Private school at primary or secondary - which is the better option?

(370 Posts)
Reastie Mon 01-Jul-13 12:37:25

I live where there's the 11+ in an affluent area where essentially secondary modern/comprehensive schools are mainly people who fail their 11+ and their parents can't afford private education and are generally rough and not very high expectations/behaviour (I work in education in the area at all types of secondary schools so know this).

DD is only tiny but I'm looking at preschools for her and thinking about primary schools (ideally she'd go to the same preschool as primary).

DH and I have accepted that if she fails her 11+ we will pay for her to go to private school. We will be in a better financial position then to pay for it as we will have paid off the mortgage on a second property and have a monthly rental income (we sound better off than we are in that sentence!).

However, talking to people today and looking around various primary/pre schools I'm now wondering whether we aren't better off paying for private school for her primary on the basis they will give her more individualised care and stretch her better so that she will be more likely to pass the 11+ and so go on to grammar school at secondary (and so we spend money now to save money later IYKWIM). There's always the possibility DD still won't pass it but at least we will have done all we can for her to get there and so I'll feel happy that I've done what I can.

I'm not a pushy parent (although realise I probably sound like I am!) I just want the best for DD and want her to flourish as much as possible.

So, are there any thoughts on paying for private primary on the foundations hopefully it will help get DD through the 11+ and give her more of an individualised education? Is this common? It is worthwhile?

nostress Mon 01-Jul-13 13:03:41

Why not send her to a state primary/infant school, then move over in year 3 for junior education(key stage 2)? (save you £7k a year!). I know plenty if people who did that and now the kids go to grammars. Some secondary indi schools are very difficult to get into - similar to grammar. Going to a indi primary lets them know you can afford it and also there may be limks between the indi primary & secondary.

Abra1d Mon 01-Jul-13 13:06:01

Secondary. We found our local primary excellent until about eight or nine, and acceptable until the end of year five, where lack of resources became more obvious (languages, sport, music, etc). It was in a small village, though.

mrsravelstein Mon 01-Jul-13 13:07:28

we used to live in an area with grammar schools, and parents put their kids into private school to prepare them for 11+, however the huge majority of parents at ds1's school (i would say 80%) ALSO had their dc tutored extensively in order to ensure they passed it. we looked at moving to bucks around the end of ds1's primary school time, and found exactly the same situation - massive amounts of tutoring at private and state primaries. so you may be as well to send to a state primary and spend the money on tutoring rather than private primary.

mirry2 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:09:47

Private primary schools are a mixed bag so don't fall into the trap of thinking they will always be better. I would always go for a school that has an excellent record of getting their children into top secondaries or top private schools - so look at the league tables first.

night1971 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:15:27

Independent prep school will give your DD the best start.

Have excellent longterm experience of both.

Small class sizes, specialist subject teaching, high academic standards, better varied sports and extra curricular opportunities. Gives a child the best start no questions.

At 11 you will have choices then, grammar, independent or state. Don't need to bother with tutoring at a good prep and you don't have to move your child mid-primary career.

Of course there are excellent state primaries, but they have to make compromises that many independent schools can avoid.

Reastie Mon 01-Jul-13 13:58:55

Thanks, the private prep we are looking at has a pretty much 100% 11+ pass rate and excellent reports and a lovely family feel to it (also is nie a small).

State primaries closest to me - one is terrible and going through many problems at the minute, the other one I'd be fine with DD going to in an OK but not exceptional way IKYWIM. We are likely to ask for this school but unlikely to get a place as it's popular.

HabbaDabbaDoo Mon 01-Jul-13 17:09:15

My friend went the prep/GS route. His logic was that their prep had a near perfect pass rate for the outstanding local GS.

With 3 kids, the £3k pa. difference in fees between prep and secondary is quite a saving over x years

lottieandmia Mon 01-Jul-13 17:11:55

The formative years are very important so I would say independent primary schools certainly give children a head start.

lottieandmia Mon 01-Jul-13 17:12:12

because of the small class sizes that is.

Elibean Mon 01-Jul-13 17:39:48

I would look around my local primary schools, OP, and think about where your dd will flourish the most. Where are the children happy and excited about their work? Where are they running up to adults to talk to them confidently?

We did this, and out of two independent and two state primaries chose one of the state primaries. No regrets at all.

Reastie Mon 01-Jul-13 18:31:23

Thanks all, very interesting reading and always good to mull things over and get different thoughts and perspectives.

Wuldric Mon 01-Jul-13 18:34:27

Give me a child until he is seven ...

A decent prep school makes a world of difference. There are children who get into the DCs school from state schools at years 5 and 6, but they have to go into remedial (assisted learning) for a year or so to catch up. Children are like sponges in the early years, and state schools simply do not cater for the brighter ones IMHO

Pyrrah Mon 01-Jul-13 18:35:15

Is your GS area somewhere like Kent where it's a normal 11+ or is it a super-selective GS area?

If it's the former, then go for the prep and hope for the GS for secondary.

If it's the latter, I would do state till 7, then move to prep and go for the grammar and indies.

Reastie Mon 01-Jul-13 18:44:27

yes pyrrah I am indeed in Kent

wordfactory Mon 01-Jul-13 19:35:55

A good prep school is money very well spent. But they are variable so check what you're getting for your dosh.
Looking back, these are the things I valued highly:

Lots of green space and more importantly, time spent in it.

Small classes with FT TA.

Eraly introduction of decent MFL from a native speaker (or bi-lingual). Not one bloody lesson a week!

Specialist teaching introduced at year 3/4.

Daily sport. Lots of teams from year 3. Lots of fixtures.

Active parents association/class reps etc. Made a community out of DC that were further spread than would be the case at the local primary.

It depends where in Kent. West kent is very competitive with super selectives as well as 'normal' grammars.
Lots of people spend their money on prep schools.

Reastie Mon 01-Jul-13 19:44:06

tough yes I'm there! (hoping not to give myself away here!). I went to a super selective grammar myself but have worked in a 'normal' grammar.

word the school I'm looking at has as far as I know/can remember from the tour pretty much all of those points.

happygardening Mon 01-Jul-13 22:42:28

OP a prep might have a "100% pass rate" at the 11+ but they do this by selecting who sits it in the first place those who are border line or no hopers will not get a look in.
Many years ago my DS1 went to what is known in counties like Kent as a "crammer for the grammar" with a 100% pass rate, by yr 3/4 it it was becoming pretty apparent who stood a good chance of passing the "Kent test" and who didn't, those with out a chance would often jump ship around this time and be moved to another popular Kent school: a prep/senior independent school for "nice children who aren't going too or can't pass the Kent test"

gardener321 Mon 01-Jul-13 22:59:35

A good private Prep school is definitely the best option in my opinion. You can be a great teacher but if you have a big class you just can't give small children the attention they need to flourish so children in small private school classes are generally more confident across the board. Also it's crazy to expect an individual class teacher to be knowledgable and passionate about every subject so a private school which offers specialist teaching from a young age is more able to stretch the bright, support the less able and genuinely inspire their pupils. I have seen how a good Prep school can instill a deep confidence and a positive approach to learning that will last and can be transferred to other learning environments later in life.

Reastie Tue 02-Jul-13 06:49:16

hmm happy interesting. Didn't know that happened.

happygardening Tue 02-Jul-13 09:02:30

OP thinking about it by the end of yr 4 50% of my DS's classmates had left the "crammer for the grammar" prep and moved to a "nice children who cant pass the Kent test" school instead. These are preps usually attached to senior school with virtually automatic guaranteed entry into the senior school. Most moved because they said that realised the DC was not going to pass the Kent test and wanted a "less pressurised" "more nurturing" environment. Those that remained were of course the strong candidates for it or were unlikely to pass it thus wouldn't be entered and also were not able to afford fees at senior level where fees increase considerably and were hoping for a scholarship, music, art, academic or all rounder and attached reduction in fees, into the senior schools that takes nice children who cant pass the kent test. You might want to think about that too.
Many also joined at the end of yr 4 from the state sector (this was when the Kent test was sat in January) these were usually strong candidates for the Kent test whose parents thought this was better than private tuition outside of school for yrs 5 considered by all to be the essential yr and the first term of yr 6.
"Active parents association/class reps etc."
I personally cant stand those things I would rather go potholing and I am terrified of confined spaces but in most crammers these are very active. Many parents were quite open about their enthusiasm; they were currying favour with the head hoping that when the time came the head would feel uncomfortable not letting their child sit the Kent test or put in an extra good word at a senior independent thus increasing their chances of getting a scholarship.
I was also flabbergasted by the number of parents who felt that more homework should be given, who didn't want too much of the curriculum taken up with games etc and also regular complaints to the head when slower children were taking up more teacher time than their more able classmates! Many also had elocution lessons oh and the final nail in the coffin for me ours after a couple of terms changed to a hideous pretentious uniform to satisfy the desire of many parents who wanted others to instantly recognise that they were paying for education when they took their DC's to Sainsburys after school. I accept that many crammers wouldn't be this bad although I have lived in different parts of Kent and I am not the only one who would tell you this but you do need to be aware. Im sure many parents were happy the school was either preparing their DC very well for the Kent test or working really hard to find a suitable school where a scholarship could be won.

Reastie Tue 02-Jul-13 21:09:20

Wow happy very interesting

vintagesewingmachine Tue 02-Jul-13 21:34:21

Our DC's (DD7, DS5) are off to Pre-prep in September as they need more than the village primary has to offer and are becoming fed up with the constant colouring-in and word searches they are offered when the class work set is finished and they are waiting for some of the others to catch up. The teachers and TA's need to spend their time with the less able children, and rightly so but because it all unstreamed, everyone must progress at the pace of the slowest so, accepting the inevitable and thankful that we are in a position to afford it, we are girding our financial loins and hoping that we might not have to pay for independent secondary...ouch!!

Chandon Wed 03-Jul-13 13:28:28

I would say, go private in yr 3 or 4 and keep them until they do Gcse, then state again for a level.

It is what lots of people do here.

poppydoppy Wed 03-Jul-13 13:58:35

Speaking as a private school parent I would keep them in state school, save the money and spend it on tutors then move them at 16 for A levels.

Private schools tell parents what to teach IMO and yes they go to a top prep school.

Reastie Wed 03-Jul-13 14:06:21


Those recommending moving half way through primary - do you think this is disruptive for the child to move school and friends? I would have hated it as a child personally. Also risk not being a place at the school you'd like.

poppy we were thinking of state and then tutors, but then if you're in a class of 12 vs a class of over 30 you're going to achieve so much more at a private school surely?

happygardening Wed 03-Jul-13 14:22:53

Lots move around for a whole variety of reasons, many going to prep that go to 13+ move at yr3/4 if you don't make a big thing out of it neither will your DD.
IME most preps and in fact most senior schools will find a vacancy even the over subscribed London ones. You might have to wait a term but if you put your DD's name down a few terms before you wish her to start Im sure a vacancy will come up in time.

splitbrain Wed 03-Jul-13 14:33:28

If your child is grammar material, she will do fine in a class of 30 and a bit of tutoring for secondary entrance. If she is not grammar material, then you don't want her to go to a grammar school. It's that simple.

A state primary gives a child a realistic view of the society he/she lives in during crucial early years which IMO is as important as exam results. I would keep your money for secondary. That's when extracurriculars become really important.

Reastie Wed 03-Jul-13 14:57:01

Depends on the state primary school though doesn't it split . Our local one the expectation is that you won't pass the 11+ and is going through alot of internal problems. Don't tell me DD going there is just as likely to instil good working ethic with high expectations, confidence and time with teacher/individualised care. I know that in many cases state schools can be great but that's not always the case.

Elibean Wed 03-Jul-13 14:57:12

There are so many generalisations on this tread - always are, on state v private threads - and as usual, I think they are pretty worthless in terms of helping anyone decide what to do.

Individual schools vary hugely, in both sectors. Go and see, OP, and let us know what you discover smile

Chandon Wed 03-Jul-13 16:51:31

Splitbrain, are your children " grammar school material"?

Just wondering as your statement to me is something only parents of kids who got into grammar come out with.

I know kids who were written off by their state schools, then moved pricate or got tutors and were after all able to get into selective secondaries. ( some MNers would say they were tutored beyond their ability)

Some people think intelligence and being academic is set in stone at birth. Me, I believe in education. Good education and make someone of average intelligence do well.

HarumScarum Wed 03-Jul-13 17:07:31

Actually, I think small class sizes are overrated (am the product of a state primary and independent secondary). I think the ideal class size is somewhere between 20 and 25. Smaller is rubbish for friendships and sparking ideas and larger is difficult for the teacher unless they have good support.

I would also save my money and go private at secondary level (or possibly not at all).

splitbrain Wed 03-Jul-13 18:16:18

Yes, I apologise for my post...I am just reacting to the generalised notion that a child has to be in a class of 12 to realise their potential, gain confidence, learn work ethics and develop love of learning. I really think that´s bollocks.

Agree with HarumScarum.

OTOH we were lucky to find a fantastic primary school and I do admit that not all of them are. Apologies again!

Chandon Wed 03-Jul-13 21:28:03

No need to aplogise, you did not say anything bad, I was just wondering.

I moved my oldest DS out of his state school y3 class of 36 (!) to a private school with classes of 20.

If there are state schools with classes of 20-24 kids I'd like to know where! That number is ideal imo, but can't find that in State here

Chandon Wed 03-Jul-13 21:29:38

What I am saying Harum is that a class of 20 IS small,

HarumScarum Wed 03-Jul-13 21:53:48

My daughter goes to a state school in outer London, rated good by Ofsted, is in Y1 and has 23 in her class (recently 24 but one child has moved away).

teacherwith2kids Wed 03-Jul-13 22:07:55

I recently moved from a state school (Good Ofsted) where the largest class was 26 and the smallest 16.

Rural, though. And a somewhat 'exciting' intake, though an increasing number of 'in the know' more mc parents were taking their children out of the 'naice school down the road' (which didn't teach them very much - all transferring children, even those who were said to be 'very bright', were well behind their equivalent classes in my school) to come to ours.

Chandon Wed 03-Jul-13 22:37:29

Is it just country schools that get squeezed then? They mix the years to max the numbers ( including a'ixed year 1,2 and 3). All casses between 30-36

poppydoppy Thu 04-Jul-13 07:05:05

Every single prep school parent I know has a tutor, even in a class of just 12 students. I dont see the point in paying for private and tutors if its a struggle save your money for when their education is important ie 6th form.

bico Thu 04-Jul-13 07:28:28

If you are thinking of private primary rather than prep you need to check whether they actually do prepare for 11+. We are in a grammar school area and some don't prepare for 11+ so you end up paying for tutoring as well as school fees. If you are planning on independent senior school you could choose a prep which traditionally goes to 13 and prepares pupils for common entrance. Ds moved from a private primary to a prep and glad we won't have the bother and stress of preparing for the 11+ which all his old school friends are suffering at the moment. Everyone I know has a tutor booked from the start if year 5 if not earlier and some of those reserved their tutors as long ago as year 2 when they had no real idea whether their dc would be capable of passing.

Dozer Thu 04-Jul-13 07:41:03

No-one has said much about money, but think it's an important factor, if it's going to be tight and secondary modern isn't what you want you might be better saving for secondary, eg in case one of you is off work for some reason or your income is lower than you expect. Fees, longer holidays, uniform etc. All adds up!

My DC are in private primary, we liked the school best and DD2 needs some extra support in the early years, we have a good non selective state secondary nearby. I know a fair few mums with DC doing well in state schools (rated from "outstanding" to "needs improvement") and planning to tutor for the superselectives at 11+.

Reastie Thu 04-Jul-13 08:04:19

bico they say the prepare for 11+ and pride themselves on every student getting their first choice secondary school.

poppy they all have a tutor AS WELL as private school?!!

Dozer if needed we could do private secondary too, although it's preferable to do one and not both! Our financial situation when DD gets into secondary should be much better than it is now.

bico Thu 04-Jul-13 08:39:43

I'd ask how many children in the year on average take the 11+. Saying they all get their first choice secondary is completely meaningless.

happygardening Thu 04-Jul-13 09:35:02

"pride themselves on every student getting their first choice secondary school."
All will say this but this doesn't mean all are entered in for the school you were hoping your DC would go to when you sent them their or even where you hoped they would end up in yr3/4. Most heads will very strongly recommend a future senior school and will actively discourage you from applying to somewhere which is in their view unsuitable and if parents proceed with the application then can be exceedingly unhelpful, outside of the state system references are always required from the head.
A friends prep claims 100% success rate at getting them into St Pauls boys but only the very very best of the best are allowed to go for the pre test your average prep school child quite, bright, cheerful quite sporty, quite musical doesn't even get a look in.
"I'd ask how many children in the year on average take the 11+"
and how many have left before yr 6 although I suspect few will be honest with you about that figure. Alternatively go to the nearest park/playground after school and ask any parent with children already there about the school you'll here mixed things of course but thats a very good way of getting a handle on whats going on.

happygardening Thu 04-Jul-13 09:36:38

"even where you hoped they would end up in yr3/4"
Thats not very clear what i was trying to say will end up at the senior school you were hoping they would go to when they were in yr3/4.

happygardening Thu 04-Jul-13 09:39:28

"Our financial situation when DD gets into secondary should be much better than it is now."
Frankly if you can afford private secondary and prep fees are a push unless you hoping for a scholarship into SPGS or somewhere like that I wouldn't waste my money, employ a tutor nearer the time if necessary.

Reastie Fri 05-Jul-13 15:05:33

OK, so questions to ask them -

What % of pupils are entered into the 11+ on average?
What is the pass rate for all entries on average?
How will DD be settled into nursery? (ie do I go for a session/does she go before the term she starts etc)
Will a place at the nursery lead to a place offered at the primary school?
Are there any additional expected costs to those stated in your literature (e.g. cost of text books etc) and how much should I expect to add to yearly costs?

Is that last one unreasonable/usual to ask?????

happygardening Fri 05-Jul-13 17:09:56

How many leave before yr 6 but I suspect they wont be overly forth coming or truthful coming with that info?
What do those who aren't entered for the Kent test do and and where do they go. Look at the fees schools for "nice children who cant pass the Kent" test don't always come in cheap.
How many scholarships each yr into these schools if its a lot it will be plastered all over their website compare the results with similar near by schools?

goldrunner Fri 05-Jul-13 21:31:10

Primary every time - can't go wrong with a good foundation

happygardening Sat 06-Jul-13 15:38:29

"Are there any additional expected costs to those stated in your literature (e.g. cost of text books etc) and how much should I expect to add to yearly costs?
Is that last one unreasonable/usual to ask?????"

Nope neither unreasonable or unusual you are a customer. OP you seem unsure about independent ed let me remind you of two well known phrases;
"All that glitters is not gold"
"Caveat emptor"

Reastie Sat 06-Jul-13 16:09:16

Very true happy

Mitzi50 Sat 06-Jul-13 21:35:00

We did state primary until year 5 then selective indie. DD transferred to grammar school for A levels. DS wants to stay at indie for 6th form as sports provision is better and he likes flexi boarding.

DD believes being in the state sector for A level will be a benefit for UCAS.

There is a local hothouse prep school which has a high pass rate for the grammar schools but I don't feel either would have been happy there.

rob99 Sat 06-Jul-13 21:41:40

Thanks to all of you that can afford to pay for your children's education with the ultimate goal of giving your kids a distinct advantage over my state educated kids in the hunt for the best jobs.....


bico Sat 06-Jul-13 22:46:04

What an odd post rob99. I wonder if you are a two parent family. If so how very dare you have a happy relationship that enables your children to be raised in a two parent household. How dare you have that advantage over my dc.

See, it's not all about you is it?

rob99 Sat 06-Jul-13 23:12:37

Private education is a choice available only to those who have the money......a happy relationship is often in the lap of the Gods and doesn't necessarily require £5k a term to make it successful.

Tasmania Sun 07-Jul-13 00:24:46

rob99 - Parents of privately-educated children could potentially save the money they spend on private school fees, and instead spend it on: loads international experience and a deposit for the first house.

Do you want to forbid that, too, given the above gives the kids a head start in life? The latter is self-explanatory, but IMHO fluency in several languages, and an international outlook in life provides an advantage that is equivalent to many private school options out there (once kids leave the nest and have to find a job).

lottieandmia Sun 07-Jul-13 02:06:49

'Private education is a choice available only to those who have the money......'

rob, this is not true actually. It's much easier to get bursaries to private schools these days.

Reastie Sun 07-Jul-13 06:25:06

Erm, thanks rob that was extremely useful hmm

rob99 Sun 07-Jul-13 07:13:58

It's Ok. I get it. Life's a competition. You want to give your own kids an advantage over mine and the majority to ultimately gain a better standard of living.

Reastie Sun 07-Jul-13 07:22:31

Are you a bit bitter rob ? It's just it seems a bit of an unnecessary comment. I wasn't asking for judging about whether you agree with private schools and your comments haven't exactly been helpful for me.

happygardening Sun 07-Jul-13 07:48:34

rob I can only speak for myself I have DS's in both independent and state ed. I am not paying to give my DC an advantage in any future job market although I accept some are. I pay because I like what the school offers my DS today; the type of education which IMO is not available in the state sector.
Secondly don't delude yourself I think you'd find that just by being relatively wealthy white MC graduates/professionals who live in a very affluent white area we are already giving our children a major advantage it's not just about sending them to independent schools.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 07-Jul-13 11:19:33

I am not paying for my ds to have an advantage over yours in the job market. I couldn't give too hoots about what job he gets.

I am paying for him to be safe. And happy. He has special needs which could not be adequately catered for in the state system (in our area).

I would posit that if you are the parent of neurotypical children they already have a massive advantage over my child.

bico Sun 07-Jul-13 11:43:44

rob99 I think you are completely missing the point about education. I have no expectations of what ds will do when he leaves school. He has a talent and that talent was rewarded with a large scholarship that is open to all with his natural ability.

Not all people whose dcs are in private education actually pay for it. If your dcs are very able then it is open to you too to give them the advantage you perceive others like me have given their dcs. It has absolutely nothing to do about money.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 07-Jul-13 13:08:12

...two hoots...obviously

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 16:22:08

All kids should attend their local state need for mummies driving Tarquin and Tabitha 40 miles in their Chelsea tractors. Better for equality, better for the environment, better for the majority, less of a two tier elitist educational my opinion.

poppydoppy Mon 08-Jul-13 16:33:18

Rob99 you sound like a communist

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:44:54

I'm not a communist. I just think with some of us so single-mindedly focusing on our own little bundles of joy, the society and community we live in is poorer for it. I know it's a big competition and everyone is jockeying for position for the benefit of their own but no good will come of all this selfishness my opinion.

lottieandmia Mon 08-Jul-13 17:49:57

rob - I think you're barking up the wrong tree tbh. We live in a world that isn't fair - some people are ugly, some are beautiful, some have loads of opportunities and some have more money than others.

It's life. It's not fair but it is life. What's the point of having a go at people for choosing a private school? You might as well moan at people for a vast number of other issues as well...

poppydoppy Mon 08-Jul-13 17:50:04

Most state schools are oversubscribed we are doing you a favour by educating our children privately.

Wuldric Mon 08-Jul-13 17:58:41

Some schools do provide generous bursaries. Most do not. It is not accurate to say that they do. Our schools offer bursaries for those whose family income is less than £35k. Those bursaries are extremely generous. If you earn more than this magic £35k cut-off point (which most families do, by the way) then you get a teensy little honorarium of a scholarship. DS has one of those. It really is minute - around £1k a year off the fees.

I think Rob has a point. An absolutely valid point.

In my ideal world, all state schools would be secular, open to all, enable and support all pupils to achieve their best, have super music and good sports, and really help all children forward.

But I don't live in an ideal world. When push comes to shove, one family alone cannot change the system. I was not prepared to compromise the futures of my DCs and I could afford to pay. I don't like paying, as I have said before. But I genuinely felt I had no alternative.

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 18:13:00

Poppydoppy, you're not doing me a favour because my children don't go to a state school.

I went to school in the seventies. There was less choice, you went to your local school (even walked there in some cases !!). Now parents are given (some) choices and what happens? Grandparents addresses are used for catchment area purposes, people move house to be in the catchment, parents are driving miles every morning and afternoon to get their kids to the "best" schools....madness.

That applies to the current state system of course, then you've got the private schools, prep schools where (in the main) wealthier people get what they're paying for.

What does "special needs" actually mean ? does it mean Tarquin gets bored easily because he's so bright and the lessons aren't engaging enough for him because his IQ is off the scale.

Parents will find an argument to justify giving their kids an advantage and that's understandable. I don't agree with it but I don't think my lone voice will make any difference.

bico Mon 08-Jul-13 18:37:23

rob99 if your dcs aren't at state school I assume from your anti-private school stance they aren't at private school either. Are you home educating? In which case your dcs have a huge advantage over dcs in school and you are very fortunate indeed to be able to do that. If that is the case I really don't understand your vitriol.

Reastie Mon 08-Jul-13 18:44:23

Rob I'm sorry. I have no words. I find your comments about 'special needs' actually quite insulting to those who have genuine additional learning needs, insular and poorly informed and your views are very unrealistic. Are you so moral with all areas of your life or just the areas you are resentful that you didn't have the advantages for yourself or your DC?

poppydoppy Mon 08-Jul-13 19:08:07

Poppydoppy, you're not doing me a favour because my children don't go to a state school.

Oh really, well why did you say they did?

Thanks to all of you that can afford to pay for your children's education with the ultimate goal of giving your kids a distinct advantage over my state educated kids in the hunt for the best jobs.....


lottieandmia Mon 08-Jul-13 19:19:15

I disagree that most private schools don't offer bursaries. Where I live most of the schools offer them to families who meet their criteria and the cut off point is £65k income in at least two that I know. The schools need to prove their charitable status. They are also very keen to get people in at a time when most can't afford it.

Of course, in some schools the demand for bursaries may be more than they can give so some people will not get one or may have to go on a waiting list. But they certainly are offered in most schools now and are mentioned on school websites.

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 19:21:14

I didn't intend to insult so I'm sorry for that. Advantages I do have a problem with because having unrealistic views or not, I don't agree with people's wealth being a factor in the quality of their children's education. I can understand people who might argue that "I've earned it and if I want to spend it on my children's education....." but we live in a society and a good education should be EVERY childs right so they all have an equal opportunity and not an "advantage" because of their educational background. I don't think parents should have the choice, I think it should be state driven. children is a florist, the other works in an office...I've had a vasectomy reversal and we're trying to conceive (I think you call it ttc)

lottieandmia Mon 08-Jul-13 19:23:37

'If you earn more than this magic £35k cut-off point (which most families do, by the way) then you get a teensy little honorarium of a scholarship.'

The point I was trying to make was that families who are well below the national average income do actually have the option to at least apply for a bursary in a private school - it is not only for the rich.

lottieandmia Mon 08-Jul-13 19:27:08

'but we live in a society and a good education should be EVERY childs right so they all have an equal opportunity and not an "advantage" because of their educational background.'

I think that what you say is true, in an ideal world. But the world is sadly not going to change is it?

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 19:30:50

So is this the deal ? Parents who can afford private, can go private. Parents who meet the criteria can apply for a bursary to go private. Parents who meet the criteria but there aren't any bursaries left will be unable to go private. Then there are the rest of the parents who either don't meet the criteria or don't apply.

That sounds like a really honourable and equal education system for all our little darlings. I don't know where my vitriol comes from !

poppydoppy Mon 08-Jul-13 19:34:18

I think you should be voicing your concerns to the government Rob. Our education system used to be the envy of the world sadly its not what it used to be.
We all try to give our children the best start in life. I am sure you will do the same for your next child.
If you calculate the hours children spend in lessons at school it equates to 15% of the year !!

lottieandmia Mon 08-Jul-13 19:37:17

Research shows IIRC that a child's parents are far more influential in how 'well' the child does in life than the school they go to and whether it is state or private.

In addition, there are certainly a lot of excellent state schools around but also some bad private ones.

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 19:44:07

I know, I get it, it's a competition, dog eat dog, everyone wants to give their own kids a step up. Naturally.

If all the talented, aspirational children with loving parents who care about their kids education, all went to state schools, I reckon the state schools would be a lot better.

If we're lucky enough to have another child, they will walk to the local state school around the corner, use their manners, not drop litter and hopefully be happy.....just like my other two daughters.

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 19:51:49

Hey Poppydoppy. I've a few friends who are teachers. I wind them up enough about the holidays they get. I've calculated in my state educated brain that if the kids are only in lessons for 15% of the year then teachers are only teaching for 15% of the year.......disgraceful !

BooksandaCuppa Mon 08-Jul-13 20:34:43

No, my special needs son is not easily bored, he's autistic.

And he's not called Tarquin, nor are any of his friends.

dinnermoneyready Mon 08-Jul-13 20:56:44

I wish that those of you who use state schools as a babysitter until year 3 or 4 would consider the impact of your choices on the children remaining at the state school that's not good enough for you. Move 2 kids from state primary to private and that's about £9000 of funding gone. Now we have to make a TA redundant, now we can't afford curriculum materials etc etc. at least use private school from the start and give some other kid a chance to go to a school that's not up to scratch for you...

vintagesewingmachine Mon 08-Jul-13 21:18:56

I have not used our local Primary to babysit. If the school was providing the challenge and academic stimulation my DC's needed, we would not be removing them at the end of Years 1 and 2 and anticipating a £100K spend on their education over the next 5 years, believe me. If schools are not cutting the mustard and the parents have the means, why should children have to be bored and under stimulated. DD is only 7 but she is rapidly losing interest in learning.

night1971 Mon 08-Jul-13 21:20:27

As someone with extensive experience of the independent sector for 40 odd years, I have NEVER come across a boy called Tarquin! Why such vitriol? It's the Katie Hopkins name-blasting/Tyler thing in reverse!

Parents are the first and main teachers and they have the biggest impact on (most) children and their potential success.

Schools are the next. It is natural that many parents are not prepared to sacrifice their children's education or enjoyment of school and search for their ideal establishment, independent or state. It is no one else's business where you choose to school your children.

vintagesewingmachine Mon 08-Jul-13 21:41:28

night1971 - the voice of reason. I could not agree more.

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 21:45:31

Wow. £100k on a kid that's rapidly losing interest in learning....risky investment.

I know, I think I get it. If you've got the money, pay for your children's private education to give them a leg up. If you've a child that is so uber clever and bright, why would you want their vast potential to be dumbed down by mixing with the plebs in a state school.

Family will always come before society. Always.

happygardening Mon 08-Jul-13 22:26:25

dinner I removed my DS in yr 2 from our "local" twee roses round the door thatched roofed village primary school which he couldn't walk to because we were very rural to a mega expensive boarding prep because it was frankly mediocre at best and at its worst frankly crap.
I do believe that all children should have access to good education but they don't and if I'd stayed it wouldn't have made a jot of difference to the quality of the education offered. I'm old enough and been kicking around in education long enough to know that it doesn't matter what I say or do I can't fundamentally change the system so that education is organised in a way I want it to be.
Rob I hope you have children and I genuinely hope that you can send them to a local school that you can walk too that meets your individual expectations and that your DC(s) get all the opportunities for free that you and they want but some of us haven't achieved this in the state sector and rightly or wrongly because we have the money we are in a position to do something about it.

rob99 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:42:20

I'll send them to the local school, regardless of my expectations and I'll expect them to make the best fist of it they can. I live in a city so there are a few schools within walking distance. I'm quite strict and demand manners and respect from my kids so I hope they'll make a positive impact on the school.

happygardening Mon 08-Jul-13 22:58:08

Rob as I said I hope it works out well for you and your future DC(s).
I too hoped for this many years ago.

Tasmania Tue 09-Jul-13 01:39:12


Less children = less competition. Sorry to be frank, but if you are really that concerned about jobs for your kids, you'd leave it at two and not more.

It is because there are more and more people in the world now, competing for what seems to be a stagnating number of jobs which makes some of us want our kids to have the best possible start in life. It is a fact that any generation in the developed world that will come after ours will have a worse standard of living once the emerging economies overtake us. One day, you may not be complaining about private schools anymore, but that your children were born in "the wrong region" of the world.

What will you do then?

rob99 Tue 09-Jul-13 08:47:03

I've a wife and two kids and we all work and I agree that the world is overcrowded and you do have a point. However, my children are very happy in their low paid work so in that respect they are no threat to Tarquin and Tabitha's aspirations and as a family we have always been self-sufficient. But I agree, we are being a bit selfish but it may never happen anyway.

Yes, I think you're right. There's only so many jobs to go around which creates a competitive society and a lot of parents want their own children to have an advantage for any opportunities out there and if that means paying for education, that's a good start in the competition.

I'm sure almost all middle class parents are aware that there is a correlation between the best jobs and Public school education.

night1971 Tue 09-Jul-13 09:04:32

I just want my daughter, Tabitha, to enjoy her school days and to achieve her potential, should she so desire. It is my job as her parent to ensure that these two criteria are met. How I choose to do this is my business.

rob99 What are your children called then? Why do you choose to belittle the choice of others? How very superior of you.

happygardening Tue 09-Jul-13 09:10:41

rob does this correlation not depend very much on where you live? I live in a very affluent rural area many state schools are on a par or even out perform non selective independent schools. The majority of parents are highly aspirational for their DC's wanting and assuming that they will leave their state school and go to the best universities and get those much coveted and as already said increasingly difficult to find "best jobs".
IME many parents in my neck of the woods choose independent ed because they are not just hoping that "Tarquin and Tabatha" will get a better job. Many are old money sending their DC's of to boarding school because that is what they've always done but others are looking for other things that the state can't/wont provide.

poppydoppy Tue 09-Jul-13 09:20:28

Rob, the world is a much smaller place nowadays there are a lot more options open to our children than there were for us.

I am sorry to say but you sound very bitter, instead of moaning get out there and do something about your situation. You could go back to Uni, train as something else, set up your own business, get two jobs. We live in a land of opportunity here in the UK some people just cant see it. If my 14 year old child can set up a business that turns over 200k a can do it too.

happygardening Tue 09-Jul-13 11:20:27

"No threat to Tarquin and Tabatha' s aspirations"
Don't worry rob most of us have worked out that any "threat" is not coming from your DC's but from other parts of the world.

rob99 Tue 09-Jul-13 16:05:36

Sorry, Tarquin and Tabitha are just my own generic name for middle/upper class horsey, pretentious types......I didn't realise people were called Tarquin and Tabitha in real life. No offence intended.

Poppydoppy, I'm not at all bitter and I'm very happy with my job and the jobs that my kids have. My happiness doesn't depend on how great or well paid my job is. If all kids went to state school, I think kids will have equal opportunities, I think standards will improve and I think society/communities will benefit.

I understand people want to look after their own but sometimes the pushy parent, best school, special requirements etc etc is a bit selfish. It might be possible for children to enjoy school and achieve their potential at state schools.

I think a lot of parents want to keep their own children in a bubble, away from the "riff raff" but I think it would benefit all children if they mixed.....just my humble opinion.

poppydoppy Tue 09-Jul-13 20:20:17

If all kids went to state school, I think kids will have equal opportunities, I think standards will improve and I think society/communities will benefit.

No it wouldnt. More parents would tutor and there would be a huge divide. You cant have a one size fits all education system.

Are you also in favour of scrapping Unis like Oxford and Cambridge?

rob99 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:06:39

Why can't you have a one size fits all education system ? Why would you need to tutor.....that's again going down the same road to give your own child an advantage over other children.

If 6 hours a day, 5 days a week at a well run state school isn't enough to teach kids what they need to know.....

I think Oxford and Cambridge are elitist and barring a small percentage of token gestures, they are full of uber rich foreign students and Public schoolkids.

Wuldric Tue 09-Jul-13 22:16:31

I think the whole system is utterly muddled and wrong.

1. CofE/Catholic/Jewish/Muslim state-funded schools = wrong
2. Grammar schools in some areas but not in others = wrong
3. Continual under investment in education leading to state schools failing certain sectors = wrong
4. The existence of private schools = wrong

And what a mess it is. So many differing and competing ideologies, continually changing exam systems, etc. It's just left to parents to find the best way they can for their own kids. Which is also wrong ....

Tasmania Tue 09-Jul-13 22:48:49


6 hours a day, 5 days a week may be fine... if NO ONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD does more. Globalisation means we are competing with everyone else that lives and breathes on this planet.

I would like my child to be able to compete on a global scale, should they wish to. Not just in silly Old Blighty. As someone previously said - the competition is more likely to come from abroad. I want them to enjoy similar privileges I had. Nope, I did not go to a private school, but I have been educated at a state school abroad (see, I AM the competition in a way).

I speak at least 3 languages fluently and 1 at a more basic level - most of which I've learned at school. I'm not bad at things like Maths either. Unlike in the UK, we couldn't just pick three subjects to focus on in the final few years at school. We had to keep around 10 or more all the way through A-levels. The max. class size I ever had was 20. Mostly, it was around 16-17 though. I also spent some time in other countries on extended (i.e. min. 1 month) school exchanges which makes me an ideal "internationally mobile" person at work these days.

Find me a state school in the UK that can provide my child with the above, and then, we can talk.

A lot of people who have grown up in the UK and went to state school choose to send their children private to simply replicate the experience they had when they were younger. Unfortunately, that experience is often no longer available in the UK.

happygardening Wed 10-Jul-13 08:37:04

"Why can't you have a one size fits all education system ?"
because many expect and want different things from education and the system cant cope with this. So they choose other options usually because they are disillusioned with the one size fits all education system. Some pay, some send their children to Steiner schools other home ed. and other variations on a theme. Of course there are many who can't or wont pay/home ed etc I feel genuinely concerned for those who are disillusioned but cant make alternative choices but have little tome for those who are disillusioned but still carry on with the one size fits all ed when they could choose other options.

rob99 Wed 10-Jul-13 11:01:45

I think you're being quite prescriptive there Tasmania. I've just come back from France and I didn't come across a single person who spoke one word of English but they all appeared to be doing quite well for themselves.

A friend of ours own a chip shop and he makes a fortune....for frying chips of a dinnertime and tea time (that would be lunchtime and dinnertime depending on where you're from)

I'm talking about giving a one size fits all education for every child to give them all the same crack of the whip educationally.

People can argue that they are "disillusioned" with the state school system or it's somehow "not quite right for my little Tarquin's needs" or whatever excuse is convenient but in my opinion what they really mean is, my child is special and I want him to go to a school that will give him an advantage over everyone else. I can understand this but like I said earlier, I don't think it's good for the bigger society and we're all the poorer for...even little Tarquin.

Xenia Wed 10-Jul-13 11:02:30

Until the state starts producing clones we will continue to have children of different kinds with different needs and different schools. Having a parent about to afford £10k a year school fees is no worse than one who can read to you or feeds yo good food not junk and refrains from smacking you. There is nothing wrong in those women who choose good careers (or rich men!) being able to afford school fees and the fact many women cannot afford it.

It is no different from the fact one child is fed well and one isn't or one is in a sporty family and the other family never moves from their chairs. So having private schools or state or religious schools or schools which are only attended by children with parents who own a £500k house in the catchment are no different from each other as issues.

As for whether you can afford to pay at primary level I suspect you can and perhaps could take on second jobs to fund it if necessary so that might be the way to go.

poppydoppy Wed 10-Jul-13 11:21:09

Rob your seem to be complaining that the UK state system doesn't offer you what you need for your child,yet are blaming others who pay to have the education you described in a earlier post.

happygardening Wed 10-Jul-13 11:40:32

rob I doubt that there are many parents out there who don't believe their child is "special" and nearly all parents where ever they send their children want their educational needs to be met and for them to achieve what they are capable of achieving. I work with children and parents and the reality is that only a tiny proportion of parents don't give a stuff about their children's eduction and how they do at school.
As Xenia says some children don't just have educational advantages over Tyler and Harper they have so many other advantages and ultimately money will play a part is these other advantages too. Our society is unfair.

Xenia Wed 10-Jul-13 11:57:18

In a sense it is what has made us be here as a species - fighting tooth and claw, survival of the fittest whilst looking after those to whom we are close.

GooseyLoosey Wed 10-Jul-13 12:13:27

The thing is, one size does not fit all in educational terms.

I was state educated from start to finish. The classes had 30+ pupils in and the school had over 2000. The teachers had no time to think about the needs of individual pupils - they educated to the mean or occassionally to the most vocal. Children do not all need the same or learn at the same rate and in the same way and yet we seem to have ended up with an education system where that is the starting assumption and the goal is uniform qualifications for all.

There was a lot wrong with my education, although it got me to Oxford and a good job. I want to provide better for my children and until we have reached an state education nirvanah, I will provide the best for them I can.

My children are special. As are all children. They have needs and potential which other children do not - as do all children. I want them to be treated as individuals and some recognition given to their particular strengths and weaknesses during the course of their educational experience. The state does not allow for that.

OP - I moved mine in to prep schools in Yr 3 and 4. I cannot say whether this is better than them going private in senior as I have nothing to compare with. I can say that it has mose definitely been a worthwhile experience.

rob99 Wed 10-Jul-13 14:04:57

GooseyLoosey, The thing is, you've just proved that the state education system works. State educated, you achieved, went to Oxford, got a good job and you want better than that for your children? Jesus! what exactly is better than that ?

Xenia, the thing that is supposed to separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom is that we have a conscience. If I had a cake, is it best that I put it on the floor and the biggest, most aggressive fighter gets most of it or do I divide it up and give everyone an equal share? I dare say you might grab it quick to feed Tarquin and sod everyone else because he's more important than everyone else.

Poppydoppy, I'm saying that the state system is plenty good enough for me, my children and it should be good enough for everyone and if everyone was in state education there would be more equality and standards would be higher and society would be better for my opinion.

GooseyLoosey Wed 10-Jul-13 14:48:07

Not really Rob - I was largely self eductated from 16 and was teaching my A level class at 17. I also have no self confidence, which I attribute in part to my educational background.

Petruska Wed 10-Jul-13 15:07:14

Some schools are better than others. Some schools offer more extra curricular stuff. Look at each school and decide which one will suit your dc. Whether it's private or state doesn't matter so long as it is the right school.

rob99 Wed 10-Jul-13 15:10:00

GooseyLoosey, At 17 you were teaching your A level class.....would that not require a certain amount of self-confidence. The prospect of going to Oxford would scare the hell out of me. You argue your point well on this thread and you've managed to get a good job, I'd imagine that required applications, tests and interviews. Obviously I don't know you but I could argue that these attributes you have and your success could be as a result of your state education. I'm sure some privately educated kids have a bad time at their schools.

Tasmania Wed 10-Jul-13 18:33:56


I would argue that what GooseyLoosey got was in spite of her education. She was obviously born with the right character or had ample support at home. A 17-year-old teaching A level classes just shows how backward the whole system is. She should have been more challenged according to her ability, not left to fend for herself - just because the others in her class could not.

Self-confidence is important - I would pay just to even make sure that the prospect of going to Oxford would not scare the hell out of my child. Goodness gracious. Why be scared?!? I'm not a self-confident person, and yet, I wouldn't hesitate applying there at all, if I knew I was in with a chance. After that, I'd just be happy having accomplished what I wanted.

rob99 Wed 10-Jul-13 22:13:09

I dare say if I'd had a private education the prospect of going to Oxford may not have scared the hell out of me. Not being part of that select group, it would have scared the hell out of me, not to mention being a bit too thick anyway.

I've never had a desire to go to Oxford anyway even if I was clever enough, for me and my ilk it's meaningless.

If GooseyLoosey came from a state school and ended up at Oxford I'd argue there's nowt wrong with her confidence and nowt wrong with her state education.

Wuldric Wed 10-Jul-13 22:16:43

Amen for goosey's viewpoint. There is no educational nirvana so until then our primary obligation is to our kids, surely?

Xenia Wed 10-Jul-13 22:19:12

Why would anyone be scared of going to Oxford? It is much easier than working in a call centre. You are looked in a way that those leaving school to find work at 16 or moving on to benefits have it.

As for the duty of parents to do their best for their children that is no different from humans winning out over Neanderthals. The best do best. It is how we are made. I am not saying there is not a point to helping others as societies needs others but I and most parents on the thread do not give their good food to the poor and feed their children junk or pick the worst school they can so others get into the better schools. Nothing wrong with looking after your own children. It is what every mother does on mumsnet by and large.

totallyopera Thu 11-Jul-13 01:21:41

rob99 - why are the state schools better for the inclusion of rich 'middle-class' parents? Rich parents aren't a better influence or have more integrity than others! Just more money.

Some state schools are better because of the head, the teaching, the facilities and the foundation ethos - that may be why they are full of 'middle-class' types, but its not because of them. They move into the area because the school is good and the house prices go up!

I know two families in 500+k houses (outside London), holidays, ridiculously expensive cars etc. They both send/sent their kids to the best state school in the city - the one that's oversubscribed every year - and in so doing they've taken up 6 places that could have gone to less well off kids who have been turned away (I know of 2) and ended up in a sink school when they could have had a better chance if the places at the better school had been available.

Instead, it was a new kitchen and several pricey holidays (60k). I know the income of at least one set of parents and they can more than afford to educate privately.

They justified this with some political ideology too - and why shouldn't they? - they are free to choose.

But that doesn't mean its 'socially incorrect' to choose private school - that's a choice too and one that can benefit a less-well off family.

wordfactory Thu 11-Jul-13 08:33:50

rob99 you're making the mistake of thinking that because X can do something, then anyone can!

I too went to Oxbridge from a comp. That doesn't mean it was a good school. It wasn't. It largely let down the vast vast majority of its pupils.

I got to where I did on the back of my mother's steely aspirations and my own desire to leave that town!

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 10:26:13

"If all kids went to state school, I think kids will have equal opportunities, I think standards will improve and I think society/communities will benefit".

That is a very simplistic viewpoint. If you have a 'bad' local state school, instead of going private, the parents will simply move house.

schoolnurse Thu 11-Jul-13 11:50:36

This is rob's problem he's making everything too simplistic, too black and white as do many others. But many parents who as rob says want the best for their DC's just don't see education in this simplistic X=Y terms so many turn to independent ed, Steiner ed, home ed etc.

poppydoppy Thu 11-Jul-13 13:20:57

Its never going to happen so pointless discussing it. Life is not fair, there will always be people who have and people who don't.

Xenia Thu 11-Jul-13 16:04:02

You can argue the moral imperative is to pay school fees if you can - to relieve the burden on the state of educating the 500,000 children who are in the private sector and would (but for the fact their parents are prepared to work very hard to afford school fees which for most of us are quite an expense) otherwise be having to be paid for by the state at up to £8k a year (some state primaries apparently now have £8k per pupil not much less than the best private day schools).

Tasmania Thu 11-Jul-13 16:27:45


I think you're being quite prescriptive there Tasmania. I've just come back from France and I didn't come across a single person who spoke one word of English but they all appeared to be doing quite well for themselves.

A friend of ours own a chip shop and he makes a fortune....for frying chips of a dinnertime and tea time (that would be lunchtime and dinnertime depending on where you're from)

I'm talking about giving a one size fits all education for every child to give them all the same crack of the whip educationally.

People can argue that they are "disillusioned" with the state school system or it's somehow "not quite right for my little Tarquin's needs" or whatever excuse is convenient but in my opinion what they really mean is, my child is special and I want him to go to a school that will give him an advantage over everyone else. I can understand this but like I said earlier, I don't think it's good for the bigger society and we're all the poorer for...even little Tarquin.

And that may be the real issue here, rob99. We obviously have different expectations - which is completely normal. I do not expect you to have the same expectations as me, but as a very international person, I place a huge importance on my child learning languages, as well as traveling. Some people want their children to be raised in particular religion or particular culture. What's the difference?

Also - why was I prescriptive? If you think what I want of education is too much, then please let me know one thing: why on Earth should state education appeal to the lowest common denominator?

You talk about France, and that people have a nice life over there, without speaking other languages, etc. A lot of highly-educated people I talk to who are from France actually believe that the whole "nice life in France" thing with long holidays, etc. will no longer work in future.
You will find there are a lot of people in much poorer countries with no MFL skills, etc. who have an "OK" life. People like that have less options. They are going to be stuck in that country of theirs forever. They will struggle to move, if the world changes in the future (and it will). I do think you suffer a little from viewing everything in the short term, and not looking further ahead into the future. I admit that for older adults today those changes may not really happen in their lifetime, and hence, they don't have to think about it.

But if we are talking about education, we inevitably have to think about the future as that is what education is meant to prepare children for! Children WILL be impacted by such changes in future, and parents would be well-advised to at least think about it all.

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 17:22:49

China, for the foreseeable future, is where the business and job opportunities are going to the for the next few decades. Because of the American influence, a lot of Chinese speak English so for us Brits not speaking Mandarin is not an issue. The same can't be said for French people who only speak French.

Not that my point has anything to do with the OP. smile

iseenodust Thu 11-Jul-13 17:23:14

Tasmania has a point. Anecdote: friend's son is going to univ in Sept to study at one of the best in that subject. Over 70% of offers for that undergraduate course have gone to overseas students. Education is becoming a global marketplace.

rob99 Thu 11-Jul-13 19:50:18

Like I said, people do what's best for their own - that's the society we live in. I don't buy into it. I earn an average wage and my kids earn much less but we are happy. Aspiring to have the best school, house, car has never entered my head or my kids heads. I want my kids to be kind hearted, generous, caring and happy. I don't think I'm on the same page as you guys.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Jul-13 20:23:41

The thing is, outcomes such as Oxbridge entance, careers followed etc are not just a function of schooling.

For complicated reasons, I went to a (then) highly academic girls' private boarding school for all my secondary education. One of my siblings went to the local 11-16 comp followed by 6th form college (the comp in particular was very much NOT academic - said sibling achieved a third of their TOTAL O-level passes that year), the other to same comp follwed by private sixth form.

The outcome? All of us went to Oxbridge. Why? Because my parents did, exhuded their love of their ancient university, and they simply expected that we would follow in their footsteps.

However, all of us have 'socially useful / creative but in no way lucrative or 'high status' jobs', despite education that equipped and in many ways pointed us towards other options. Why? Again because that matches the very strong value set we were brought up with - that the worth of a job is not measured in money, and the value of a person is not measured by their pay packet.

We were frequently poor when I was growing up (my private schooling was on a 100% scholarship with grandparents buying my second-hand uniform from their saved-up pension money), so our advantages were not 'bought' - but they were very significant advantages over those we were e.g. at primary school with nevertheless.

MaryKatharine Thu 11-Jul-13 20:39:57

Rob99, I think we all want that. I think the two tier education system exists but it isn't private Vs state but rather good state Vs bad state.
When my eldest started school, we lived on Cheshire. We paid to avoid the overly pushy extremely high achieving state primary on our doorstep. To attend the school you almost certainly needed to live in catchment and to live in catchment you needed to pay upwards of 500k for your home.

So, do you really think that I was buying any sort if advantage for my kids over those at my local stats primary whose parents often drive around the corner in their Chelsea tractor. Who went on 3 holidays a year and whose children did after school and weekend activities such as ballet, rugby and piano???

I don't think so! What I do believe is that I was buying them the advantage of not having constant sats pressure and academic pushiness.

wordfactory Thu 11-Jul-13 20:42:47

rob what on earth makes you think you can;t be kind haearted and happy and earn a truckload?

Seriously daft thinking!

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Jul-13 21:05:25

Wordfactory, yes of course it is possible to be those things and earn lots of money. It is a question of parental priority in terms of values ..

Saying (and believing): 'My primary aim is that you should be happy, healthy, generous and kind hearted. If you earn shedloads as well, that is great.'

IS different (not better, not worse, just different) from saying (and believing)
'My primary aim is that you should get the best and highest earning job that you can. If you are happy, generous and kind hearted as well, that is great.'

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Jul-13 21:25:42

(I think, btw, that it is difficult as a parent to address the 'happy, generous and kind hearted' thing directly ... what do we 'do' to make children like this? ['Model it to them', is probably the answer from my own upbringing - my parents lived out their values and their aspirations for us in their own lives and thus we acquired them....but it's hard to see that one is doing that at the time IYSWIM]

Therefore there is a tendency to 'do' proxy things - seek out the best education, best preparation for jobs etc - in the hope that our children will become happy through having this things.... because 'making our children happy' in the abstract is too nebulous.)

FormaLurka Thu 11-Jul-13 22:03:27

Rob - you are obviously one of those who subscribe to the view that the well off labour in jobs that they hate, which involves them doing unscrupulous deeds to please the Gods of Greed and that our kids are entitled snobs who look down their noses at those less fortunate grin.

Embrace it if makes you feel happy with your life.

rob99 Thu 11-Jul-13 23:30:44

I don't subscribe to the view that the well off labour in jobs that they hate......unscrupulous deeds to please the Gods of mean like solicitors, MP's, property developers, bankers.....

I'm quite happy, I just wish more of society was less self-centred and greedy and a bit more caring of the rest of society in general. That goes for the feckless, lazy gits on sink estates as it does for Tarquin in his Range Rover.

totallyopera Fri 12-Jul-13 00:05:35

Would that - 'less self-centred and greedy and a bit more caring of the rest of society in general' - include correcting a child obesity for those stuck in primary schools doing 1/2 hr PE per week? With nowhere to play at home except the computer? And no safe way of walking to school or riding a bike?
If those parents chose private ed, or home ed, with 6hrs sport per week to see their child get back to normal healthy weight - that is not selfish and greedy, its caring!

Yet even if they are working all they can to pay the fees are they viewed as seeking 'privelege' when all they want is a happy healthy child who would otherwise be failed by the state system.

Private ed only possible with some help for most families, of course. But its just to point out that not everyone survives on a minimum wage with the school round the corner.

Tasmania Fri 12-Jul-13 00:38:03

rob99 - GPs (working 9-5) and many jobs in local councils, etc. get paid more than an MP. I find it ridiculous that the British public are so upset about MPs getting salary increases, but don't care if someone in their local council gets paid 3 times more!

There are not many jobs that people do for the good of society unless you are the next Mother Theresa. If that was the case, GPs should be queueing up for a £25k job... but as it stands, you apparently need to pay a lot, lot more than that, for them to do their jobs that is meant to be "vital for society".

I mean what job do you do? And is it really that great for society - or are you doing it for money?

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 08:24:06

Half an hour PE a week at school, no safe way of walking to school and nowhere to play at home except on a computer ? So is this the child of a parent who is driven and determined enough to scrape together enough cash to send their child to private ed to address this issues but isn't resourceful enough to play sport with their child after school and confiscate the computer? No safe way of walking to school....?

I'm an engineer that works for a big company that used to be part of the public sector until someone decided that privatising it was a good idea. I earn just enough to pay the mortgage and bills and it suits me fine, but I'm told I must work a bit quicker because "the City" might lose a bit of confidence if I don't, adversely affecting the share price and Tarquin and Tabitha might not be able to feed their ponies if that happens.

wordfactory Fri 12-Jul-13 08:38:56

rob I think you'll find if the share price gets fucked it won't have that much effect on pony feeding. Do you really think many wealthy people feed their pets from their share dividends?

It will however have a dreadful effect on the pensions of most nurses, social workers, police men etc

The 1950s ended a looooooong time ago. Your knowledge of economics and the modern workplace seems as woefully out of date as your knowledge of the education system!

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 08:43:04

rob - you are happy just to earn enough to pay the bills which is fine but why do you begrudge those who want more for themselves or their DCs?

Anyway, going by your last post, you don't sound like you are actually happy with your job.

wordfactory Fri 12-Jul-13 08:46:20

Well exactly forma.

He sounds bloody miserable! And not as if he's adding to the sum of human health and happiness either!

Some people just like to do the bare minimum in life. Be that workwise, culturally, or with their DC. They do the least they can get away with. Then they to make themselves feel better by critisising those who have higher standards or want to do/achieve more.

Xenia Fri 12-Jul-13 09:05:32

I would argue doctors and lawyers are as caring as cleaners and you do not have to have a low paid menial job to be caring and kind. A lot of the women on the women who earn £1k a day thread were in a sense in service as IT programmers, consultants, serving needs, helping others. The fact few others can do your job which means it is highly sought after and you are highly paid does not mean the service is any the less in moral terms.

I suspect most people want what they have. So if your whole family went to Oxbridge you may well assume you will go there as in the example above. If no one ever goes to university in your family they you won't think of that. It is why so many children do the same as their parents in terms of education and jobs. The baker's son becomes a baker. We have garden works going on (or did until they had to leave the job today) and that is father and son. Had his father been a leading surgeon the son might well have been. Had his father been on the dole he might have been too.

"Aspiring to have the best school, house, car has never entered my head or my kids heads. I want my kids to be kind hearted, generous, caring and happy. I don't think I'm on the same page as you guys." I think most people are not too materialistic - I'm not. I have nothing to prove. I have a house I like. There will always be bigger and smaller houses around and comparing yourself to others is never going to make anyone happy. However I would assume all children would go to university and good ones just as my parents and their generation did although not the generation growing up in 1900 in our family. I would expect them to own their own house just as my parents did and I have.

There is a point here though that if you have no aspirations in terms of education for a child it is not likely to have high aspirations. I think intellectual satisfaction in a career is important. I want all my children to enjoy their work. I enjoy it so much after 30 years I hope to do another 30 years from today. I believe my parents felt the same about their careers - doctor (consultant) and teacher. I remember my father's advice and it was the same advice from the speaker at the children's speech day this term - pick work you will enjoy as you will spend so long doing it. It is very important unless you are in a housewife model, women clean and men work type of background and culture and girls do not have jobs or only part time ones I suppose. Mind you I asked one child what they thought of the speech and they said they had heard none of it and it was all boring..... laughing as I type. One hopes despite the teenage ennui something filters through.

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 09:14:40

wordfactory - I was expecting rob to say that he worked for some charity or was a social worker for eg.

I be prepared to take a salary drop for such a job but if I am going to be a corporate drone working 9-5 in an office then I might as well work for loads and not just enough to pay the bills.

poppydoppy Fri 12-Jul-13 09:43:52

Rob, How much to you contribute to your community ? Do you devote your time to raising money for charities? Have you built orphanages in India and Africa? Being kind is not exclusive to the poor!!

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 09:58:01

But Rob99, if you read my earlier post you'll see that it's not as clear cut as those who are less selfish opt to privately educate which those who care more about their community go with state.
You talk about range rovers and ponies which were in abundance (esp RRs) at the local state primary. It was just as elitist if not more so because at least at the private school we opted for there was a more diverse range of ethnicity and background. You seem to believe that all state schools are this wonderful melting pots that span across the full range of society. I'm afraid the reality is quite different in most areas.

I was teaching in Manchester when we lived in Cheshire and I can tell you categorically that the difference between the kids I taught and those at our local state school was vast whilst between our state primary and the private primary we opted for was negligible. I'm talking in terms of material wealth, opportunities and aspirations. Though it seems more convenient to see the dividing line as drawn between state and private.

schoolnurse Fri 12-Jul-13 11:08:57

"but we are happy."
You say your happy but frankly thats not how you come across you seem to be very angry about "Tarquin and Tabitha" with thier ponies, RR's better employment prospect and expecting you to work harder to pay for all of this.

schoolnurse Fri 12-Jul-13 11:21:50

"I'm an engineer that works for a big company that used to be part of the public sector until someone decided that privatising it was a good idea. I earn just enough to pay the mortgage and bills and it suits me fine, but I'm told I must work a bit quicker."
I just need to shatter any of your illusions as a public sector worker the pressure is on us morning noon and night to work harder quicker "more efficiently" and longer hours than we are actually contracted to do.

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 11:34:08

As a private sector worker I have a 35 hour base contract but I am often required to work additional hours without pay. So boo hoo.

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 11:36:03

Sorry schoolnurse. I totally misread your post. Please ignore my rudeness.

schoolnurse Fri 12-Jul-13 11:46:46

Dont worry Format my DH works in the private sector I am very aware of the pressures most are under but its easy for people like rob to assume or hark back to the days when many state sector employees worked only their contracted hours with little pressure to meet targets etc but those days have long gone.

Tasmania Fri 12-Jul-13 12:18:56

rob99 You might think that you have it tough, but those of us working in those industries you so despise, ALSO have to work quicker. In fact, it might even be more stressful for us because we actually work in those industries, and hence, have immediate orders / expectations to meet. We are often the ones who get the crap when some third party further down the line completely mucks up deadlines, for example.

You say you are an engineer - can you please tell me why some motorways are only half-functioning for months / years or trainlines closed due to perceived "engineering work" when there are no engineers or indeed any type of workers around on the site for at least 12 hours or better still 24/7?!? About 99% of the time, I see no one working on the M25 or whatever. Yet, a few lanes are always closed. It's a miracle when anything does get done. My very British DH always comments on the fact that when we are in Europe, when they close down a section, you actually see people working on it relentlessly, and it opens up again in a few days time - when in his words, "it would take at least a few weeks in the UK".

I did mention on here before - but that Grand Designs episode where German builders were meant to work with British ones was a disgrace. All the Brits had to do was lay down a foundation, and the truck got lost travelling to the site only a few miles away. The Germans came all the way across the channel, were on time, and had to wait!

I told you that people have to compete on a global scale these days. Could it be that your perception of having to work quicker is based on the fact that what may have been seen as "acceptable timescales" in the UK, is no longer acceptable when compared globally? Because that's what the City often looks for. If it has the choice between investing in your company, and one in another country that is just a lot more efficient and productive... why on Earth should they choose yours?

And as for the amount of time to be worked... my contract says something like 37 hours a week. I've already worked over 75 hours this week so far on what is a 5-day working week (the week is not yet finished). The fact that my health assessment (that has all this info) actually said that I cope well with stress, and am not overworked at all makes me think that some people who complain over their 40 hours of work should really just toughen up a bit.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 14:45:37

I'm not sure how you can gauge that I'm angry just by me referring to the elite as Tarquin and Tabitha. I'm not angry at all. I'm happy enough in my job. It's when dicks down south start to piss about with your job and conditions of work that it gets a little irritating. Of course I'm talking nonsense because everything is rosy in the garden and the private and public debt, poverty and selfishness in the UK today is a figment of my imagination.

Still, at least if we get rid of this 2 tier education system and make all your little darlings walk to their local state school it will reduce the traffic of a morning and afternoon by two thirds and the kids will all have an even crack of the whip. I was schooled in Salford by the way....imagine subjecting Tarquin and Tabitha to that ladies.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 15:01:58

Tasmania....There are dozens of kinds of engineering. My field of engineering has about as much to do with motorways as the bakery managers job at Asda - I'd have thought that would be quite obvious, even for a lady ! So, I'm sorry, I can't answer the issue you have with the motorways.

Wordfactory.....Tarquin and Tabitha using their share option cash to feed their ponies was just an analogy, I do understand that maybe the dividends/share options/bonuses etc, might be used for other luxuries other than feeding the horses. Sorry if you mis-understood my point.

schoolnurse Fri 12-Jul-13 15:14:41

"Still, at least if we get rid of this 2 tier education system and make all your little darlings walk to their local state school it will reduce the traffic of a morning and afternoon by two thirds"
You have a very insular view of the world we like many live in the countryside most children here don't have a school to walk too.

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 15:16:14

Rob99, did you not read my post about the mothers at my local state school driving half a mile up the road in their range rovers? This doesn't just happen in Cheshire either as I saw in in Surrey too and here in E Sussex.

Oh and I know Salford schools very well. The school I was teaching in was just off chapel street. Lots of issues. Hence my point about the real gap being within the state sector and not between state and private. But I guess my post and points don't fit the argument! hmm

schoolnurse Fri 12-Jul-13 15:19:40

We don't use our "share option cash" to feed our ponies my DH and I work to do it. I've been around horses all my life I've met very few that do this.
I'm afraid your stereotypical view of many UK families who send their children to independent schools is very far removed from the actual reality. In fact you making yourself look slightly ridiculous,

schoolnurse Fri 12-Jul-13 15:22:35

There are less RR's and more old cars at my DC's £33 000 PA school than there are at one of the nice middle class state schools I work at.

Tasmania Fri 12-Jul-13 15:26:09

rob99 I know there are loads of engineers out there - but you are just as guilty of generalizing with your Tarquin & Tabitha comments. As much as you may complain about it, companies are generally there to make money for their owners. They are not there to simply pay employees (unless it's some unique co-op setup or a small partnership where the employees are the owners).

With public companies, the shareholders are the owners. They must get a return on their investment... otherwise, it would probably be best they just give their money away to charities.

Not sure how much you know about finance - but shares in companies that pay a lot of dividends are generally bought by income-seeking fund managers / pension funds. Sometimes, the former feeds into the other. As someone else in this thread said, it is very likely that it the major shareholders of your company are pension funds. The reason they are "into" income is that as people retire, pension funds need a constant stream of income to pay out to pensioners.

The people who I think you are moaning about (big bonuses, et al.) are often in a different branch of finance who are probably as little related to the shares of your company as you are to motorways...

Tasmania Fri 12-Jul-13 15:29:30

PS: Most people who have horses and send their kids to private school are naturally too skint to have a Range Rover, by the way... you are probably talking about the 0.75% or whatever of the population that can have whatever they dream of!!!

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 15:34:18

Well in wilmslow it was RRs and X4s at both grin but here it is definitely more Volvo territory at our independent school.
And it really is also true that there are some families living very modestly in 3bed semis and paying school fees whereas the state catchment here and in Cheshire was large detached 1930s houses. Parents with large disposable incomes jetting off to Dubai for oct half term and skiing in feb half term.
In Cheshire I felt that the local parents all had very similar financial situations and some chose to spend their money on fees, others on other stuff. The demographics of the kids and their parents using both state and private was very similar. It was much the same in Surrey.

So arguing that there's a divide is fine but the line isn't drawn where you seem to think.

Tasmania Fri 12-Jul-13 15:55:50

I agree with MaryKate (couldn't resist that)

The Divide Line is the classic Rich v Poor. But that is not likely to go away unless you bring in proper Communism - and we all know that does not and never really did work. If you think about it, you wouldn't get so many new millionaires and billionaires in China... if they had "proper Communism" over there.

A few years ago, I always wondered how some people lived in very modest / not nice areas or houses... could even be council houses, and yet, had a BMW outside the front door. It took me forever to figure out that they may actually never be able to afford to move to a nicer house / area - but they may just have enough money to be able to afford that pretty car. Where I live... a private school education for one child (extrapolated to years and years of ever increasing fees) is far cheaper than having a larger house with land, but sending your kids to state school. So maybe, as with the car, if you can't upgrade to that big house, you'd spend it on the school instead?

beatback Fri 12-Jul-13 15:58:56

MaryKatherine. The difference between the DC"s in the golden triangle of Cheshire and DC"s in Manchester most be the biggest difference in the country .I had a friend who taught in salford and some of the incidents were dangerous. Having lived in the area most of my life you are quite right that there is a slighty different attitude regarding state and private, from other areas in the south .Despite when a Comprehensive School in Osbornes constituency ,received a unsatsifactory report from ofsted claimed that they had to deal with a double whamy of private schools and a nearby selective area.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 18:06:10

MaryKatherine.....I'm fielding all sorts of of issues so I'm sorry I didn't get around to your specific point.

"Extrapolated".....Just a minute, I've just got to go and look that up. Back in a minute.

Tasmania...."could even be council houses"...EVEN council houses :-)
Yeah, I know what shareholders are, I know they need a return, thanks for the sermon....point is, the government sold off the family silver to make a quick buck. My employer had 250k employees in 1990, now it's less than 100k employees. That's 150k british jobs gone......because of cost cutting, to give Tarquin and Tabitha 8 pence a share dividend twice a year. I think that's crap, but that's capitalism.

You rich mummies in the suburbs might not have noticed the crash in 2007 but the economic model that you appear to be singing the praises of has a few very rich winners and an awful lot of losers. Fortunately my wife and I both have jobs so we're very lucky compared to some.

Schoolnurse £33k PA school.......that's £8k more than my gross salary really is a different world. That's brilliant !

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 18:09:38

Extrapolation: A method or conclusion based on statistics

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 18:47:37

rob - you are an engineer and you earn £25k??? Our graduate trainees start on £26k. But you are happy which is the main thing.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 19:04:15

£25k is Ok in Salford, I dare say if I lived in London and the home counties I'd be living in a cardboard box on that salary. The trouble is Manchester has attracted a lot of money in the last 20 years or so and you've got the BBC influx in Salford. When I used to go to Manchester as a teenager, it was full of Mancunians, now it's gone a bit hooray Henry and prices for everything are going a bit "north of the river"

FormaLurka how much do you think teachers earn? Outside of London, they start on £21.5k. Such a patronising comment.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 19:27:57

Strange breed teachers....most of them have never left school. They do get about 14 weeks paid holidays don't they:-) About 5 years ago my youngest daughter was still at home and she wanted to bring her mate on holiday with us. Her mum was a science teacher at the same (state) school. Out of courtesy, I asked the girls mum if it would be Ok to take her daughter with us before we asked her daughter would she like to come. The first thing she said was "I can't afford it, I'm a single parent and I only earn £38k as a teacher. I said I don't want any money, so she came and we all had a great time.......£38 K was more than mine and my wife's salary combined at the time. My point is that most teachers live in their own little bubble and they have never ventured into the real world......

Reastie Fri 12-Jul-13 19:38:38

rob I'm not sure on your DDs friends mothers situ to comment on (you don't know if she had big debts struggling to pay off a month from the past of mortgage difficulties or other problems to be able to comment on that) and I'm a bit shock you call it just a courtesy to ask the parents permission, it's more than that, but my main reason for writing this message is many people ignore the fact teachers ARE NOT PAID for most of the holidays, it's just the wage is spread across the year, we get the bog standard hol allowance and the rest is unpaid but payment of wages is pro rata so people don't realise this. It's quite a generalisation teachers have never ventured into the real world, I'm starting to think I could use the same generalisation for your views of your world from your surroundings.....

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 19:55:17

But you haven't answered it because it doesn't fit with your argument.
Not all state schools are very different from their neighbouring private schools.

Oh and I'm a teacher who lives a nice affluent lifestyle thats to the fact that I married a lawyer and I'm very lucky with all that. Certainly not affluent on a teacher's salary. It's not minimum wage but its not high compared to my qualifications.

But as for not living in the real world????? You talk about Salford but I grew up in a slum Living hand to mouth. Spent my entire school time on fsm with my shoes hanging off. The schools I have taught in both in inner city Salford and others equally deprived areas are different worlds from my local state school but very similar worlds to the one I grew up in.

MaryKatharine Fri 12-Jul-13 19:57:43

Beatback, that little pocket of Cheshire is dripping with affluence. Literally as the people there like to let you know how well off they are. I liked it when we first moved there but it wore me down after a while. They really have no idea of the massive poverty literally a couple of miles up the road in places such as whythenshaw.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 20:39:47

Reastie....Highly qualified science teacher and head of department on £38k.......If she can't be a good custodian of her own finances, then perhaps she shouldn't be giving 30 kids the benefit of her knowledge. That's my point, most teachers have never actually left school, in my opinion, it doesn't lend itself to preparing kids for life outside school. I still think that all kids should attend their local state school regardless. At least they'll be more or less on a level playing field.

And Reastie, I've got friends who are teachers and you're doing exactly what they do. They talk to you (and I remind them of this) like they're talking to a kid that's just come down with the last shower of rain.......I know what a salary is, I have one. I know your holidays are included pro rata in your salary - so are mine....I get it ! The thing is, I get 5 weeks Annual get about 14 weeks......not a bad crack really is it ?

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 20:43:39

And I don't get the courtesy bit. I'm talking about a sixteen year old kid, not a baby. The courtesy is to ask the parents permission BEFORE my daughter asks her friend in case the parent says no and the mate is then disappointed. Hope that's PC enough, but I did it anyway.

Reastie Fri 12-Jul-13 20:51:45

rob the parent is paying for the trip. It's more than a courtesy to ask! You said we are paid 14 weeks holiday, I simply corrected you. We are paid for the job we do not for the hours in a school we spend teaching. FWIW if I worked out my hourly rate for time I spend actually working (not just when I'm in school teaching) it isn't alot more than minimum wage tbh, I frequently spend over double hours from those I'm in school working, it's not as cushy as you'd believe, but I'm sure you'll be keen to point out your teacher friends talk at you to tell you this too whilst speaking in a patronising way because all teachers always speak this way hmm.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 21:40:15

Miss, I don't understand........ I paid for the girl to come and I wouldn't have taken anything even if her mother had offered because we invited her.

I know two P.E. teachers who I play sport with and they make it sound like a part time hobby with long holidays....they've both been teachers for over 25 years. I know a couple of female primary school teachers and one female high school teacher and they describe it a bit like you.

I know that every time I get a new apprentice I've got to teach them how to say please and thank you and stop messing about with your iphone and pay attention. They lack discipline. I don't suppose you're allowed to hit them any more are you?.....spare the rod, spoil the child !

beatback Fri 12-Jul-13 22:08:45

Mary Kathrine. Actually most of the succesful people in the golden triangle have family links to Wythenshawe or to Salford they might not adknowledge that but thats the truth many grow up in Salford or Wythenshawe and though hard work and in many circumstances luck managed to move in to the "GOLDEN TRIANGLE" the fact that they are so flashy and want to tell people how wealthy they are is because they are hiding the truth. Anyway the Langworthy Estate is far worse than anything in wythenshawe, and some parts of wythenshawe are quite desirable believe it or not and attract many Middle Class familys because parts of wythenshawe are in the Trafford Education catchment area. And as you probably know familys use Trafford to avoid paying private School fees.

rob99 Fri 12-Jul-13 22:57:26

I work regularly in Langworthy, Pendleton, Broughton and Wythenshawe. There might be nicer bits in Wythenshawe, but factor in Wythenshawe's huge council estate and it's on a par with anything in Salford. Langworthy has had a recent revamp and a load of students/yuppies/Polish have moved in.

FormaLurka Fri 12-Jul-13 22:58:32

Queen - quite funny how you went on about teachers not getting paid much and immediately following was an anecdote from rob about a teacher earning £38k

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 00:20:35

Beatback, yes I would agree with that. A lot of the Wilmslow/AE/bramhall parents who paid for school had 'done good'. They were without doubt a different type of parent from the type who chose to pay in Surrey or Sussex.
I just couldn't keep up in my old jeans and anorak! grin
But I still think they behaved as if they lived in a little bubble as that is what that little part of Cheshire is like.

We have friends still living up there who are in Bramhall. Nobody in bramhall ever acknowledges that bramhall is in stockport and they all refuse to use it in their address. They can't bear to consider that their £1m house is in the same county as places like Brinnington where I did quite a bit of supply teaching and found it as deprived as many areas of Manchester or Salford. We used to tease them about it even though their house was worth double ours.

And as you are still refusing to address my point, rob99, I am just going to make it clear once again. Abolishing private schools will absolutely not level the playing field. You are delusional if you believe that. It will just mean that more areas will become as elitist as our state primary as people who can afford to, congregate together to ensure that their school only contains their sort of people. There will be small pockets of very expensive housing around certain schools and the divide will continue. Chose to teach reception around here and you'll have 25 kids out of 30 who start able to read as well as they can ride. Chose a school in wythenshaw or Brinnington and you'll spend the year teaching them how to sit and hold a pencil. I've seen it with my own eyes do don't delude yourselves with talk of 'level playing fields'.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 00:24:51

I can spell and string a sentence together. I am just tired and sat in dd2s bed stocking her hair after she woke us all up with a nightmare.

Wuldric Sat 13-Jul-13 01:08:28

I have experienced this with my DH in a way - this sense of frustration that the world is not how it should be. I'm more practical in a way. I see the way that the world is, and I want to look after my DCs. That's normal, surely smile

mam29 Sat 13-Jul-13 07:59:27

HappyGardening agree

"Caveat emptor"-let the buyer beware!

our nearest private primary is very cheap in private terms

£1400 per term year r-year 6.

its im converted house very little outside space.

its not got prestigious reputation its a fallback school mainly for kids who dident get on in state or dident get their prefered choices as its in a area with dire state schools so capitalises on that.

We moved dd from largish town school as was failing to small village.

at our old school several left to private and some this local primary.

when speak to them they talk how how great it is but probably is compared to old school.

but dds freinds in class of 9 year 2s seems too small.
her parents say shes getting on great but her behaviour has declined so not overly sure depends how you define good.

i have another freinds son in year 1 who,s flourished there.
lots of extra currucular but think he has lots of freinds, is active and making most of all the extra curricular activities they have to offer and very different to the year 2 child.

but at new village school 2 kids have escaped this private school and slate it another lady has 2 at village school and 1 in year 6. hes just got scholarship to very expensive well performing seniors.

the negatives were pushy, dident communicate with parents well, were harsh on the kids if child,s not academic they will have bad time there.

so im bit confused but if i go back and compare the 2year 2 dds.

we left after october half term.

think her freind left after feb or just before easter so possibly march.

dd has ended up with higher nc grade for writing.
1 grade less 2b instead of 2a to freind in private school.

freinds mum raves they do so much go swimming every week-thats costs extra, revels in the smart overly prentencious expensive uniform, all the after school clubs are extra money not included its bit like an easy jet school no frills everything else is extra.

Her dd doesnt seem happy and my dd has tonnes of freinds, is happy, has done many trips and clubs cheap or free.

Thee really stretching themselves to afford it and say they cant afford to send younger sister .they cant afford move better one as fees higher.

The next nearest private primary over 2k a term has good reputation but know someone who moved them to more expensive one as they had facilities but dident do much she was very cagey but said not as good as its reputation.

we have no grammers here.

some dire schools in state.

high independent sector but lots private are all through primary/seniors not preps. so you would likly end up staying if you liked it nursery to year 11 or nursery to year 13 if do a levels 14years of fees!

happygardening Sat 13-Jul-13 11:32:23

IME many small independent primaries capitalise on MC angst they set these fees to be just about affordable, they have ridiculous fancy uniforms, bang on about small classes, early reading/writing, discipline, organic lunches etc etc. but also IME these schools have a high turn over of children and are literarily hanging on by the skin of their teeth. My DS's spent a short time in a minute state primary 4-5 in each yr I am not in the least bit convinced that tiny classes are good.

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 14:44:10's choose, not chose isn't it? but I'm not a teacher so I can't be sure...thought it was a typo....but twice ?!!

Yeah, I will address your point.....The state tells you what school to attend i.e. the parent has no choice - it will be your local school. I know this will lead to posh areas and not so posh areas affecting the kind of pupils in school but that happens now anyway as parents scrap for desirable schools like birds at feeding time.

At least you will get a larger proportion of kids walking their fat frames to school and a reduction in school run madness and pollution.

Obviously this is just my education model, so it's not going to happen is it. Let's face it, if people on here can pay £33k PA for Tabitha's education, they'd be able to fly her abroad every week to get the education their little special one deserves.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 14:50:46

rob - for someone who professes to be happy with his lot in life you sure do spend a lot of time posting rants about people with more money than you.

Wuldric Sat 13-Jul-13 14:54:11

Rob, I'm finding your constant references to privately educated children as Tabitha and Tarquin a bit rude, chippy and aggressive. Also the assumption that they are all fat is a bit bizarre.

Can you imagine for a minute that a privately educated child can be nice, well-mannered and humble?

How would you feel if I characterised all state-educated children as oafish, am-I-bovvered types, all thick and overweight and badly dressed?

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 14:59:51

rob - I like how you make all those negative 'observations' about privately educated kids AND then complain about the attitudes of the presumably state educated apprentices that you mentor. grin

Parmarella Sat 13-Jul-13 15:08:35

Rob is very chippy

How are your little Tyler and Kyle btw ;)

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 15:17:30

Rob99, yes of course it's choose and not chose. It wasn't a typo just an iPad autocorrect. My iPad also corrects so to do which is also frustrating. I couldn't be bothered to change it as it was late which is why I posted again explaining that I could, indeed spell.

You seem to think that teachers are badly educated. I have 3 good Alevels, a 2:1 from a top 5 university, a PGCE and a masters. I could have chosen a different career, perhaps law like my DH. But I wanted to teach so that's what I did. I'm not sure why you have such a chip on your shoulder tbh!

Oh and as I said, the local parents didn't drive to the state school before so why would they be more inclined to if private schools were abolished? There would just be more RRs being driven half a mile up the road!

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 15:30:40

Oh and you're not addressing my point at all! You talked about how abolishing private education will get rid of the two tier system. It absolutely will not. Do you really think the child from wythenshawe and the one from wilmslow would be getting the same start in life, the same opportunities simply because they were both at a state school?

The playing field will not be levelled, ever, unless you adopt a system such as in Brighton where they use a lottery system and bus kids all over the town. But nobody can walk to school then so take your pick.

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 15:38:23

rob99. Why have you got a problem with people who have the option and means to make things better for their family and kids. Most of the people who pay private School fees, have sacrificed in either material things or in time when working stupid hours in trying to make a business work . Why is it wrong to use every bit of advantage you have got to make things better for your, family and kids. Why is there hated and pure envy for range rovers, every single one has been built by your comrades in solihull "ROB" and a fantastic world class product it is.

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 17:13:05

MaryKatherine....I thought I did answer your point........"I know this will lead to posh areas and not so posh areas affecting the kind of pupils in school but that happens now anyway as parents scrap for desirable schools like birds at feeding time."

Parmarella.......Beyonce and Shakira are very well, thank you.

beatback....I don't hate people with Range Rovers or people who pay for their child's education and I'm not jealous either. The very worst I think about Range Rover drivers are that they're a bit of a cock....children on the other hand are different in my opinion - generally speaking I feel uneasy that one poor child gets one education and another gets a £33k education. Yes, buy a Range Rover to lord it over my Ford Focus, we're all adults, no big deal but please don't go giving a child a great big leg up with their education at the expense of all other ultimately means that their kids will have opportunities that others wont get. If you use the example of people on here who have been to Oxford and have attended state schools then it doesn't hold water....firstly there are only small numbers who achieve this and secondly, why would you pay for your child's education if it's not to steel a march on as many other children as you can.

I don't think you should have the choice, I think the state should take that option my humble opinion.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 17:21:37

rob - you yourself said that you are happy with your lot in life and that you rather be you then me. If that is the case, why do you care about how I raise my kids? I mean, you have no interest in highly paid jobs so why does it matter to you that they go to people more ambitious than yourself?

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 17:22:53

FormaLurka.......I thought I was debating. I appear to be on a forum where everyone thinks it's Ok to pay for a better education for their kids. I'm just disagreeing with that view. "I'm alright Jack" shouldn't apply to children's education in the UK.....

If you're saying that state educated kids aren't taught manners, you could be right....that's another issue....I'm not happy about it.

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 17:31:49

FormaLurka.......I was ambitious, I wanted to be an engineer who earns £25 a year. This is Salford....I'm quite posh around these parts....I've got a front AND back garden !

I am against's about protection of innocent children. With education, I don't believe how much money you have should be a factor.. I don't like big Chelsea tractors to drive special Tarquin and Tabitha about "because it's safer".......for you !....not for us cyclists and everyone else. It all revolves around selfishness really....that's all it is.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 17:32:59

I'm not aware that I made any comments about manners and state schools confused.

I was directing my comments at your earlier posts where you went on about you being happier with your life than people chasing the dream of a bigger house and new car. I can understand that perspective if you was a teacher or a social worker but from what I can see, you work in a 9-5 office job that you aren't too happy with. I don't see the reasoning behind your moral superiority.

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 17:46:38

MaryKatherine.......Please write out 1000 times "I will not trust my spelling to technology, it's sloppy"......and don't do that thing where you tie 4 pens together to finish quicker !

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 17:55:24

FormaLurka......I don't work in an office, I work outside in the fresh air.....I am happy with my job.....I'm not happy my company was privatised, I'm not happy about number crunchers in London who don't know what a screwdriver looks like, telling me how many jobs I should be doing in a 9 hour day.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 18:01:59

rob - I drive a Ford Focus. Anyway, lorries and trucks are the major killer of cyclists going by London newspaper reports. And then there are boy racers in theirs pimped hot hatches. Our local rag regularly have stories of them wraping their cars around a lamppost.

You probably find the Chelsea tractor brigade way down on the list of road safety threats. But don't let that get in the way of your tirades.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 18:03:46

It's funny how you post how happy you are with your job and then go on to list things that you aren't happy with.

FormaLurka Sat 13-Jul-13 18:13:23

rob - your ambition is to be a man with grown up children and who earns just enough to pay the bills. I get that, but why is it wrong to want more? And if this is the sum total of your ambition then why do you care about the choice jobs going to kids like mine?

happygardening Sat 13-Jul-13 18:32:07

"At least you will get a larger proportion of kids walking their fat frames to school"
rob you really have no idea about independent ed. DS1 state comp 1 double lesson of games a week, DS2 boarding school the opportunity to do some sort of PE/Games at least 6 times a week. I'll leave you to work out which is the fittest and thinest.
"why would you pay for your child's education if it's not to steel a march on as many other children as you can."
Where shall I start?

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 18:44:14

To think that people should be banned from spending their tax paid money on what they want to is just appalling. The belief that a ban on private schools would improve education for kids in deprived familys and areas is stupid. Anyway their are state schools that are as good as private schools they are called "GRAMMAR SCHOOLS" i bet rob thinks Grammar Schools are a greater evil than private Schools. By bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator will not improve education for kids in deprived areas.

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 18:47:04


rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 21:16:18

Don't worry, I wont.

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 21:16:34


rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 21:20:28


rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 21:21:56

My crap state education means I can recognise crap spelling (snigger)

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 21:27:43

I'm now realising that you haven't answered because you don't understand my point.

You say you've answered then in your next paragraph you talk about how paying for school gives an unfair advantage to one child over another. I will say it again, as plainly as I can.

My children had absolutely no advantage whatsoever over those children who started at the local state school.
-Roughly equal household incomes
-The extras we got through school they simply paid for after school or on Saturdays. Things like ballet and rugby. The vast majority of girls from both the prep and the state primary met up on a Saturday for riding lessons.
-No academic advantage as the vast majority of Y6s at the state school reached L5 in their SATS.

Both my children and those at the local state primary had a vast advantage over those children attending state primaries in deprived areas.

THIS is where the real division is. THIS is what needs to be tackled if you really want to lever the playing field.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 21:31:02

I see beatback and others are trying to tell you the same thing yet you are still ignoring the gaping hole in your argument.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 21:32:58

level not lever.

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 21:35:13

Rob. I am glad you spotted the deliberate spelling mistake. Its not suprising though because my Comprehensive School in the golden triangle of Cheshire would not let me take any exams or academic courses 25 years ago. Apparently i was not capable of anything academic.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 22:20:31

Beatback, was your comp in the town I lived in? It's own entrance of the A34?
If so, the ht was always complaining that too many of the catchment went private. I remember reading that whilst nationally, 7% of kids are privately educated, in both Stockport (obv for that read bramhall/CH) and Cheshire East the figure is around 12%. It's far lower where we are now.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 22:23:19

Off the A34. I need to leave the thread now as I'm getting uptight about correcting my typos which s ridiculous!

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 22:28:59

Marykatherine....."The vast majority of girls from both the prep and the state primary met up on a Saturday for riding lessons".......Do you know what that sounds like to a working class pleb from Salford like may well have said Jeeves and Wooster met up at the pheasant brasserie for caviar.

If parents in affluent areas pay form riding lessons and such like I don't see what difference that makes to education. Make all kids go to their local state school. Allocate funding for every state school based on the exact same £ per pupil. I don't expect a kid in a deprived area to have parents who can afford riding lessons but at least they will get a similar education to all other kids.

I have spent a small amount of time down south and I did notice the class system down there but you must forgive doesn't really exist around here.

beatback, my spelling isn't so hot, I was only messing around. There are that many kids with A* for everything, the whole measuring of a kids education these days is a complete farce anyway.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 22:43:17

Firstly, I am mid 40s and grew up in an area similar to what Langworthy was like before any regeneration bollocks!
Secondly, I wasn't talking about 'down south' but just south of Manchester though I fully accept that it seems like a world away.

The other thing that I should maybe have explained is that schools in affluent areas do end up with more money to spend on nice things. Less money is needed for additional staff to help 'man' a class. Also, when the PTA can raise 2-3k just from a summer fayre and happily donates most of it to pay for things such as a visiting theatre group or a well known author or amazing outdoor play equipment then you quickly realise that the difference is very palatable. All this sort of stuff on top of everything their parents manage to provide for them outside of school and the fact that they enter school so far ahead means that the experiences and opportunities open to them are a world away from the poorer kids so all they have in common is the fact they don't pay for school.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 22:45:43

Plus more money for nice books, attractive furnishings, posters and general environment.

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 22:59:22

Mary katherine No. it was the town where neil hamilton faced the man with the white suit.

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 23:06:28

Mary katherine. You used to be able to take a short cut though to the town though that entrance. OH DEAR NAUGHTY NAUGHTY!

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:07:56

Ah yes! A pretty town. I don't know much about the schools there. DH has just said, 'it's proper Cheshire as it has an Aston Martin garage!'

rob99 Sat 13-Jul-13 23:09:12

So add up all the extra's paid for by wealthy parent, riding lessons, after school private tuition, school donations, nice books, furnishings etc etc....and then pay £33k private school fees....or....accept that the wealth/aspirations of the parents will inevitably give their kids an advantage but at least try to even things up a little by removing the option of private/public education from 9-3.30.

Don't quite understand the relevance of you being in your mid forties.

I like the way you slipped in the word bollocks.....are you trying to "be down" with the working class?

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 23:11:54

Actually it has a Rolls Royce Garage and a Bentley Garage the Aston garage is in wilmslow.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:12:04

We haven't lived there for a couple of years but I remember taking dd1 to a party in that school hall and having a notice placed on my car because I hadn't paid to park. I hadn't even looked around for a parking metre as I assumed as I was parked in a school car park on a Sunday afternoon then it was free. It was a very snooty note telling me that my car reg had Ben logged and next time I would be clamped!

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:18:32

Oh is it? That's probably more apt. I don remember as it wouldn't be on my radar. We lived in the PP area of W so my kids did actually walk to school (PH)

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:22:36

I am working class and DH is always telling me off for saying bollocks.
The ref to my age was because as I'm sure you know, inner city estates were even more deprived 35yrs ago when I was in primary school.

Oh and I'm sure you meant to come back on and correct the incorrect apostrophe you placed in extras. wink

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 23:24:51

Rob99.There is a difference between a private day school and a full on boarding school that charge 33k pa. If you know your history you will realise that many of the best private schools in greater Manchester were state schools or direct grant schools that were forced to go private because of stupid politcal dogma in the 1970s and most of these schools would love to become state schools again if the could retain academic selection and then they could benefit the local communties where they are located and in areas like salford, academic schools are needed more than in areas of relative affluence. right kids need to be in schools where inteligence and hard work are not frowned upon which is not possible in those areas. Rob if you really want to improve education for kids from these areas you should be of the belief that kids in these areas need to be seperated from the bad influences and problems or at least at the schools they attend.

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 23:26:27


MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:26:47

Oh and when we were paying school fees in Cheshire they were actually 6k a year. School fees vary enormously and 33k pa is more like the fees paid to board at a well known public school. Which is a completely different experience altogether.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:32:04

Yes indeed! Schools like Manchester Grammar have a bling admission policy whereby if you reach a certain level on the test you get a place irrespective of whether your parents can afford the fees or not. Personally, I would be happy for our school to do the same as, despite what many of the abolitionists believe, most parents do not pay to be elitist and avoid poor children. They often pay to avoid disruption. Bright kids from poor backgrounds should be given that same opportunity. I'd be more than happy for a old % of my fees to be put towards assisted places up to and inc 100% bursaries if required.

MaryKatharine Sat 13-Jul-13 23:34:13

Lol at that typo!
Blind admission policy! Fallowfield certainly wasn't bling the last time I drove through it! grin

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 23:34:37

Mary Katherine. The fees sound about what it cost for my niece and newphew when they were at prep school. It was a good investment because it meant they both got in to Grammar schools and niece has just finished first year at RG University reading French with business studies newphew just finished G.C.S.E "s

beatback Sat 13-Jul-13 23:41:32

One of the first things BLAIR did when he came in to power in 1997 was to abolish the Assisted places scheme which was total vandalism and was done just for politcal dogma rather than for reason to improve anything.

Tasmania Sun 14-Jul-13 02:40:39

"I don't expect a kid in a deprived area to have parents who can afford riding lessons but at least they will get a similar education to all other kids."


You are completely and utterly deluded, if you think that kids will have the exact same education, if they go to the same school. You can put kids into one school, and one kid's parents read to him/her at home while the only book to be found at the other kid's place may be a phone book.

You may laugh about extracurricular activities, but if children do a lot of different things that are not all the same, it broadens their horizon - I'm sure you can explain that more scientifically using neurons and networks in a growing child's brain, but anyway... And since you are soooo against it - with horse riding you learn superb balance, hand/eye coordination - and more importantly, the ability to communicate with a creature that doesn't speak your language, and could potentially kill you if you really piss it off. (There are horses who are freakin' good at teaching kids manners!)

Let us put it this way: any kid I have will at the very least learn one foreign language outside of school, and have travelled significantly before even leaving school. DH has a PhD in a scientific subject, and will pass on some of his knowledge, too. Music and sport would also feature highly on the list. The kid will live in a smoke-free home, eating healthy meals. So even if no private school existed, the kid in my house would still be better off than one in a household with chain-smoking parents who eat fast food, and put no value on foreign languages, scientific knowledge, music and sport.

Whether you believe it or not - at the places I have worked for, what you did outside of school was mightily important.

Xenia Sun 14-Jul-13 08:32:46

Yes around £10k a year is or has been the fees for most of the best academic prep day schools in the country.Habs girls juniors Herts £11k a year.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 10:55:56

And don't think that 11k buys you a good education.

Have seen the standard at 2 very popular private schools friend's kids go to and was utterly shocked at the standard(and grades)ie not a patch on that given and achieved by my own dc at a lowly satisfactory state school. Gorgeous uniforms though.hmm

Utterly shocked that parents can legally get ripped off in his way.

Have different friends who teach in the private sector and both say they'd only pay for secondary- primarily for the uni connections(which stinks and I hope gets dealt with eventually).

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 11:32:36

It varies from year to year but typically about 25-30% of kids at DD's private school go on to Oxbridge. So, hopefully it won't get sorted, at least not until DS has gotten in grin

Parmarella Sun 14-Jul-13 11:40:10

It is always interesting, hearing about private schools that:

A.) they are ceap anyway and get worse grades than local comp
B.) it is unfair they exist as they give chidren an unfair advantage

Always makes me grin

Xenia Sun 14-Jul-13 11:51:46

I mweant the schools about £10k etc (primary levelm junior part) which are among the best schools of all sectors state and private boarding and day in the country for A levels and university entrance. I don't think anyone is suggesting schools like Haberdashers and North London c where my daughters went are a rip off and bad schools.

There are some good selective state schools too but most parents who pay for schools like Manchester Grammar etc tend to be pretty happy with what they get.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 13:32:50

MrButtercat - the parents probably don't think thT they are being "legally ripped off". Some parents deliberately look for private schools that aren't academically pushy.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 15:02:52

MrButtercat, we had friend who send their DDs to Withington girls school in Manchester. I'm not sure they'd agree with your statement that 11k doesn't buy you a good education. I seem to remember withington charged about 9 or 10k a year all the way up to Alevels.
You do realise its one of the top schools in the country results wise? And by top I mean consistently top 2 or 3 every year.

So if it is academic results you want you certainly can buy that for 11k. Though many parents pay to avoid that sort of thing and that's no less valid. There are also parents who choose to pay because their child has SENs which are simply not being met in the state sector.

beatback Sun 14-Jul-13 15:19:32

Marykatharine. You quite right about the fees being signifacantly lower in the north than the south. Private Schools can also benefit kids who for various reasons are not a good fit for state schools and that in most cases is not because their believe themselves to be superior but in many cases, some kids who are privately educated could believe themselves to be inferior, and may get eaten alive in a state school. On another thread there is a teacher who is leaving education despite liking the job because she cant deal with 5% of kids. If the 5% were seperated rather than managed i am sure a lot of these schools would achieve much better resul, not just academically but also giving their pupils more confidence in their future lives.

Xenia Sun 14-Jul-13 15:20:36

Only caveat to that is you cannot buy a place at an academic school with 5 applicants per place if your child is not very bright. The school chooses the pupils at the better schools not vice versa. Most who apply don't get in which in a sense makes them good.

beatback Sun 14-Jul-13 15:32:25

Xenia. Some of the best private schools are non selective and they can do a brilliant job with kids who have been "DESTROYED" by state education not just academically but though their confidence being destroyed and being terribly bullied for being slighty different within many comprehensives. In many circumstances these kids are singled out, and badly bullied. A lot of these state schools like to say this type of bullying does not exist but it does. I have known this to happen and the school will seek to blame the bullied pupil for not "BEING NORMAL" I.E not fitting in with the rest.

Parmarella Sun 14-Jul-13 15:56:24

Yes beatback

My Ds was told off for not staying out of the bully's way. He got punched in the face whilst minding his own business!

That caused me sleepless nights!

Dyslexic AND bullied AND did not like football ( ie fit in)

At the private school he has joined chess club and RSPCA club with like minded boys, and any violence or aggression is dealt with swiftly.

He is a different boy now.

It is not always about grades, or status

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 16:36:08

Forma and you're proud of that?hmm

Already is on the turn.Oxbridge already hunting state schools for bright pupils who genuinely deserve their places.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 17:24:53

MrButtercat, why the hmm at the suggestion that not everyone pays for the standard reason of pushy academics? My local state primary was highly over subscribed. Very, very high SATS results. I chose to pay for school in order to avoid that. My DD1 is academically gifted and I wanted an environment where they valued other areas of learning as much as literacy and numeracy. I am a primary teacher myself and I knew they would take her and push her and push her. I did not want that. I wanted her to thrive at a slower pace and be stretched sideways as it were.

That foundation has meant that now, at almost 8, she is thriving and enjoying the academic side of things without being 'burned out' by it in a way that I have seen many times with very able children.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 17:31:59

Oh and what a ridiculous suggestion; that privately educated children get places at Oxbridge they don't deserve.
The vast majority are just ordinary teenagers catching the bus each night with everyone else. Getting home and trying to eat, study and cope with all the distractions of family life just like teenagers at the local comp. Certainly their parents are often financially a bit better off that the neighbour at the comp-but of course, not always otherwise they wouldn't be neighbours, would they?

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 17:43:43

It was in ref to the poster boasting the 30% Oxbridge places.

And sorry not all private primaries are worth a penny in fees.I think some parents foolishly think that if you throw money at a child it buys a good education,it doesn't.Private doesn't mean a good education by default.Far from it.As I say I was staggered at what I saw and heard from friends.

As I said from what I've heard private is only worth it at secondary level and one big reason is contacts.The fact is a fraction of children go to private secondary and have the maj of Oxbridge places.Utterly wrong and thankfully finally beginning to be dealt with.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 18:03:03

MrButtercat - gone are the days when a wink and a nod from your house master is enough to get a not so bright student into Oxbridge. So I'm interested in knowing what 'contacts' my £15k pa is supposed to be buying me.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 18:10:30

Firstly, you say only worth it at secondary. I think you mean in terms of ensuring the best Alevels? I am not paying for that. I'm quite sure they'd ome out with similar results in state around here. As I said, I paid at primary to avoid a super pushy high achieving school. In prep, they were in a small class (not too small-16/18) and it was all about the experience. Vast grounds and a dedicated gardening lesson each week. Kids all grew their own flowers and veg etc. all that sort of stuff. Also dedicated sport and music. They started learning an instrument in small groups of 3 from Y1.

The other thing you mention is contacts. That's bollocks unless your child attends one of a handful of public schools. Those schools are a world away from your standard independent day school both in fees and attitude.

And you talk about some private primaries being rubbish. Of course they are! Some state primaries are rubbish too and hundreds of kids have no option there and neither are those parents getting value for money. You say it as if parents like me blindly pay without even visiting or checking up of the ethos or results or contentment of the current pupils which is ridiculous. Sure, you'll always get the odd parent who pays for elitism or stuffy uniform but they really are the exception.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 18:12:35

Nobody is saying it's just a wink and a nod but there are clearly benefits to being privately educated when applying to uni,the stats speak for themselves which is why Oxbridge are now scouting and encouraging comps.

Lets be honest a child with stellar grades deserves a place waaaay more if he got them from an inner city comp than a child at one of the better feeder private secondaries.Thankfully unis are waking up to this.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 18:23:24

What about an inner city comp compared to the nice leafy comp? As mentioned earlier on the thread, this is where the real division lies.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 18:30:52

No it doesn't.

Latest concerns from Ofsted are that the inner city schools are thriving and poorer children in the leafy suburbs and coastal towns are being left behind.

And sorry the real division on top of this are the very bright children from both who lose Oxbridge places to children from feeder private schools who are given advantages to get their stellar grades.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 18:46:28

MrButtercat - First you talk about 'contacts' and now it's 'advantages'. You seem to have walked back your contacts comments so would you care to expand on what advantages my DS is supposed to enjoy?

Tasmania Sun 14-Jul-13 18:47:23

Mr Buttercat - could it just be that a lot of the private schools actually get a lot of the top grades at A-levels (much, much more than state schools), and hence the pool of prospective students that meet the pre-requisites is bigger in a private school???

At Sixth Form, private school intake goes up - I believe 12% of Sixth Form pupils go private. The top private schools have a high criteria for getting in at Sixth Form - so the ones moving in from state schools are inevitably going to be the brighter ones. So there's a bit of a brain drain going on. If they then get the best grades, what should Oxbridge do?

A few months ago, we already had one of these debates on here, and I worked out using some of the data available, that statistically, Oxbridge is more likely to take in a state school student than private school students once both of them have the same grades.

But as I said - it is just that the pool of private school students having those grades is much larger, and hence, to someone from outside it looks like they still prefer private school kids.

Basically, if private school students at Sixth Form take in 12% of the population, but get a much higher proportion of the A-grades at A-levels relative to state school students, then it is natural that Oxbridge would take in more than 12% of students from private schools, isn't it?

Let me know if you don't get the maths...

HeyCarrieAnn Sun 14-Jul-13 18:57:25

And actually it's something like 18% of pupils post-16 are at private schools...makes the stats look a little different.

Tasmania Sun 14-Jul-13 18:58:16

Latest concerns from Ofsted are that the inner city schools are thriving and poorer children in the leafy suburbs and coastal towns are being left behind.

That's not true - you are referring to inner city schools versus schools in places like Hull. Not leafy AND wealthy suburbs...

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 19:05:17

Last year, I think it was the Sutton Trust that published a report showing where the privately educated kids came from. Not surprisingly, Eton and it's fellow public schools filled most of the top 10 slots.

So when people rant about private schools and Oxbridge then they should be aware that a pupil from an 'ordinary' private school doesn't have an advantage over some grammar school kid.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 19:25:58

Sorry, I disagree that Ofsted are worried about kids from leafy affluent comps. IME as a teacher, these kids do very well indeed. As do kids from grammar schools.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'feeder schools'! Do you mean schools like Etonian/Harrow/Rugby? If so you do know that these schools are not representative of the vast majority of privately educated kids, don't you?

So contacts and advantages. Well not sure we've made any contacts which would help us in the jobs market or with our uni applications when/if the time comes. Lots of friends though! As for advantages;hell yes!! I gave them the advantage of not having to share their teacher with 29 other kids. I also gave them the advantage of not having the national curriculum forced on them and spending a disproportionate amount of time doing literacy and numeracy. Are they the advantages you're talking about?

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 19:41:13

Mary well you disagree with Gove and Ofsted stats reported last month.Stats show the inner city schools are doing well,not so coastal towns and suburbs as regards poorer kids(the true test of teaching).

Brain drain to private schools pmsl grin there are G andT and bright kids in every school in the country,only a fraction can afford private so the huge majority don't go however the maj of Oxbridge places are privately educated- you do the maths.

"Brain drain"grin

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 19:47:01

Hmmm thinking of my 3 bright kids(2 G and T) guess I'll just go and rob a bank to get the 36k I need to facilitate the brain drain- simples!

wordfactory Sun 14-Jul-13 19:58:11

Tas is, to some extrent correct.

I'm involved in the widening access prog for Oxbridge and one of the issues that comes up time and time again, is that whilest it is highly important to encourage as many applicants as possible from as many backgrounds as possible, the reality is that many many fabulous candidates come from privilege and the departments don't want to lose those able students just to make the stats look more appealing!

beatback Sun 14-Jul-13 20:06:01

Why do some people not accept that most private schools are not ETON HARROW/WYCOMBE ABBEY, and are full of parents who are mostly middle income and have never thought about connections in choosing private education.The reason in many circumstances they have made major sacrifices to pay fees are because the state system in their eyes is incapable of maximising their childs potential. They did not pay private school fees for mixing with the parents or for swanky parties.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 20:06:15

I think you should have a point system with points deducted if you go to a top private school.If you've had classes of 15,advantages etc it is waaaay easier to get stellar grades.

Kind of scary those like word still aren't acknowledging that.hmmGuess it's all gov spin saying they are rectifying the problem.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 20:07:47

Beatback so don't pay the fees then,suck up the local comp like everybody else if there are no advantages.grin No thought not.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 20:34:14

MrButtercat - my DS has about 2 hours worth of assignments each weekday evening. Every weekend he has to revise what he has covered during the week because there is a Monday morning test. Each academic year there are two end of term exams and an end of year exam. His progress is constantly being monitored and reported so problems are quickly picked up on. That is why 30% go onto Oxbridge as opposed to 'contacts' and nods and winks.

Now, there is nothing to stop a state school following such a rigorous regime.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 20:37:42

beatback - speak for yourself. I pay the fees because I don't want to mix with people like MrButtercat grin

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 20:39:23

Homework has long been seen as pointless, and err state schools do pick up on problems. No sorry I think you'll find certain schools do enable pupils to get into top unis by contacts alongside certain advantages which money brings such as class size.And no state schools can't simply do this.

The fact is the state funding in London is sky high compared to other areas(probably why their inner city schools are doing so well).

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 20:40:33

Nice Formahmm

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 20:41:37

Learning by rote has also been proved to be pointless.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 20:47:02

I wasn't talking about poor kids in costal towns. I was talking about comps in affluent suburbs in places like Surrey and Cheshire. I'm also well aware that there's some real innovation going on in inner city schools. I know because I taught in them for years. Ofsted deemed me outstanding in those very schools so they and me must have been doing something right!grin

And of course there are bright, even exceptionally bright kids in state schools. I think Word's point is that for whatever reason they are not making the grade. Those that do get a place. I certainly don't believe that an applicant with excellent grades would fail to get a place because they were state educated. For whatever reason more state educated kids fail to reach their potential than privately educated kids. This certainly needs addressing. It does appear to be specific to comps though as you don't get the same issues at grammar school at least to the same extent.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 20:49:39


MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 20:53:25

But do you not think an A* from a comp must by default be worth more than an A* from a well established private school? I certainly do.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 20:59:40

MrButtercat - I love how you group all homework assignments into the same 'let's make a poster' type. For a person with such strong views about private schools you don't seem to know much about them.

Anyway, you mentioned that you have two G&T kids. How is that possible? I mean, they go to state school where they get an inferior education grin.

I love how some posters go on about how rich kids have an advantage and then go on about how clever their state school DCs are. Going to a state school hasn't exactly set then back.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 21:02:13

Why by default?

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 21:11:16

Eh no, I think an A* is an A* and any children getting an A* at Alevel has worked bloody hard and is obviously bright. I don't raise my eyebrows at state educated kids getting fantastic results. Why would I? I teach Y6 and see many very bright kids.

And can you clarify what you mean by well established, please? Do you mean public school or every independent day school has hasn't appeared in the last 5yrs? What about poor kids in grammar areas attending grammar schools and getting A*s? Are their results worth about 3/4 that of the comp kid's results?

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 21:43:48

Erm who mentioned posters?

Bright kids which are to be found in every school up and down the land are bright regardless.There is a difference between ability and attainment.You may be bright but it doesn't follow you'll get an A*.It is widely reported how bright kids are under performing in state schools.

Getting an A* is easier in tiny classes,with better resources,better discipline etc,etc.Less clever pupils can be tutored though the 11+ so it follows that the same can happen with A levels.Basically a bright pupil in a large class with crap resources,low discipline,poor teaching etc will have made more of an achievement than a pupil from Eton.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 21:54:32

Why do you keep referring to schools like Eton? That is a tiny % of the overall pupils educated privately.
And I take issue with your suggestion that teaching in state schools is poor.
There is a big problem with attainment in some schools but the answer is to put measures in place to raise that attainment not to insist that all children be subjected to such difficult conditions.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 21:57:22

And I'd bet my house on the fact that the bright kid who achieves well despite his surroundings has a fantastically supportive family at home. That is often the crucial factor in how well a child does.

beatback Sun 14-Jul-13 22:06:36

Also that the child has not had is education blighted by bad influences within the classroom. That bad behaviour has not been allowed to disrupt the teaching.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 22:09:53

Certainly didn't say all teaching in state is poor.

Love the pretence that non Eton private schools shouldn't be regarded as elitest or an advantage.grin

Ok if it makes you feel better we'll all pretend.

beatback Sun 14-Jul-13 22:11:32

Mr Buttercutt. Are Grammar Schools elitest then?

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 22:14:17

They don't exclude by money.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 22:15:04

Well they aren't all elitist but of course they offer an advantage otherwise nobody would bother. What that advantage is though, varies tremendously from school to school and isn't always what you would think. There was a school near where we used to live in Cheshire who specialised in high functioning autism and severe dyslexia. Parents chose it because the melting pot of the state sector didn't cater for their child's specific needs.

But a large inner city day school really is nothing like schools such as EC though I suppose it suits your argument to lump them together.

Xenia Sun 14-Jul-13 22:16:47

G&T doesn't mean much at some state schools as a set % at the top are called that. So if everyone has an IQ of 80 and you have 110 then you might be G&T at some comps.

PLenty of children (half Oxbridge) do okay at good comps but clearly a lot of us who made more sensible career choices than Mr B or we earn more because we have a higher IQ think paying fees is worth doing and are happy with the results - which for me is about a huge range of things, not just exam results.

Plenty of children have all kinds of advantages. I don't think schooling is any different. If you feed children well or love or listen to them they are advantaged too., If you married a bright woman or a man with healthy genes you advantage your children etc etc

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 22:16:48

Ah so it's ok if you're poor but bright but not if you're poor and less bright?

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 22:19:11

Said inner city day would still give advantages as I'm sure people don't like shelling out 11k for the hell of it.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 22:27:13

Agree with you re G and T it's a crock Xenia although however much you hate the idea bright kids are in every school up and down the land regardless of label.

Re career,money isn't everything.Have you still not learnt that.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 22:27:24

Of course it would but not a lot more than many good grammars.

Oh and you are also jumping to the conclusion that people pay to make sure their kids come out ahead of the local state option. See my earlier post as to why that isn't always the case. And certainly in our case, I paid to avoid the high academic environment for my very bright DD. She genuinely is way ahead.DS1is what I would call very bright but DD1 is on a different scale. I knew a high achieving state school would encourage her into as many academic GCSEs as possible. I want her to go to a secondary where they value music and art as highly as maths.

I went to a state comprehensive and all our top set where pushed into doing the more academic olevels and Alevels. Nobody ever suggested doing drama instead of a second language or a second science. You were then expected to apply for an academic degree at university without considering a poly or anything more creative. If she wants to be a mathematician then fine but I want it all to be presented equally and for her to make the choice.

MrButtercat Sun 14-Jul-13 22:29:25

Oh and Xenia earning power isn't jut down to IQ,sadly many people who earn a lot earn it because of contacts and poor social mobility.

wordfactory Sun 14-Jul-13 22:31:54

Mrbuttercat nowhere will you find myself or any of my colleagues saying that pupils at top independent schools don't have an advantage!

However, that most certainly does not mean that those pupils are inferior to their state schooled counterparts and that they obtain their stellar grades solely because of their advantage.

The reality is that many of the top private schools are absurdly selective. The pupils there are uber bright. And, like it or lump it, they have spent several years being academically challenged and enabled.

That is the unpalatable truth. And I say that as someone from a comp who went to Oxbridge myself and am frimly committed to widening access.

beatback Sun 14-Jul-13 22:38:17

Mr Buttercutt. Some people on this website believe that Grammar Schools are equally or more elitist than many private schools, and has Mary katherine has said some state schools can have more prosperous families there than many private schools. Is it not a parents duty to give their child every advantage they can, whether though selective state education or private education, if their child needs it and if the parents can provide those opportunities they must.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 22:41:01

MrButtercat - if G&T is such a crock then why did you earlier boast about your kids being G&T?

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 22:41:01

Can I just add that I, to, am in favour of widening access. Just because I pay for my kids does not mean I don't believe that all kids deserve a good education and opportunity to access Oxbridge and other great universities.

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 22:48:33

MrButtercat - you probably find that grammar schools are also stacked with MC children who had the benefit of being tutored by educated parents or expensive tutors, to pass the entrance exam.

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Jul-13 22:53:47


I suspect that my IQ is, or at least has been, higher than yours - as are my educational qualificatoons, as I have pointed out many times.

I work in a socially useful job (rather than the financially more rewarding but very capitalist job I held in the past) because that is the value set I have - courtesy of my parents, my education, my upbringing and my own long-considered views.

In other words I have used my very high IQ to look wider than my own, narrow advantage and the narrow advantage of my children to consider the good of others, and (if you like, though I would not be so grandiose) of society as a whole.

High IQ does not = a particular set of values. It means, perhaps, the ability to think very carefully about one's values, to weigh them against opposing views, and to choose one's own course. It is no surprise, then, that very intelligent people make a very wide set of choices about their careers, their children - which is different from your assertion that high IQ means that people possessing that IQ choose a very particular and proscibed path...

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Jul-13 22:54:21

qualifications, of course.

Schmedz Sun 14-Jul-13 23:14:21

thanks Teacher these are for you.

I often wonder if Xenia is actually that woman from The Apprentice who refuses to let her children associate with other children possessing certain names...some of her views and the inexplicable and sad obsession with income are certainly as obnoxious (but apparently one only believes this because one feels inferior!)

FormaLurka Sun 14-Jul-13 23:16:25

Teacher - you chucked in a highly paid job to be a teacher of kids which carries like 14 weeks holiday. From comments you made elsewhere your your husband is doing quite well so I suspect that you still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

If you went off to Africa to work in an orphanage then I can understand your feelings of moral superiority but come on.

Tasmania Sun 14-Jul-13 23:29:22

Mr Buttercat - IMHO an A* is worth nothing these days as too many people get it. I knew many people who were supposed to have gotten that in a language but were very far from fluent in it!!!

Education is not just about getting the right grades. I'd like kids to be confident. I'd like them to speak other languages fluently. I'd like them to not completely be intimidated by the prospect of Oxbridge, for example. Many state schools do a mediocre job in all the above.

Schmedz Sun 14-Jul-13 23:29:35

I prefer Teacher's basis for any 'moral superiority' to Xenia's.

Actually, I don't think her post even implied any superiority - it seemed to me she was merely addressing the misconceptions of the poster to whom she was responding - that intelligence is inextricably and proportionally linked to income (and personal worth).

And yes, how those 14 weeks holiday completely negate the impact and usefulness of her chosen profession! Those lazy teachers 'working' 9-3 during term time only, babysitting the offspring of others and swanning about on holidays while other people do 'real' work...

poppydoppy Mon 15-Jul-13 07:45:28

Speaking as an employer, in a age where most children I see have attained the same high grades at school. I would most certainly give a job to a child from a comp in a rough area over a privately educated child.

wordfactory Mon 15-Jul-13 08:41:05

schmedz I think teacher was most certainly declaring her moral superiority over xenia !!!!

That was the entire purpose of her post!!!

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 08:44:13

Forma because you mentioned a brain drain.

I mentioned G&T because in theory my dc would be part of any private brain drain.However not being able to cough up £36k a year like the maj of parents that won't be happening.

There is no private brain drain,there are bright kids in every school up and down the land however unpalatable that may be to you.

You seem to have a chip re grammar.

flowers from me to Teacher too,thank god we don't all have Xenia's view or the country would grind to a halt.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 09:45:52

Well to be fair, forma was pressing you about grammar schools because you were calling private schools elitist.

So given that they and their fab education is only open to the brightest kids in the area, isnt that elitist too?
So many MC parents complain about private schools yet jump at the chance for their bright kids to attend a grammar school. You may not need to pay but it's still segregation!

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 09:47:23

But it's ok I guess if you fall on the right side of the line! hmm

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 09:55:18

Where we are you see many parents paying private primary fees of £12k a yer,then ££££££ on a tutor on top to shoe horn their kids in to grammar in order to save on secondary fees.

That annoys me far more than genuinely bright kids whose parents can't afford tutoring and who get in on their own back.Quite frankly if you manage to get in after competing with the above all power to you.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 10:02:59

Yes but the grammar system is still very elitist. Nobody thinks about poor little joe up the road who isn't bright enough to pass the exam but whose parents would also quite like for him to have a good education which is not disrupted by kids who don't want to learn.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 10:06:20

Not sure why it annoys you that people tutor for it. All the people I know who live in a grammar area and have kids at stats primary also tutor for it. I think there's very few kids entering that room these day who haven't been cramming.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 10:11:37

That's as may be however removing it doesn't stop the far worse elitist system of private education which buys you advantages which the maj whatever their ability can't have access to.

I'd happily see both got rid of.

However grammar does cater for some children with additional needs.My dad was uber bright and had poor parents in service.He went to a highly selective grammar a year early and ended up highly successful in his chosen career.Tbh if he hadn't have gone who knows what would have happened to him as he wouldn't have been catered for in the comp equivalent,he'd have been bored shatless.

We quite rightly cater for SEN so it follows that the other end should be catered for.

I guess I'm on the fence re grammar.Can see arguments both ways however I think the private system is far worse,it helps nobody bar the rich.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 10:13:38

Erm if my dc went for it I wouldn't be paying for a tutor,simply don't have the cash.There are many like me too.

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 10:59:09

Mr Buttercat - would you like us to introduce communism???

Most democratic countries have private schools. Not just the UK. That will not change - however you may want this to happen.

When will people just see - not all people are equal. I do find it amazing that people are ready to believe that athleticism, musicality, etc. may in large part be due to genetics, but academic ability isn't??? Apart from a few outliers, I'd expect academic parents to have academic children, and hence have a natural advantage in life as academic ability is one of the main factors that contribute to future success (there's also things like confidence, determination, networking ability, and of course a heap of luck). Similarly, I don't expect Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi's children to be morbidly obese in the near-term either! Are we THAT politically correct that we have to lie about this issue?!?

I would say that if you have schools that possibly teach the naturally brighter ones already (given that a large part of kids in private / public / grammar schools come from households with well-educated and probably successful parents), in addition to most of them also having selective intake... it would be a no-brainer if they were to get a fair proportion of the uni places / best jobs out there.

What's next? Will people be told who to have children with - i.e. a breeding programm to create children who are all "equal" in ability from the very beginning, so that no one is advantaged?!?. confused

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 11:13:29

But far too many children who are born with ability are not getting into the top unis- the privately educated ones however are.That is wrong.Money is stopping many children from reaching their true potential.

Seems to me many posters on this thread like the cosy status quo that suits them and not anything that may upset the apple cart such as grammar schools,more state children enabled to get into Oxbridge etc.

This is exactly why social mobility is so poor in this country.

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 11:26:08

So you mean to say most countries have a problem then... given most have private schools?

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 11:32:53

Plus... Mr Buttercat... You do know you have statistically a higher chance getting into Oxbridge with straight A's when you are from state school, don't you??? It's just that a higher proportion from private schools do get A's. And how do you know those kids are not just naturally bright as I said above (genetics + selective intake)...

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 11:57:37

But they're not.

The fact is a tiny minority go private and they form the maj at Oxbridge.

And no I don't buy the fact that the rich are more likely to be cleverer.

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 12:10:07

As someone above pointed out... 18% of post-16 pupils do go private.

Not a tiny minority by any means, Mr Buttercat.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 12:17:24

Pretty small minority in my book.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 12:18:39

82% are thus state educated.hmm

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 12:34:13

Only ~ 30% of the Oxbridge intake are private school pupils. Given they are 18% of all pupils in Sixth Form, and get the majority of A-grades... Oxbridge intake is ALREADY skewed towards state school pupils.

What part of this don't you get?!?

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 12:35:12

So in your book, Oxbridge should dis eliminate against private schools and take in less???

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 12:43:31

I read 47% of students at Oxford were privately educated,the figures should surely be vey near the actual difference ie your huge minority of 18%.

And yes I do think Oxbridge should do something,any privately educated child can go state if they so choose so nobody need miss

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 13:53:17

That must be a very old figure, Buttercat.

wordfactory Mon 15-Jul-13 16:00:18

mrb is nearer the mark. The figure is just over fifty percent state educated at oxbridge. But the issues involved are complex. Its just as simple as giving more places to 'deserving' state pupils. For a start too few apply! And of those that do too few have the right qualifications! Many state schools simply don't prep their pupils adequaltely and it isn't for the university to bridge the gap.

beatback Mon 15-Jul-13 16:24:31

Mr buttercatt. You say that the private school parents are frightend by the Grammar Schools, therfore i would like to ask you 2 Questions 1 Do you believe there should be more Grammar Schools? 2 If you do not believe in more Grammar Schools would you like a return to the assisted places scheme or something similar?.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 16:42:03

As I said I'm on the fence however if more grammar schools would get more genuinely bright state educated kids into Oxbridge who otherwise wouldn't it wouldn't be a bad thing I guess.

I'm guessing the wealthy parents of less intelligent kids who can afford private ed,extra tuition on top,music lessons,travel,more resources etc wouldn't like the extra competition though.wink

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 16:43:41

Word out of interet what are the 'right' qualifications that state kids don't have?

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 17:26:58

wordfactory - at Cambridge, around 37% were privately educated according to recent figures. I am aware that at Oxford, it is more around 43.5% (according to their website - they should change this, if not true), so an average of 40% rather than half.

Mr Buttercat - re. 'right' qualifications, this is all to be found in the university prospectuses. But it seems not many state school teachers read it?!?

Often to do with specific subject combinations, and 'facilitating' subjects. Truth is, if pupils want to know, they could find out, but from what I have figured out having lived here in the UK for over a decade... kids really, really lack the drive to research anything on their own, and only really want to be spoon-fed, it seems!!!

I was in another country when I was applying to UK unis, and the internet was not yet 100% at the time, so had to use the library and write to the British council... as a 17-year-old. Don't want to sound like a party-pooper or some boring grandma, but what happened to the youth these days?!?

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 17:29:30

Not Oxbridge, but Russell Group, *Mr Buttercat*:

Some advanced level subjects are more frequently required for entry to degree courses than others. We call these subjects ‘facilitating’ because choosing them at advanced level leaves open a wide range of options for university study. These facilitating subjects include: Maths and further maths; Physics; Biology; Chemistry; History; Geography; Modern and classical languages; English Literature.

Some of the above are not well-taught at state school (particularly modern and classical languages), so could potentially be limiting.

Tasmania Mon 15-Jul-13 17:31:35

Actually - correction... 42.5% at Oxford.

wordfactory Mon 15-Jul-13 18:46:45

As tasmania points out the right qualifications are a decent slew od GCSEs in rigorous subjects. Obviously no one minds Drama, or textiles, or dance but they need to sit alongside the more trad subjects. The grades also need to be very good. Yes they will be contextualised if you attended a very poor school, but they will still need to be decent (especially at Oxford who are stricter on this). Similarly A levels need to be appropriate and demonstrate an interest and aptitude in the subject applied for. Too many state school applications fail here.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 19:54:33

Interestingly, our school, which goes up to 18, encourages bright kids to do 4 Alevel but to do 3 traditional subjects and one for enjoyment. So you'll get kids doing, maths, economics, physics and their 4th will be home economics or drama. The tutor who deals with university applications says that she thinks it can give an edge in a sea of 3 or 4 similar Alevels and seems to be well received as long as they hit the grade with their 3 traditional subjects. Something else to talk about at interview too, I guess.

Wuldric Mon 15-Jul-13 20:00:44

Here is a list of subjects not to do at A level because they limit people's chances of getting into good universities. This list has been published by Cambridge University, but other good Universities have already followed suit. The DCs schools circulated this list

Art and design
Business studies
Communication studies
Design and technology
Drama and theatre studies
Film studies
Health and social care
Home economics
Information and communication technology
Leisure studies
Media studies
Music technology
Performance studies
Performing arts
Physical education
Sports studies
Travel and tourism
Source: Cambridge University

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 20:15:17

But I can't honestly believe that anybody trying to get into a red brick uni would study any of those.It's a loooong time since I did A levels and even I would advice any of my 3 to avoid them. Surely schools point this out.confused

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 20:48:01

Well that contradicts my post somewhat but out sch admission tutor is talking about as a 4th or 5th Alevel not as main choices.
I'm surprised law isn't on there. DH avoids taking on candidates who have done law Alevel. In fact, he much prefers them to have done something like history followed by a conversion over a law degree. but he's picky like that!

Wuldric Mon 15-Jul-13 20:51:29

Yes, I too am surprised that Law is not on that list. I am surprised that Art and Design is on that list. It's a hard A level.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 20:55:04

Yes, I am also surprised to see art on there. Our school is very selective at 11 and highly over-subscribed and art is a big department all the way through to Alevel. Every year we get to see some of the work and it is always amazing.

rob99 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:02:02

I think it's worse than that.......It's a bit rich playing the moral high ground card Teacher by taking a "useful" job that's well below your maximum earning potential (your words) and then admit to being married to a Lawyer........I'm not saying Lawyers are overpaid parasites but......they are overpaid parasites and about as capitalist as it my opinion.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 21:02:52

I was advised not to do art back in the 80s (it isn't hard if you're arty)I only wanted to be a teacher,switched to Classical Civilisation - now that's a dossy A Level,ditto Ancient History which I also did.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 21:09:59

History isn't a dossy Alevel at all! I did eng lit, history and economics. History was def the most weighty even though it was my favourite and I went on to do history at the university that started up the Russell Group.
Maybe art depends on the exam board. I'm not arty at all but it all looks a lot of work to me.

teacherwith2kids Mon 15-Jul-13 21:12:45

Rob. I think that you have me confused with someone else - definitely NOT married to a lawyer....

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 21:14:39

I did history(hard) as well and Eng Lit,Ancient History was dossy believe me,I did the lessons at lunchtime as an add on.I had an amazing

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 21:19:40

I am also a teacher married to a lawyer. It's quite common. DH's boss is always teasing her teacher husband about how he can only do his 'hobby' as she calls it (ie teaching) because she pays the bills. There are at least 4 mumsnet teachers married to lawyers.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 21:23:13

Ah, maybe it's like human biology gcse was at my school. All the kids who did that were the ones school felt could cope with doing biology, chemistry or physics.

MaryKatharine Mon 15-Jul-13 21:26:26

Oh rob99, not only is DH a lawyer but he works for a large bank in the city advising them how 'just' to stay within the lines. What can I say! grin

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 21:27:36

I don't think people did it instead of anything but as an easy 4th A level if you were already doing Classics.

wordfactory Tue 16-Jul-13 06:32:30

Mrbuttercat you would be shocked just how many bright pupils take the wrong subjects.

You'd also be shocked at how many get no advice on this from their schools. Or indeed, how many teachers there are advising pupils that these guideleines are elitist and old fashioned. That A level Media Studies is perfectly equivalent to, say, physics!

There are some posters (teachers) who argue this all the time on MN.

And yes, an A level in law is not too useful in this context, unless it's a fourth or fifth A level. And then one might ask why they bothered. Why not do somehting more interesting with their time wink.

wordfactory Tue 16-Jul-13 06:37:50

Quick example: there is currently a thread about whether English Language A level is considered as rigorous as English Literature.

The short answer is no. It is not.

But you'll see people arguing black is white on that thread. Apparently that is a snobby and elitist thing to say.

Is there any wonder pupils and their parents can get confused?

MrButtercat Tue 16-Jul-13 09:34:23

Hmmm I wonder if it's due to data and Ofsted pressure.

If kids do easier exams you get higher pass rates.

MrButtercat Tue 16-Jul-13 09:34:48

School then looks better on paper.

rob99 Tue 16-Jul-13 11:08:36

Oh rob99, not only is DH a lawyer but he works for a large bank in the city advising them how 'just' to stay within the lines. What can I say!

I think adults who spend all day long with kids.....invariably start to act and talk like them ! It's not very becoming of a lady and a teacher and a human being to say something like that.

wordfactory Tue 16-Jul-13 12:23:58

I think there is that mrbuttercat. I think there is also vested interest. The head of Food Technology is unlikely to play it down. And nor is the HT who decided to offer such subjects and employ staff. There is also genuine ignorance. Some teachers are bafflingly underinformed. There is also politicking of course.

beatback Tue 16-Jul-13 12:43:10

Rob99. I agree with you there seems to be academic snobbery going on here i have only basic vocational qualifacations. This due to being badly let down at school and some posters on here think if you dont have a masters degree you are unable to add anything to a debate. you are looked upon as a bit dim without a university education. I dont think most of the posters repersent real life and i know many people from some of the wealthiest people to people doing basic miniumun pay jobs. the views and perceptions of a lot of posters are totally out of step with the vast majority of even "POSH PEOPLE" within this country.

Pyrrah Tue 16-Jul-13 14:01:10

I wouldn't call Ancient History an easy option A Level at all - or at least it wasn't when I did it many eons ago. There is a Classical Civilisations one that is likely to feature on the Cambridge List.

There also used to be a fantastic A Level called 'Social Biology' which no longer exists. It would probably have been better if it had not had the word Biology in the title as it made it sound like an easier option rather than just being 'different'. I was the last year to take the subject - I would have described it as a cross between Biology/Zoology/Paleontology.

Since I was applying to read Arch & Anth my choices of Latin, Anc. Hist and Soc. Bio were pretty ideal. Certainly none of the universities that offered the subject (including Cambridge) turned their noses up at them.

However, A Levels have changed beyond all recognition so I don't have a clue what they're like now in terms of content.

I have seen kids be very poorly advised in terms of A Level choices, but if you know what you want to study then it's really not very impressive if you fail to look up the matric requirements for the course you want at the type of universities you want.

I think there is a lot of be said for doing something like History at uni and then a Law conversion course rather than law all the way through...

Pyrrah Tue 16-Jul-13 14:05:50

Another thing that is worth mentioning is that you don't actually need Art & Design A Level to go to Art College.

I did 4 academic A Levels and put together a portfolio in my spare time - the art teacher was hopping mad when I got a place at a very good college to do Foundation Art in my Gap Year (probably because 3 of his students failed to get a place and the HT had him over his desk because of it) and demanded that I bring in my portfolio in to prove that it was actually my work!

The college said it was nice to have students who hadn't been taught bad habits... whatever that meant!

rob99 Tue 16-Jul-13 14:29:32

If nothing else, some schools are character building. My best subject was art but I could only concentrate in complete peace and quiet. I did all my work at home and submitted it all for the mock exam where my art teacher gave me a B. 3 months later for the exam proper, the same art teacher gave me an E for the same exhibition of work plus another 3 or 4 pieces that I'd added. I'm guessing he thought it wasn't my work but decided to use the exam proper to let me know his thoughts !

My worst subject was English Lit. I consistently achieved the worst marks for homework in the whole class....partly because I couldn't be arsed and partly because it might as well had been in Chinese. I decided to buck the trend and make a real effort in my neatest handwriting.....I didn't get my homework handed back to me. When I asked the teacher where my homework was, she said she had ripped it up and thrown it away because somebody else had obviously written it. Go figure.

The moral of the story is..........teachers pigeon hole pupils and nowt will change their opinion.

MaryKatharine Tue 16-Jul-13 15:30:09

Oh FFS, how ridiculous! What on earth has being lady like got to do with anything? You have been rude and nasty about both lawyers and teachers then you criticise me about a post laughing about how DH isn't just a lawyer but gives legal advice to the bank. You have a massive chip on your shoulder which really is petty.

As for the debate, well I think English language is rightly compulsory to GCSE to (try to) ensure a basic standard across the board. Even at GCSE is it lessrigorous than Eng lit so how can it possibly be as rigorous at Alevel?

beatback Tue 16-Jul-13 16:23:19

It is very sad that some subjects or even variations of the same subject are considered less or more rigorous and more worthy than other subjects. This is the kind of academic snobbery that has made going to university essential for kids today and has made it almost impossible for people who are not graduates to advance in to senior management postions, despite in many cases being far more capable than the graduates. This is one of the reasons many parents make huge sacrifices to send kids to either private schools or grammar schools.If your DC"s future options were not a case of of a 50k debt but chance of a career and a future or no debt but a maximum wage of £300 pw then this would not be a relevant subject. The reality is this is going to get worse within time. I would love people to be able to get to the top with abilty not just academic qualifactions. The future though looks like that will be almost impossible for the 60%to 70% who will not have a degree. that is why i feel that it is the parents responsibilty if possible to do their best in putting their child in to the best education available but please stop denigrating certain subjects.