behaviour in state vs private(58 Posts)
I have 3 kids and the eldest (girls) are happy and settled at our local state primary, my youngest is a boy due to start in 2014. Right from the start he has been more challenging, doesn't listen and can be quite naughty. He's bright but very 'can't be bothered not going to do it's
Private school is an option and I just wondered anyone with experience of both at primary level whether behaviour is better in the private sector, I suppose I think small class sizes must help a teacher keep a more wilful kid on track..? Any advice would be very helpful!
I would never send one of my children private and not the others!
Think it depends very much on the schools in question.
Moved mine out of the state sector last year in Yrs 3 and 4. Part of the reason was a problem with bullying for ds in Yr 4. There has been one incident in his new prep school and they were all over it - they are quite clear that they will exclude the perpetrator's if there is any recurrence. This attitude is not a surprise as we chose the school for ds because it is very rigorous in its expectations both in terms of school work and discipline (without being authoriarian at all).
By contrast, dd was in a well behaved class at her state primary school. She has moved to an all girls school with a much more child centred attitude (as she lacked confidence). Generally the girls are well behhaved (as girls this age generally are), but when there is a problem, I am not sure how well equipped the school is to deal with it.
It depends totally on the school, IMO.
Behaviour and safety have, rightly, been rated outstanding at my dds' state primary. The children are happy, pastoral care is fantastic, and issues are addressed as soon as they crop up.
Having been to private schools myself, and having seen some of the bullying that is denied by the authorities in some private schools - and state schools - I can promise you it really does depend on the individual school.
It completely depends on the school OP, there will be some private schools where behaviour is relatively poor, comparably there will be state schools with excellent behaviour, it all depends on the school.
Bear in mind that there are two different issues in every school: behaviour during class time in front of the class teacher and behaviour at all other times during the school day. Some schools manage to keep reasonably on top of behaviour in class time, but don't seem to manage to spread the general ethos of respect and consideration for others to other parts of the school day. Since a lot of children are miserable at school because of what happens out of the teacher's sight and earshot, it is worth remembering that.
The other thing is - are you prepared for your child to be expelled for bad behaviour?
Cause if a private school requires good behaviour and he can't do that, that can be the end result.
You can't send one and not the others, especially as he's a boy- way to set up your dds for a whole load of resentment
DS might well thrive in smaller classes; especially if the school doesn't follow the early years curriculum (especially literacy and numeracy hours), but you should move them all, not just one,
Bear in mind that the state school may have better systems and strategies for supporting behaviour than the private. It depends on the individual schools.
it depends on
- the schools
- your kids
- their friends
- the weather
- the phases of the moon
ok the last two are silly, but the variables are far too huge to be assessed by strangers
It depends on whether the School has a malignant 5% of pupils or not?
I have taught in 3 state schools (2 mixed, 1 boys') and 1 private (girls'). The behaviour and general attitude in the private school was a million times better in the private one than all the others. Just no comparison. The fact that it was a girls' school probably made a difference too (although apparently the behaviour at our local girls' state school is pretty bad).
Holmes/sweetholmes .Did the bad behaviour stem from the same malignant 5% or so of pupils?
No. There were always a few really appallingly-behaved ones, but they never bothered me as much because they usually had sad or awful reasons for their behaviour, and would be removed from lessons if they really kicked off. What I found utterly depressing was the 20-40% who just can't be arsed and piss around the whole time, have no respect for anyone much, and think the world owes them something. Can't be bothered to bring books or a pen to class. Are low-level rude and aggressive to each other most of the time.
If he's that challenging, a lot of private schools would find an excuse to get rid of him, pretty quickly.
Holmes that's interesting as I've taught in a girls state and mixed private and the behaviour at the state was better!
Agree with ouryve but also depends on how desperate they are to fill up numbers/if they have people on waiting list to take the place.
Reastie. Was it a Girls Grammar School?
Reastie if you being serious and not sarcastic you have just proved a point about selective education and the state school was probably more selective and had kids with more serious attitudes to education than even the private school you have taught in. The sad thing is that you would not be saying the state school was better behaved if you taught bottom set at a bog standard comprehensive would you.
I know an all boys' state grammar school where the behaviour is appalling. Does that say more about clever boys, or about the school?
When you say appalling does that mean swearing at the teacher or throwing chairs around the classroom and does the boys Grammar School have kids excluded from lessons and taught in internal exclusion then?
I'm sorry. Have I got this right?
Your DDs are well-behaved so they get the standard provision. Your DS is "more challenging, doesn't listen and can be quite naughty" so he gets special treatment. You do know that you are not supposed to reward bad behaviour, don't you? If I was one of the sisters then I would be resentful and be tempted to start playing up.
Okay, so DS was at a private school that specialised in difficult cases & oddballs. There were a fair few there with ADHD or other emotional or legacy issues (one lad had been abused prior to adoption, another had brittle bone disease, one had a nervous phobia, etc.).
I sent DS there for pastoral care (self esteem dive after bullying).
On the whole I think the school was much better for moody upset children than a standard state school ever could be.
But then, they did specialise in hard cases.
Most private schools specialise in, well, elitist education and high academic results. So not what you're after.
From DS's POV, the state & private ed kids were no less & no more disruptive.
I would try the state school out before looking for a private option. Remember your DS will be a different person there than he is around you.
Thanks to those who have posted helpful comments... My girls leave next year and the year after and are going to a private secondary, which has an attached prep school my son could go to instead of state if we think its in his interests. He's not actually as bad as maybe the picture I painted, just different from what we're used to! Thanks all
beatback - I mean occasional chair throwing, bullying and fighting in public places.
Rabbitstew. So the boys grammar school is a super selective boarstal then what's the academic girls boarstal up the road like then.
He's only little his behaviour could change quite a bit in a year. Does he attend nursery already? He may respond positively to the school environment, you don't really know yet?
Funnily enough, the girls' grammar is quite good for behaviour. I think you'll find it's spelt borstal, by the way.
Behaviour is better in private because they can ask them to leave!
I know talkinpeace was joking but I find the weather has a huge impact on my children's behaviour!
windy days are the worst : whole schools can go hatstand with a gust of wind!
Rabbitstew. Thanks for the correct spelling of Borstal but its not easy writing on a Blackberry in a Cinema watching a film, by the way i had to leave the cinema because i was roasting!
And wind has absolutely nothing on "oooh! SNOW!"
Only have experience of private, but I would observe that many "boisterous" boys end up at boys schools. Ds1 fell into this category, and when he was at a single-sex prep his behaviour was pretty normal, but within a co-ed environment he tended to be in trouble more often than previously.
That said I would view boisterous as different from wilful. Most schools would have a limited tolerance for wilful I would have thought?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I have to echo Ladymuck - I think that what would make a difference for your DS is not the fact that a school is private v state, but single sex. DS1 was regarded as quite disruptive in his co-ed pre-school - not violent or particularly challenging, but what I saw as normal energetic little boy. Luckily, he went to school at an all-boys preprep which taught with this model of boys in mind - lots of sport, a very active way of teaching, and other boys like himself. He thrived in this environment and people who meet the calm, mature 9 year old now are surprised that this is the same "naughty" 3-4 year old.
In terms of wilful, there is/was one boy who would be described this way - I don't think that it is really clear-cut until 7-8 year old. The school has not kicked this particular child out (actually don't know any child which was expelled, and this is a pushy pre-prep), and is working closely with the parents on coping techniques for this child. I am not saying the kicking out does not happen, just that it would have to be quite disruptive and extreme, but this was a non-selective school.
I agree with lidsad123- I can't see why you can't have one child state and one private. You need the best school for the child and you can't make the assumption that private is best. I nearly did both when I thought private might be better for dyslexia- state was excellent for the other two. Luckily the state one got their act together with the dyslexia but I can never understand why you can't have one at both.
I wouldn't make any decisions without talking to the individual schools and seeing what their attitude is.
You aren't going to be sending your ds to private-schools-in-general or state-schools-in-general: you will be sending him to one specific private school or one specific state school. So you need to look at specifics.
It's very different. My DC were all at state primary school until year 3, then another year while we were in Canada. They also went to prep school, then another independent school, then independent secondaries. I taught in a variety of state secondaries for 4 years.
The behaviour issues tend to be different, the expectations somewhat different and behaviour management can be wildly different from school to school.
What I remark mostly is that the way of speaking to the pupils is very different between state and private. In state there is a lot more telling on the whole and a lot less communication and negotiation. The pupils have an expectation of the teacher being more in charge and a disciplinarian and less a lecturer, so perversely some tend to kick more against heavy-handed discipline. Unless pretty much every teacher in a school is using the same techniques, pupils will not look kindly on a teacher they see as "weak", ie one who treats them more as equals.
On the whole my experience of discipline in state schools is that it's a lot stricter and more disciplinarian but also perversely there are more behaviour problems. Many pupils rightly have problems with being spoken down to and told to do things in a commanding tone, but in the right context with a teacher they like will be as compliant and attentive as any private school pupil and willing to do what the teacher directs. The important thing is that that feel respected as a person, not looked down or viewed as an inconvenience.
The advantage with most private schools is that the teachers are much less harried and therefore more able to deal with pupils individually, have the full support of their SMT regarding any behaviour problems, mostly the support of the parents (although not always) and the pupils are more likely to comply by instructions- arguably because they are not being spoken to like cattle. State school teachers are very overworked on the whole and develop a carapace that does not permit individualism.
When I hear what my daughter's teachers have to put up with in her classes of 15, I feel for them. I know that in state school most of the girls would not have the relationship they have with their teachers. They are lucky that in permitting what would be seen as a lot of cheekiness in a state school, they are getting the best out of each other and really managing to pass on their knowledge.
Teenagers are teenagers anywhere- there's not really much difference between state and private school ones (apart from the better resources in most private schools). The difference imo is in the handling of them.
To be honest I think he sounds like a normal boy, just different to what you are used to. State schools are used to taking 4 year old boys and I'm sure the school your daughters are at will be fine for him. If he does turn out to have more challenging behaviour than average you can consider suitable schools then.
Advantage of dd's small private class (16 with teacher and TA) is they have chance to notice and are on top of behaviour. There are a couple of boisterous boys who are managed well imo.
Very much zero tolerance eg one was sent to head in first few weeks of reception. Expectations very high.
More male teachers/gamesmaster - again seems popular with all children esp the boys.
Also DD's school offers a lot more sport especially competitive sport in school time and extracurricular. Plus extensive grounds they use for outdoor classroom work.
Very much a knuckle down in the morning then sport/swimming/music/spanish/computing in the PM.
I'd look at both schools and see which would be best fit.
These threads always turn into my state offers all that and more. All you can do is compare the state where he will get a place v the private.
Agree with poster above that he just sounds like a normal little boy who has very well behaved sisters! He is still so young. My DS is starting state school in September and I have had many a sleepless night worrying about it as DD is very well behaved at school (not so much at home unfortunately). He has calmed down a lot during the last few months though and is pretty much the same as at least half the boys who will be going into reception with him. I've really noticed the boys in DDs class change a lot from reception to the end of Y1 as well. Obviously I am slightly stereotyping the boys and girls but definitely in DD's class there is a noticeable difference in how they behave. Not better and worse but just very different in general and a good reception teacher should be able to get them best out of all personalities. I am still really worried about him starting!
Behaviour applies to both pupils and teachers (and maybe even parents). For sure, you wont find behaviour in private schools where . . . .
peteneras - private schools have changed since my db's day, then!...
I agree with a number of posters re private schools. A lot of privates just wont tolerate bad behaviour and you will be asked to leave or have a very robust plan to change the way your child is.
What is very strong in all schools is peer pressure. If you see all around mucking around and generally not showing any interest (and being allowed to) you might well follow the same route. Private schools will have the majority of pupils who are there to learn (their parents have chosen to pay for a private) and so consequently there will be pressure on your child to be the same - which might not be a bad thing!
There are also a few posters who give them impression that private parents are a bit daft to pay again for education when their state school is so fab. Well -lucky them. Some state schools are terrible and in special measures. If a private was run like this they would be closed down
Perhaps they are in a grammar catchment area. Parents who use the grammars seem pleased with them and around here there is great great demand for them.
I also agree that you chose a school based on what is best for the particular child. I have a friend whose daughter passed the 11+ and went to a great grammar and the youngest didnt. The state option was not great so they opted for a private.
What is wrong with that?
I would go to see the prep school talk honestly about how your son behaves and see what they say - is it because he's very clever and needs plenty of stimulation? If so the prep might be good for him as they could tailor things more to him (with the smaller classes etc). I don't buy into this belief that you have to give all your kids exactly the same education - surely you need the option that will bring out the best in each child - whether that is state or private (if you have the luxury of being able to afford to choose). My sisters kids went to three different state secondary schools - very different schools but they suited each individual child. Good luck!!
Behaviour isn't necessarily better at private schools. My DD1 went for taster days at two selective independent schools this year and said that in one there was total silence in lesson/good behaviour, in another one there was constant disruption and the children were much worse behaved than in her current state school.
Also on the ISI report it mentions low level disruption observed in classes, which isn't what you want to hear when you are paying ££££ per year and putting your children through an entrance exam for a highly rated school.
I have to disagree re behaviour in private schools. When you are paying for a private the very least you will expect is good behaviour! Its a given. If there are a few parents who pay the fees and dont give a toss then they WILL be asked to remove their child. If they dont the rest will leave.....It doesnt make business sense to keep them there.
If you want bad behaviour and disruption go to your nearest failing school. We have a few near us and at home time the shopkeepers battern down the hatches. The behaviour is awful and the police now have a car outside at 3.30...
It depends on the school, but also on how you define 'bad behaviour'.
There can be low level bullying in schools which have perfect silence in the classroom.
Yes I disagree with that comment about behaviour in private schools - parents have a lot more power as it's they who fund the school ...
well my daughter said that the low level disruption at a top rated selective school was continuous and much worse than in her state school. It's a shame people don't believe it on here, just because they believe the "can be asked to leave" comment.
The reality outside of London is that all selective or non selective schools are struggling. 5 years ago we went to that same schools and it was brimming with 22 children per class, this year when my daughter went there were 15/16 children per class. They are not going to ask a group of disruptive boys to leave are they, that would make the school not viable.
It doesn't surprise me, musicalfamily, I know a school that was struggling financially and they wouldn't ask pupils to leave.
I live outside London (but still in the SE) and the schools my DS are going to are not struggling. You seen to indicate that if ONE child has problems that despite the fact that other parents will complain the school will keep the problem child. Not true. Best to upset one set of parents that potentially a whole load more.
State schools have the whole range from excellent to dire- so do private schools.
handcream - yes, surely that applies if there is one obvious problem child that everyone agrees is the problem, but not if there is low grade disruption and behind-the-scenes bullying, particularly in an area where there is no huge choice of alternative, affordable fee paying schools the other parents can threaten to send their children to, instead... It's not as if a school is going to want to quietly remove half of its entire intake, or respond to pressure from one gang of parents and then upset another faction who disagree with them...
I clearly remember a thread from a parent who was putting up with all sorts of cr*p from the school she was paying to send her children to: because it fed into the next school she really wanted her children to go to and she didn't want to jeopardise that place as she thought the senior school was much better; because there wasn't a nearby alternative; because they were quite dismissive when she did go in to talk about the issues (which was more to do with unacceptable behaviour of a couple of teaching staff than the other children); because other parents agreed with her but didn't want to rock the boat; and she didn't want her children to be picked on because she was seen as a problem mother. So much for the power of fee paying parents.
If I came across that situation Rabbit I would consider moving. I have a DS at a well known senior boarding school (its not for everyone) and another mother in the year below is insisting on sending her DS to the same school. She was trying to pick my brains regarding the ins and outs of the school. Her son is the least likely to get on with boarding. I feel so sorry for him, but when I suggested there were other options apart from boarding she said 'well what choice do I have'.
If my younger son didnt get on with boarding when the time comes I would move house - I wouldnt dream of saying - what choice do I have.
We all have choices. We arent superglued to our area and house. And what better reason to move than for the sake of your child.
Depends on the schools in question, my DD(11) has attended a state primary and private prep school. The behaviour in the prep school was better- but I think that's because the teachers put more effort into the lessons at the prep school so the children enjoyed learning. At the state primary my DD did enjoy school and achieved, but as she is a quiet child she was often overlooked and so didn't actually enjoy learning, she just learnt because she knew she had to.
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