid by ability? And your kids get to go to school in a beautiful old red brick building in surrounded by beautiful grounds, and have the best teachers and it's FREE!!!!

You would prefer to spend the money on holidays, handbags and a facelift.

Kewcumber Wed 20-Feb-13 15:56:43

ds's state primary is lovely. Why would I pay? confused

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:57:05

People thinking they know why I use private education. I am not posh, I am happy being working class, I like my dc's friends. I do not intend to use any people for social/work reasons. I find it offensive that some people think I am like that and socially selective as a person.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:57:16

Just because I dont agree with you Second Coming - there's no need to be rude.

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 15:58:33

FN- Would love to know how strong socialist convictions are if children were of average-ability/narrowly missed superselective place and alternative school on doorstep was rubbish....

Love the 'apartheid by ability' comment...genuinely brilliant observation about GSs. So much more socially responsible than dividing on basis of income....

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 16:00:43

Are some people being just a tiny bit touchy perchance? grin

Roseformeplease Wed 20-Feb-13 16:01:41

Because I teach at the local state school and I want my children to have the best possible teaching grin.

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 16:04:19

LOL Rose...that's exactly how I feel about my DDs going to our indie!

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 16:04:51

Oh, and sometimes it really doesn't matter how much money you have, there is not a private school that actually wants your child. They can choose. Some people don't realise that. They think that all you have to do is pay, and you're in.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:05:53

And actually neither am I posh 1805. I am from a single parent background, went to a bog standard school but happened to get lucky - and no it wasnt marrying a rich man! Been in the same company for years. Married just the once, children late in life, always worked full time. Parents were life long Labour voters and during elections the red poster always went in the front room window.

But things have moved on, my mother always worked although she was quite unusual. No expensive hobbies, no time for huge amounts of interests. Have missed some things my children have done over the years that I really should have attended. They seem to be turning out confident and articulate young lads so hopefully something is going right.

malinois Wed 20-Feb-13 16:06:55

We could afford it without having to cut back, it would just mean less money going into savings and investments. But local state schools are good enough, I'm a bit of a lefty and I'm tight. We would probably consider it if we had awful local schools.

Elibean Wed 20-Feb-13 16:10:55

Because, when we looked at two private and two state primaries near us, one of the state primaries met all our requirements a million times better than the other two smile

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:13:21

maisiejoe - we must be the only two 'normal' families to use private ed then.

Elibean Wed 20-Feb-13 16:13:22

Other three hmm

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 16:13:55

I've lost count of the number of friends I have whose socialist convictions started to look very shakey indeed when the very real prospect of their child not passing the 11+ rears its head. wink It's worse in areas where the grammars are not super-selective to be honest. If the grammar school is taking only the top 5% then the non-selectives (in the leafy MC areas) are inundated with bright kids from nice homes, and are usually very 'good' - whatever that means. personally I have yet to see a failing school in a nice leafy MC area. It's when you get a 30/70 split it starts to get messy......wink

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 16:17:51

Loads of "normal" families go private.'Just not poor ones!

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 16:19:46

And four...grin

malinois Wed 20-Feb-13 16:23:15

fellatio I think the 11+ argument is a bit of a red herring to be honest. There are only, what, 3 counties that have grammar schools? For everyone else the option is simply comprehensive or independent.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:25:00

Please define rich and poor seeker.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:27:56

Thesecondcoming - please tell me why you think that way of me.

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 16:33:25

Yes, malinois, and I have lived in two of them, so I know what I am talking about. grin

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 16:37:35

I would be interested in your definition of a normal family income. Quite a few of our friends educate their children privately and at secondary level they are paying in excess of 20K a year. Having the average income as a disposable income to fritter away on fees is not normal income.

If we were to do that we would be looking at in excess of 100k in school fees alone.

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 16:43:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Elibean Wed 20-Feb-13 16:43:54

I live in a nice leafy area. The local comp was very much a failing one until recently, and no grammars in this borough.

A lot of the nice leafy parents were (understandably, in the end) sending their kids out of borough to grammars in the next one, or to private schools. Recently, probably due to a shortage of school places and an increase in numbers of children in the borough, and to the fact that said comp hit bottom and took on Academy status and got a new name, leafy parents have started taking more interest.....not many, but enough to get a new ball rolling.

I would love to support that ball rolling, as an improvement in the local secondary will benefit ALL the local children - those who can afford private and those who can't. But why on earth did it take so long?!?

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 16:50:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 20-Feb-13 16:51:28

Only 3 counties that have grammar schools.

I know of 4 counties in the North West.

Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Cumbia. I'm sure there's a few down south too?

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:51:36

Well I reckon a normal family income is 0/benefits - to say £25k? I don't know exactly. The money will vary whereabouts you live. We are in the South.

This will open the flood gates I'm sure........

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:52:31

Actually - I mean One persons income. If both parent have a 'career' it will be more, if neither/only parent/carer works it will be less.

Owllady Wed 20-Feb-13 16:53:38

because you believe the state school will provide your child with the best education and experience?

my parents were staunch socialists and even though they could afford private at secondary level it really was an over my dead body thing. I left with A's and B's but I think I have undiagnosed dyslexia (it was the 80s and early 90s confused) but my sister got the best grades in county.

My son is yr 6 in middle school and is already achieving level 6 in maths (according to mock sats) but is 5a in English. He gets along fine. They have to share their school field with another school, I really don't see it as an issue

I have one in the state special school system and the level of care is excellent, yes the building is crap and the carpets are very father ted but that isn't important when you have a severely disabled child.

so erm, maybe people do that because they want to?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 20-Feb-13 16:58:03

We could have afforded private for one but not two children, so did the only decent thing and sent neither. Luckily our state comps are good and they both did very well.

LiveItUp Wed 20-Feb-13 16:58:20

One of my DC's was in a private school. Hated it, bullied, crap teacher (couldn't hack it in the state system), poor leadership. Moved him to local state school - he adores school now. Happy confident child now.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 16:58:54

1. Because I believe in state education and want to support it
2. Because as well as having no concerns at all about the academic achievements made by my children in state schools, I can also point to experiences and knowledge they've gained from it which I don't think they could have in private school
3. Because, notwithstanding some things I'd like to change - misplaced apostrophes on some letters home, policies I change, uniform I don't much care for - those experiences and knowledges, for me and for our family, are worth all those things
4. because I wouldn't want them educated in an environment which, as policy rather than default (before anyone says anything about expensive catchments) does not wish to include poor or unintelligent children. I want them to understand, experience and embrace open doors.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:00:12

It's not a sweeping statement by the way. If you only want your children to mix with parents who can afford 10k a year for something that is provided free by the state then don't dress it up. Be honest at least...

That is not why most people use private education. "love". What do you consider me to have dressed it up as? Have to go now, but will check back later.....

socareless Wed 20-Feb-13 17:02:25

This is actually encouraging to see that majority, if not all the posters on this thread have better states school than private schools, and that most of the private schools in your area are crap compared to the state schools

At least the most prolific private school bashers can sleep easy tonight knowing that this so called priviledge that private school users are accused of 'buying' is futile since most of the schools are crap anyway and full of dim rich children.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Wed 20-Feb-13 17:05:00

Elibean - your local comp sounds suspiciously like ours....grin if is the same then what people have been saying for years while prents wouldn't touch it with a barge pole and that it only takes one cohort of parents to take a leap of faith ha come to pass. 20 pupils from the local primary across the road enrolled this year - you can bet in 5 years time people will be lying to get in.. grin

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:10:31

Average income in this county is I believe £25k. To afford private school without any help (busaries/help from other family members etc) certainly down south means you have to be earning in excess of £100k.

Now that certainly means that the majority will be excluded from the system. But is doesnt mean that there shouldnt be an option to go private. We would have NO mortgage should we have used the state system but you make your choices in life, work, dont work, be a SAHP, have 1 child, 10 children but these are choices.

And also remember if there was no private where would all the kids go. Certainly the state system isnt ready for them or indeed have the space unless class sizes get bigger. All that would happen if the private sector went is that the people would buy houses at an inflated price to get into the 'best state schools'. It happens around here all of the time.

My DM's house in London is 2 mins from a tube with parking for residents only. Although literally only a 2 up 2 down it is worth probably another £50k because of the location. You wouldnt need a car, Heathrow one way in 20 mins and Central London the other way...

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 17:12:18

Well if it only took an income if 25K to pay fees we could afford to put our whole brood through! grin

It begs the question , if school fees are so easy to pay for why are 93% of the population just not interested .

I suspect because even with a household income at the top of your measure (50k) most people could not afford school fees.

almapudden Wed 20-Feb-13 17:17:28

I think it depends hugely on the parents' own experience of school. A bad experience in the private sector = their own children in a state school (or vice versa). Similarly, a great school experience in a private school = own children in private school (or vice versa, of course).

I had a terrible time at a terrible state school and have since taught in fantastic private schools. Perhaps unfairly, I will be very wary about sending my own children to state schools when the time comes. I'm sure if I'd enjoyed my own time at school I wouldn't be do reluctant to trust my (as yet putative) children to the state sector.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:17:55

Luckily because people think private schools are full of 4x4 wheel driving oiks with rude dc who buy their way into big jobs. Yuck. I wouldn't send my dc to a school like that. By all means stay away!!!

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 17:23:22

Yes of course you need to be able to pay TSC (assuming you don't get a bursary or a scholarship) but my point is that very few private schools (if any at all, in fact) will take anyone just because they have the means to pay. Even if they say they are academically non-selective there will usually be some kind of interview/test to get through and if they don't like the child (or its parents) they won't make an offer.

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 17:23:44

Do you not want people like me at your school 1805?

Why are you so keen to keep me out?

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:28:33

Sorry, pressed send before I was ready.

My point is that for all sorts some things are more expensive than others. You can pay 0 for your house and be funded by benefits. You can choose to live in an area with great transport links to make your life easier but you will pay more for it and you can also choose private education because for your children and in your opinion it is the right choice for them.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:40:11

Actually for some schools it is fairly tricky to get in. Just because you have the money doesnt mean your place is guaranteed.

A non confimed rumour going around older sons school is that last year a Russian family turned up unannounced with a briefcase full of money, wanted to see the head. They put the case on the table and 'asked how much to get our son into your school'. Whether it is true or not it sounds true...

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 17:40:47

Maisiejoe...if the house is only worth £50K more that would be incredible! We live 2 suburbs away from a particular SW postcode that shall remain nameless! When we were considering moving about 8 years ago, the estate agents told us that a similar size/presented home in the SW postcode would add at least £200K to the asking price. When trying to move again about 3 years ago, it is clear that many similar quality properties in that area are now around double the value of our own home.
We have easy access to the main facilities and transport links of this particular SW postcode so it is an incredible difference in price...sadly not necessarily linked to the quality of the state secondaries, either!

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:44:38

Hmm - DM would be delighted if that was the case but it is literally a 2 up 2 down middle terrace house. Very small garden at back and no parking. But it is a safe area and really 2 mins from the tube with protected parking for residents using a voucher system. You could literally live there and not have a car at all with all the savings that allows.

adeucalione Wed 20-Feb-13 18:13:16

We could have afforded private but chose state because our local catchment school has such a great reputation.

Sadly the reality did not live up to the hype and we now have all three at private schools.

I don't think you could say I chose private so that my little darlings only mixed with the right sort, as they still hang out with local children and do various after school activities.

I also don't think you could say that I chose private so that I could climb the social ladder - my involvement begins and ends at kicking them out of the door at the right time every morning, and I still have the same group of friends I've had for years and years.

I went private in the end because it was demonstrably better in every conceivable way, and we could afford it. I know it doesn't sit well with people, and people don't want to believe it, and I would never say this in RL, but if you choose a decent private school (top 100, say) then you won't look back.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:22:05

There are plenty on here trashing private schools and their results. Let them. As if complete strangers are going to change your views and decisions.

People love to say that the private schools dont offer anything their state school doesnt. I beg to differ. Realistically the privates are getting lots of money to give pupils, the squash courts, tennis courts, gyms etc and for the more creative great art depts and theatres that wouldnt look out of place in the West End. Also the smaller classes and a confidence that I just dont see in SOME state schools (not all - some) where the expection is that you will see your time out ready to be thrown out into the world totally unprepared for the real world.

Some on these threads have never looked around a private school, they are just going on what they have read, their own socialist views (and there are plenty of socialists sending their children to private schools!) etc.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 18:25:16

I haven't been in a private school in the context of a customer, but I've been in plenty.

And yes, if the question is 'why would you do X thing' and the answer is 'because I'm a socialist', then that's an ok thing to say in answer to the question!

adeucalione Wed 20-Feb-13 18:32:17

I agree nit - fine to reject private education on ideological grounds, or because your local state school is good enough and you'd rather spend the money on other things.

But some of the comments about private education being inferior are honestly, to anyone with a child in a well regarded, successful private school, just a bit of a joke really. We know what we're getting for our money and it isn't teachers who couldn't hack it in the state sector, victorian teaching methods or peers that bully the poor children for their accent. A school that wasn't able to impress its customers on a daily basis wouldn't remain open for long.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 18:34:59

Adeuce No, it wouldn't. I do think it's fine also to observe that the private schools in a given area either don't appear to be up to much, or don't offer significant enough 'added value' to have made posters think they'd be worth the money.

Owllady Wed 20-Feb-13 18:36:26

I have started to wish I hadn't posted on here now being referred to as you people how bloody rude

maisie all those facilities are great, but that is not say they are needed. I did an arts degree at a designated art school following my state education and it didn't hold me back at all that we just had textiles and art classroom, one potters wheel and a kiln

TotallyBS Wed 20-Feb-13 18:38:30

grin at all the 'social climbing' comments. Our parents include a couple of accountants, a few IT people, an estate agent, an owner of a small industrial cleaning business and a couple who renovates old houses before selling them.

This is your idea of social climbing???

adeucalione Wed 20-Feb-13 18:41:20

Nit - yes, that's what I said when we sent ours to the state school, that the private schools didn't offer enough extra to justify the cost.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 18:43:12

I haven't seen the social climbing comments, but I haven't read the whole thread yet...

I suppose there may be people who think they're going to do a bit of social climbing and are then disappointed!

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 18:47:21

I don't see it as a flaw that private schools employ teachers who could not hack it in the state sector. If they are not in the state sector it doesn't matter does it? If they are doing a good job in the private sector and not fucking it up in state schools everyone is happy.

Equally there are teachers in the state sector that could not teach in the private sector, again if they are serving their pupils well it does not matter.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 18:52:20

Ah, seen one now.

Ok, here's a question: if you don't especially want to 'social climb', and it isn't your intention or your idea that your child attends school with children who, with the exception of those on scholarships I suppose, have parents with between £9 and £34K spare a year - does that ever bother you? Do you ever worry that your child might get a slightly partial view of the world?

If you think the fact that you have to pay is a shame, and you wish the opportunities you are paying for are worth it, and you genuinely wish all children had access to similar - do you view the inevitable social segregation within the school day as a bit of a shame? Even if it's just an occasional niggle you have?

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:52:30

So, now - are their private teachers and state school teachers and never the twain shall meet! Some of the posters are teachers having taught in both sectors. Maybe we need to listen to their views as opposed to views of people who have NEVER attended a private school, had any children that have gone through the private system but somehow seen to know more about the system that we do.

motherinferior Wed 20-Feb-13 18:54:11

Because I want to spend my cash on gin and fags and flash cars (no Beaten Up Volvo for me, ooh no) and send my kids to a monoculturak school and have a BLOODY GREAT FLAT SCREEN TELLY. Obvs.

Or wot the Nit said.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 18:54:44

Fill your boots, maisie! But that's not the constituency addressed by this thread, is it?

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:55:07

Its not spare money just lying around. Do I want a mortgage well into my 60's when others have already paid them off long ago! But I choose to spend my money this way, what has it to do with anyone else? Do I tell others what to do with their income?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 18:56:19

Maisie - don't get so cross! Nobody's 'telling' you what to do with your income (lucky you to have so much of it, though! wink). They are responding to the OP's question.

FlouncingMintyy Wed 20-Feb-13 18:57:20

I frankly cba to answer in my own words, but this articule more or less reflects my thoughts. If you can be bothered to read it.

adeucalione Wed 20-Feb-13 18:58:02

I think I would see it as a flaw if private schools were stuffed full of exhausted has-beens who couldn't maintain discipline, or differentiate properly, or teach engagingly, or whatever it was that they couldn't quite hack in the state system - so jumping ship because they were essentially failing.

But if they just got to a stage where they just wanted to spend more time teaching their subject, or got fed up of the government interference, then that would be fair enough I think.

FlouncingMintyy Wed 20-Feb-13 18:58:48

That would be article, not articule, for even a lowly comprehensive-educated Mumsnetter like me is not immune to fat finger typing.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:58:54

And my children will not have a partial view of the world. London is just around the corner with everything it has to offer. For me giving a partial view is actually living in the middle of nowhere where kids have to be driven everywhere. Some people's choice but I do think that kids growing near big cities do become streetwise and able to hold their own. We both work, how is that giving them a partial view?

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Wed 20-Feb-13 18:59:48

Because i went private (on a scholarship which may have made a difference) and i hated school. I got a great education, had wonderful teachers and missed all the disruption of Baker days (yup, that old) but the other kids were mostly not very nice. Very entitled, cliquey and snobby. Really met the stereotypes. I'm sure many grew up a lot and are now fine adults but i didn't stick around to find out.

I think it's the size of private schools as much as anything, those smaller class sizes the parents pay a premium for also mean fewer kids who you might get on with and more cliques.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:00:22

And stop insulting private school teachers when you have never expereinced the teaching your self. How do you know they cannot hack it in the state system.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:01:47

Some people think that private schools are still in the dark ages. Bertie Wooster anyone?

adeucalione Wed 20-Feb-13 19:04:25

Nit - the social segregation does bother me actually.

I don't want my children to avoid children who are poorer than them, I just want my children to avoid those children who have more interest in mucking about than they have in learning.

As an aside, I was probably the poorest child in my year at secondary school, so it would be a sad thing if I couldn't recognise that money has absolutely nothing to do with how nice, kind, hard working and aspirational a child is.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:05:22

I wish I did have a lot of it tbh. But I dont have stacks of money lying around waiting to be spent. Yes, we are higher earners but that hasnt happened by luck or worse by mistake. To afford private school we both need to work full time in professional careers. Not always ideal and not particularly flexible but it does pay the fees so I feel worth it.

Its not everyone's choice. Some like to stay at home in the early years, some never go back to work, some never start work, what your choice is fine with me (its nothing to do with me anyway!). But I am comfortable with my choice.

BlatantLies Wed 20-Feb-13 19:08:14


Coz it's bloody hilarious when your DS is at a top Uni studying medicine and you didn't have to pay any private school fees to get him there. We didn't spend any money on tutors or music lessons either. Lol. It makes us laugh and it makes him more proud to be there as he feels he got there through his own hard work. ( ie he had to arrange everything himself and self teach himself some of his courses)

Joking aside,
We would have sent our DC's to private school if our local schools were bad or if our kids had any educational issues.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:09:39

I would like my children to avoid the kids who muck around, who spoil it for others and who are allowed to behave like that. Not in all schools but some. I dont want to get to 18 and think - you know I wish we had gone private, we had the money and didnt go down that route. My parents chose the sec modern for me because effectively they didnt have a choice. I didnt pass the 11+, private was just out of the question so I went to a school that was complete rubbish. I dont choose that for my children and tbh I dont have time to fight the education system if I find my children in one of the failing schools. Sorry - but I dont. Private does allow us to pick what we consider to be the best fit for our child, not a government choosing what is right not knowing the individual.

happybubblebrain Wed 20-Feb-13 19:12:45

If I could afford private I would be very worried about the attitues my dd might be exposed to at a private school.

adeucalione Wed 20-Feb-13 19:16:34

happybubblebrain - I don't think you need to worry. There will be some questionable attitudes at private schools, just as there are questionable (in a different way maybe) attitudes at state schools.

Elibean Wed 20-Feb-13 19:18:51

MrsSM grinyep, sounds like the same one!

Elibean Wed 20-Feb-13 19:21:17

And I have known questionable attitudes (to learning as well as life) in private and state schools. Having been to both. Probably about the same percentage of drop outs later, too.

I still think SO MUCH depends on which school, which child. I would not put my girls in a school where I thought they'd be hurt, badly taught, or bullied - if I could help it. But given the choice, I would rather send my kids to a school that doesn't segregate on any basis.

herethereandeverywhere Wed 20-Feb-13 19:22:29

I was state educated. Parents declined opportunity to enter me for exam for private school although I was likely to be eligible for scholarship. I'm no Tory but I'm not sure that imposing their principles on me did me any favours. The "social awareness" I was lucky enough to experience included:

- knowing several kids who used to steal cars for fun
- having a deputy head prefect who was pregnant (brought the baby in to collect her GCSE results)
- witnessing another deputy head prefect be violently assaulted because she used a piece of school equipment that another pupil objected to
- knowing how to obtain and use any illegal drug you could think of
- being part of a culture where learning and intelligence were not cool, where everyone wanted to be a hairdresser or join the army and this was never questioned
- where every GCSE lesson focused on what you needed to do to get a C
- where the headteacher assured my mum that my being bullied was "character building" (my dad had to collect me in the car from the teachers exit so I could avoid the risk of physical assault on the way home)
- being spat at and punched in the corridors
- resorting to hiding my dinner money in my socks (you would be made to jump up and down and if cash was heard it was taken from you (by some of the kids on free school meals)
- having to remove offensive graffiti about myself from school property

Sometimes the beauty of the ideology doesn't match the brutal reality.

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 19:25:15

How funny that most of these comments have come from people opposed to private education on moral and political grounds:

the state options for them have all been the better choice of schools (because they are excellent grammars.

Because the state schools are better than the private ones in my area!

'Cos the local private schools are crap? Mine are.

Yes here too. Friend's son just move to our (excellent) state secondary from private, already in trouble because he's just not used to discipline or homework,

it was a bit shit, and full of dim (yet well to do) hoo-rah types.

I am sure there was a reason their parents sent them to a private school... Sure as hell wasn't the education though...

She 'managed' to get in to her private school, as did both her sisters, who, also, failed 11+ by some margin..

One of my DC's was in a private school. Hated it, bullied, crap teacher (couldn't hack it in the state system), poor leadership

This is actually encouraging to see that majority, if not all the posters on this thread have better states school than private schools, and that most of the private schools in your area are crap compared to the state schools

At least the most prolific private school bashers can sleep easy tonight knowing that this so called priviledge that private school users are accused of 'buying' is futile since most of the schools are crap anyway and full of dim rich children.

Exactly. They believe that, so why do so many of them continue to get all frothed up about this? If you really believed that, why on earth would you care? You'd be happy to just leave them to it, poor naive fools, wasting their money trying to prop up their mediocre children, surely? What threat could they possibly be? confused

People love to say that the private schools dont offer anything their state school doesnt.

Yes, they do, don't they. And again, it's always people who are against them, which makes no sense to me at all. confused

surreygoldfish Wed 20-Feb-13 19:26:49

I don't normally post on thse sorts of discussions. So many entrenched views - and given that only a small proportion of people have the choice inevitably ends badly. I feel envious of those with a GS or lovely red brick outstanding comp on the doorstep - we don't have that option. I wouldn't pay for the sake of it - the indie on offer is fantastic with outstanding results and the local comp is rated good with very average results. Don't disagree that the additional travel and having friends further away has been a downside but very happy with the choice. The choice has been about giving dc the opportunity to have the best education that is available to us - and yes - because we can afford it we have choice. I'm not sure that's wildly different to all those people choosing to move to live next door to the GS or the outstanding comp. What the DC do with that education is up to them - they will still need to work really hard to do well...

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:34:56

Yes it is funny Fellatio that the people so opposed to private education say there is no point to it and that we are all hooray henry's with more money than sense.

Methinks there is something unsaid here. If you really think that private education is crap - well dont use it. And be happy with your choice!

Why would you be so against something that you consider to be rubbish. I could understand if you were using it yourself but you arent. So why the big issue??

surreygoldfish Wed 20-Feb-13 19:35:21

Also couldn't agree more with the above 2 posts!

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:39:38

And in my experience the disipline and homework ethic is rife. I actually until I read fellatio's email realise that there were so many insults flying around about children going to private schools. How rude of them.

Why? If the state system more than meets your expectations then why should you be concerned about the private education system at all.....

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 19:39:47

I don't use it and I am happy with my choice.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:43:56

Arisbottle. help me out here. Why are some posters making such rude comments about kids going to private schools. Why is it acceptable to talk like this, dim, didnt pass the 11+, all my private schools are crap etc. What all of them...

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:47:13

It's so unfair that some people have a good state education near them, while others cannot access that system.

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 19:49:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 19:51:15

Because posters know that private education creates social injustice and that makes them angry. Yes you are right, they shouldn't say things about people's children.

To be honest , speaking on a personal level I don't care if you want to educate your children away from 93% of the population because my children will all be fine. We have the money, contacts etc to ensure that even though they go to a comprehensive ( or secondary modern) they will do well. However there are other children who need and deserve not to. Be education in a social ghetto because the middle classes have all fled to the local church, grammar or independent school.

We have the amongst the worst levels of social mobility in Europe, by sending your child to an independent school you are keeping those social divisions alive.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 19:52:04

I can't understand why people are getting so cross. The OP asked a question- people are answering it. I have seen a couple of vaguely rude answers, but most have been thoughtful and personal. Because I am a socialist, for example, is a perfectly legitimate answer on it's own. Because I don't wand my child to only mix with other privileged children would be another one. Because my local school is fantastic, because I would rather spend my money on other things- there are loads of good reasons.

Bear in mind, the cross people, that very nasty things are said about state schools on here all the time. I could list some- but I won't. So the one or two mildly intemperate comments about private schools on here are really only a gnat bite. Ignore them.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:52:26

Yes 1805 and those are the people who we need to be concerned about. The people who have a good state option near them - good! The grammars around here are very popular. However what if you dont pass the 11+, its the sec moderns or whatever they call themselves now. Not a choice for me I am afraid.

If we all had the choice of a good state option there would be no need for privates at all. But we dont. People spouting off about great state education in an an outstanding comp. Bet the area is great. There arent many great comp's or grammar's in less affluent areas. Perhaps they even paid over the odds for their house to belong to the right catchment area. Of course that doesnt count, they arent buying their education of course. They just happen to be the area.....

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 19:53:42

I suspect that they have good schools because people across the social divides use them. Most of my children are at a school which is attended by quite posh people, common people like us with too much money, lots of middle income types and then those living on the breadline. That has not happened by magic, it has happened because those of us with money have actively chosen to stay in the state sector.

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 19:54:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 19:54:57

Oh and it was intended to be a wind up post. It seems to have worked- but on the wrong side!

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:58:15

Seeker, they arent mildy rude, they are blxxxy rude. Look at what Fellatio has cut and pasted.

And you do have one child at a grammar and tried to get your other child into the same school. These are hardly failing schools. They are schools that some literally fight to get into. And as I have said - some believe that grammars are for the smug middle classes who believe in state education.

The grammars are fairly rare. Most people will not have them available as a choice. And it is a choice. You choose to send your child to a grammar. No one is forcing you....

It is easy to be socialist when you have what others can only dream about - a grammar school eduction for your child. Its not available to most of MN's!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 20:05:37

Grammar schools are for the smug middle classes!

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 20:07:59

Oh come on, TSC, they are not just your comments, I skimmed the whole thread and took all the comments that were relevant to my point. I didn't even look at who wrote them - it as laborious enough as it was! It's not about you, and no I am not accusing you of lying.

I am just pondering on the strange dichotomy that these threads always throw up, which is stating on the one hand that many private schools are rubbish and full of 'thick bints' as you put it, and on the other hand being vehemently opposed to those ineffectual, rubbish schools sending so many thick bints to top universities, and therefore enabling them to get all those great jobs that the clever people should have had. confused

I can understand how someone could believe one or other of those things to be true, but not both.

Arisbottle Wed 20-Feb-13 20:08:44

A grammar school education is our worst nightmare, only something that became a forced reality for our son because he was at risk of a permanent exclusion from his comprehensive / secondary modern. I would far rather he news with my other children.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 20:10:03

Maisie- please don't force me to reprise some comments on state schools I have collected over the months! Somebody has already mentioned one of the worst.....but there are plenty more.

1805 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:10:33

nope. I meant it. Do you think that statement is untrue?

Dromedary Wed 20-Feb-13 20:10:44

I went to private schools as well as state. At the private schools there was a) really nasty bullying that the school didn't bother to tackle, b) a complete lack of interest in putting themselves out at all to help a child who was in any way different, c) teachers (including the head) who simply didn't bother to show up to teach the 6th formers, or showed up half way through the lesson, and whose teaching consisted solely of dictating their university notes from decades before, and never bothered to mark any homework, d) careers advice from a woman who knew nothing at all about careers, and told all the thick girls to become kindergarten teachers, and all the bright ones to become librarians, e) children who were disruptive in lessons so impeding the others from learning, f) encouragement from some staff not to work too hard, not to aim too high, that an A was almost impossible to achieve, g) an almost complete absence of extra curricular opportunities, and everything like drama etc being an additional charge, being in the school play being only for those who paid for drama lessons, etc. I could go on. There are still bad private schools around, or ok ones with bad qualities.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 20:11:31

Fellatio, you're saying that anyone who's answered the question about why you'd send a child to state has essentially replied: the state options for them have all been the better choice of schools (because they are excellent grammars?

That hasn't been my impression!

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 20:25:32

There are only, I think, 148 grammar schools in the country. I find it hard to believe that the state school supporters on this thread all live within striking distance of one and has a child who would get in!

TheSecondComing Wed 20-Feb-13 20:32:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TotallyBS Wed 20-Feb-13 20:33:18

My DCs went to a state primary. Their GM is a shop keeper. Their uncle was a mechanic before becoming an air conditioning unit fitter. They go to local after school clubs. As I said upthread, their classmates parents are largely ordinarily, albeit well paid, people.

Given this, why do people think that my kids will have a partial view of the world?

And why do you think that by going to a school which is largely white middleclass.white Brit gives your DC a full view of the world?

DC has friends from all over the world. I struggle to understand why you think that your kids are more rounded individuals simply because they have friends whose parents work in M&S.

herethereandeverywhere Wed 20-Feb-13 20:34:30

Dromedary I assume your list of experiences were from the private school part of your education? Why on earth would someone choose to pay for their children to receive that kind of education? confused

FellatioNels0n Wed 20-Feb-13 20:36:52

No, TOSN -I'm not saying that at all. Maybe one or two people said that, but I was just quoting all the comments from the thread that for whatever reason implied that they do not especially rate private schools over good state ones.

I understand their arguments completely and would probably agree with them in some cases. I was just showing that for many people who can afford choice, the best choice for them is still state, NOT AS A POLITICAL CHOICE but because they are convinced it is the better school. Or at least they are very happy that it is a good enough school, and they do not feel that their child will being any way disadvantaged by going there.

And there are loads of people on MN and out in the real world only too happy to tell you of all the instances they can think of where a private school has been poor value for money and has failed to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. And I don't doubt that for a second.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:37:08

Haven't read all the posts but what I will say is that my daughters private school is really not any different to the grammar school I attended- both full of the middle classes and a token few less well off.

socareless Wed 20-Feb-13 20:39:04

I think Fellatio's point extends beyond this post seeker and TOSN. Seeker you are renowned for your scorn on people who use private and the GS system and at any given oppourtunity would either start a thread either slamming a public person for opting to go private, or rant about your own person circumstance with your DCs.

Fellatio is simply saying you and all the others are actually in a superior place as private schools cannot be crap on one hand (based on evidence from people on this thread) and at the same time also able to send children to RG unis. It doesn't make sense and you and the rest of the anti/socialist/principled/moral/upright citizens of this great nation of choice should sleep easy with the knowledge that private is crap.

And you are right seeker all the testimonials on this thread cannot be from people using the GS.

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:55:33

Its a conspiracy. 50 percent of uni places are filled by private school pupils. That's what is left unsaid. If private schools are so crap then these figures don't make sense. Next someone will come along and say that private pupils are marked up just because of where they go to school.

Dromedary Wed 20-Feb-13 21:08:39

herethere - private schools, yes. My parents just assumed that a private school (any private school) would be good enough. They paid very little attention to what went on there.
Having said that, the 2nd private school, not the first one, had some redeeming features. The main one being that I made friends with the school swot, and that peer pressure turned me into a high achieving workaholic (no longer, sadly).

Dromedary Wed 20-Feb-13 21:09:59

Maisie - some private schools are crap, some have some crap qualities, some are good.

rabbitstew Wed 20-Feb-13 21:10:38

Doesn't it depend on what you want your children to get out of their time at school, what sort of life you want the family to have outside of school and what you think the schools you have available to you actually offer? Private schools are not happy places for everyone, nor is the local state comprehensive. Surely the question should be, why on earth would you automatically go private just because you can afford it, rather than considering all the options before deciding?

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 21:27:13

Surely no one is suggesting that not investigating options is desirable. The shame is that for so many the 'choice' of school in the state sector is a complete and utter joke! Popular schools are oversubscribed and sometimes even people who live on their doorstep struggle to get in. In my borough last year over 300 children had to be offered places at a school which didnt even feature in their top 6 choices because there was not room for them in the borough schools! You might want a GS education for your child but for whatever reason they miss out on a place or there is actually no GS close enough.
You don't have to choose a private school you think is crap or not suited to your child...sure, there may be some who select on academic ability and certainly all will select on whether you can afford it or not, but this thread is about people who have the luxury of that choice.
Whatever your views on private or state, everyone is just trying to do what is best for their children. It is the definition of what is best that seems to be the hugely contentious issue!

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 21:51:37

And here we back to choice, for some it will be easy, grammar school, free and if you pass you should get a great academic education, but the school will be obsessed with where they are in the league tables.

What if you don't live in a GS area and cannot afford the inflated prices for the GS/great comp. What if the only choice is the struggling school down the road. What happens then. Of course some parents won't care, they won't even care if their c hild goes to school, parents evenings are for ninnies. Would you really like your child to go to a school like this?

So, we make choicess but for some there isn't a real choice.

If I was in the situation - I would move.

Dromedary Wed 20-Feb-13 21:54:37

Just don't move too soon - it's amazing how schools go up or down almost overnight.

Dromedary Wed 20-Feb-13 21:55:50

NB I include private schools in that - lovely and v successful private school I know of. New head was incompetent, and a few years later it has closed down.

Moving isn't so easy though is it, unless you're renting. And whether you're renting or buying you may find yourself having to downsize to move to a better catchment.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 20-Feb-13 22:36:42

What if you don't live in a GS area and cannot afford the inflated prices for the GS/great comp then you presumably can't afford fees either?

Of course some parents won't care, they won't even care if their c hild goes to school, parents evenings are for ninnies. Would you really like your child to go to a school like this? was there a link missing there, or by 'this' do you mean an imaginary school?

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 20-Feb-13 22:46:20

"In my borough last year over 300 children had to be offered places at a school which didnt even feature in their top 6 choices because there was not room for them in the borough schools! "

I know some people this happened to - each and every one of them used all 6 preferences on schools they had no hope of getting in to, and didn't list their nearest schools.

"You might want a GS education for your child but for whatever reason they miss out on a place or there is actually no GS close enough. "

GS's are a rare hangover, if there is no G in your area, the comps should have a fair share of GS-ability kids in the top streams. If your kid misses a place in GS for being a few points below the entry level, then your child may well be better in an area with genuine comps anyway, rather than in a high school where all the GS kids have been creamed off.

I really don't get why people are so hell bent on GSs when they are not in a full GS area.

There is a frenzy about education, and a middle class panic.

Maybe, OP, since you make such assumptions, an answer could be 'to avoid those of a hysterical disposition about schools'. I'm not saying it is, but your OP begs so many questions and makes so many quite offensive assumptions.

I know it isn't always easy, but IMO the panic grips more than it need.

barnsleybelle Wed 20-Feb-13 22:59:31

Don't ever be fooled that private schools attract the best teachers because they don't. They attract teachers who want more money, more holidays and more prestige. The best teachers believe in good education for all children and are fully fledged believers in " every child matters ". Private schools tend to be primarily focused on academic achievement and children often come out of these schools with an inability to understand/mix/communicate/tolerate people from all walks of life and backgrounds. They are often taken to and picked up from school in cars and so miss out on the social aspect of commuting to school with peers. They are often intolerant/judgemental of others and fundamentally live in the private school bubble and are unable to relate to the holistic and individual realities of people they encounter later in the real world. Education is about social skills, tolerance, mixing, and understanding of real life as much as academic achievement. If a child has love, support and limits instilled at home they will do as well as they can do whatever the school they attend. Simple as.

tiggytape Wed 20-Feb-13 23:07:32

I know some people this happened to - each and every one of them used all 6 preferences on schools they had no hope of getting in to, and didn't list their nearest schools.

We were one of several hundrd it happened to. We listed our local schools. Turns out that we don't live close enough to our closest schools to get a place (did eventually off waiting list but pretty scary).
In London, within 2 years there will be 100,000 more children than there are school places. It isn't parents being fussy!

tiggytape Wed 20-Feb-13 23:13:17

and to add, we didn't get offered a crap school miles away either - those are also full. We got no offer - none at all. We had listed 6 realistic local schools including the closest comp but got none allocated and had to sweat it out until the Summer when a place off the waiting list came up.
We couldn't afford to do anything else but wait (and plead and prepare for multiple appeals) but you can see why someone else in that situation would look to go private if they could.

And as I said, the birth rate figures show it is going to happen more and more in coming years.

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 23:15:36

Clearly CBM we are on opposite sides of the argument here. I don't actually think it is 'hysterical' or even the sole preserve of the middle classes to want your child to have the best possible education.

IMHO a school with large class sizes, poor SEN and low academic achievement is not the best environment for helping my HF ASD DD achieve her potential and unfortunately that is the 'choice' available in the state system for her - and also the only one that is within walking distance. Others further away are either Catholic (which we are not, and thus excluded according to the admission criteria), out of borough and oversubscribed, or involve an unrealistically long journey on public transport.

Please don't fail to recognise your own assumptions in this debate.

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 23:18:52

After reading tiggy's post, perhaps it should be 'I don't think it is unreasonable to want a school place at all!'. Glad it worked out for your DC in the end x

TotallyBS Wed 20-Feb-13 23:20:34

I get coffee from Starbucks a couple of times a day. There is free coffee at work but Starbucks is marginally better IMO

Now you can scream at me that coffee is coffee and that x 3 times a day x 5 days a week x 48 weeks a year is some serious money to spend on something that I can get for free. However, that isn't serious money to me.

My point is this. Your income level is such that it's madness to spend £x pa on private education when a free option is available so you can't understand why another parent would want to go private. So you tell yourself that it must be because they are snobs or because they think the state system is crap .... or ..... or.

Basically many MNetters are seeking to make sense of decisions made by people whose circumstances aren't the same as yours.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 23:21:28

I just think people need to remember that when they talk about exercising their choice to go private, it it is a choice only available to a privileged few. People seem to find it really uncomfortable to be reminded that they are privileged. Not sure why.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:28:49

Barnsley- that is absolute nonsense. If it was true surely these school leavers would not go on to succeed professionally and that is not the case! Just look at the backgrounds of the top lawyers, bankers, politicians etc. It is too simplistic to put this all down to nepotism!

Schmedz Wed 20-Feb-13 23:47:30

The best teachers believe in good education for all children and are fully fledged believers in 'every child matters. Education is about social skills, tolerance, mixing, and understanding of real life as much as academic achievement. If a child has love, support and limits instilled at home they will do as well as they can do whatever the school they attend. Simple as.

Well said BB and true of all good educators in whatever school setting they find themselves.

Shame about the other unbelievably ignorant opinions expressed!

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:52:24

Was that directed at me? Believe me I am well aware of the positives and negatives of private school education, and having a child in both private and also one in a comprehensive I can confidently say that there are good and bad teachers in both.

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 00:09:10

Seeker, I have no idea why anyone would be uncomfortable to be reminded they are privileged. I feel remarkably humbled by the fact that I have the privileges I do (partly as many involve the accident of birth and the path that enabled me to follow) and I don't feel uncomfortable about it at all. It doesn't make me a worse or better person than anyone else. Anyone who thinks it does, has a problem.

I feel very lucky to have been born into a family with supportive parents and had/have a loving home, to be healthy, to have healthy children, good friends, to live in a democratic country and to have a job I thoroughly enjoy and which pays me a very reasonable income. I am well aware that in terms of the global community I am in the fortunate 8% of people who have attended university. I also feel very lucky to be able to afford to choose to send my children to a private school (although I would prefer to have a comparable option for whatever proportion of council tax goes to the LEA!)

I believe in counting blessings, and that means you HAVE to remind yourself of your privileges. There are always people with more, and people with less than you have.

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 00:11:40

Not you at all scarlettsmummy!! I'm sorry you thought that!

I picked out the only comments in Barnsley's thread that made sense and agreed. References to 'ignorant opinions' referred to everything else s/he said!

TotallyBS Thu 21-Feb-13 01:11:39

seeker - People aren't uncomfortable with being reminded that they are privileged. They are just pissed off uncomfortable with bring lectured by you.

Can't you ever simply contribute to a thread without feeling the need to bypass the subject and instead criticise a poster for using words which you consider to be insensitive?

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 06:46:33

This is a wind up thread started as a tease in response to a conversation on another thread.

People have responded mostly thoughtfully about why they choose state schools. However a couple of people have got upset/angry at the suggestion that in order to send your children to private school (with one or two notable exceptions) you have to be quite rich. I have seen this before, both on here and in real life. I really don't understand why- I would have thought that was a given. And i think most private school parents agree- it's something that's important to them, and they are relieved and thankful that they can pay. The only reason I can come up with to explain why some people are so determined to persist in the "we're not rich, we're just ordinary people" line is that at some level they don't like to think of themselves as privileged. No idea why- Paging Dr Freud!!!

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 06:49:41

Absolutely, Schmedz.

Mind you, to address one small point your post, there is a lot I'd like a tax refund on- but paying for stuff you don't use as well as what you do is how taxation works!

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 08:06:36

grin seeker - So true! It's nice to find something we agree on flowers

I do feel uncomfortable sometimes at being privileged enough to afford a private education for my kids, just because I know parents who would love to do the same but can't afford it - and they have to send their kids to the same school that I rejected for my kids. It's not fair - they are good people and want their kids to go to a good school, but we had the choice to send ours elsewhere and they didn't.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 09:21:19

My DC are absurdly privileged to live as they do and they know it. But a prolific MINUTE poster told me to stop saying it! It rubbed people up apparently. So waddya gonna do?

Corygal Thu 21-Feb-13 09:23:58

The surprise on this thread:

1. All MNetters who could do private but go state live right next door to a state school that produces better results than St Paul's or Eton. You really must tell Ofsted, ladies - they'll be thrilled.

The lack of surprise:

1. "I'm buggered if I'm spending anything on the children" comes out when posted as "We prefer to spend our money on other things". Like the bird who claimed building herself a conservatory benefited her children as much as a top-class education.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 09:25:18

The "privilege" word really winds people up. Odd. As I said "Paging Dr Freud!"

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 09:27:43

Gosh, corygal Yet another example of the lovely manners and courtesy learned at private school.......grin

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 09:30:01

Cory there are states schools which get better results than St Paul's and Eton. Even a cursory glance at the league tables demonstrates this. Surely it's not a surprise that some MNs live close enough to those schools to send their kids there? Also there are plenty of private schools that are pretty poor and surely it's not surprising that there are some MNs who live near those, and therefore prefer the state sector too? I do not understand why some people can't grasp this.

Corygal Thu 21-Feb-13 09:33:26

Thanks, seeker - I have PMT. Oestrogen overrides all those years learning to get in and out of sports cars grin

noddyholder Thu 21-Feb-13 09:37:33

Better school. Wanted a community vibe for ds. Don't believe in private ed. was private myself as was dp and both hated.

Corygal Thu 21-Feb-13 09:39:10

Russians I get you entirely - it's just that every mother of every child who attends these wonder schools seems to have popped up on here.

And of course you are more than right about awful private schools - imho if you're going to do private, get them into a top school or don't bother. If you live in a big town you can do it fine - otherwise, there's a reason why most of the other top schools are boarding, you have to travel.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 09:40:39

I remember commenting on the frequency of 'absurdly priveliged', but it wasn't because I thought it was 'upsetting people', and I never said that at all!

Like 93% of the population we couldn't afford to send ours to private school.

However I still feel they are going to some of the best schools in our city.

Am not convinced private schools offer a better education.

I think any apparent benefits are due to the self-selection of the families using the schools rather than the quality of the teaching or other aspects of school life.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 09:43:40

Cory - well, I can't help that. However since my DD does go to one of those schools (and at the same time the posh schools round here aren't great) I find it quite annoying when people, you know, suggest I'm making it up that her school is better than anything the private sector has to offer and way better than anything the private sector within a radius of - I don't know, 100 miles? - has to offer.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 09:44:05

The other thing to remember is that generally speaking, most schools, even the dire ones, get good results for some kids. And mumsnetters kids are generqlly speaking, the ones who are going to get the good results. Mind you, I've been excoriated for saying that before!

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 09:44:22

Cory - if it helps, DSs school isn't better than the posh schools in terms of exam results but it's a better fit for him and for us.

Timetoask Thu 21-Feb-13 09:46:13

"I think any apparent benefits are due to the self-selection of the families using the schools rather than the quality of the teaching or other aspects of school life."

I am really not sure about that Juggling. There was a thread the other day discussing in detail how stressed teachers are currently in the state system, many of them who entered the career because of true vocation, now leaving it. I don't want my children taught by teachers that hate their job. A happy teacher is a good teacher.

I am sure private school teachers also have their share of stress, but they are probably not in the right job. The private system appears to have more flexibility in deciding how to lead their schools.

noddyholder Thu 21-Feb-13 09:52:06

There is a 'nouveau' vibe too that I don't think would suit us.

I've been a teacher and a TA in state primaries Time so I know what you're talking about. Probably why I bust a gut to get my DC's into state schools where they'd be with other children who want to learn. IMHO that's what makes the main difference !

adeucalione Thu 21-Feb-13 09:53:02

I do think it's odd that people who have actively chosen state schools can't just sit back and feel comfortable with their choice without being openly critical of those parents who have made a different choice - we're not all rich, or snobby social climbers, or stupid enough to pay for inadequate teaching, or parents to entitled, cosseted children.

From what I've read, parents who have chosen private schools are not quite so hostile - generally we understand that there are some great state schools and that school fee cash could be better spent elsewhere in many families.

The only argument I can respect is the ideological one - you disagree with private schools at a population level - rather than the judgemental, prejudiced views expressed by some (from a position of no, or limited, experience it must be said).

acceptableinthe80s Thu 21-Feb-13 09:53:19

Because i don't think private education=better education.
I know plenty people who went to private schools and did very poorly academically, likewise i know plenty people who went to state school and came out with straight A's.
Some children are just most intelligent than others regardless of education though i do think support at home counts for a lot, as does a childs early years experiences.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 21-Feb-13 09:53:58


seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 09:56:43

Interesting- private school people are always going on about the hostility from state school parents- but on this thread there has only been one poster even remotely hostile. Which, bearing in mind that there are far more state school parents than private ones strikes me as being hardly worth bothering with. And I do think that's how it usually is.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 09:58:51

I think most state school parents are perfectly happy to live and let live until somebody starts banging on about how could we possibly know that in fact their £30K + school is infinitely better than wherever we send our kids, however good we poor deluded uneducated people think our kids' schools are, because we could never hope to ever know anyone who had ever gone to such a school. At that point some of us get annoyed.

adeucalione Thu 21-Feb-13 09:59:28

acceptable - I'm not sure that that sort of anecdotal experience is very useful really, unless there is a way of proving that the people who didn't achieve well at private school would have achieved more elsewhere. Maybe they achieved more than they would've in a different school? Maybe the people who achieved well at state school could've achieved more elsewhere? We'll never know I guess, but I can see how personal experience would inform your decision of course.

adeucalione Thu 21-Feb-13 10:01:01

Russians - does anyone do that then? Unless they're responding to a question, or feel that they have to defend their decision?

mamageekchic Thu 21-Feb-13 10:02:17

We could afford it, all things being equal when we get to school age. I would only send private if the state schools were terrible tbh.

- I don't see it as value for money, ie I don't see the difference in quality as being proportionate to the difference in cost

- I didn't attend a private school and often compare favourably with peers who did in a corporate world. I'm 'well rounded' and able to communicate effectively at all levels. (I appreciate this doesn't apply to all. I just don't feel I've been hindered at all)

- Unless a child is exceptionally academic I don't see it as a worthwhile investment.

-I'd rather spend it on other things, a nicer home environment, family holidays, sports/hobbies, family days out...

noddyholder Thu 21-Feb-13 10:03:56

Not all education happens in school

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 10:06:10

Yes, what Russians said. I have stated my reasons, and yes, they are ideological. But I just keep reading that people who wouldn't use private schools just don't get that they're better, or else they are claiming to both know and despise all the reasons why some people do.

I wouldn't use them, ever, on principle and because it's simply not what I want for my children. I'm sure there are many many reasons why some people do.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 21-Feb-13 10:14:44

Agree it's not particularly useful just personal experience. However some people do seem to think that all children who attend private schools will do well academically and it really isn't true. I just happen to think there are many more determining factors on a childs educational outcome than what school they attend.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 10:15:06

Adeucalione Yes. Yes they do. Sadly.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 10:17:51

Nit - yes, I wouldn't ever use private schools. I'm lucky that DD1 is at a better school than the posh ones, but DS isn't and who knows where Dd2 will end up when the time comes.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 10:18:36

If the state schools were good, I would have no problems with sending DC to state school. In fact, we are probably going down that route for infant school, but are likely to switch to private afterwards.

I went to state school in another country (grammar during secondary years), my brother went to private school first during his primary school years, and then switched to state (grammar). Weirdly enough, he went to the private school because I - as a teenager - convinced my parents to do so. I used to help out at the private school, and couldn't help but notice how much better behaved the children were.

If I wanted to offer my DC the same experience I had at state school all those years ago, my only option would be to go private. We lived in an affluent area, and at the time the local state school had maximum class sizes were 20. At my school, they were around 15-17. Class sizes are around 30 where we live now. The same goes if DC qualified for grammar school.

I would want a selective school for DC as I attended a grammar - and seriously would not have coped in a comp. From my experience, those kids who weren't as able would label knowledge as 'uncool', and hence, could impact your motivation. I'm afraid that does happen a lot even now. Maybe I lack the political correctness of some Brits, because where I'm from splitting out secondary school by ability is the norm. But who knows?

Long story short - if state school could offer small class sizes (max. 20), and also had grammar schools throughout the country with equally small class sizes, it would be a no-brainer, and I would choose state rather than pay for private. But I guess there's a greater chance of a pink hippopotamus falling down from the sky than that happening.

1805 Thu 21-Feb-13 10:28:05

Dh and I work 2.5 full time jobs between us, have a 3 bed semi in a dodgy road, one cheap holiday visiting relatives by the sea (in uk) certainly no health clubs and still need bursaries for the dc to attend their schools. We work bloody hard and make lots of sacrifices to give our dc what we consider to be a decent education.

Now maybe people can understand why I get a bit touchy about posters claiming private school parents are privileged and using private schools to socially climb and gain contacts, and all the other sweeping statements.

It upsets me that people don't understand how hard it is to provide a decent education for your dc.

Believe me, I would much rather use state educate, cut back on the crazy hours we (espicially dh) work, and maybe even move house.

I get annoyed by a particular family near us who live in a big house, go skiing, regularly take 2 other holidays a year, belong to an expensive health club, drive expensive cars and generally fritter away loads of money. They often complain that its unfair that we can afford private education when they can't.

Social climbing, oh that's a funny one. So maybe all the other parents at my daughter's school are aspiring to climb the social ladder by sending their kids to the same school as mine. I had no idea I was so influential grin.

Couldn't care less what social class/income level my kids' friends are - but I do care that my kids and their friends have aspirations of some kind.

FellatioNels0n Thu 21-Feb-13 11:32:49

Like 93% of the population we couldn't afford to send ours to private school.

Now that statement is misleading. Seeker says that only a very small percentage of people are rich/privileged enough to privately educated their children. So as 7% of children are privately educated we (wrongly) jump onto the assumption that only 7% of parents can afford it. As this thread demonstrates, there are plenty of people who could afford it, if they wanted to make it a priority, but they don't feel either don't feel the need, or they resist on moral/political grounds.

That includes reasonably affluent people who would have to go without a holiday or downgrade the car, or postpone the loft conversion, but it would be do-able, to the very wealthy people who do not use private education for whatever reason.

Private schools tend to be primarily focused on academic achievement and children often come out of these schools with an inability to understand/mix/communicate/tolerate people from all walks of life and backgrounds. They are often taken to and picked up from school in cars and so miss out on the social aspect of commuting to school with peers. They are often intolerant/judgemental of others and fundamentally live in the private school bubble and are unable to relate to the holistic and individual realities of people they encounter later in the real world

I'm really interested to know how much research you have done in reaching this conclusion as it doesn't fit with my equally anecdotal experience. My children travel to school on public transport. They mix with children who don't go to private school shock outside of school. DH is an immigrant from north Africa and many of his friends are also immigrants. Quite frankly,I suspect that, a white MC child living in some leafy part of the country rather than a London Borough with a very diverse population is in more of a bubble than my children even if they do go to a state school. You just can't generalise.

Well, fair enough Fell - I guess not all of the 93% couldn't afford the option.
But I think you'd find by far the majority don't have the option anyway due to it's cost. And that often seems to get forgotten on Mumsnet school choice threads - hence I thought I'd start my post with that thought.

Dromedary Thu 21-Feb-13 11:53:51

I do dislike the sense of entitlement that some private school kids end up with.
And there is no way that 3 As at A'level from Westminster or whatever is the same achievement as 3 As from Bognor Regis Community College (if it exists). To me having good exam results basically handed to the children on a plate takes away much of the sense of achievement. They probably kid themselves that it doesn't though.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 12:00:42

Dromedary ...And there is no way that 3 As at A'level from Westminster or whatever is the same achievement as 3 As from Bognor Regis Community College (if it exists).

Is it possible to get an A* from Westminster or whatever private school? I thought private school was where ill mannered priviledged snobs sent their DCs to learn bad manners, take drugs, basically fail and then leave to rule Britain!!!

1805 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:02:19

how can an A* be handed to you on a plate?

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:03:04

I feel very insulted that someone has said that good exam results are handed to private pupils on a plate. Dont talk such nonsense. They work to get their GCSE's, its not a different exam or when the examiners see that pupils go to a private school they automatically up the grades one of two points!

And thinking about this, just because something is out of the reach by some doesnt mean it shouldnt exist does it. Private plane travel (now wouldnt that be wonderful!) is out of my reach but it doesnt mean I dont beleive in it or want it banned. Same with classes on planes. I would love to travel 1st class all of the time but cannot afford it. It doesnt mean I dont agree with it.

And what about people who use savings to pay to go private when they find they have to wait 6 months for an operation on the NHS Should that not be allowed. Should all private healthcare be banned because the majority cannot afford it?

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:04:49

Its a fact that 50% of people going to uni are from private schools even though there is talk about tinkering with this to try and give state schools an advantage.

Surely we should be wondering why this is and copy some of the ways private schools work so that ALL schools can get these results?

From St Paul's website
"The week runs from Monday to Friday with 8, 35-minute periods each day, and morning break and a regular morning session with tutors. In Years 9 to 11 (our Fourth, Fifth and Sixth forms), homework is set for every school day and should take about 2 hours. Pupils in Years 12–13 (Lower and Upper Eighth) are expected to spend at least 15 hours a week on homework and private study."

Yep - those 2 hours of homework per night is just handed to them on a plate.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 12:11:17

Oh, I missed that point about A* handed on a plate at private schools. So they basically go to school, mess around and get A* for doing nothing. Interesting

are not "is" in my last sentence

FellatioNels0n Thu 21-Feb-13 12:13:49

Look, if you banned private schools tomorrow, I doubt it would have very much impact whatsoever on which students end up at university and which do not. If you want to change that you need to do some serious work at the opposite, under-achieving end of the spectrum - tinkering with the top end is going to make bugger all difference. Those children are statistically pretty likely to go to uni whether they go to private school or not.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:18:22

As some of you know my older DS goes to a boarding school. He attends lessons exactly as Chaz says and also Saturday morning. At the end of the day he then has 2 hours homework to complete which is strictly adhered to. Not doing homework results in litter picking, not going home at weekend and so on. Of course some of the boys have tried to muck around, they soon learn what will happen so they do the homework!

They of course LOVE to do homework. Much better than watching the latest football match or TV/Xbox

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 12:19:58

I want to know what became of the 7th form at St Pauls... we need to be told! shock

1805 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:22:58

I do wish people would stop generalising.

Why can't all state schools offer a safe, motivating environment?

You're right - it is a post code lottery just like the NHS.


Well they are right next to the Thames so maybe those who don't get A* at GCSE's are allocated to the 7th form and then sent into exile in a leaky boat. wink

<<thinks twice about applying for the DSs>>

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:29:23

My DM is never ill, doesnt like hospitals but she is statistically likely to be in one over the next few years. I am planning to get her a private room, she is private herself and wouldnt want people seeing her ill and unable to cope.

Maybe they should be banned to because the majority cannot afford them.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:36:39

Perhaps I should start a thread 'If private schools are full of the dim witted, and their out of touch parents who swan around thinking they own the place why is it that 50% of university places are taken by private school pupils.'


In my son's school it is 98% which is why we choose it. He wasnt widely academic but surrounding yourself with people that are getting these sorts of results - well it has sure rubbed off on him. Its the expection that you can achieve which is spurring him on. Do I think he is going to get all A* and A's - no. But I think he is going to have a dam good try. Having done his Mocks, he knows where he weak areas are.

MRSJWRTWR Thu 21-Feb-13 12:45:50

Having been privately educated at secondary level (father in the military) I always wanted a local school, that we could walk to, with friends within easy reach for my children.

We had this for DS1 (luckily as we couldnt afford private then anyway) and he did fairly well getting L5 SATs in Y6. However, when it came to selecting secondary school we felt that a local independent one was a better fit for him and, as our financial circumstances had changed, he sat the entrance exam and got in.

Then we had DS2 (7 year age gap). Although we could afford to send him to the prep school attached to DS1's school we wanted the same experience for him, certainly at primary level, that DS1 had.

Unfortunately, the headmaster had changed, there was alot of disruption with supply teachers etc and DS2 struggled academically with a few things that weren't helped by the large class size. It also just didnt have the same feel to it as when DS1 attended. So we moved him to the prep school where he is now doing really well.

I could've done what a few of my friends had, moved him to a smaller, village school (the state primary he was at was a big school, 3 form entry) but logistically it wouldnt really have worked for us.

Ronaldo Thu 21-Feb-13 12:47:29

Maybe instead of always asking why people choose private or making comments regarding snobbery etc. the question should be asked the other way round - what would entice someone ( who currently pays) to put their child into the state system?

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 12:49:21

I agree with maisiejoe123.

Being surrounded by people with high-achieving people does change a child's perspective - particularly those who in a different environment would not be so bothered. You are basically establishing a different "norm" for them. No one wants to look out of place - especially at that age. If you are at a school where the "norm" is doing minimum to average work, being a high achiever will make you look odd. At a school where they really expect your best, and everyone around you doing exactly that, even the average pupil will try harder.

That's how humans simply are!

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 12:51:36

Ronaldo - I answered that one above:

Long story short - if state school could offer small class sizes (max. 20), and also had grammar schools throughout the country with equally small class sizes, it would be a no-brainer, and I would choose state rather than pay for private. But I guess there's a greater chance of a pink hippopotamus falling down from the sky than that happening.

Ronaldo Thu 21-Feb-13 12:52:54

Tasmania and maisejoe make sound points in my opinion - and I dont see why you have to be joking Maise. Its a serious point , well made.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 12:54:33

I hold my daughters in slightly higher esteem than to think or expect that they will go through life doing 'the norm' or the minimum. What a depressingly pessimistic way to think about your children, and in what low regard you must hold your own parenting hmm

Ronaldo Thu 21-Feb-13 12:57:04

X posted Tasmania. However, for me it is the vaguaries and ever changing policies of state schools and the fact it is a political football with constant " edu speak and silly ideas being thrown around that turns me off.

I want my DS to get a solid traditional education in an environment where he can learn and achieve what ever he is capable of .

Much of state education is what I do not want.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:03:16

A*s handed out on a plate.

Honestly, do people really believe this shit?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:08:29

No, I don't believe that, but to be fair, it's something that I think 16 and 18 year olds have thrown at them no matter what kind of schools they went to - but that's another issue, isn't it?

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:16:00

It is a different issue, and not the one dromedary was making at all.

The idea that the pupils in top performing private schools get their good grades on a plate, was what was being proffered.

And what about all the poor independent schools that are endlessly refered to on MN? Do they too give out these golden plates of A*s?

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:16:18

Yes I have heard seeker make similar claims of 'have you no faith in your chldren'. Even animals protect their young from would be predators wonder what's wrong with humans doing the same. I do not believe for a second TOSN that you leave your children to do as they please if so then I can see why you think the way you do.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 13:17:00

Ronaldo - Ah, yeah... friends have warned me about the ever-changing policies. Didn't think about that!! That is quite stupid.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:19:29

Wordfactory *And what about all the poor independent schools that are endlessly refered to on MN? Do they too give out these golden plates of As?

It appears they do on MN. grin. I have had a good laugh on this forum reading the coping mechanism of some people.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:19:38

I have a great deal of faith in my DC, but Iam aware that teenagers are often easily led by peers. I am not sufficently arrogant to believe mine will be immune to peer pressure.

I am also aware that it is just a much nicer experience to be surrounded by like minded people.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:21:06

I know it's a different issue, yes - I guess I'm saying it's an offensive one to all exam-taking DC no matter what is behind it.

And no, of course I don't leave my children to do as they please socareless - I am just more optimistic than to think that they can't achieve unless surrounded only by high achievers.

What (or who) are the 'would be predators' in your analogy? It's not quite clear.....

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 13:22:23

To me having good exam results basically handed to the children on a plate takes away much of the sense of achievement. They probably kid themselves that it doesn't though

Dromesday please please, explain to me how this works ?

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 13:22:44

'What would entice someone ( who currently pays) to put their child into the state system?'

Academically selective schools where children are stretched rather than left to coast and an A is considered disappointing if they're capable of getting an A*.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:23:47

But where there are peers, there is peer pressure, no? It just might be for different things at different times in different places, but you can't prevent children from ever encountering it.

Peer pressure to achieve very highly, to be thin, to be attractive, to be popular... I don't believe any school has only one kind of peer pressure, and that's the pressure to be a good egg and work hard.

Better, surely, to acknowledge there will be pressures of one kind and another throughout school and throughout life, and to work with that.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:26:30

nit I don't think most DC need to be surrounded by all high achievers. But it is much nicer if they can surrounded by high aspirers.

That said, IMVHO, certain outliers do better in highly selective education.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:29:39

Predator may be the wrong choice of word, but in the instance mentioned on this forum it could be disruptive children and children with parents that have different aspirations from me. From experience children that fall into this category are usually very influencial as they are really not interested in learning so have more time to play up in class.

I'm not sure about the 'optimism or having little faith in ones children comment' because most people that I have encountered with such dismissive attitude towards protecting ones children are ususlly the ones with the trouble makers hence their lack of understanding.

Arisbottle Thu 21-Feb-13 13:30:28

There are pupils who can be described as being given A* on a plate , although it is not so much that they are handed anything but just academic success comes easily to them. My DSS achieved straight A* at GCSE ( as far as I can remember ) and is on track to achieve similar at A Level. He has hardly broken a sweat.

My own son is on track to do similar at GCSE simply because his special needs mean that he has a photographic memory and he doesn't socialise much so studying is no hardship .

I would imagine top selective schools are full of students like this, not exclusively so but they will be there.

For what it's worth I imagine my stepson is going to get a huge shock at university - or at least I hope so.

My second daughter has to work much harder to almost achieve the same .

All of my children at state schools are surrounded by other aspirational children and families .

I think there is a tendency to compare the worst state schools with the top independents .

I am not going to claim that my children's comprehensive or even my son's grammar can compete with the top independents in the league tables. But I do not think that my children would have done much better at an independent . The only way they miss out is not having the same level of sports or extra curricular activities on site. But we can provide that for much less than £100k a year and we get to support our local schools .

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:32:00

I htink life is much more pleasant if you're not surrounded with those at odds to you.

At university, everyone wants to be there. They have chosen the course etc.

At work, everyone wants to do a good job and is interested in it. If not, one moves. One tires to fidn the conducive environment.

If one sings in a choir, one assumes everyone likes singing and values the time there...

I don't see why school should be different.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:32:13

But where there are peers, there is peer pressure, no? It just might be for different things at different times in different places, but you can't prevent children from ever encountering it

I agree, but if the dominate peer pressure is one of disruption, low aspiration, uncool to be smart etc then I do not want my DC surrounded by that.

Arisbottle Thu 21-Feb-13 13:32:39

Narked my DSS and DS are just not the kind of boys to settle for an A. They have friends who are very similar . Only one went to a selective school .

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 13:32:45


I don't mind DC succumbing to peer pressure of doing well academically and in life.

I do mind DC succumbing to peer pressure of having to be lazy to avoid looking uncool, and therefore forego many opportunities in life.

Just like with schools, even with 'peer pressure' some are better than others. Peer pressure doesn't stop in adult life. It's just that you are more prepared for professional jobs if you were a child who succumbed to the first type of peer pressure I quoted.

weegiemum Thu 21-Feb-13 13:33:02

I'Ve said this elsewhere.

My dh is a GP, money isn't much of a problem. But we've chosen state (I was educated in the state system, dh in a NI grammar which required "contributions" so a kind of half way house).

Our overriding reason for choosing state is the excellence of the provision (though ideologically we're not keen on private), as our 3 dc are educated bilingually by the state system. This simply isn't available in the private sector. The academic advantages of a bilingual education are huge, and that's what we've chosen. It's probably impossible to buy the education our dc get from their state school.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:33:18

Yeah, my trouble-making children. That'll be it hmm

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:34:31

dominant not dominate

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:36:50

I don't mind DC succumbing to peer pressure of doing well academically and in life

Shouldn't they want to do well academically because of their own ambitions, desires and talents? Not to compete with a friend? That shouldn't be something which comes from their peers, IMO. I don't want mine to do anything because they think it's 'cool', whether that's singing, dancing, maths or popularity. I want them to do it because they think it's right.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:39:56

Yeah, my trouble-making children. That'll be it

No TOSN, you know your DC and I don't. Just making my own observation. I know very few people that think like you do, and the few that have made the sort of comments you have made usually have very badly behaved children they don't even see it, they think its all part of 'the experience' of growing up.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 13:41:39

ONE QUESTION I HAVE is... how do you deal with teachers at schools where ability is more mixed? From my own personal experience, if the ability in class varies by too much, the teacher focuses on the lower tier.

I still remember once having been told by a teacher that he did not want to give me an 'A' despite my exam grades, etc. because in a class where everyone got C's or below, that would make the other kids look bad. Because if an 'A' was achievable, questions would be asked as to why other kids weren't like me. And this was at what would be considered a grammar - obviously not selective enough! I felt rotten afterwards, but luckily another teacher figured that out, and bumped up my mark in her subject instead.

So given what I've experienced, I have NOTHING against highly selective, fee-paying schools, where I'm sure the above would not happen.

I actually absolutely hate the political correctness that has engulfed us these days...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:42:24

Right oh

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:44:04

Positive forces, wherever they come from can only be a good thing for DC.

Only on MN could positive role modeling and peer pressure be questioned as a Bad Thing. grin.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:44:10

Shouldn't they want to do well academically because of their own ambitions, desires and talents

I wish that were possible. But if you think peer pressure be it negative or positive doesn't exist that's up to you. People go on about positive role models all the time especially in the BME community. I guess they are wasting their time.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:46:01

x posted with Word. Very strange in deed.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:47:02

tas I think mixed ability can work very well where rigorous and flexible setting is in place, and class sizes are very small.

My DD attends a school like this and it is brilliant. But it costs a lot of money to runa school like that.

And it might not, even with excellent resources, be able to cater for the academic outliers.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:47:35

Hang on there - a role model is not the same thing as peer pressure! Role models, fine, good, a great thing.

Pressure on a teenager from his or her peers is less straightforwardly so, IMO, and shouldn't be viewed as a tool by which you get children to succeed.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 13:48:00

TOSN - hmm... wake up call, I think.

Your own ambitions, desires and talents more often than not gets shaped by everyone around you.

I like to think I was a self-motivated kid. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I was influenced here and there by others. Subtle things that I wouldn't have seen back then, but do today. That's all it takes to make a difference.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 13:48:25

Arisbottle that's great for them, but not all DC are self motivating.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 13:49:29

But if you think peer pressure be it negative or positive doesn't exist that's up to you

I said the exact opposite of that. I said peer pressure exists wherever there are peers, if you care to read properly back.

weegiemum Thu 21-Feb-13 13:50:25

Tasmania, I trained as and worked as a secondary teacher (though - thank goodness- I now work in adult ed). I never dropped a grade for someone who had done well, I always, always gave children the Mark they deserved (and I still Mark exams - it's very rigour us). The teacher who did that to you was so way out of line that the line was invisible!

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:50:55

Pressure on a teenager from his or her peers is less straightforwardly so, IMO, and shouldn't be viewed as a tool by which you get children to succeed

Then we have to agree to disagree. And I leave you with my father's fav sayings - 'iron sharpens iron' and 'bad company corrupts good mind'

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 13:54:29

nit positive peer pressure and role modeling work in exactly the same way.

Indeed, a good role model can be a peer. Perhaps one of the best.

This is how culture works, no?

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:54:36

TOSN by exist I meant that you do not think that peer pressure is capable of influencing a child. You said you were optimistic about your DC not being influenced and someone upthread was not optimistic about their DC.

So you must think that peer pressure does not have any influence whatsoever.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:57:09

I hold my daughters in slightly higher esteem than to think or expect that they will go through life doing 'the norm' or the minimum. What a depressingly pessimistic way to think about your children, and in what low regard you must hold your own parenting


socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 13:59:40

I like to think I was a self-motivated kid. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I was influenced here and there by others. Subtle things that I wouldn't have seen back then, but do today. That's all it takes to make a difference

Ditto Tas. A bit baffled that some poeple think that being a good parent is enough and the wider community/peers has no impact on children.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 14:00:27

Teachers constantly rely on positive peer pressure.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 14:01:57

I must admit that I wasn't very influenced by peer pressure - but God it was hard. I was the incessant outlier. Horrible!

When I got to university and my peers were like minded it felt like coming home.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 14:08:57

I do think peer pressure exists. I do think it can influence a child. I do think one of the responsibilities of parenting is to acknowledge, and, where necessary, counter it.

The leap in logic between your two paragraphs in your 13.54 post is quite a large one, socareless.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 14:10:26

I think you need to be an incredibly strong person to not want to belong especially as a child. Its a human trait to not want to be an outsider, the odd ball etc.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 14:11:48

At a conference in the U.S., I was told the 3 Ps of childhood were:

Parents, Peers, Perception

The parents are most influential in the child's early years, but soon, they will be overtaken by the child's peers. Until the child forms his/her own perception of the world around them (and their place in it), their peers will have a huge influence on their life (much more so than parents!). It is understood that the child will only get into the "perception mode" when they are well into their teenage years...

... by which time, when the child had a rough peer group, it may be too late.

HesterBurnitall Thu 21-Feb-13 14:15:17

Do only 14% of school leavers go on to tertiary education? That seems terribly low. Are you sure 50% of university places go to privately educated children, Maisie?

My three are privately educated, there are plenty of lovely families but undoubtably are fair percentage are very snobby and are buying a peer group. They see nothing wron with that and don't try to hide it. I'm sure those posting here don't take that attitude, but I'm surprised by the defensiveness over it.

The majority of families are also affluent, they often work very hard to afford the fees and uniforms, and may not feel affluent after paying, but simply being able to do so makes them statistically affluent. MN is pretty much the only place I've come across the denial that private education is, on the whole, only available to the privileged.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 14:17:08

well I am sorry TOSN if I mis read your post, but when you say things like

What a depressingly pessimistic way to think about your children, and in what low regard you must hold your own parenting it appears you have no understanding of peer pressure and what the poster you directed that comment to is facing.

Succumbing to bad pressure has in some cases little to do with bad parenting.

TotallyBS Thu 21-Feb-13 14:20:32

My DCs do two hours of homework each night. This often consist of researching a subject ahead of the lesson so, instead of listening to him talk, the teacher leads a class discussion during lesson time.

I suspect that many of the Homework is the Work of the Devil Brigade are among those would suggest the A* are handed to kids at our school on golden plates.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 14:21:46


I don't think they deny that private education, on the whole, is only available to the privileged.

It's just that a lot of people who complain that is so, are those who make could afford it, but are not prepared to make the sacrifices. Hence, they often use the argument of them not being wealthy enough, and others are too privileged, but yet, they have a nice big house, holidays and more often than not, a SAHM...

Plenty of privately educated kids have two working parents to be able to afford school fees. Yes, they will be better off than the national average... but they work hard to be able to do what they do.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 14:23:54

Well, I just think that children face peer pressure of all kinds all through life, as I've said, and that even if you had them at a school where there was a lot of pressure to do well, you wouldn't be out of the woods as far as other undesirable pressures were placed on them by their peers - and it would be naive to think so.

And I also think that it's not just a done deal that if not everyone wants to, or can be, a high achiever in a given environment, nobody will or can strive to achieve highly. And possibly if that child is also pleasant and kind or has other positive attributes, who knows - the 'rough' children might even lay off beating them up despite this. And to think this can't happen is a bit depressing and fatalistic.

BlatantLies Thu 21-Feb-13 14:26:50

I agree that no one gets given a whole string of A*'s just by going to a private school or grammer. The DC's will have had to work very hard for them.

There is a general expectation by the parents, teachers and the students that the students will work hard. (usually)

BlatantLies Thu 21-Feb-13 14:27:57

blush. Of course I meant to write grammar

TotallyBS Thu 21-Feb-13 14:29:02

Hester - if you are well off then of course you are privileged. Unless your DC is on a.generous scholarship and or bursary then it goes without saying that only well off people can afford £15k x n kids x years. It's a matter of maths. What is there to deny? So I'm a bit confused about your comment about MN being the only place where people are in denial.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 14:30:11

Yes they may lay off and pick on another person but who knows what effect the beating and name calling has had on the child. If it makes them stronger then good.

But I do not know any parent in their right minds who can intervene by changing schools who will go I have faith in my parenting you will be fine and watch as their child gets beaten up.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 14:34:48

TotallyBS - I think Hester is saying that because she sees a lot of those posts where those who do send their kids to private school tend to have to defend their position on MN... which happens a lot.

It's not denial that one is more privileged than others. It's more the fact that about 90% of the population seems to think we're married to footballers or the like, and have nothing else to do than straightening our hair like the spoilt Kardashians... wink

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 14:43:04

Yes they may lay off and pick on another person but who knows what effect the beating and name calling has had on the child. If it makes them stronger then good

Entirely possible, of course, that no beating up or name calling happened at all... just putting it out there....

But I do not know any parent in their right minds who can intervene by changing schools who will go I have faith in my parenting you will be fine and watch as their child gets beaten up

Again you're making this leap from a possible environment where not everyone is academic into 'beating up'. And of course I wouldn't 'stand by and watch' while that happened, for goodness' sake hmm

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 14:47:53

TOSN is alright I doubt if we will see each others point. grin grin

kudos to your DDs though. It is tough for children these days. Too many negative influences. I think that anyway.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 14:48:37

Anyone who thinks that peer pressure is not relevant is bonkers! For teenage boys who want to belong, whether that be in a school house or a gang it is one of the most important parts of their lives.

I know if I had a choice of good or bad peer pressure which one I would choose.

And do most of you have long meaningful chats over cups of coffee with your middle teenage sons on a regular basis? Maybe they chat about the girl they are interested in asking out or some issues around their homework and what is cool and school and of course the taste of beer they just had last weekend or worse....

Teenage boys are famously cagey about what they are up to, what they are really thinking and just what is going on in their lives. Hopefully (!!) they will grow out of it....

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 14:48:41

TOSN it's... and

each other's point

Peetle Thu 21-Feb-13 14:53:28

Because I went to a private school (premiere league, but not at the top "public school") and wouldn't inflict that on my kids.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 14:53:29

"It's just that a lot of people who complain that is so, are those who make could afford it, but are not prepared to make the sacrifices. Hence, they often use the argument of them not being wealthy enough, and others are too privileged, but yet, they have a nice big house, holidays and more often than not, a SAHM...

Plenty of privately educated kids have two working parents to be able to afford school fees. Yes, they will be better off than the national average... but they work hard to be able to do what they do. "

I definitely agree with this. Last paragraph is definitely us. And if I had been a SAHM - well, we would not have been able to afford the fees.....

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 14:53:53

No, I don't suppose we will - but if you could accept that this beating up business is not so widespread or inevitable as you suggested, that'd be nice!

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 14:58:39

I disagree again, just because my DC haven't been beaten up doesn't mean that it isn't happening or widespread.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 15:01:28

I didn't say getting beaten up never happens - in any kind of school - but I don't know where this 'widespread' thing comes from?

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 15:08:21

People's experience maybe? My DCs haven't been beaten up but they have seen other DC get beaten up and I don't know how to measure widespread. I guess if you don't know anyone who has ever been beaten up or your DC don't come home with such tales then it is far removed from you and it seems like an exageration when someone with your opposite experience starts talking about widespread physical attacks and such.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 15:10:47

TOSN and socareless

You guys make me grin.

DH as an academic child was not beaten up at state school, but his state primary school teachers actually had a meeting with his parents, and asked them to move him to a private school as they felt the state system couldn't support him properly (I think they used the term 'wasted', but am trying to be more PC here), and the local comp was so crap it was even in the newspapers.

However, SIL was bullied at that comp...

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 15:12:20

Got to go now. This has been enlightening.

HesterBurnitall Thu 21-Feb-13 15:16:52

I do think there is a denial of privilege. Maisie, not to pick on you, but you say if you'd been a SAHM you couldn't have paid the fees, yet being able to allocate one income to fees is privileged in and of itself. Lots of families need both incomes just to cover the basics.

I don't feel the need to defend our decision, Tasmania, it's what we went with. Despite choosing as we did, I think seeker, TSON, Russians et al make a lot of sense and highlight many of the aspects of private schooling that give me pause for thought.

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 15:25:04

I am concerned to keep reading that 93% of the population apparently can't afford to send their children to private schools and are 'ordinary' people. Is this based on the fact that 7% of students attend private schools?

Attendance and choice of whether or not to attend are not the same thing...it is fairly clear that many on this thread COULD afford the fees but choose not to spend them in that way. Fair enough...different strokes for different folks.

Chatting with a rather wealthy mum today whose 3 are all in state education. They own two London properties (in expensive postcodes) and have lovely expensive cars and take fabulous holidays. Fantastic (privileged) person with her family in the state system. She surely can't be the only one!
Her children currently attend a state primary with an appalling reputation...does that make her more 'ordinary' than our family who have nowhere near the income but choose to spend what we do have on private education?

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 15:48:26


No, loads of wealthy people opt for state, if there is one in their area that is good enough for them, and it fits their child.

In some other thread, months ago, I did dig out statistics... (it was something to do with Oxbridge still preferring private school kids).

The weird thing is although on average only 7% attend private schools, this increases massively at Sixth Form level - which I assume is the pool universities can choose from.

And when you then look at percentage of A*/A grades obtained by private versus state schools (with better grades achieved by private schools), it turned out that Oxbridge admissions are actually biased a lot more towards state school students.

Didn't stop the leftist people moaning though...

Sometimes, people won't be happy unless you tell them exactly what they want to hear.

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 15:53:53

Dromesday still hasn't reappeared to explain how these A*s get handed out practically, DC are in private and we haven't got them yet! perhaps they missed school on that day hmm

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 16:08:24

I have been thinking further about seeker's comments about people being uncomfortable with the idea that they are privileged...I am pleased I have the privilege to afford private school fees (not as easy for us as many in our children's school, but possible easier than for others there). You clearly need to be in a certain income bracket for the vast majority of private school places (apart from the rare 100% bursary place student!) but it bothers me that some similarly privileged individuals/families who choose to send their children to state schools seem to think they somehow are not and are perhaps more 'ordinary' (and less 'snobby' or 'hurrah Henry' types). There are also many without privilege who bitterly resent those with.

Bottom line...most of the ambivalence about private vs state / state vs private stems from extremely unhelpful and inaccurate stereotypes! Are we really all so ignorant as to buy into these?

It also stems from our own experience. I was educated in both state and independent schools and much preferred the private school which had far higher standards and stretched me beyond anything I had ever experienced before! Other people have hated their indie school experience.

The first thing we did in teacher training was discuss our individual school experiences and in a tutor group of 20-25 people there was very little overlap! What I learnt from this was that everyone seems to assume their own experience is similar to that of others..whether we realise it or not.

Clearly the thing we all share on MN and probably well beyond is a fervent desire for our children to get the best education possible <cue emotional music> and for them to have the best opportunities in life.

Lets have some more [love], [peace] and flowers and put on our rose coloured glasses (or have some rose coloured wine).

Ronaldo Thu 21-Feb-13 16:17:02

Dromesday still hasn't reappeared to explain how these A*s get handed out practically

I think ( if I may?) this littlegem has oft been rolled out as a result of the days when GCSE and A level were between 50 -100% coursework and it was reported in the newspapers that independent schools were getting the teachers to do the coursework for the pupils!

IME that was never the case - although I did come across it in a number of state schools ( and I am sure that some reports from the private sector did have a modicum of truth).

However, without coursework the gap between good private schools and state schools has increased - so what are they now? Exam Mills? Again IME, that accolade goes to tate schools who set target on target and run staff ragged.

What it comes down to is that the ability and motivation ( especially the latter) to do well educationally is found in independents ( and I still think in most cases a degree of good teaching or maybe one should say appropriate teaching there too)

I'll have a wine - thanks !

BTW even if it's not 93% that cannot afford private schooling I bet it's over 80% say.

It's slightly annoying when people don't accept the reality of other's lives.

As I said I'm happy with my DC's schools though - I feel fortunate

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 16:22:40

Dromesday doesnt dare to come back - making a daft statement like that!

Has anyone thought that the examiners might have a bias themselves? Looks at a paper from a private school boy and marks it HARDER because of course they have had it easy? Do examiners even know when they are marking a paper where the pupil goes to school?

Cannot wait for the A* to fall through the letterbox in August without DS having done NO work for exams. It has all been worth it!

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 16:28:05


But you can see it from another perspective, too. I don't understand why here in the UK "middle class" is seen as posh. Or snobby. Or both.

Middle class is just that - the middle.

Below it you have the working class, and beyond that is the upper class. No one seems to 'make fun' of either. But when you're middle class... oh no! The comments you get...

Some of my friends who happen to live in another country have WAY more money than us. In their own terms, they regard themselves as middle class, some even 'upper', but over there, it is not something people smirk about. It's something people ASPIRE to. No need to hide yourself then.

Maybe that is why you think people are in denial?! Here in the UK, it is almost a sin to admit you're middle class, and have more money than the working class population, but yet not as much as those who can just squander their money away as they please.

People who are 'middle class' may be more privileged than the working class. But they are by no means 'privileged', as you would call it in other countries (which would be upper class here).

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 16:28:50

I am comfortable being privilege. I believe DJ and I have worked very hard to get here. However I am very uncomfortable with the envy and almost outright hostility of some posters. As far as I am concerns anyone living on the UK is privileged. Whether you can afford private Ed is a matter of choose your,career wisely, plan well and more importantly choose your partners carefully.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 16:30:05

Hester - the point I am making is that I have made a choice - work full time and I can afford the fees. Not work at all and then I cannot. As I mentioned previously you need to earn about £100k to be comfortable paying fees. I am of course assuming no help with the fees from GP's, bursaries etc.Of course the more children you have the more £100k becomes £150k and so on.

You make your choices and do the maths. The issue I think is that some people choose to have 3+ children, choose not to work, and then wonder why they cannot afford things that others have. Most strange tbh.

Some previous threads dont seem to have a clue how to work it out. As in 'Can I afford school fees' . It depends on your outgoings. Sit down, list them out and then see what is left over. its a bit worrying that some people cannot even work this out. And of course everyone's outgoing's are different. A thread wont tell you whether you can afford it or not!

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 16:32:07

Excuse typos and grammatical erro

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 16:33:29

Enjoy your drink, Juggling!

What is also annoying is when there are different reactions to privileged people, depending on what educational choice they have made...those who choose Independent are 'snobby' but others who choose state somehow are not. Obviously not everyone thinks this way, but there are certainly plenty on this thread who do. (And let's not even go to the snobbery between GS/ high-achieving/low-achieving/ particularly located state schools!!!!)

You have inspired some new potential threads : count my blessings.

Maybe we should also have one 'judge not lest you be judged!'

Ronaldo Thu 21-Feb-13 16:35:36

Has anyone thought that the examiners might have a bias themselves? Looks at a paper from a private school boy and marks it HARDER because of course they have had it easy? Do examiners even know when they are marking a paper where the pupil goes to school?

Thats an interesting comment maisiejoe. One to which I have a personal anacdotealthough it goes back many years. I was bit working ( many the time) in two schools - one state and one private several miles apart. When the results came out I found the pupils in the state school had done far better than thoseatthe independent. I taught both so it was unlikely to be me. I sent for scripts in both and found out that the independent school pupils had indeed been marked harder. I complained to the exam board but got short shrift. Wy the descrepency in marking I cannot be sure - it may have been an examiner well out of standardisation (but that should have been checked) or it could have been someone realised the school was indi and did the deed
(saying they should have been better - or were they marked with a brighter cohort, see below?).

Sometimes too it can cause marks to drop significantly as an examiner gets into a mind set.A colleague of mine ran through many scripts and marked - all around the same , doing the same work ( it was a PRU btw) . Then as he worked through he found the scripts changed ( the answers were correct!). He couldnt believe the chalk and cheese in the school and was tending to mark down in accord with previous scripts. - and then he looked and saw they were different schools and went back and re marked them

So I do think that sometimes markers do mark harder although I cannot prove it.

I personally am not an examiner. I think marking is a thankless job and have better things to concentrate on.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 16:43:38

Socareless - oh how true choose your partner carefully is. There are plenty of threads on MN's swearing and trashing their ex partners, but not before having a few children with them that they are then left to bring up on their own.

And I think it is envy of sorts. Trash private schools, call the pupils attending them 'dim witted' and 'hooray henry's'. State that you will be given an A* as an automatic right. Be critical of their parents who despite the brilliant brilliant state system choose to waste vast sums of money on something that is no different than the schools their kids attend. How stupid are they.... Maybe YOUR state school is great. Good for you but dont automatically assume that everywhere else is too....

And did anyone catch This Morning today. The question was 'Should parents be allowed to buy private education' (or something like that!). Nearly 70% said yes...

FussBudgie Thu 21-Feb-13 16:48:32

Sorry this may no longer be on topic but in answer to the OP. We choose state because there are literally no independent schools that are feasible for us to send our child to. She could when she is older take a train and bus to an indy in the nearest big city but it would add an extra 1.5hrs travel each way, as opposed to 20mins walk. I suppose boarding would be an option but that would be beyond our budget whilst an indy day school wouldn't. Plus whilst I'm agnostic on private ed I loathe the idea of her boarding.

DH could drive her (I can't drive) but could not then get to his own place of work in the other direction in time and she would still need to make her own way home.

The other indy day schools are out in the sticks and are inaccessible unless you have a non-working parent who also drives - and our DD does not.

Fortunately the local state primary is lovely and the local comp seems fine.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 16:49:31

Ronaldo - how interesting. I have always stressed to the boys to present their work neatly, it will make the examiners life SO much easier and if I had 100 papers to mark and saw a neat, well presented one I would perk up, at last, something that I dont need to spend more time on trying to work out whether that is an 8 or a 5...

So, now we have come full circle. We are suggesting that a A* private school pupil now needs to get more marks than a state pupil.... Interesting. And to be honest - with all the comments on here and that fact I suspect that a number of examiners work in the state system quite possibly true!

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 16:54:57

All the private school children bashing aka 'hooray henry's', dimwitted etc are just water off a duck's back to me, I'm happy about the choices we as a family have made, infact the more the bashing the more convinced I am grin

I don't get into the long winded debates because the truth is you will never convince an anti private person here that private is good or better vice versa. Its simply a long tireless journey that yield's no fruit at the end of it.

weegiemum Thu 21-Feb-13 16:55:09

I Mark exams. I Mark all exactly to the marking scheme (which is refined by all markers at the meeting). if I don't, I'd get a poor marking grade and not be reinvited to Mark. I'd never Mark anyone harder because of their school. Why? He integrity of the exams is very important!

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 17:03:26


I don't actually think you need as much as £100k to go private... if you have a girl, that is, and choose day school over boarding.

We are lucky enough to live in an area where there's an abundance of good private schools and most of the day schools for girls (e.g. one gets 20% admission to Oxbridge, loads to Bristol/Durham/St. Andrew's/King's/UCL...) costs around £12k per year.

I know plenty of working mums pay that for nursery fees alone - with a household income of about £80k. Of course, things would be tight here and there, but nursery would have "trained" you for that. Obviously, it is advisable to have more - but considering that these parents may have only been in their careers for 5-10 years, they will probably earn more as time passes by.

However, if you have a son, you are looking at around £15k+.

And boarding, obviously substantially more.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:03:47

Bullet - you do have a point. As if the bashing would immediately make us think - goodness, how well balanced and normal people are in the state system. They can certainly see all sides of a story. Wow - I would like my children to be part of that. Let me cancel my private school place immediately and join them!

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:05:54

Please would you show me some bashing?

We have 2 kids in private school (paid for by us not GP or bursaries) and certainly don't have 100k income.

TotallyBS Thu 21-Feb-13 17:08:46

As socareless said, everyone living in the UK is privileged. Free health and education. Benefits safety net.

So its a bit silly to have a conversation about who is privileged and who is denying it or getting defensive about it.

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 17:09:59

Oh God Seeker! I wish i could wink

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:12:22

Seriously. Where is all this private school bashing you are talking about? Give me three examples.

Couple of examples to start you off

They are often intolerant/judgemental of others and fundamentally live in the private school bubble

To me having good exam results basically handed to the children on a plate takes away much of the sense of achievement. They probably kid themselves that it doesn't though.

Two different posters

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:13:12

Tasmania - and that's really how we got into private education certainly at the beginning the fees were no more than the nursery fees and we went from there. TBH - if we had a good private day school within striking distance of where we live we would probably have used that. There is a very average day school (wont mention it!) and my view was 'if we are going to do this we might as well try and aim for one of the well known schools'.

We didnt plan for boarding and tbh we do have a nice house and a couple of holidays so things have worked out well for us. There is a Plan B and Plan C (much too boring to go into now but revolves around releasing equity) should it be needed it. We are not in the first flush of youth btw...

We are in the very expensive years - I know we are. We still have a largish mortgage but just 7 years to go and just fixed at a good rate for 5 more years so some stability. We havent moved and moved racking up stamp duties and estate agents fees and although this wont be our last house its fine for us!

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:17:13

Seeker - and here is another bashing. Probably the worst of all....

I do dislike the sense of entitlement that some private school kids end up with.
And there is no way that 3 As at A'level from Westminster or whatever is the same achievement as 3 As from Bognor Regis Community College (if it exists). To me having good exam results basically handed to the children on a plate takes away much of the sense of achievement. They probably kid themselves that it doesn't though.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:19:49

Seriously, show me some of this all pervasive private school bashing. Because I will bet dollars to donuts that it will fade into insignificance beside the wave of you can't step into a state school without out getting beaten up, that I would love to send my child to state school, but I want him to have a peer group with high aspirations so I can't, that "he will be eaten alive in the local comp" that "I've seen what happens in state schools-<shudder>" ........I could go on.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:22:26

Well, the handing GCSEs on a plate thing is silly. Doesn't stop everyone saying it about state school pupils every summer though...!

And sadly, some people from private schools- particularly the major public schools- do have a sense of entitlement! Have you listened to the Cabinet recently? Not exactly bashing....

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 17:23:30

Seeker, honestly if you have to ask that question after all the private v state threads you've been on, never mind this one, then there really is no hope. You're completely blinkered. I agree there has been state school bashing also (mostly from the same poster) and one very particularly unpleasant comment calling state school children "scrotes', but how can you even ask that question on this thread ?

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 17:25:59


I do know we are slightly lucky with all these great day schools around (also well-known, not your average indy). So unless we find anywhere else that offers the same thing (unlikely), we are unlikely to move outside the area - in fact, current private school bus routes serves as our house hunting guide (I know that sounds mad!).

Though to be honest, this probably does come at the expense of the state schools where the secondary ones are particularly dire. Most likely because parents will go private, if they can afford it.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:26:19

But Seeker has a child at a GS school so for her things are more than OK even though she doesnt believe in them. They arent for others who dont have that choice. I would bring back the grammars for all.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:31:35

If I knew what I know now. I would have moved to Oxfordshire, lovely part of the country and so many day schools with great reputations.

But, my DH's office is only 5 mins away when he isnt abroad which is a couple of times a month for a day or so so we made our choice. We could move house and get a day school but then DH would have a 60-70 min communte and not be near Heathrow to get his flights. I worked out that moving house would be so expensive that it was the same to pay for boarding as it would to move and of course there's all the extra petrol costs my DH would pay so we stayed where we were. But Oxfordshire definitely on my list to look at when we are nearing retirement

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:32:57

Well, if I had to choose between being called a Hooray Henry or a scrote.....

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 17:33:16

maisie - how strange ive often thought that too, oxfordshire or surrey if i had known.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:34:25

And is being called rich and privileged "bashing"?

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:35:33

You dont have to be called anything at all. Just a Mum looking to do the best for their children. You know I am struggling with your views about GS even though you allowed your child to take the exam and seem happy with the school. As many many have mentioned before, its not the same for everyone.

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 17:36:11

Seeker - i take your light hearted comment, but both comments are highly offensive and hurtful, especially when its referring to one's children, there's really no need to be so offensive about another person's educational choices, its the height of arrogance and applies to both private and state parents.


You are making yourself look a bit silly. Some people stereotype private school pupils, some people stereotype state school pupils - both are wrong.

There has been some silly stereotyping on this thread, equally, sometimes there is silly stereotyping on state school threads.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:39:10

Surrey is very expensive. A close relative lives in Weybridge and £1m houses are very very common there! Oxfordshire less so and nicer I think but less accesible to London which is reflected in house prices

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 17:39:27


You found me... wink

whiteandyelloworchid Thu 21-Feb-13 17:43:47

because you believe all children should get an equal chance in life

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:45:07

Do you know - I thought you were in Oxfordshire just by the way you were talking! At one point we got a bit nervous at the school fees coming and we did look around Oxfordshire. Even got our younger son a Taster Day and offer to Abingdon Prep. Lovely school although this was a few years ago. Head and teachers all called by their first name. Co ed which was attractive to us...

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 17:45:50

Children don't have 'an even chance' from the moment they're born.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 17:46:11


seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:46:45

"Seeker - i take your light hearted comment, but both comments are highly offensive and hurtful, especially when its referring to one's children, there's really no need to be so offensive about another person's educational choices, its the height of arrogance and applies to both private and state parents."

Sorry? Are you saying that saying that there at some hooray Henry's at private school is the same as saying that kids in comprehensive schools are scrotes? Really?

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:49:08

You have to be very careful what you say around here! I made a jokey comment on another thread and found someone put up my comment hence THIS thread. It was my words although I did say I would be flamed if I put up a thread like that! Still apart from a couple of posters. It hasnt gone too badly.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 17:50:18


You knew that from the way I was talking? grin

Abingdon Prep would have been on our list, had we had a DS. DH loves the look of the senior school, but didn't matter in the end as 'it' ended up being a DD.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:50:20

Scrotes and hooray henrys are equally as rude IMHO

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:53:39

Really? Wow. What an odd view of the meanings of words!

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:54:28

I just had a feeling when you said great day schools and well known. Oh blimey is Abingdon Prep boys only! I am sure I saw some girls. Maybe I was dreaming.

Now Abingdon Senior School is fab, still loads of choice around there. We looked at Longworth because my hairdresser at the time told me I thought I would like it and I did. Loved the Oxford way of Park and Rides, proper public transport, great countryside but not so far as to be isolated.

I cannot live too far away from a city being a Londoner... DH loves the Exmoor way of life in the middle of nowhere. Will be interesting when we look to move...

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:55:44

seeker - yet again, just because one doesnt agree with you doesnt make them odd or strange.... Just a view.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 17:59:17

I agree. But in this case- I honestly think that Hooray Henry and scrote are in no way comparable insults!

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:59:21

And where is HappyGardening... I feel a bit on my own.....

happygardening Thu 21-Feb-13 18:01:04

Been at work all day!

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 18:01:25
maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 18:03:18

Oh blimey Narked. Are you starting....

Nice to see you Happy....

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 18:05:45

Its funny - people claim to be socialist and then pay school fees. Funny that! Is anyone forcing them. No, I didnt think so, for them as their children and grandchildren are involved its completely different!

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 18:07:09

Just a few more examples to help seeker in her selective reading.

I'm a bit of an old socialist and am uncomfortable with the idea of buying privilege

Because I am a socialist and believe in equality. I don't think 'buying contacts' is the way I'd like to go. Makes me shudder. I think social climbing on behalf of your kids is icky and calculating.

it would never occur to us to send him private . I think for a range of reasons but mostly because we are both from council estates having hard backgrounds and would just associate private with posh , stuck up people

A lot of the children I encounter from Private school are not very nice

I do believe that people 'buying' their kids an education reeks of social climbing. You want 'naice' friends for them, none of your hoi polloi mixing with your kids

I was sent to private for primary years and was rubbish. My education suffered because of it.

I think people think private and think better. Not always the case. It depends on the school.

The local primary in my area does better than both the local catholic and private school.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 18:07:30

He sent his DC to state schools out of political principle.

'But his son, William, has criticised the move, once describing it as a “cavalier social experiment” that failed to equip him with good qualifications.'

Now that son is sending his DC private.

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 18:11:59

I believe you wonderwoman. You can take a horse to water...

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 18:13:21


I think there are a few girls in lower years (4-7), but after that, it's boys only. So no, you weren't dreaming! We are only looking at going private after infant school from 7+ if things work according to plan (incl. house in catchment area of two fab infant schools).

London isn't actually so far away. I worked there for years, and still have to go there a few times a month. Love the Park and Ride and yes, the great countryside is vital. Oxford is good for restaurants, museums - plus theaters, etc. Haven't found any place like this anywhere. Used to live in Surrey for a bit, and just did not like it. It felt more like "suburbia" and dependent on London.

DH isn't much of a city guy, but this is a nice "in-between". Never thought when living in London, I'd ever move out... but now, I prefer it here, and think London to be a bit of a hassle.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 18:14:05

Socareless - what odd comments that you have collated! Yes, there are plenty on here talking about socialism but when it come to their children....

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 21-Feb-13 18:15:32

Has anyone here said they are a socialist but not when it comes to their children?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 18:15:56

Perhaps William Miller left state school unequipped with good qualifications because he was a bit thick? Just a thought. Going to state school in the 60s 70s and 80s certainly did not automatically mean that one would leave with no good qualifications.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 18:17:43

Oxford is very young and hip, the unversity does help of course. And house prices because of weaker links into London reflects that but if you dont need to go into London everyday its ideal.

Surrey, nice but a bit soleless. But I guess fast trains into London is always appealing.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 18:19:09

Daily Mail link. His siblings also failed to gain any qualifications at other state schools.

I have a really good degree thanks socareless. Terrible English language skills but maths and sciences top of class.

Never judge a book by its cover or is it kindle now.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 18:21:50

' Another aspect that I found a real eye-opener was the inverted snobbery I experienced, not just from the other children, but from the teachers.'

Surely not inverted snobbery from adults shock. That at least must be a thing of the past ...

happygardening Thu 21-Feb-13 18:26:16

maisie Im happy to support you but am a bit tired and not keen on reading my way through 17 pages of what I suspect are the usual comments both pro and anti independent ed made by the usual people.
Can someone do a quick summary?
Anything extra ordinarily outrageous?
I read a few comments about "hooray Henry's and "scrots" being one and the same in terms of level of insult! How are we defining a "hooray Henry" as a brash but dim floppy haired braying youth? Ok not on the surface as offensive as "scrot" but not exactly a complimentary term and I would be offended if someone described my DS as a "hooray Henry". "Scrot" definitely implies something unpleasant.
But primarily it is the stereotyping of anyone that frustrates and offends me.

happygardening Thu 21-Feb-13 18:31:39

TOSN I come form a long line of very outspoke left wing activists/intellectuals. Obviously bought up with socialists/communist principles (although only when it suited them) I have no idea where my political affiliations lie any more although no more likely to vote Tory than take up pot holing (I suffer from claustrophobia) and have very strong socialist leanings but not when it comes to educating my DS!!

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 18:31:46

Dont worry Happy! I can hold the fort!

Someone (cannot remember who!) has stated that private school pupils automatically get A's and A* just because they went to private school. Hasnt come back since.. Not surprising really!

Usual stuff really! Go off and have a nice glass of wine.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 18:38:44


I think it is more complex than you think. Whether a school is good depends a lot on location and the individual schools themselves. My once very socialist MIL went to a state school in the 60s/70s. She even was at a grammar school, but the teachers weren't great, and she ended up leaving after what I presume must have been O-levels. Given that she got in, she must have had innate ability, but the teachers wasted it. Apparently, most of those who went to school with her felt the same. Her parents were loving people, if a little over-indulgent, so statistically speaking, she should have gone further.

FIL went to very competitive grammar school, and then went on to Oxbridge. But he had very ambitious parents who were expecting him to go to Oxbridge in a "no other unis need apply" manner.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 18:40:11

^^ To add to the above... I think William Miller's parents were more like MIL's parents...

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 18:44:19

I'm sure it is more complex. Although im sensing that being a bit thick isn't entirely absent from the equation. But the fact is I know people who went to Pimlico in the 60s 70s 80s and even 90s and none of them left without any qualifications. And even if Pimlico was the worst school in the world (it isn't) what one school was like 50 years ago is not really going to tell us anything about what every other school is like today.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 18:58:10

"Someone (cannot remember who!) has stated that private school pupils automatically get A's and A* just because they went to private school. Hasnt come back since.. Not surprising really! "

An incredibly stupid remark. By one poster. Not supported by anyone else. So not at all typical of the thread.

grovel Thu 21-Feb-13 19:01:58

Going back to the OP, I think there is a question about risk aversion. My sense is that quite a few people (who can afford it) privately educate their children because the thought of a "disaster" - however unlikely - in state education would bring on horrible feelings of guilt. "Could we have done better for our child/ren?". This would be particularly strong in parents who were privately educated themselves. Some people won't worry about that so much (probably in areas with good state provision) and will back themselves to ensure that a "disaster" won't happen.

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 19:04:45

Seeker - Its very sad when we have to get down to floor level to determine not wether 'hooray henry' is offensive or name calling but which one is weightier between 'scrotes' and the later. Very sad indeed, and just sums up the whole attitude towards private education on here.

whiteandyelloworchid Thu 21-Feb-13 19:06:14

narked, just because, we are not born equal, doesn't mean we all should not strive to achieve it

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 19:09:02

Grovel I think you are completely wrong, risk averse people won't commit themselves to maybe 25 years of school fees (depending on the gaps between their kids) out of earned income. They just won't. But very few people are genuinely risk averse (Lthough many think they are).

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 19:13:16

Narked - I wasnt born equal. Single parent after a few years and staunch Labour supporters. Terrible state school education in sec modern (although it was a number of years ago!) and I dont want that for my children. It took me literally years to get where I am now. We live in the GS area so there are options and choice.

We chose the private system for all sorts of reasons and have never regretted it.

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 19:17:20

Grovel - Yes we felt strongly about the 'risk aversion" you speak of, we are however not privately educated at all, its got nothing to do with privately schooled parents in particular.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 19:18:47

Children born to parents who get highly involved in their education will do better than others. You can't make parents do that, so what can you do?

socareless Thu 21-Feb-13 19:22:10

I get what Grovel means by 'risk aversion'. Russian I would rather sink all my hard earned money into my DC's education than have all the money in the world and have DC who feel as Mr Miller does. He lives to tell the tale because of who his father is.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 19:27:23

Of course A s and A*s are earnt but the more interesting question is where are the missing A s and A*s?

Plenty of children are in state primaries and then go on to private secondaries. Plenty of children go on to state secondaries. Why are DC who are on a par with each other academically in Y6 not getting the same kind of results in Y11?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 19:27:54

You can only be risk averse if you are capable of doing a proper risk assessment. People who commit to >18 years fees out of earned income these days are gamblers. Which is the opposite of risk averse. Obviously people who pay fees wholly out of unearned income - inheritance, lottery win, savings, sponging off grandparents, are different. But committing anticipated future income to something really important is a textbook definition of risk taker.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 19:28:48

@narked loads of them are. Many of those who go to state schools end up doing better. Badly phrased question.

grovel Thu 21-Feb-13 19:31:18

bulletpoint, I simply think the point is exaggerated if our parents made sacrifices to pay for our education. "We didn't do what our parents did for us but we could have done" .

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 19:34:05

Lots may be, but lots aren't. And for those DC who are firmly on B s and C s, private can lift them to B s and a couple of A s.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Feb-13 19:34:26


The statistics locally seem to say that DS's who are on a par with each other academically at 11 do better at the state comprehensive than they do in the private schools... in fact, given that the private schools are [slightly] selective whereas the state school in question is in fact a secondary modern with the brightest creamed off by the local super-selective grammar, children who are slightly below the private schoool pupils at 11 do better than them at 16 and 18....

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Feb-13 19:35:46

"My sense is that quite a few people (who can afford it) privately educate their children because the thought of a "disaster" - however unlikely - in state education would bring on horrible feelings of guilt. "Could we have done better for our child/ren?". This would be particularly strong in parents who were privately educated themselves."

That is definitely a view that I have come across in families I know who privately educate their children.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 19:38:15

Where are the stats? I know at the school I attended there were DC who sat the maths paper where you can only get a B and single award science. They all got 9 A* to C and many didn't get any C s.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 19:38:46

I think grandparents wouldnt like to be accused of being 'sponged off'. You can give your money to whom ever you like!

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 19:39:54

Russian - is it ok to have private education if you can afford it without any GP's. lottery wins etc?

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 19:41:25

Grandparents can choose when to leave their money. It makes more sense to give an advance on inheritance sometimes as that may be when the money can make the most difference and it avoids tax.

wordfactory Thu 21-Feb-13 19:53:28

I kinda get where grovel is coming from.

DH and I assumed ourDC would go to state school. DH and i did.

Then we visited a prep school on the advice of the nursery owner and after that felt like it would be churlish not to apply, given we had the money. It felt like it would be wrong not to give our DC that, even if in the long run I'm sure they'd have done just fine in state school.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Feb-13 20:01:05


I don't paricularly wish to 'out' myself by identifying the schools in question - because as is always clear on these threads, comparing all state schools with all private schools is daft and meaningless. The only sensible comparison is at an individual school for an individual child level, so I would have to give you school by school data.

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 20:02:07

Grovel - perhaps it depends on who you mix with. In my culture it is ingrained in you from day one, wether you are privately educated or not, you do the best you can for your children, and investing in their education is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Therefore if there is a great state school nearby then by all means go there, but if not and you can afford a good private school AND you decide NOT to send them there, then the guilt forever be on your head if the outcome is dire.

I'm guessing from what you've said this perhaps happens mainly in the quarters of the privately educated in this country.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 20:03:35


If that's how you define risk, then no one would get a mortgage to buy a house. It is perfectly fine to save several year's school fees upfront (which you can, if DC starts at state school for the first few years), and then, while the DC is at school, save the rest while he/she is attending the school. Also, there are insurances.

Look at the following risks, and the solutions:

(a) unemployment - But if you have saved up the first few years (let's say 3 years?) of school fees, you give yourself quite a lot of time to find another job. Plus, there is a thing you can get which is called income insurance that provides you with a bit of money while you're unemployed.

(b) death of parent - Hopefully, this will never happen, but again, there is life insurance and school fees insurance which pays when a parent passes away.

(c) loss of income due to illness - Again, there are insurances for this...

Yes, as a parent, you have to assume that you will stay in a well-paid job for quite some time. But the thing is if you can't assume that, then you shouldn't get a mortgage either.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 20:05:32

Pus... what do you mean with sponging off grandparents?

They pretty much already lived a pretty good life at the cost of the younger generation!?

NewFerry Thu 21-Feb-13 20:05:52

Do these threads cause anyone to change their views?

I get the feeling that as the thread "develops" posters become further entrenched in their views, rather than even trying to reach any consensus, or identify common areas of agreement.

Yet, I think each of us would offer support and encouragement to a poster in need. Can't we at least try to find some common ground?

bulletpoint Thu 21-Feb-13 20:24:52

Newferry - "The voice of one crying in the wilderness" grin

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Feb-13 20:27:32

'A voice said 'cry!', and another said 'what shall I cry?' '

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 20:40:05

"Seeker - Its very sad when we have to get down to floor level to determine not wether 'hooray henry' is offensive or name calling but which one is weightier between 'scrotes' and the later. Very sad indeed, and just sums up the whole attitude towards private education on here."

Bulletpoint-I'm not sure I understand you. I was challenging the statement that there was a lot of private school bashing. I find that when challenged, it usually transpires that there is very little - and what there is, while reprehensible, is mild compared to the routine anti state school comments. The scrotes remark has stayed with me because it was so particularly horrible, but i did take exception to it being glossed over. But all the other examples I came up with were glossed over too.....so hey ho.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 20:42:08

@maisiejoe Anyone can spend their money on anything they like, obviously. But it isn't risk averse to commit future income before you have earned it. It's gambling.

NewFerry Thu 21-Feb-13 20:42:41

What shall I cry?

How about:-
I want my children to be educated in a supportive and encouraging environment, where they can learn to be the best person they can be, while respecting and supporting others to do likewise
I want my DC to achieve educationally so they have choices as they become adults
I do not want my DC to spend their days being undermined or belittled for who they are, or for the dreams they hold

Anyone care to continue?

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 20:52:01

Have we moved away from private/state to education generally, new ferry, or is your "I want" an argument for for one sector or the other?

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 20:54:54

RussiansOnTheSpree I am assuming you have no mortgage then?

NewFerry Thu 21-Feb-13 21:02:16

Seeker-trying to build bridges and find consensus. I think we are better than some of the entrenched views being expressed here.

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 21:05:53

Hear hear NewFerry!

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 21:21:39

I do wish, when I read (and post on) these threads, that there was more discussion about what those of us who care could actually do to make the good education we ALL want for our children available to all...ie how to support state schools towards that end.

Because, I may be confused here, but it seems to me that an awful lot of energy goes into dissing others rather than creating what everyone actually wants. Bar the few who want (openly or secretly) an elite.

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 21:24:00

Sorry, can't help it - just love the description further down of Surrey as 'sole-less' grin

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 21:25:40

Not that I think it is, necessarily. Soulless, that is. Just like the image of a county like a floppy shoe, with missing underparts, limping around smile

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 21:30:59


Unfortunately, what a lot of private school parents want is what a lot of state school defenders do not want... which is why these threads often end up in two camps.

Narked Thu 21-Feb-13 21:31:55

I'm allergic to Surrey.

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 21:35:17

Tas - very sad. What, for instance, d'you reckon?

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 21:36:13

Or do you mean, they want segregation from other sectors of society? confused

NewFerry Thu 21-Feb-13 21:39:00

So Tasmania, what do you want for your child's education?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 21:58:12

Tasmania I pointed out that committing to pay school fees wholly out of earned income for perhaps as long as 25 years (or more) is not risk averse. This is a matter of fact, based on the definition of the term risk averse. I did not comment on whether I have a mortgage since that fact is irrelevant to the topic on hand.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 22:03:57

But RussianOnTheSpree the mortgage thing is important... as by your definition, everyone who has a mortgage, and weren't cash-buyers are gamblers.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 22:06:09

It's not my definition, love. And it's irrelevant to the fact that grovel misused a technical term.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 22:08:57

Anyway- I am dying to know what Tasmaia thinks private school parents want from education that state school parents don't. If it's something really boring , like school on Saturday, or shorts in winter I will be very disappointed.....

Schmedz Thu 21-Feb-13 22:13:58

Possibly Tas was referring to the fact that many supporting state say they want their children to go to a local school and mix with people from a diverse range of backgrounds who haven't had to pay fees for their education and that those who choose private school don't particularly care if it is local, diverse or costs lots of money?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 22:20:01

Seeker - Gazebos. Or swimming pools? Latin might be a thing. But she'd be wrong about that - I totally wish my kids had the opportunity to learn Latin and I am residually annoyed even now that this will not happen.

The fact that many 'state school supporters' are not 'private school attackers' seems to completely elude some people.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 22:21:57


Not sure about you, but a lot of very leftist state school parents on here seem to hate the thought of selective schools (so also do not like grammar schools, for example) - which a lot of private schools happen to be.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 22:25:59

Ah. It's selection. Bother. I though it was going to be something new and interesting, but it's just "I don't want my child educated with everyone else" again.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 22:28:00


You make it seem like it doesn't make sense. I thought your DC was in a grammar school - or was that someone else?

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 22:32:37

Yep. My children can either mix with yobbos or poshos. Not both. It's crap. Nobody in their right mind would actually choose a system like that.

NewFerry Thu 21-Feb-13 22:32:50

Tas, what is particularly about academic selection that you support?

Is it the academic results? Surely good results are to be expected anyway for an academically able child.

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 22:33:02

I don't want my children segregated from anyone, ideally.

I'm not a radical lefty, either. I just don't think, in a decent school, it is necessary. Or particularly healthy.

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 22:35:37


Because I (and many others!) have personal experience of being bullied simply because we were actually interested in learning while others were not.


And I even went to a grammar school - but it still was not selective enough (probably took in the top 40%)!!!

TotallyBS Thu 21-Feb-13 22:37:12

seeker - you would rather your SM son be educated at the MC GS. You don't want your precious son educated alongside the WC kids so why do you persist in wheeling out your standard post?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Feb-13 22:39:40

Oh seeker, honestly please just give it a rest. Grammar schools are not all full of poshos. And I'm sure that sec mods are not all full of yobbos either. Aso, being a yobbo is not inextricably linked to income or class. There are in fact many posh yobbos. People like you constantly attempting to scare working class people away from even attempting to apply to grammar schools are doing a Very Bad Thing.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 22:40:22

Fascinating that you pop up on the thread to push your bizarre fantasies about my life at this particular point in the thread, BS! Why not get it all out of your system, then the discussion can carry on. I'll just go and get ready for bed- you've got about 15 minutes.

TotallyBS Thu 21-Feb-13 22:41:08

Elibean - a lot of people don't have access to 'decent' alternative. This is something a lot of posters don't get.

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 22:42:59

But.....I remember kids being bullied at my selective girls' private school too. In a decent school, a healthy community, no one should be bullied for wanting to learn, or for accents, or for the way the look, or for anything else. Or rather - more realistically - when they are bullied, there should be effective measures that nip it in the bud.

I may be an idealist, but I still believe in working to make unhealthy communities/individuals/schools healthier - and segregation, unless very temporary and with a clear goal in mind, isn't particularly healthy.

And there are - good - state schools where academically inclined children are not bullied at all. Its nothing to do with state/private, surely confused

NewFerry Thu 21-Feb-13 22:43:07

Tas, I'm sorry you were bullied as a child at school.

Perhaps the issue is less about the academic quality of your peers, and more to do with the poor support and discipline within the school.

But surely you can't believe that any parent would want their child to attend such a school. As you say yourself, this is a case where academic selection failed you, so why continue to support it?

Elibean Thu 21-Feb-13 22:44:08

BS, I know that.

All I said is that its a shame, IMO, that some of the energy being expended in mud-slinging here isn't spent on attempting to remedy that situation.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 22:55:28

Russian- sorry. I should have plugged in the irony font. I just knew BS would turn up at that point and I thought I'd give her something to get her teeth into.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 23:01:07

I too am sorry you were bullied at school, Tasmania. But if you show me a head teacher of a school in any sector who says there is no bullying in his school, I'll show you a liar. I'm sure I've said before that the worst case in my immediate circle was in a prestigious London prep school. The second worst was in an ordinary comprehensive. However I know of bullying in Scout troops, HE groups-everywhere.

LaVolcan Thu 21-Feb-13 23:09:32

Interesting debate and since my children have long since left school it's academic for me. It would have been a big stretch to educate both privately but I have asked myself whether a private school education would have been worth the £30K per annum required and for me, it wouldn't. One of the local independents was good for sport, and one was very good for music. Since neither of my children had particular interests in either of these areas I don't think they missed out. In addition all the independent schools were single sex, which I didn't want either.

There are things about both their comprehensives that I would have liked to improve, but which school doesn't have things which could be better?

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 23:22:06


It wasn't academic selection that failed me. It was the "not enough of it". I was at school at a a time when they were really trying to push those into the school who really may not have had the ability to go to uni - political correctness and all that was hailed high by those people who grew up in the 60s (i.e. the teachers). Most of the people in my year (I am talking about 50% of the year) dropped out before we got to the final three years of school, and then it was a whole damn lot better.

If you trace a lot of those bullying drop-outs now, you just know they should not have been at that school in the first place. Some of them really screwed up their lives, but they were given an opportunity, and threw it away... so there's a limit as to how sorry I could feel for them. Yes - that definitely convinced me that good academic selection + interviews is the way to go.

The Head has since changed at that school, they tightened up their selection criteria, switched a lot of the teachers, ... changed the whole way they teach even (!), and it went from a school that became undersubscribed when I left to an oversubscribed one with high-achieving pupils that even scare me (Year 7 kids winning prizes in Philosophy, when it's not even taught). The Head is largely responsible for turning it around, but it couldn't have been easy.

However, if they weren't selective, that turnaround would probably have never come.

seeker Thu 21-Feb-13 23:34:02

"The Head has since changed at that school, they tightened up their selection criteria"

Really? The head did this? At state school?

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 23:40:56


Yes - it's not in the UK. Over there, schools enjoy a lot more autonomy. From what I remember, they even write their own final exams (people don't sit the same, but the questions and the answers are reviewed by an independent 'ombudsman').

Tasmania Thu 21-Feb-13 23:42:55

^^ I meant: people from different schools don't sit the same exam although they study the same subjects, but the questions and the answers are reviewed by an independent 'ombudsman' (they reviewed the questions prior to the exam being sat).

germyrabbit Thu 21-Feb-13 23:46:45

its a crackers system fundamentally flawed.

that's why we have such idiots running the country and the rest of the world being equally as fucked off as teh working classes

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 00:02:04


What do you mean with "the rest of the world being equally as ..."

The "working classes" have it pretty good in the UK. It's the squeezed middle that doesn't...

happygardening Fri 22-Feb-13 00:08:22

I know what I want from education and I have been unable to find it in the state sector. I'd be the first to admit that a lot of what I want can only be provided in a boarding school environment because of time constraints but not everything.
But what I'm not interested in is "segregation from other sectors of society" I'm perfectly aware of the fact that by sending my DS to an independent school he is segregated from other sections of society but nothing is perfect and this is not that I'm paying for. I also don't think there's necessarily less bullying in independent ed or even better or for that matter worse teachers although although I suspect they may be free from some pointless bureaucracy which can only be a good thing. Neither do I think every child in independent ed is a perfectly behaved swot hanging on their teachers every word. Finally of course I wish all children had access to the same opportunities my DS has but the sad reality is that they don't.
Since my DC's were toddlers I had an idea (although at times hazy) of what I believe education should offer (probably different from many on here but still no less right or wrong) we have tried all types of schools in an effort to find it ranging from pushy London preps, Steiner schools, quaint village schools with less than 50 pupils and children playing in orchards, crammers for the grammars, boarding preps and highly regarded state schools I have also looked at a huge variety of others in both sectors and have friends with children in a another tranch of schools. I have listen very objectively to their experiences and views of these schools. Many be they state or independent are frankly I think disappointing to say the least. Many in both sectors I wouldn't send the dog too. Someone once told me I expect too much maybe I do.
I have found a school that provides my DS with what I believe he wants and needs (I accept its not perfect but no where is) I have the money to pay for it and therefore it would be IMO insanity not to do it.

germyrabbit Fri 22-Feb-13 00:11:40

yes lol the squeezed middle lol

all education should be equal, all children should be equally educated

it makes sense for all

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 00:17:02

I am not convinced the "working classes" do have that great a deal in the uk- if anything, they have been failed over and over. And I say that as someone with a child in private school.

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 00:17:35


Do you then also want to forbid all parents to teach their children at home and read them books??? Because, you know, that may help the kid do better?

Or better still... take all the newborns away from their mom, and re-allocate them randomly, so that no one really brings up their own, and the biological parents' background no longer matters?

But then again, there is the problem of natural / genetic ability...

Darn it, it's so difficult to make everyone equal, isn't it!?!

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 00:18:42


Compare the "working classes" here in the UK with others all over the world. Not sure you're right there. We live in a welfare state... they have it good!

germyrabbit Fri 22-Feb-13 00:21:58

do be daft hmm

all children should be equally educated

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 00:24:21

Tasmania- I work with the long term unemployed, believe me they don't have a good deal for a western country. 25% of young people in the uk have only a very basic grasp of literacy and numeracy, there are major health issues such as obesity and mental health problems, all long term benefit claimants are in fuel poverty and there is a huge housing crisis, even before the new welfare reforms. Get real, to compare those on benefits to the middle classes is ridiculous. You have no idea.

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 00:41:22

Scarlett - I would then wonder why in a country that essentially offers FREE state education and a FREE health service, people don't have a basic grasp of literacy and numeracy or have major health issues?

Housing crisis - get it. But then even DH and I with our professional careers are suffering from it.

Seriously, a lot of people in developing countries would like to have what people get here. I think someone else - other than me - deserves a wake-up call.

In contrast, middle classes in other countries have it a whole damn lot better than in the UK...

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 00:47:31

Well clearly it is the child's fault that after going to school for fourteen years they leave unable to write and what silly parents they have for only buying cheap processed foods!

You seem to have a limited grasp of the poverty cycle and I am too tired to explain it, but I can confidently say that those with the least in society have been failed by the government on many levels for a very long time. The education system has a lot to answer for.

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 00:52:56

... I mean that's what makes me annoyed about some people. You get a FREE and COMPULSORY state education that lasts for like a minimum of 12 years (?!?), and yet, somehow... you manage to not even get a basic grasp of literacy and numeracy?


What did people do in those 12 years? And how can some people in developing countries without that kind of benefit do better than them?!

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 01:00:07

Ok, firstly it is not the child's fault.

Taking Edinburgh, where I live, as an example and where 25% of young people are not in employment, training or education, I believe that the most deprived are being failed by both poor parenting for countless reasons but essentially the parents have been poorly parented themselves, and also by poor schools in the deprived areas. In Edinburgh, the comprehensive system isn't really that comprehensive as it is done on catchment. The poorest children are generally in under performing schools in their own areas being pretty much left to under achieve. I was in one such school a few weeks ago and to say I was appalled is an understatement and the teachers have to take some responsibility for that.

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 01:02:35

Scarlett - what do you expect the government to do though (and everyone else has to pay for it, by the way)?

It is not exactly the child's fault that they leave school without being able to write - but how do some developing countries do it then? Because I can tell you, they have had worse backgrounds, and yet manage to learn something their UK counterparts couldn't... that's odd.

And the cheap processed food - at least they actually get food, unlike in some other parts of the world.

This is a developed world problem for sure... you have to admit it yourself.

You can't remove all responsibility from citizens. The government can't do everything for them. At some point they have to do things by themselves. They are provided with free schooling and healthcare. So what's next? Personal tutors? Nutritionists?

If the country continues like this, we'll end up with people who will constantly blame the system, etc. ...never once will look at themselves. Not sure whether that's a place where I want to live in.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 01:06:25

Tasmania- are you American?

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 01:23:25

No, I'm not. But start to think I should be!

I mean... seriously? What exactly do you want a government to do?

As a matter of fact, I have relatives in the third world, who do not have many of the advantages these people have. And yet, the kids there leave school being able to write very well (their English is better than some people here, may I add) and do maths perfectly well, with some getting scholarships to private schools even. My mom was one of them - getting a scholarship year after year all the way through uni. My grandfather told her that if she lost the scholarship, she'd basically not go to school at all and would have to work in a market or something (I think at the time compulsory schooling stopped at 12). That fear alone made her want to study hard.

So you must understand that with part of my family coming from that sort of background, I do not necessarily understand the people you are telling me about because they get given so much more, and yet... they leave school with so much less.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 01:46:54

They leave with nothing because they live in a culture of low aspirations, of having parents who place no value on education because they themselves were failed and don't know anything except a lifetime of state support. They feel hopeless because they can't get well paid jobs and if they take a menial job they may no longer be entitled to housing benefit and therefore would be unable to pay their rent so can't actually afford to work. They can't go to college to improve their education as they would lose their benefits so again are trapped, and they don't have the basic literacy to successfully complete a course that would lead to university. Their children go to school to be taught by teachers who often already have written them off to a life of hairdressing if your a girl or labouring for minimum wage if your a boy. The brighter ones may get to do admin. Many see pregnancy as a good option, not just for financial gain, but also because they want to create the family they never themselves had but end up unable to cope and the cycle continues. Drug and alcohol problems are rife. It sounds bleak but that is the reality and I don't know what the solution is.

Tasmania Fri 22-Feb-13 02:15:29

Scarlett - I'm sorry to say... but not everyone can get well-paid jobs, and some people will have to do 'menial' jobs. There will never ever be a society where everyone has well-paid jobs... especially not in the future when there will be a lot more competition.

If they are worried that taking 'menial jobs' equals no housing benefit, then maybe things have to change. Landlords can only afford to keep rental prices high when there are people able to pay for them. If the state didn't pay housing benefit, then landlords would have to adjust rental rates to whatever people can afford.

Do these people have a TV at home? Or internet even? If so, they have more than many others in other countries, and there are free courses you can do online to teach you basic maths or whatever.

And what's the problem with hairdressing? What do you want people to do? Not everyone can be a lawyer / doctor / dentist after all... someone HAS to do what you call 'menial' jobs - I think those jobs could be good, if you make the most of them. And if you are very good in hairdressing, you can earn a lot more money than a teacher would... and in fact, some 'menial' jobs pay more than you might think. This is an old article, but might be worthwhile to read... about a lecturer who became a plumber.

socareless Fri 22-Feb-13 04:32:22

Tell them Tas I am always baffled by the excuses people make in this country. Its really shocking. If a doctor I know can arrive here from a third world country and work as a bin man until he passed his plab exams then I have no sympathy for anyone who refuses to do any job just because they might lose benefits. Absolutely unheard of where I come from and I think the tide is changing in this country. The welfare state in its current state is simply unsustainable.

Timetoask Fri 22-Feb-13 06:42:52

Completely agree with Tasmania.
The lack of aspiration and effort from some low income groups (not all ofcourse), is being ingrained even more by the benefit culture. It is wonderful to have a social system that will look after you when your circumstances change, but it is so generous that it has allowed some people to stop trying harder to get out of it.

It is getting even worse now with our ever increasing expectation that we are entitled to what we want NOW without having to work for it, fail a few time, deserve it.

I am determined to avoid this type of thinking in my own children. I don't give them want they ask for every time. They have to earn it (and recognise when a treat is a treat) this has to start from an early age. They need to learn that if they want something they have to work at it, to that effect, I hope to always have access to a school the follows the same work ethic.

TotallyBS Fri 22-Feb-13 07:45:01

Elibean - a statement of the obvious but we don't live in an ideal world and we never will. So any statement that starts with "in an ideal world" should be confined to a discussion with like minded student friends at 1am after you have returned from the student bar.

And ideal for whom? There are a number of secondary state teachers on MN who think that homework is the work of the Devil and who roll their eyes at parents who aspire for their kids to go to a top class uni and get a well paid job at the end. Having your DC taught by such a teacher or having your DC go to a school where this is the ethos may be an example of some people's ideal but it's not mine.

As for everybody being educated together being ideal? Why? How many of us grew up in a poor area and upgraded when we got a well paid job? How many of us chose the nice holiday resort with sea views, room service, large pool and kids club? I don't hear anyone argue that it's bad that other people have to stay at the cheap camp site outside of town.

But education is different, I hear you say. Why? You live in an area that reflects your socio economic situation. Your holiday destination/accomodation reflects your income level. Why stop at education?

It's like seeker. She has 'ideals' but that doesn't stop her sending her DC to a grammar school. And it's not as if her Sec Mod alternative is a bad school. The only difference between her an the GS parents that she despises is that she has been 'forced' to send her DD to the GS. Seeker is an extreme example but to me an 'idealist' is someone who only talk the talk.

Very few people live according to their ideals and people who want a nicer house or go on nicer holidays should stop lecturing parents for wanting nicer schools. Yes I know that some private schools are not 'nice' but if a parent wants to spend £15k pa per kid on a school that is worse than a comp then that parent should be pitied rather than flamed.

As for parents staying on to fight for a better school rather than jump ship by going to a GS or a private, let seeker put her DD into a sec mod and I'll put mine back into the state system. I can't get fairer then that.

That aside, if you had bright DC at a failing school (yes I know state schools aren't all failing) and you had the means, would you stay to make it better or would you move to another state school in a better catchment?

If the answer is you would stay then I applaud your convictions. If the answer is you would move then you and I aren't that different

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 07:52:46

If only life was that simple! You are absolutely right, some people simply do not want to work. However some really can't because their lives are just too chaotic and they do not have the coping mechanisms to be able to sustain long term employment.

My point about hair dressing was that the schools often don't even bother to try and give young girls other options.

Plumbing is also absolutely not a menial job. It is a skilled trade which requires apprentices to pass numerous exams, that those in the group we are discussing are unable to pass.

LaVolcan Fri 22-Feb-13 07:58:04

Has the Daily Mail hacked into this thread? Substitute the words 'blacks' for working class, in some of the above posts, and they sound like the arguments which used to be trotted out in white South Africa.

I remember, a good many years ago now, the then politician Matthew Parris declared that it was possible to live well on benefits, and fair do's to him, he tried it. He did manage it for a week, but he found it difficult. As I recall, he had to be extremely frugal with heat for one, and there was absolutely no margin if anything went wrong. He gave up politics shortly after.

I'd agree with scarlett - if you are struggling to find the money for rent, you are not going to find the odd 12K to avoid the sort of school where some of the teachers will openly say that 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.' What's the solution? I don't know either.

Just found a link about Matthew Parris en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Parris

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 22-Feb-13 08:00:49

Timetoask- I suggest you stop reading the daily mail! There are some people who appear to have a very comfortable life on benefits, the reality for the majority is very different. The boys on my programme who grow up in workless households often have no money for the bus to get to work, no money for even a basic sandwich at lunch time and no food at home to make one, and literally have perhaps one track suit and cheap shoes to wear to interview. Once they leave school at sixteen their mothers, as daddy is rarely around, are not entitled to child benefit but the young person is not entitled to sign on either so they have £70 a week coming in to support mum and teenage son, including food, transport, heating, electric etc. Do you really think the majority would choose that if they had a better option??

TotallyBS Fri 22-Feb-13 08:26:18

LaVolcan - there was a recent thread about how much one needs to earn in order to be able to afford private education.

Based on my actual expenses I calculated £40k pa to put one kid through prep. That figure was met with derision by many. There was no way anybody (ie them) can live comfortably off the £27k gross that was left after fees were deducted.

I am not going to turn this into a thread about a thread. I just wanted to make the point that just because some politician can't live comfortably on benefits proves nothing.

wordfactory Fri 22-Feb-13 08:27:52

scarlette I volunteered in a primary school for several years that chimes with what you say.

A white working class/under class mono culture. Low expectation. Low achievement.

Not one child from that primary school had ever applied to the nearest grammar (out of catchment but they take some from out). In my years there, nt one child went to the nearest outstanding comp. They simply went on mass to the similarly poor secondary.

The parents had very little interest in their DC's education and the teachers had been ground down by everyhting from the parents, to the DC's behaviour, to endless governent dictats on How To Do Better.

I really really don't know what one does about it.

However, what I do know, is that no one on this thread, even the most vociferous anti private schoolers, would want their DC to attend the school.

TotallyBS Fri 22-Feb-13 08:43:23

Scarlett - My hairdresser's DD is early 20s. She has three children by two different guys and she has never had job. The way she sees it (according to her mom) why work in a supermarket like her friends for shit pay when the council will pay for her to have babies.