When to go private?

(279 Posts)
Vijac Mon 21-Oct-13 12:18:13

If money is limited, which stage do you think is most beneficial for a child to have private education? 4-7, 7-11 or secondary? Secondary is obviously where you get all your qualifications etc and where you are most likely to go off the rails and participate in club. But then, if you don't have the best start in education could it set the tone in a child's attitude and would they get into the more academic secondaries? What do people think. Just as an aside, I do know that there are good state schools available too.

Gilbertus Mon 21-Oct-13 13:22:13

Secondary

JustAnotherUserName Mon 21-Oct-13 13:41:56

secondary for us, but it surely must depend on what the state options are like at each level. State primaries round my way (south London) are brilliant. Wouldn't waste my money on private. I know other parts of the country are not as well-served....

and don't assume (if you are pre-primary) that your child will automatically be suited to an academic school come secondary.

Although I know that most MNers kids are very very bright

Leeds2 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:08:29

Where I live, a number of parents choose private for Years 3 - 6, and choose schools which have good results at getting children into the local state grammar schools.

wineoclocktimeyet Mon 21-Oct-13 14:15:14

It depends on the academic abilities of the child (something that is usually very difficult to determine when they are 4 years old).

If you have a naturally bright(ish) child, going private in primary will increase their chances of getting into a grammar or selective school (assuming you have them locally).

However, if your child is less academic, a private secondary will possibly allow them to achieve their best academic achievements whereas they might 'slip though the gaps' in a state secondary (depending on your local state schools)

Reading that back, not sure how helpful it is smile

Choos123 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:17:05

Secondary but also more expensive then! Most private secondaries round me are much larger than their primary counterparts. I went from prep to v good state secondary and I spent 2 years repeating work, became a bit over confident and idle!

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Mon 21-Oct-13 14:17:32

Not 4-7.

Personally I'd say secondary.

I suppose I can see the logic in 7-11 if you hope that the child will then get into an outstanding grammar, but what if they don't? And it's shit for the school you leave behind in year 2. I know some local schools where I used to live had real issues with 'state til 8'.

musicalfamily Mon 21-Oct-13 15:21:48

My plan was always (outstanding) state primary followed by selective independent at 11+.

However, my DD now in Y4 and we had to change her at this point as:

1 - she was finding the work in class really easy and moaning about it constantly
2 - she started disengaging
3 - she didn't progress last year at all
4 - she deeply resented topping up after school

The jury is still out with the other children. I would agree that 4-7 was really easy to top up and get to L3 for my children, but from Y3 the topping up required was more - but this might just be school-related.

Vijac Mon 21-Oct-13 16:03:54

It is a hard one. The state primary that our son would probably get into is ofsted graded outstanding but is a large school (400 kids) and average results overall for the area. At secondary I will want him to go to a school that suits him obviously. It is possible that that will mean a less academic one but may well also be academic (good results in education in parents and so far loves books). I would like him to start well but do think that his first couple of class teachers are likely to be as important as the school in making that happen.

KiplingBag Mon 21-Oct-13 16:09:53

we opted for secondary with ours.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 21-Oct-13 16:13:26

What's the point in going private? It's typically very poor value for money. If you want to spend money to improve their education/educational outcomes, there are more efficient, personalised, targeted ways to spend it.

However, if what you want to buy is a certain sort of peer group, then private school is a good way to do that. But you may as well wait until they're old enough to develop significant friendships.

JustAnotherUserName Mon 21-Oct-13 16:49:05

But its never too early to buy yourself a peer group of like-minded parents.

PrettyBelle Mon 21-Oct-13 16:50:35

If you want to spend money to improve their education/educational outcomes, there are more efficient, personalised, targeted ways to spend it.

Such as?

I am not just asking - DD is in year 2 and I am struggling to choose between private or good state junior school for her.

Both DH and I work full-time and also have an older DS so our time for family-run and parent-initiated educational activities (such as regular museum trips) is rather limited.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 21-Oct-13 18:46:36

Just think of the cost of sending even one child right through private school. If you want to send them somewhere swanky, let's say Eton, that's about 30K a year, before extras, so well over 200K in total. Just for secondary.

Or a nice enough local private school. Near me they start at about 10K a year. A little less for lower years, so from year 3 onwards you are talking about about 100K, before music lessons, uniforms, school trips, all the rest of it.

That's a lot to pay for...say 4As at A-level, if it's educational attainment you're looking at. I don't think that's value for money, especially compared with the baseline of a good state school education.

Spending that 100K on carefully chosen one-to-one private tuition? Led by your - and increasingly your child's - interests and priorities. Especially effective in the areas that almost all schools - including private schools - do badly, such as languages. Or language immersion trips when older. Tutors don't just have to support the school curriculum either, they can develop individual guided study programs with students.

Or speaking of when they are older - bear in mind what higher education might cost once your DC gets to 18. As of now, it will cost a student around 40K to get through a 3 year degree. 80K for students of long courses, like architecture. And as the government are going to sell the student loan book, we can now expect these to be repaid at commercial rates.

In previous decades the time critical periods for young people's career prospects were GCSEs and A-Levels. Increasingly, that's no longer the case, and the most crucial (and financially testing) periods of young people's lives are their years in further/higher education and the post-graduation period.

It may not be that their years in primary and secondary education are the best ones to throw money at. Of course good foundations are incredibly important, but I believe, and most research seems to indicate, that there are established at home, through parent-led example. Personally, if money is a concern, I'd consider setting aside a bit more time for educational activities at home, if you can. Supplementing a decent stateschool education with well targeted tutoring, and thinking about what the hell the higher education will look like ten years from now.

But as I said, if you want to buy a certain peer group, then private school seems to work well for that. That's its entire purpose, as far as I can see.

musicalfamily Mon 21-Oct-13 18:49:36

If you want to spend money to improve their education/educational outcomes, there are more efficient, personalised, targeted ways to spend it

This can work in some cases but by no means not all. It depends on number of children in a family, time available after school, number of out of school interests, personality of the child, etc...

teacher123 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:58:17

I've worked in state primaries, state secondaries (both grammar and comp), public schools and now work in a prep school.

IMHO a good prep school will push your child a long way during their primary school years, small class sizes and specialist teachers for sport, music, drama and languages mean that you get that edge in those areas. (Lots of state schools have very good specialists but it's more luck of the draw) wraparound care is usually very good as well.

For secondary a grammar school is what I would choose if your DC are bright enough to thrive and keep up. If not, an independent school will probably provide more tailored care to get your child better results.

A bright motivated child will probably do well wherever they go.

Reading at home with your child is supposed to be the biggest predictor of academic success.

night1971 Mon 21-Oct-13 19:02:38

If you can afford it, a superb education is one of the best gifts that you can give your child.

Many independent schools can offer your child a huge variety of opportunities and experiences with fully qualified, experienced teachers which can be very hard to find replicated in the state system.

It can set them up for life, no one can take it away from them no matter what life brings.

Some people think that "private school" is about buying peer groups etc and can be quite chippy. It is not simply a case of buying results, it's paying for a happy, stimulating learning and social environment where physical health education is also a major part of the curriulum with sport usually taught daily.

29chapel Mon 21-Oct-13 19:06:43

We have just started DD at our local private school in Y4. She was disengaged at the local primary and had lost all enthusiasm to learn. We figured we need to do something now as we've only got 3 years til senior school and didn't want her floundering around.

She's only done a week in the new school so far but already we are noticing a chance in her attitude - much more positive.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 21-Oct-13 19:22:55

"Many independent schools can offer your child a huge variety of opportunities and experiences with fully qualified, experienced teachers which can be very hard to find replicated in the state system."

It's worth mentioning that there's no requirement for private schools to employ fully qualified teachers. They can employ whoever they like. State schools, on the other hand, must employ full qualified teachers - bar academies and free schools.

I don't think it's "chippy" to point out that paying for private school can and does involve buying a peer group. That's exactly what many parents want from a private education.

I just don't think private schools are good value for money, compared to the state sector if you're talking about educational attainment come 18, or more pertinently these days, come 21.

night1971 Mon 21-Oct-13 19:38:21

I have never come across unqualified teachers in the independent sector, I think this is a myth from the past and not a reflection of most modern independent schools.

I have rarely, in my vast experience as a parent and educator, met a parent paying for a peer group. They are paying for small classes, experienced subject/class teaching, a more academic environment, sport opportunities, high expectations in all areas (including character development as well as academic achievements), low discipline issues, etc etc.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 21-Oct-13 19:57:48

I have. I personally know of several graduates who went straight into teaching positions at private schools. They were all very bright, well motivated young people with a genuine flair for their subjects. But they were not qualified teachers. I also know of some local private schools who recruit staff with PhD qualifications and other professional experience. But they are not qualified teachers.

By and large the teachers at private schools will be qualified. But that is hardly a selling point.

And buying a certain kind of classroom environment and character development expectations is buying a peer group. A child's peers are their class mates.

night1971 Mon 21-Oct-13 20:15:03

My experience is limited to many of the top independent schools in the country so maybe that is why I have not experienced unqualified staff.

I wonder whether your friends will be required to apply for and study for Qualified Teacher Status as otherwise they are on a much lower pay scale than fully qualified staff?

I guess the peer group is a bonus then smile

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 21-Oct-13 20:18:29

They're not my friends. They were offered full-time teaching positions and were not taken on as trainees and do not need to gain qualified teacher status.

It's nice that your experience is limited to the top private schools in the country, but there is a broad spectrum of quality in private education (and in state education).

Yes, I think many parents choose private schools specifically for the peer group. There's nothing contentious about that, is there?

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 21-Oct-13 20:20:39

If you can afford it, a superb education is one of the best gifts that you can give your child.
It is not simply a case of buying results, it's paying for a happy, stimulating learning and social environment where physical health education is also a major part of the curriulum with sport usually taught daily.
Completely agree Night1971! People on here seem to be obsessed with A levels, University, ie the outcome rather than the childrens' daily experience and is this that we despaired of in the state sector. You often see posts along the lines of the 4 Yorkshiremen 'I went to a grim comprehensive that was in a hole in the ground, we were stabbed daily - but...I got into Oxbridge' as if exam results are the only point of education.. We wanted our children to have a happy childhood, going to a school where the teachers were inspiring and enthusiastic. The DC are a school where there are indeed 'unqualified teachers' but they are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their subject that the DC cannot help but be interested and keen to learn. As a side effect, they get good grades, but that is a side benefit, not the whole reason for being there. I am not saying that qualified teachers are not excellent, just that you do not need to be qualified to inspire children.

Vijac Mon 21-Oct-13 20:28:08

I also know a couple of people who have gone into top independent schools without previous training. They train on the job. I don't have a problem with that. I don't think two years teacher training is necessarily going to make you a better teacher than someone who learns on the job with supervision and is a higher calibre. Private schools just have the freedom to make that decision themselves. Plus parents can choose not to go there if the teaching is bad!

bsc Mon 21-Oct-13 20:37:55

I don't think you can put a price on a good education, and really, the phase you choose will depend upon the quality ofprovision available to you.
Many we know opt for primary, because we're in an area with super-selective state-maintained grammmars, which they're aiming to get into.

The fee-paying schools in our area list the teachers' qualifications, and university, so parents can see exactly who is qualified. None of them use unqualified teachers! (Also helps that there are lots of universities and teacher training colleges in the vicinity)

HeadsDownThumbsUp Mon 21-Oct-13 20:39:38

I agree that learning on the job can work well. I'm just surprised that some would claim that one benefit of private education would be fully qualified teachers, when that's not necessarily true.

29chapel Mon 21-Oct-13 20:52:41

No unqualified teachers at our school, and i have to say, the peer group was never a factor in our decision making process to send DD private. It was purely based on smaller class sizes, facilities and the pastoral care offered.

basildonbond Tue 22-Oct-13 07:54:41

Well before dd's experience of primary I would have strongly asserted that private primary was a waste of money ... However seeing how miserable she was in years 1 and 2 - lonely, bored, becoming increasingly less engaged - we realised we had to do something. We looked around at some local private schools, most of which we immediately discounted for various reasons, but one which seemed to be a perfect fit for dd

She's now in her fourth year there and the difference from the first few weeks has been remarkable. She's loved every minute and will be desperately sad to leave. It's not been about buying results as she's bright and motivated and I suspect she will do fine academically wherever she's at school, it's more about her daily experience and what makes her happy. It might have been in another part of the country that she could have been as happy in a state primary - we are lucky that we are in the postion of being able to make a choice from a wider range of schools

Btw I've not made many friends at all through dd's school, but she has and that's what's important!

KiplingBag Tue 22-Oct-13 09:54:25

TBH I am not fussed if mine are taught by fully qualified teachers or not. It does not make them necessarily a better educator. Many private tutors are not fully qualified teachers either.

My priority for our dc and their private education is 1. their happiness, 2. the nurturing environment 3. The opportunities that state just are unable to offer such as all the extra curricular activites, small class sizes, copious amounts of sport. far more trips and travel. 5. To finish with exams which could lead them onto what they want to do in the future, be it university or employment at 18.

I would start with your local primary and get saving. It is easier to support the first couple of years at home. Whilst you can buy in support as they get older but I didn't want to have to do that outside of school hours as I was concerned about putting the DC under pressure. Consequently we've gone down the private route. We've gone private from the beginning because the primary choice was poor. If money was tight I would have gone with secondary.

JammieMummy Tue 22-Oct-13 15:54:16

I agree with everyone else, we chose our DD's prep school almost entirely on the fact that we knew she would be happy there. The rest of the thought process was "if she is happy she will enjoy learning and therefore give it her all" we do not pay for grades or her peer group! And to be honest struggle to think anyone would be so shallow as to pick a school based on the other parents.

However, it is not the right school for our son and we are increasingly looking to send him to a state school until 8 and then transfer him to a prep school then. This is partly because the boys prep schools are some distance from us and I don't want him having a long journey at such a young age and so we will have a better idea of what will suit him in a few years time. I do think he will be happy at the state school but it isn't a patch on the prep schools (class sizes, extra curricular etc).

We will decide on secondary schools when the time comes I have no strong feelings for either public, private or state, only for the school that suits them individually.

My advice to OP is to look at your schools, even if you feel very a bit daft looking at secondary schools when your child is 2 years old. Just get an idea of them and see where your money is best spent but also bear in mind that they are likely to change in the future. I would warn you that once you have entered the private system it is difficult to leave other than at normal exit points (11, 13, 16 and 18) and some find it hard even then.

PrettyBelle Tue 22-Oct-13 16:14:09

A very useful thread.

I am not the OP but taking in the other parents' experience with interest. On a personal note, I wish I knew what would suit my DC! They just seem so adaptable that I feel really unsure how I can justify my school choices based on what is best for them and not on private/state.

DS went from a very relaxed state to a very structured private and seems to be enjoying it just as much. DD is currently at that state school and loving it; however she seems to be coping very well with lots of extra work at home in preparation to the upcoming exams - which makes me think that she should be at a more academic school.

Anyway, that's a topic for another thread!

DailyMalePlease Tue 22-Oct-13 17:15:38

The point about a child's daily experience is so valid.

I've been a school governor at various state schools for many years and my dc have been through the state system. They were mainly at schools judged as Oustanding and they've done very well fortunately. However the daily reality for many children in the state system even the outstanding ones, is any of the following: boredom, underachievement, a succession of supply teachers, violence, swearing, bullying, appalling behaviour and attitudes from other children/families. Often heads and governors are pretty powerless. If children get excluded the problem just gets passed to the next school. It seems to be taboo to want to protect your children from these things, but that's exactly what a private education does on the whole. Obviously private schools are not immune from these things but their range of sanctions is greater. People who criticise those who choose a private education are often in blissful ignorance about what life is really like in some state schools and the day to day misery it brings. Just a shame the choice is not financially viable for so many.

ZiaMaria Tue 22-Oct-13 17:24:36

The peer group was important to me - because my local state school (as well as being on the edge of special measures) is entirely white middle class. Whereas the private school round the corner has a great mix of ethnicities and income levels.

It depends on the schools around you, and your child!

DS1 floundered at State and we moved him to private school aged 8.

He has had 3 years in a good private school, and has gone from "2 years behind" to "on target/average/above average" depending on subject.

We will move him back to State for secondary as the local selective private secondary is too much of a pressure cooker hothouse. And the non-selective indies are not better than the comps (worse GCSE's!).

And it gets a lot more £££ for secondary (one mum says the big thing is her son gets fencing lessons....I could pay a private fencing tutor at £15k a year!)

So for us I would say 7-11 gives them a good basis, especially In English and Maths, and they will be off to a good start at the comp.

But if your local comps are rubbish, then it's different!

JammieMummy Tue 22-Oct-13 18:39:52

zia I would agree that my DD's school is more diverse than the local state school but I think HeadsDown was suggesting that we pay for schools as we don't want our children associating with non middle class children (I apologise if my interpretation was wrong but this seems to be all I see on MN from anti private posters), which is what I was commenting on.

At DD's school so many grandparents help fund fees that there is a special coffee morning for them once a term smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 18:44:41

zia I would agree that my DD's school is more diverse than the local state school of course it's bloody not! hmm

Anyway, difficult conundrum. Leave them in state until 11 and risk them not getting set up with the right attitude, since they won't be 'getting the best start', or send them back to the wolves at 11 in time to go off the rails... unfortunately for me my children have been at state all along and consequently never got the best start or the right attitude, but the upside is that that meant when they did go off the rails it wasn't so noticeable.

JammieMummy Tue 22-Oct-13 19:11:54

steamingnit are you a parent at my DD's school? At DD's school there are a number of different cultures, children from Germany, Canada, China, India, Nigeria to name a few. Parents live in anything from a 2 up, 2 down to houses we can only dream about and the same with the cars they drive.

The local state school has only white middle class children who, almost without exception, travel to school in flash cars. I know exactly the type of swish houses they live in due to the tiny catchment area it serves. It is a good school, but it is not right for my DD for a large number of reasons.

I do know all about the state system both DH and I were educated in state school and did pretty well for ourselves, along with a large number of friends who send their children to states schools etc AND my son will be going there. I have no concerns about my kids "going off the rails" if they went to state school but I am lucky enough to have the choice of where to send my children and it is my obligation as a parent to consider all those options and pick the right one for them, what ever it may be.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 19:38:02

For those whose local state schools are packed full of middle class white parents who drive flashy cars: perhaps you are living in the wrong area if you genuinely like diversity. Or are you being a tad hypocritical to claim you genuinely like diversity when you appear to have chosen to live in a part of the country where everyone is rich and white. grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 19:43:53

Quite, rabbit. And if you're telling me there are as many people who live in cheap houses as not at private school, and that every parent at any state school could afford private if they were to forgo the flashy cars, then frankly I don't believe you.

I'm sure there are a few poorer people at the private school who got scholarships. But rich German children, rich Canadian children, rich Nigerian children do not make a diverse school. They make a school full of rich children, some of whom are originally from different countries. Now that is more diverse than rich children who are only White British, but it isn't really 'diverse' as I think the word is generally understood.

ZiaMaria Tue 22-Oct-13 19:50:35

Or perhaps we live where we live due to affordability, the fact our DHs work nearby, family connections...

And of course, all the kids at private school must be rich. No such thing as bursaries at all.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 19:54:18

If full scholarships are available to anything above 50% of pupils, you might have a point. Though even then it's not specially diverse just to pick the bright poor kids, is it?

Soooo, the places where people live where the state primaries are full of wealthy people with flashy cars are chosen due to affordability? How does that work?

Or could these exclusively middle class wealthy primaries be a teeny bit exaggerated?

TOSN

The local catholic state primary has less ethnic diversity than my son's prep because in the particular area we live in there is a reasonable correlation between ethnicity and religion. I accept that the prep is less economically diverse but does one type of diversity trump the other.

curlew Tue 22-Oct-13 19:58:26

"unfortunately for me my children have been at state all along and consequently never got the best start or the right attitude, but the upside is that that meant when they did go off the rails it wasn't so noticeable"

grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 20:01:28

Well, obviously people can do as they please, and ethnic vs economic diversity is a debate... But it does particularly infuriate me when people claim they value diversity in private schools without taking into account that they are not diverse in the slightest in the sense that most would recognise. Am not in favour of faith schools either, but the fact that they aren't diverse doesn't mean private schools are, or should claim to be. They're not; they are, by nature, definition and ethos, exclusive, and the people they exclude are people who aren't rich. That's just how it is.

curlew Tue 22-Oct-13 20:11:44

"At DD's school there are a number of different cultures, children from Germany, Canada, China, India, Nigeria to name a few"

Yep- every country in the world has rich middle class children. A English child at St Custard's will have more in common with his classmate from Hong Kong than he will with an English child at Bash Street Comprehensive.

ZiaMaria Tue 22-Oct-13 20:16:00

TOSN. I have no idea what cars people drive in my local state school's catchment area, but I do know that it is (aside from about 3 people) white middle class. I also know the proportion of children at the school registered as special needs or on free school dinners or with english as a second language. That state school does not have a diverse selection of students. Sadly I wasn't thinking about local schools when I moved here, what with being childless at the time.

I also know similar data for the private school (not including free school meals). It is far more diverse ethnically, and due to bursaries does not exclude people who aren't rich.

Maybe all the private schools near you are toff shops, but that is not the case everywhere.

curlew Tue 22-Oct-13 20:19:51

"It is far more diverse ethnically, and due to bursaries does not exclude people who aren't rich."

Ho many bursaries? And what % of the fees and other expenses do they cover?

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 20:20:59

Oh fgs this is a ridiculous argument.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:22:24

(Is it just me, or does it strike others that if private schools have a particular, strong ethos, and parents have actively chosen to send their children there, that one thing the children are highly unlikely to be is hugely, genuinely diverse in their outlooks?...).

MrsShortfuse Tue 22-Oct-13 21:24:33

It's a daft argument partly because well-educated, driven parents with dc at state schools have more in common with private school parents than they do with non-motivated familes with dc at the same state school. It's not all about money.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:25:37

So it's about mixing with people like you, then, MrsShortfuse? That doesn't sound very diverse.

MrsShortfuse Tue 22-Oct-13 21:30:46

No! What I mean is that often in these arguments (not necessarily on this thread) people talk about state schools and private schools as if the people that use each are one homogenous bunch. Which is daft.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 21:34:02

Dd1 is at private secondary. There is a very diverse mix of Asian, black and Spanish kids. The local comp is very white British.

This doesn't matter however, as the vast majority of the girls at dd1s school are dark blonde, tall, middle class English girls and that is who dd1 predominantly hangs out with
They are all completely interchangeable if very nice and polite

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 21:36:26

Bursaries are a non argument. Yes, they offer some discounted places - not always even based in financial situation- to a small minority of children who are bright enough. But the first, greatest hurdle to getting into private school is : can you pay? If you can't, the very vast majority of you can fuck right off. And that is not an ethos I like in people who purport to be bothered about education.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:37:45

I agree with that. You get an overlap of personalities between the two. Wealth, intelligence, upbringing and personality all have an impact on your choices, though, so where you have choice you will have increased homogeneity of one sort or another.

MrsShortfuse Tue 22-Oct-13 21:39:32

Beautifully put, Nit.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:41:25

Ah, but that depends, TOSN, on whether the people to whom you refer are talking about being bothered about their own children's education, or education in general.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 21:46:19

I am sure the bursars feel a bit like that, yes. But the teachers are a good sort.

curlew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:46:23

"Ah, but that depends, TOSN, on whether the people to whom you refer are talking about being bothered about their own children's education, or education in general."

Isn't there something rather distasteful about people who are only bothered only about their own children's education, and not at all about education in general?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 21:49:15

Well Rabbit, I guess I mean the idea that private schools are doing something good that everyone else should be trying to emulate... Or that what they offer is so great that they'd like everyone to have it.

They wouldn't. They'd like mainly rich children to have it. And I'm objecting to the disingenuous attitude that this underlying attitude can ever be thought of as the bedrock of somewhere 'diverse'.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 21:50:38

Oh and the people I meant are teachers in private school, not the parents. I'm sure the parents think all kinds of different things, but the main one I'd like to disabuse them of is that their school is diverse, or that bursaries mean the doors are open to just anyone.

curlew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:54:56

Or that if only people tried a bit harder them's be able to afford private school too- and they are only complaining about it because they are jealous.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 21:54:56

I didn't choose my dd1s private school because it was diverse. I chose it because it gets the best gcse results in the county and it does tons of sport and they can occasionally board which is helpful if you work full time with no family near by. And we could afford it.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 21:59:29

In my view, free schools and paid-for private schools are actively encouraging the idea that you don't have to tolerate diversity of attitude - you can choose only to be educated amongst people who think like you.

MrsShortfuse Tue 22-Oct-13 22:10:11

But as one poster said, 'diversity of attitude' actually translates into some really terrible circumstances at some state schools which is very, very far removed from liberal idyll.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:12:15

Cultural diversity is desirable but not essential at school imo
I went to a very white middle class home counties girls school and I've managed to live and work with people from all over the world and from various socio economic backgrounds.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:13:27

It's much easier to be educated with people who 'think like you'

Hence grammar schools

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:14:23

If you view education as just another way of spending your money, it makes your choices much simpler - no annoying having to consider the meaning of education, beyond enjoyment and self-advancement.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:16:15

So do parents at state schools spend a lot of time thinking about the theory of education then?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:16:18

There are some pretty terrible circumstances in the world... sad

There are also some fairly dreadful attitudes at some private schools, too, which are very far removed from the idyll of inclusive diversity being suggested here. Did anyone hear that longitudinal survey reported on radio 4 recently, about attitudes of first year students at Oxford and Cambridge, on whether or not they had been discriminated against or given preference according to the school they went to?

Reasons cited by private school alumni why there were fewer state school leavers there included 'there are more ethnic minorities at state school, so the results aren't as good'.

MrsShortfuse Tue 22-Oct-13 22:19:02

I think if we are really honest, when we bang on about diversity there is still the underlying assumption that it's only desirable when everyone shares the same basic values of good manners, getting on with your work and everyone being very civilised and lovely.

When diversity means a brawl between stoned mothers in the playground yelling obscenities and throwing things, in full view of children....we tend not to think it's quite so great.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:19:35

My daughters friends seem like a tolerant, kind lot. There has been some shocking behaviour and some truly terrible racist bullying at the local comp.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:19:43

Altamoda - some do, or at least, the philosophy of education. grin

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:21:48

Diversity only works where you have the means to get away from each other when you feel like it and to float above the brawling.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:22:46

No of course everyone who sends their children to the local school doesn't do so out of ideological fervour... But as I said, there are many attitudes private school parents may have, or beliefs they may hold. Just I find the 'it's so diverse' one especially unpalatable.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:23:58

You can't have too diverse a population in a boarding school, either - that's why they are so careful who they select, who could "cope" with it and "benefit" from it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:24:08

But what do your daughter's friends have to tolerate, almoTada?

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:24:38

Well I don't think that so we should get on ok grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:25:39

Well no, you did say you didn't choose the school for its diversity. Sounds like your local comprehensive has rather more of that?

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:27:09

Our private school isn't selective, if you can pay, you're in. Miracle that they get such good results really. Lots of dyslexic kids, lots of not particularly clever kids

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:28:37

Our private school isn't selective, if you can pay, you're in that's a joke, right?

MrsShortfuse Tue 22-Oct-13 22:29:05

I send mine to the local comp because I fancy the Deputy Head.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:29:49

My daughters school IS more diverse than the comprehensive if by diverse you mean not white British. But the vast majority are comfortably off

Still have divorce, deaths, businesses going bust, though, misery isn't the preserve of the badly paid.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:30:44

Sorry that should say not academically selective. Of course it is financially selective.

curlew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:33:05

So-it's selective.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:33:19

I haven't decided where to send mine at secondary level, yet, although that selection method sounds interesting, MrsShortfuse. grin

duchesse Tue 22-Oct-13 22:33:48

I'd say 11-16, at a school that instils a good work ethic in them. Early teenage is a very tricky age and it's important that they see most of their friends working hard as well.

For 6th form, depends on the individual child. Some are more sorted than others at 16. Hopefully they will be as sorted as they can be by 16. ime if you have a decent state 6th form college near you they should be fine by then.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:34:14

Yes, financially
Sadly having money doesn't seem to magically make children clever and hard working

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:34:18

Yep, the year 9s at most comprehensives suffer terribly when their parents' businesses go bust... The nature of your proposed miseries does suggest a slightly limited view of what a child might go through!

As has been pointed out and conceded: yes, rich children come from many different countries.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:36:27

Do you think it might have any impact on a child's attitude to learning and to school to know that their parents are paying vast amounts of money for them to learn at one place in particular, which closes its doors to the vast majority (ie those who don't have enough cash?). Do you think that might make a tiny bit of difference?

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:39:46

I don't know. I don't guilt mine into learning. I don't think that's how the teachers do it either

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:40:45

So what is all this suffering that year 9s go through at state schools?

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:41:53

Well, at the moment, the suffering is largely caused by Michael Gove!...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:44:02

I dunno, what could ever happen in a family that's not death divorce or your parents' business going bust? Anything....?

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:44:32

Yes that's something we have I common, the teachers at dd1s school hate him as well

duchesse Tue 22-Oct-13 22:45:19

I agree with Altamoda.

We actually moved DD1 out of private school because we didn't like the attitudes wrt money and material stuff that she was developing and her unreasonable expectations. FWIW, DD1 is extremely grateful she went to the FE college now- her attitudes completely changed in the first term of 6th form.

DS always kept his principles and was always mindful that he was getting something many children didn't (mainly teachers who would chase the arse off him to get work out of him rather than leave him for dead).

DD2 has also not lost touch with reality- she is fully aware how lucky she is, but maybe not fully aware how sheltered she is by being in a very small 6th form. But then, she is very shy and is flourishing in a way I don't think she would have at the college with 4000 other students.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:45:44

Yes those things tend to happen in all families

I am surprised there are people that still think that money insulates you from unhappiness

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:48:38

I'm sorry, but the fact that you can say a school isn't selective because 'if you can pay, you're in'; you can't think of anything bad that might happen in a family or in a child's life that's not death, divorce or the failure of a business, and that you don't see how being at a school where everyone's parents have invested heavily in them attending might have some sort of impact on the general atmosphere there... Well that does all suggest that a bit of diversity is lacking, I'm afraid.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:49:22

Did anyone say that money insulates anyone from unhappiness?

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 22:52:12

We're not... Competitive sadding are we shock

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 22:56:05

Er.. Yeah. Clearly.

confused

The problem isn't who's sadder. The problem is the very limited understanding here. Which does seem a bit indicative.

rabbitstew Tue 22-Oct-13 22:56:43

Hey, don't forget happy people go to state schools, too. grin

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 23:01:47

Yes they do, dd3 goes to a state school and she's very happy. As are most of her friends

HeadsDownThumbsUp Tue 22-Oct-13 23:01:57

The tenor of most of the posts of this thread certainly suggests that parents are trying to buy a peer group when they buy private education.

As I said upthread, it seems as clear as day - and I can't see anything controversial about stating that. Whether or not its beneficial for our children and young people is controversial though.

Altamoda Tue 22-Oct-13 23:02:47

Steamingnit, you have no more understanding of what's best for my children than I do about yours.

teacherwith2kids Tue 22-Oct-13 23:06:02

To return to the original question - it depends almost entirely on the child and the schools in question.

Locally:
- 4-11 if your aim is the local superselective grammar (as the 7 years of coaching mean that many of the places at said grammar are given to children who have attended a bunch of local private primaries who make this their raison d'etre)

- 3 - 18 if you are looking for social selectivity (though the comprehensives get better results than all of the privates in this group)

- 4 - 11 and then 11 - 18 if your aim is the one [single sex] nationally known school with better results than the comprehensives.

- Never, if your aim is simply good exam results, as the local comp is fantastic.

Squeakygate Tue 22-Oct-13 23:06:37

I think it depends on the child.
Dc2 is bored and unmotivated in year 1 - if money was no object i would move him as he needs to be stretched much more than he is being at the moment.
Dc1 absolutely fine in state.

teacherwith2kids Tue 22-Oct-13 23:07:41

(LOcal comp also green and leafy, has a good enough reputation that many children who have places at grammar or private schools actively choose the comprehensive instead)

teacherwith2kids Tue 22-Oct-13 23:08:10

Sorry, posted too soon - so the peer group isn't an issue.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 23:08:27

Since when were we talking about that?

I take exception to the OP which implies there's a swings and roundabout dilemma over whether you expose your child to the low standards of state primary, or let him or her get fucked up at state secondary.

I take exception to the idea that what parents seek and get from private school is 'diversity'.

And I think some of the posts on here are worryingly naive and ill informed.

I make no comment about anyone's child.

teacherwith2kids Tue 22-Oct-13 23:11:24

Squeaky,

It does depend hugely on the school - much more than the sector. DS had a torrid time at first state primary, thrived and excelled in his second. Would have been bored and unmotivated in the local privates - though he would have enjoyed the sport. I do know of several children who have moved their DCs from local state primaries to privates to 'stop them being pushed so hard', which again indicates that it is a school by school not sector by sector comparison!

teacherwith2kids Tue 22-Oct-13 23:11:59

[Parents who have moved DCs, obviously]

duchesse Tue 22-Oct-13 23:18:48

Nit- we're in Devon a barren monocultural county and the ethnic diversity of the private schools is pretty comparable to the state schools, if not better. (although there has been a very marked and welcome increase in ethnic minorities in the city in the last five years).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 22-Oct-13 23:21:46

Yes, as I say, it was acknowledged a few pages back that private schools can have children from many different countries.

onlyIamthechewie Tue 22-Oct-13 23:39:02

My husband works at a prep and I work in a state secondary (special measures and would still send my child there). We are also divided about the issue (both qts), we are sending them to the prep as it is cheaper than wrap around care. We get a big discount. Part of my soul has died but I know it is the right thing. My little girl is teaching me beautiful table manners. She will have to tough it out in the very good secondary school though.
I have taught students who have come from prep school and they always do well. Good kids always do well where ever they are.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Tue 22-Oct-13 23:52:18

Would also like to echo the point made upthread that diversity doesn't necessarily mean ethnic diversity alone. Considering diversity of incomes and backgrounds is important too.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Tue 22-Oct-13 23:54:10

Agree that the OP's presumption that kids are likely to 'go off the rails' at 'non-academic' state schools is also dubious at best.

JewelFairies Tue 22-Oct-13 23:56:00

For us, for dd1, age 4-7. No doubts. What we will do next year when dd2 reaches reception age, no idea.
In general, I'd rather spend money on the basics ie primary. Get them to read and write and learn how to learn.
Personal decisions for your own children. I'd never judge but have been judged harshly.

Wuldric Tue 22-Oct-13 23:57:19

Going slightly against the grain, but if funds don't permit private education throughout, I would do private for primary (following the principle of 'give me a child until the age of 7 and I will give you the man'), state for 11-16 because GCSEs are a bit of a joke and you can supplement with tutors, out of school clubs, and out of school music, but definitely private for sixth form, where a deep understanding of the A level subject matters.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 07:32:34

I would go private too....ooo I did. .

I don't think you should care about cultural diversity. In good boarding schools you will find a lot of overseas students. Although I have to admit most will come from families with a little spare cash.

It seems to me silly to say they will not mix with kids of different abilities. We sent them there to learn with kids of the same mind...Thats why they pass an entrance exam and have an interview to see if they are right for that school. If they are great if not then Im sure another school fit for them would be available. Every person is an individual. What may work for my child may not work for yours. Its great that we have the choice.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 07:34:35

" state for 11-16 because GCSEs are a bit of a joke and you can supplement with tutors, out of school clubs, and out of school music, but definitely private for sixth form, where a deep understanding of the A level subject matters."

Wow. You really don't rate the education 93% of the population get, do you?!

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 07:57:31

In conclusion: there is no right or wrong answer - it's your child, you have to make your own decisions!...

cory Wed 23-Oct-13 08:42:33

It is your child- and it's also your family.

The difference between private school and state school+extras is basically that with private school you buy a package: enrichment activities, sports, leisure activities are all provided on the premises. This suits some families but doesn't suit others.

It's like an inclusive holiday: if you are the kind of person who wants to hand over a cheque and know that everything is being taken care of, then that would seem to be the optimal solution. ]

Other people prefer to make their own travel arrangements and if you have that mindset, then a state school + extras can work very well.

I am pleased that all our education money is not going on school fees because it means we still have the money to pay for enrichment activities that even a private school wouldn't provide, to maintain a very good family library, to do trips that are specially geared to our interests and needs.

Basically, state education to us partly means retaining some control over the educational spending: a private school (assuming we could afford it) would mean handing over all the spending decisions to somebody else.

It means if dc show signs of a special talent we can focus the spending there. Like my parents were able to send my db to take lessons from the Kapellmeister of a well known symphonic orchestra: coaching on that level wouldn't be provided even at private school. Or I can let dd audition for the best youth theatre programme in the country because I know if she can get in I can pay the fees.

I just find it a bit odd when people say you have to go private because a good education is more important than anything else. My children are getting a good education. It's just not all happening at school and being taken care of by other people; it's a combined effort between the school and us.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 09:00:05

jewel by saying that private is best for a primary aged child because that's how they'll learn to read and write... You're judging. Surely you can see that?

EdithWeston Wed 23-Oct-13 09:01:09

F you are Jesuiticalky minded, then "show me the child as 7 and I will show you the man", the it is the formative early years that count.

If you are practically minded, you do it at the time you can afford it (which might mean straightaway, as who knows what financial ups and downs the future will bring) for at least you get some of the benefit.

If you see education as primarily transactional (ie it's all about exam results) then you would wait until secondary - but actually you'd probably be better served in engaging a tutor alongside state school if it's mainly about the grades.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 09:02:19

Who'd want to be given a man who went to state primary, eh?

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 09:49:37

nit a girl from state primary perhaps

Farewelltoarms Wed 23-Oct-13 09:54:47

OP, or you could be like us and opt for state primary with a view to private secondary and find that state education has improved massively and offers such a full and wonderful experience that you now want to stay in it for the full duration.

OSN puts things so much more articulately than I do and probably more forcefully (no bad thing), but it does make me laugh when people talk about diversity in private. There are Somali refugees in my children's school. Knowing them gives me a different perspective on the recent shipwrecks in Lampedusa and they aren't the same as a wealthy say, Indian, family who sends their children private although they might both be of a different race.

It also makes me laugh when people say go private for the basics like learning to read and write. Do you really not think that's what they learn in state primaries?

EdithWeston Wed 23-Oct-13 10:01:21

If you are not in a city, you aren't that likely to have refugees of any sort in your local school. The diversity of big cities just isn't replicated in state schools across the whole country.

It's one of the reasons why comparing sectors is such a bad idea. Because all you really can choose for your own DC is the best fit of what is actually on offer, within reach and with a realistic prospect of entry.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:02:54

If you live in London or a big city I expect you do get interesting diversity as you say (this is not just ANY diversity, this is interesting POOR diversity...)

If you live rurally then the most diverse kids you get in the state sector are a few Polish kids and the children of the family who own the take away.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:03:45

hear hear EdithWeston

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 10:04:41

Altamoda - do poor country people move to the City to be poor, then? grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 10:08:34

Well, the intake of the state secondary where you live is likely to represent the nature of the place you live... and as Rabbit said a few pages ago, if you were that bothered about diversity, you might well have factored that in to where you choose to live. I personally feel that children should go to school with the children they live near, but that is, of course, a personal opinion.

I'm not sure it's about 'interesting' diversity (boring old kids whose parents own the takeaway, eh, dull as fuck I'm sure!) vs boring diversity - it's just about contesting the claim that a selection of children whose parents have quite a lot of money can truly claim to be 'diverse'. The first and biggest barrier to a private school is MONEY - what's left after that hurdle has been cleared will be unlikely to be heterogeneous, sure - but I don't think 'diverse' is an appropriate word to apply to it.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:11:28

Yes lots of low income families in rural towns. Not so many very rurally as house prices too expensive and rents now astronomical. Low income agricultural workers in pockets.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:14:08

LOLOLOL at people deliberately choosing areas with lots of low income families to improve their families sense of diversity

Do people really do that? Oh we can live anywhere so we'll choose this really run down area so that I can feel very smug about my children knowing the children of somali pirates?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 10:16:38

I think you're lololololling at the wrong thing, Altamoda. I was saying that if a family was extremely concerned that a child should encounter ethnic diversity, they'd probably want that to be reflected in day to day life as well as at school.

BTW Somali refugees are not the same thing as Somali pirates. That's really quite an offensive thing to say.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:18:07

We don't live in a very diverse area. My dc3 is at state school and it is 100% white and predominantely middle class. It is the nearest state school to us. There is absolutely no doubt that my dd at private school is the one who has come back wanting to know more about Korea/Nigeria/Oman/China/Japan. Dc3 doesn't have a single black or asian person in his school. We have to live here due to family commitments. I don't think everyones experience is the same as yours.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:19:16

! Sorry of course it isnt.

I was telling dh about the thread and said it by mistake then typed it.

I do realise that pirates and refugees arent the same thing blush

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 10:20:52

These threads always turn into an argument with people who choose private being accused of not wanting their children to mix with lower classes, having misguided ideas about buying a superior education, damaging the state system by contributing to an elitist education system, creating division, being snobs, buying peer groups, wasting their money etc etc.
People who are against private schooling get accused of things too.

Here's what I think: we are all entitled to educate our children in the way we choose, taking into account affordability, logistics, the child's level of academia, personal beliefs. I have nothing against people who choose state school, Private schools, home education, free schools or state grammar schools. People choose what they feel is best for their child and family circumstances and what they can afford or manage logistically. I don't think that those who choose anything except the local primary / secondary should be slated and accused of being snobs. I also think that those who do choose the local state schools should not be slated for their decision.
I would be the first to be annoyed if somebody calls people chavs (or any other derogatory term) because they have chosen the local state school. I would also be mighty annoyed if somebody calls people snobs for choosing a private education.
Why do we need to stereotype people and pass these judgements constantly? Why can't we just accept that people do what they want with regard to their own child's education?
Private schooling is not child abuse.
State schooling is not child abuse.
Home education is not child abuse.
Just be happy with what you choose for your own child and make the best of the situation if your choices have been limited and you have had to accept something that wouldn't be your first choice.
If you feel somebody is wasting their cash by paying for private school then keep those feelings to yourself. They might equally feel that you are wasting your cash on other things. We are all entitled to spend whatever money we have on whatever we choose. It isn't illegal to spend ones cash as one wishes on legitimate things. Booze, fags, education, holidays, property, extra curricular, cars, beauty, it's all the individuals choice.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 10:22:31

Well thanks for spotting it!
We all have to live where we live due to family commitments, I would think. What I'm saying is, I think if diversity was someone's top priority, they might well not feel that buying the experience of encountering wealthy children from other countries entirely ticked the box.

I don't know what you think my experience is, though!

LCHammer Wed 23-Oct-13 10:23:38

Cory - good post.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 10:25:47

Norude look at the posts on this thread - it's not about saying people who choose private are snobs or idiots or child abusers.... but some of us take offence at comments about sending children to private so that:

they are nicely formed by 7
they 'learn the basics' by 7
they don't 'go off the rails' at 11 when they go to state school
they get 'deep learning' at 16
they get 'diversity' by meeting other children from other ethnicities - but interesting ones, not ones whose parents own the takeaway.

Those are the sorts of attitudes towards state schools which are being articulated by some people on this thread when they talk about private education. Those are the attitudes which make me disapprove of private education.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 10:30:09

So what I understand is that because you are rich you have no cultural diversity at all.. by virtue that you have money. Cultural diversity is for the poor people.

The rich Indians do not know their culture because they are rich.

I know for a fact that in private schools especially boarding there is a rich diversity of different culture. That melt together quite well. My daughter is from China her best friend is English from rural England. Their friends consist of a Russian, a Spaniard and a Korean. They don't have a Somalian but they do have a South African but they aren't in the same friendship group.

So by saying that cultural diversity can only be seen in state school is incorrect.

If you mean poverty and the understanding of poverty then I will agree that if I was in a poor inner city suburb the schools will have a more diverse number of poor people. That I have to put my hand up and say YES.. you do win the argument there.

I on the other hand unashamedly can afford to place my daughter in a private school. We will top up her extra curriculum activities if and when needed. We are happy that the school has good pastoral care and that this Christmas we may well go to Korean to meet her Korean friend's family. As I'm sure her English friend will come to Hong Kong to visit us in due course.

Everyone is different and everyone should make the choice which is best for the children.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:31:09

But you are twisting a lot of what people say to confirm your own beliefs steamingnit.

I bet if you met my kids you'd really like them and vice versa. You have to accept that sometimes things arent that black and white.

And I really don't care that much about diversity in schools. My children are kind, helpful, thoughtful and polite. They don't seem to judge anyone yet. So I am not worried about them becoming UKIP voters in the future. Anyone that uses ANY form of selective education can't really be that bothered and I include grammar schools at the top of this list.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 10:38:08

Kenlee then you understand wrongly. Cultural diversity exists at all income levels - but when you draw a line above a certain level, you are obviously drawing a line on a certain amount of diversity while you're at it. Fine - just don't pretend otherwise.

Altamoda I'm sorry you think I'm twisting things - I could c&P the posts I mean which are intrinsically, implicitly or directly offensive about state education if you like, though it would take a while!

Like you, I didn't hunt down where I live or where my children go to school in order to ensure diversity of every kind - and, like you, I'm sure that both those choices were determined by any number of practical, financial and emotional factors. Nonetheless, I will always answer back when people claim that their private school is 'actually more diverse' than the state, without clarifying that very large statement.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:41:42

Well I suppose people think diversity in its simplest form means people from other cultures/religions. In that case, in my situation, there is no question that my dds school is more 'diverse' than my ds' school.

Economic diversity - not so much I agree

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 10:47:40

I really don't think our local private school has quite the cohort of kids on free school meals that my daughter's comp does...

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 10:48:59

...oh and I should add that I think the FSM presence is a Good Thing.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:53:52

Of course they don't! Why would they? I don't think we are arguing that kids from private school are FSM kids?

or are we I am quite confused now

I do think the rural experience is probably the polar opposite of the London experience (hard for Londoners to understand that the whole country isnt the same as London I know wink) in terms of cultural diversity in schools.

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 10:56:14

Private schoolers tend to surge forward pointing out how most of the families are destitute, not to speak of a wide cultural diversity yadda yadda yadda.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 10:56:30

"Of course they don't! Why would they? I don't think we are arguing that kids from private school are FSM kids?"

But surely there should be lots of "FSM kids" at private schools, what with all the bursaries.........

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 10:57:21

I don't live in London... but again, see, 'of course they don't! why would they?' just seems bit unthinkingly accepting of a massively non-diverse mindset in a private school.

You're right - of course they don't. They don't let those children through the door. I think that's a bit crap.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 10:59:04

That's bollocks (private families are destitute)

There are a very few bursaries at dds school, eveyrone is revoltingly middle class. The few that arent have one child only and are clearly putting both salairies into it plus a bit of scholarship.

The Bodenishness of it annoys even me although clearly I am a complete hypocrite

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 11:00:13

I do live in London but being quite bright and indeed not entirely effnically white myself am fully aware that the cultural/ethnic diversity of the UK tends to be in urban areas. Especially when it comes to poorer families (see the FSM comment above). So, yes, you may have more posh non-white families than non-posh non-white families in rural areas, that would make sense.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 11:00:13

Its a nice school though, they have an arboretum skips

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 11:02:48

Steaming nit - the diversity is an interesting issue for me personally. I moved from an inner city area which was very ethnically diverse, but not very financially diverse (majority very low socio economic). I suppose diversity for me means a whole cross section of society, all income groups, all religions, all ethnicities, all class groups. Living in a predominantly low socio economic area is not in my opinion diverse. My children both went to state schools in this area and despite one of the schools having over 20 different first languages it was surprisingly good and achieved more than expected given the assessments on intake.
I then moved to small town where the state schools that my children went to were predominantly white middle class with well below average FSM. The parents are majority middle income earners. However one of the schools was dire. The children did not achieve in line with expectations, bullying was rife, racism was also apparent (despite the schools continuous denial). Most of the children had tutors which skewed the SATs results favourably.
One of my children now goes to a private school and it is majority white middle class (although more ethnic mix than the previous state school).
So I have experience of a state school which was ethnically mixed, a state school which was predominantly white middle class and a private school which is predominantly white middle class. None of these school had true diversity because the children at the state schools come from the local area (therefore intake based mainly on areas house prices, demographic make up and family income) and the private school is based solely on affordability (not academically selective). None of the schools had a real cross section of the whole of society.
Luckily, I am not interested in choosing schools based on their diversity because clearly that is not straightforward in some areas. I choose the current schools based solely in what I felt could meet my children's academic, social and emotional needs.

I think Cory's post is good. Really, assuming you can afford it then you should look at the best option for your child. I send the DCs to a private school. I don't do that for diversity reasons, or for a peer group, or because I'm thinking about exam results.

I sent DC1 because I wasn't happy with the state school he was attending for many reasons that were personal to us, and him. He's thriving in the private school. DC2 goes there because we work, and it makes it easier to only have one school run. I don't think she would have had the same issues in our local state school.

If you can afford it then I think going from primary is good because it offers smaller classes (generally), and access to specialist teachers. If you can't then I'd suggest going from P7 (final year of primary).

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 11:17:09

Ah. I actively want diversity. I think diversity is a Good Thing. I think it enriches my children's lives and the lives of the wider community in which they live.

Of course I want a broad, liberal education with the option of at least two languages and three sciences. But I want that delivered in a school that is also delivering it to black kids and poor kids and kids who live in B&Bs and kids where school is the only source of what one can broadly term 'education'.

Fortunately this is not unusual, despite the shock-horror hysteria about Dreadful Comps that abounds.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 11:23:36

That does sound good motherinferior. I don't think that exists in rural south west however.

Good comps here (of which there are some very good ones) are certainly not culturally diverse although they may be fairly socio-economically diverse.

I do think that SOME of the private schools here encourage students to look beyond the very cosseted way that they live. I know some will shout patronising! but they do seem very aware of other cultures and helping the poor and needy (its a cathloic school and rooted in help and charity for others). They really celebrate the culture of the boarders who come from a variety of other countries. The comps are very rooted in white british rural way of life which wasn't something I particuarly aspired to for my children, being an ex londoner wink

Farewelltoarms Wed 23-Oct-13 11:26:13

Just to add, I'm not 'smug' about my children being at school with Somali refugees (or 'pirates' as some prefer to refer to them and I don't think the fact that you've apologised for that really is enough, when you've explained it was because that's how you were referring to them to your husband. Ah that's alright then). I'm just suggesting that perhaps a family who've fled Somalia are not exactly the same as a wealthy Asian family just because they happen to be non-White.

However, I am smug if attending a school with a mix of socio, economic and ethnic backgrounds helps my child not to make crass remarks about people from Somalia.

Hmm about the "diversity"....

I dot care what race/religion/ income level families have, bit I prefer schools where kids are supported in their learning at home. Where parents support the school.

In my experience this preference is not related to class or race.

I am not actively searching a school with lots of kids from rough (uncaring parents, rich or poor) backgrounds as I would fear a higher level of disruption, bad attitude to learning, even violence. ( from pupils or parents)

IMO underperforming kids from seriously underprivileged back grounds might benefit mote than anyone from smaller class sizes and more support at school.

PS, not white or British myself btw

LadyGnome Wed 23-Oct-13 12:12:48

I have name changed for this post as it is more personal - I have already posted on this thread under another name.

DH came to this country as a refugee so despite our DC being in a private school we have a much better idea of the reality of life as a refugee than many of the posters whose DC happen to have a few refugees in their school.

It does bother me a bit when refugees are held up as some sort of beacons of diversity. It also annoys me that there seems to be an assumption that private school parents are actively seeking to avoid people like my DH. My DC don't avoid the chap who fled a civil war as a penniless refugee; they call him Dad.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 12:15:15

I see this thread has gone the way of most....Private vs State...

To be honest I do care about the kids that have it tough. Those that need a good school to bring them out of the dire destitution of their plight.

I'm just not that charitable to say at the expense of my child. It maybe the cultural difference between Chinese culture and any other culture. We value our family first.

I am sure some parents will love to have a private education and that's great if they can afford it or can find a way to do it ...Then perfect...

If you are smug attending a school with a mix of socio, economic and ethnic backgrounds. That helps your child not to make crass remarks about people from Somalia. Well that's all good too...

What I do find offensive is that private school parents are either made out to be ogres who do not love their children or that our children are so cocooned in the rich life that they don't know how terrible it is to be poor.

You made your choice we made our choice. Why is your choice automatically right?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 12:21:34

"What I do find offensive is that private school parents are either made out to be ogres who do not love their children or that our children are so cocooned in the rich life that they don't know how terrible it is to be poor. "

If you read through this thread, as many others, you will find that it's state schools and, by extrapolation, state school parents who get the criticism. I don't think I have ever seen anyone sayings that private school parents are ogres who don't love their children...why on earth would anyone say that?

But your children, like mine, are incredibly privileged regardless of where they go to school. And it is undeniable that if they go to private school they are going to be even more cocooned in that privilege than if they are at state school. That's not a criticism- that's just a fact.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 12:24:10

No, I haven't seen anyone making any comments about private school parents being ogres, either. I haven't really seen any comments about them at all.

What I have seen are ignorant and offensive comments about sending your child to private school so he or she can learn to read and write, get the basics, not go mad at 11, get deep learning, etc.

I've seen more stupid assumptions about state schools than anything else. And that's why, as you say, the thread has gone the usual way.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 12:32:33

So your fact is based on that if a child is based say in Kingston goes to Tiffin s/he will be less privileged than say a child who goes to any private school or for the matter of fact if you go to any middle class suburb where there is a state comprehensive where catchment is the criteria to get into said school?

These children are no less privileged than those in private sector schools. In fact most private sector schools children are from these very same families.

If what you mean the inner city schools well yes obviously as the school again is in a catchment area where mostly dysfunctional socio economic groups. Note I said most not all.

Although I did read an article on a very good school in Camden that politicians use for their kids that is very good and it is state too...

Farewelltoarms Wed 23-Oct-13 12:33:00

I agree that there hasn't been anything about private school parents not loving their children.

On the other hand, I have sometimes seen (not necessarily here) an assumption that they might love their children just that little bit more than state school ones - 'it's all a question of priorities', 'we just really value education over having flash holidays' etc

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 12:34:05

There are too many assumptions and judgments made from both sides.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 12:35:43

Going slightly against the grain, but if funds don't permit private education throughout, I would do private for primary (following the principle of 'give me a child until the age of 7 and I will give you the man'), state for 11-16 because GCSEs are a bit of a joke and you can supplement with tutors, out of school clubs, and out of school music, but definitely private for sixth form, where a deep understanding of the A level subject matters.

This post rather sums up the attitude. Politer that some, in that it doesn't mention rails or wolves- but typical.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 12:36:26

What are the assumptions being made about private schools which you would like to challenge, norude?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 12:39:12

No, kenlee, I think you misunderstand me. Your children and mine are, I suspect, equally privileged in many ways. But children at private schools are, of necessity, less cocooned in privilege than their private school peers.
As you know, Tiffin, and a few similar schools are by no means typical of state school intake.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 12:41:33

I say if you want to go private then go private...You don't need approval from anyone but yourself. If you think that is what your child needs.

If you think you should go state then go state ...you don't need approval from anyone either....Again if that is what your child needs.

It really doesn't matter what choice you make....The choice is yours.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 12:44:00

But not everyone's, right?

Bit naive and daft to say it's a straightforward matter of choice because a) it's not a choice most people can make and b) other people's choice do matter.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 12:47:54

What I'm trying to ascertain is that all children from the middle class are the same. I know many working class parents who work two jobs to let their daughter goto private school too...I admire them more so than the rich banker.

So private school does not mean you are rich and unaware. It means you have two parents who I presume work long hours to allow their child that privilege.

Although, I have to admit I did rather take an extreme example to put my case across.

If we was to move to a more lower middle/ working class scenario say Wandsworth then your example would be better served.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 12:48:36

nit....everyone has a choice....

musicalfamily Wed 23-Oct-13 12:53:51

Well yes of course other people's choices matter.

If the (white middle class) parents of a group of boys' in my DD's classroom could be bothered to educate their children and perhaps take an interest in their behaviour and education, my DD wouldn't have had to move schools at great cost to us.

I just became sick and tired of reports of pencil throwing, giggling throughout lessons, teacher walking out, scribbles all over her work, and the ten timetable being wheeled out AGAIN in Y4 as most children had not memorised it. The list was endless. I don't feel guilty in the least I took my DD out of that environment.

My other DCs are staying at the same school because behaviour so far iin their classes seems better. But I won't let my children stay in a bad environment and ruin their education - neither I will say this is true of all state schools because it is very much dependent on the cohort and you could get a bad cohort in any school. If I couldn't afford private, I would have home educated my DD.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 12:57:39

Kenlee - really?

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 13:00:31

As far as I'm concerned you did made a choice..you chose to go private.

The choice of other parents created a environment where you had to make a choice. You made it.Now your child is happy.

Life is all about choices

musicalfamily Wed 23-Oct-13 13:03:41

Exactly. If we want to get more personal, I also chose to emigrate from my country leaving behind all my family and friends in search of a better future for myself. I consider myself very brave as I left penniless at 18 with just a suitcase to my name and completely on my own in a foreign country.

I have achieved an awful lot since and have made a lot of choices which were hard and costly in many ways. I will never feel guilty of what I can give my children as they reap the benefits of all my sacrifices.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 13:04:15

Just wondering how I would exercise my "choice" to send ds to Eton should I so desire. Any ideas?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 13:05:56

As far as I'm concerned you did made a choice..you chose to go private sorry - am confused! Is that a quotation? Who is it directed to?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 13:06:14

Ah, I remember, give up smoking and Sky. Go on camping holidays in Cornwall and drive a beaten up old Volvo.......that should do it! grin

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 13:12:20

Well if you wanted to do that first you have to follow the plan

1) Hire tutors for all subjects and rote learn all the answers

unless your child is a child genius...

2) Make sure your child is coached in every sport that is available and coach him till he is better than the professionals.

unless your child is a natural

3) Musical instrument get him to concert level but not in Piano as everyone can play the piano

Unless your child is a child Beethoven

4) Art make sure he can paint a master piece tutors are available

unless your child is a child Van Gogh

Then apply for the scholarship or pay that's your choice.

Dont knock it. I know parents that are actually doing this.

Kenlee Wed 23-Oct-13 13:14:57

ha ha but I remember curlew your child is rather clever...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 13:17:36

I'm a bit lost now confused

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 13:22:51

Me too.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 13:36:13

What are the assumptions being made about private schools which you would like to challenge, norude?

That the schools are ONLY successful because they are selective.
There has to be an element of decent teaching too otherwise they wouldn't survive due to falling pupil numbers ( which is the case for some).

That the children who attend are all middle class spoiled snobs who think they are better than the local state school kids
My experience has not shown that at all. I do think that you get people who feel superior for whatever reason in all sectors of society and in all schools.

That the parents are damaging comprehensive state schools by taking their children to private academically selective schools
This argument gets thrown around a lot and I thinks it is usually put across in a contradictory way. If people don't see the need for schools to be selective then surely they feel they can get a good enough education from the non selective state school, so what difference does it make if a child goes to private school instead of their state school? Also, those same people will usually argue that a bright child will do well anywhere, so what difference does it make who else attends?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 13:42:57

Well, of your three points, I have seen 1 and 3 regularly posted, and actually agree with both of them. I have never, ever heard anyone say "That the children who attend are all middle class spoiled snobs who think they are better than the local state school kids"

I have, however, often seen state school children being referred to as yobs, as feral, as scrotes, as chair throwers and worse.

LadyGnome Wed 23-Oct-13 13:53:46

Curlew

What do you think the subtext of all the "buying a peer group" "don't want them mixing with poor people" type comments are? Of course these are accusations of snobbery and are equally unacceptable as stereotyping state school pupils.

It's treating any one large group as homogeneous that irritates me. Not all families who choose private schools are white and from a middle class background - hence my post about DH being a refugee. I went to a state school and I am not a feral yob so I assume current state school pupils are the same as me.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 13:55:19

Can you say where those points were made, Norude? Because I haven't seen 1 or 3 on this thread, and I haven't seen (2) at all.

Like Curlew, I do agree with points 1 and 2, but I don't think that's what this thread has been about at all.

Could you be projecting your sense of what people think onto what they've actually said here? Because this very thread contains an awful lot of assumptions about state school, but I haven't seen any about private school.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 13:57:21

Well it doesn't really matter whether you want them to mix with 'poor people' - if you send them to private school, they won't! The fundamental, basic thing about private schools is, they Cost Money. That's not assumption or prejudice or offensive - it's just true - it's what makes a private school a private school! It's private.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 13:58:00

Oh, I think a lot of private school parents are crashing snobs! That goes without saying, doesn't it? grin The point was that the children are criticised, and I don't think they are. State school children definitely are, though.

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 14:04:46

No they aren't, curlew. It's not their fault they've been set such a bad example all their lives. grin

LadyGnome Wed 23-Oct-13 14:05:57

The children do have a life outside school and amazingly not all of their friends and family go to private schools. Perhaps even more surprising not all of them are middle class or even comfortably off. Hardly surprising when you think that like DH many of his friends fled the same civil war.

You appear as narrow and blinkered in your assumptions as your stereotyped private school families.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 14:10:03

"You appear as narrow and blinkered in your assumptions as your stereotyped private school"

Why on earth say that? It's just rude, and doesn't contribute to the discussion at all. And as far as I can see nobody has talked about a private school stereotype.

I sometimes wonder whether people expect to be judged for sending their children to private school and so see the judging where it doesn't exist.

LadyGnome Wed 23-Oct-13 14:15:19

So you didn't say that you think that a lot of private school parents are crashing snobs?

Did you mean to be so rude?

And you object to stereotyping?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 14:17:32

Oh, LadyGnome, tell me you have never met a snobbish private school parent!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 14:18:07

'A lot' are... there are crashing snobs all over the place, and probably a lot of them do, or would like to, use private schools. Doesn't mean everyone is, of course, and I've encountered some snobbish attitudes in state primary playgrounds too.

LadyGnome Wed 23-Oct-13 14:23:23

I've met snobbish parents in both sectors and I've met down to earth ones. That doesn't justify a generalisation that " most" parents are "crashing snobs".

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 14:27:20

Where are you quoting the 'most' from, ladygnome? If you're going to get cross about something, make it something that's actually been said, I should think.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 14:34:14

TOSN I have seen '2' on many mums net threads over time. Not this thread, but on many other private vs state debates. The comments about how little Tarquin has no clue about the real world because he lives this sheltered pampered existence away from the poor people and get sides above his station.
With regard to 1 and 3, I really believe that if state schools were as good as they should be then there wouldn't need to be any complaints that 7% of the country's children going to private school is damaging to the state schools. What message does that send about the other 93% of children and those parents? To me, the people complaining about the 7% are the ones doing the damage.

TOSN

Please don't engage in semantics to try and avoid the point being made. It is no more acceptable to make insulting and judgmental stereotypes about private school parents or families than it is state school parents. If I were to post a negative and judgmental stereotyped comment about state school parents stating " a lot of state school parents are..." you would rightly object. It works both ways.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 14:38:30

I sometimes wonder whether people expect to be judged for sending their children to private school and so see the judging where it doesn't exist.

It could also be argued that parents who choose state schools are overly defensive as they expect to be told that they have chosen a lesser option for their child.

Wishihadabs Wed 23-Oct-13 14:39:23

I see thread has sadly gone the way of these threads. I actually wish we had done "state till 8". Instead I stayed Pt (Ds is year 5) and tried to do loads of extra curricular stuff. We are now paying a tutor for 11+ tuition and I feel frustrated in my career as not ft. If I had my time again I would have worked ft and sent them to a prep school from yr 3 or 4.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 14:40:20

Ok, norude, but I think if we bring in everything that's been said on both sides which is offensive and silly, I might as well start getting annoyed about comments over the years about state school children doing too many GCSEs in silly subjects, only seeing their peers aspire to a diploma in health and beauty, or being taught by illiterates who say 'haitch'. I don't think that would be helpful, would it?

How do you see people who object to private education as being a problem as doing damage, though?

I think however good state schools were, there would always be some people who wanted to pay, for a variety of reasons.

Wishihadabs Wed 23-Oct-13 14:41:06

They are both top of their year in state school (years 2&5) in classes of 33 (Ds) and 29 (dd) sad

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 14:43:39

'Engaging in semantics', Chaz? You mean saying that a quoted word, which quite drastically changes the actual import of what was said, was not actually used?

It's a bit 'oh well, you can prove anything with facts', as an argument tactic!

Norude we are being told we've chosen a lesser option, on this very thread. Because in state, you don't get the basics of reading and writing. The boy you're given until 7 will be a lesser man if not sent to private. In state post 16, you will not get 'deep learning' that private schools give. In state, post 11, you risk 'going off the rails'.

Those are the things that have actually been said, and they all, actually, do presume a lesser option in state.

Wishihadabs Wed 23-Oct-13 14:44:13

Oh and I sucking hate the school run. At the prep would keep them till 6.

musicalfamily Wed 23-Oct-13 14:45:09

I have 3 at state school and one at private (just moving now).

I certainly don't think my DD1 is superior or deserves better than the other 3 children - it would be absurd! She was just unlucky in a terrible environment with a lot of disruption and wasn't progressing. I wasn't going to let my child flounder and become depressed.

If I didn't have the money to send her private I would have home educated her or even sent her abroad to live with my family and received a free education in much smaller classes with specialist teachers. This however seemed a bit radical, but I did consider it.

My other children are doing fine. I have no prejudices either way, certainly no snob factor either. I know lots and lots of people in my same predicament, with children in different schools that suit different requirements.

Wishihadabs Wed 23-Oct-13 14:46:01

At least the prep would keep them till 6, Jesus you can tell I had a state education !

notagiraffe Wed 23-Oct-13 14:48:02

for us, secondary. Because if the primary isn't ideal, it's easier for parents to supplement the learning (well within our range of general knowledge) and because children are far more influenced by parents at that age and will absorb encouragement to work hard even if others don't.

Most good independent schools I know of take lots of state school pupils. They look fro promise and potential, and know how to interpret the gap between state educated and prepped.
(My DC both caught up with prep-school peers)

Peer group pressure kicks in hard at adolescence, so a school, state or private, that fosters a strong work ethic and high aspirations not only from teachers but from fellow pupils, is priceless.

higgle Wed 23-Oct-13 14:48:12

We sent DS1 & DS2 to prep school until they were 11 and then to a Grammar school ( still in plentiful supply here in Gloucestershire).

This has worked out really well as they were taught in a disciplined atmosphere and acquired excellent numeracy and literacy at a young age. They also had the opportunity to learn languages, including Latin and play lots of sport, use of tennis courts etc. One of the main benefits came from having to do prep at school in the early evening after lessons.

Both passed 11 + and DS1 did PPE at Oxford before joining the civil service, DS2 is doing a fashion degree at a Russell group. uni.

The grounding they got at prep school really set them in good stead - I never once in all their secondary education had to nag about getting homework done, and their manners were much better than state school friends. Interestingly DS1 got better A level results than his peer group from prep school who went on in the private sector. DS2 did about the same, though Latin A level was very challenging for him and Art something he took to late in his education.

I think there is a lot of truth in "give me the child until he is 7 and I will show you the man".

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 14:48:59

How do you see people who object to private education as being a problem as doing damage, though?

To me, it's like saying that 'you lot can't do as well because a lot of the bright kids don't go to your school, you could only do well if those kids were being taught in your school'. Why not change that attitude to 'you can get 10A* just like the kids at the private school a couple of miles away, your teachers are just as good and you are just as bright'.

As for the judgemental attitude towards parents who choose state school, I have already acknowledged that these stereotypes and opinions exist further up the thread. I think the stereotypes and judgments are all disgusting and based on nothing.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 14:51:51

Norude we are being told we've chosen a lesser option, on this very thread. Because in state, you don't get the basics of reading and writing. The boy you're given until 7 will be a lesser man if not sent to private. In state post 16, you will not get 'deep learning' that private schools give. In state, post 11, you risk 'going off the rails'.

I haven't and wouldn't say any of those things, especially seeing as I have a child in state school and a child in private school. I am as disgusted and shocked by those comments as you are.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 14:52:50

Oh ok, so a negative message being given to state school children by parents who resent the private sector, you mean?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 14:54:29

"I've met snobbish parents in both sectors and I've met down to earth ones. That doesn't justify a generalisation that " most" parents are "crashing snobs".

I didn't say "most". I said "a lot". This is a very crucial difference. However, I am prepared to refine it even further to "a lot of private school parents I know" or even to "a lot of the private school parents who were at my friend Sue's birthday party on Saturday"

I notice that everybody is studiously avoiding the routine running down and insulting of state schools and state school children on this forum. And, indeed, on this thread.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 14:56:24

"their manners were much better than state school friends"

And there's another one!

higgle Wed 23-Oct-13 15:03:49

"their manners were much better than state school friends"
A simple observation on my part. The prep school was more disciplined than a state primary, the headmaster didn't worry about offending sensibilities and he would shout at and dress down children who did not behave correctly. The children also had to show round prospective parents who visited and needed to have good manners for that. I was not a SAHM, I worked upwards of 70 hours a week when my children were little and it meant a lot to me that the school helped with general and table manners.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 15:04:57

Well, we can all make 'simple observations'. Shall we?

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 15:06:10

Oh ok, so a negative message being given to state school children by parents who resent the private sector, you mean?

Yes, that is what I mean. Not just parents though, but media as well. I think its a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy situation for some kids and for that reason alone the message should be more positive.
I am very defensive about my decision to send one of my children to private school because it was a decision that took a long time to make and involved a lot of 'what ifs', but ultimately we took the decision because our son was very unhappy and we were getting nowhere with the school. Since going private I had have to endure lots of negative comments in real life "why do you want your kid to be a snob", "are you just trying to create a goody two shoes kid", "what makes you think you're better than us". The fact that I still have one child in state school and therefore have just done what is best and (in my opinion) necessary for each of my children as individuals doesn't occur to some people.

motherinferior Wed 23-Oct-13 15:07:23

'you can get 10A* just like the kids at the private school a couple of miles away, your teachers are just as good and you are just as bright'.

Why on earth would I not be saying that? Actually I'm not citing any bloody schools down the road, either.

Am bemused.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 15:08:50

You know, a friend of my ds's has absolutely awful table manners. I could make a connection between that and the fact that he goes to private school, but I wouldn't dream of being so crass.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 15:11:08

"I think its a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy situation for some kids and for that reason alone the message should be more positive."

The problem is that, at least on Mumsnet, people seem to do that by dissing state schools and the children who attend them. There have been plenty of examples on this thread alone. A fact which seems to be being ignored.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 15:12:39

Hmm. I do see what you mean, in a way, norude, and obviously you've had lots of negative comments in RL that have been unpleasant.

My children do know they can do as well as children at private school, because they know those children are no better, just their parents have done things a different way. However, I think the obvious answer that a bright child whose parents couldn't afford fees, when told 'oh you can do just as well' would probably be, 'well why does anyone go there, then? ... also mum, I was reading that page you left open on mumsnet and it seems I'm buggered anyway because I missed learning the basics and I'm now going to go off the rails' wink.

To re-iterate, I think the negative message about going to state school comes far more from other sources (and from many private schools, and some of those who use them) than it does from parents who send their children to state school.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 15:14:12

Curlew - if you read my other posts you will realise that I have not ignored those facts.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 15:15:44

Sorry, norude- yes you have.

higgle Wed 23-Oct-13 15:31:12

not quite sure why everyone is having a go! We were state school parents for as long as being prep school ones. Maybe not all prep schools are keen on manners, I only know about the one my two went to.

At the Grammar school the teaching was excellent, sporting opportunities less, and a lot of the good things hinged on the teachers who did things in their own time ( like teach subjects not on formal offer or run groups) I didn't like the low key approach to dealing with any bullying and the fact that the teachers did not always prepare well for parents evenings. When DS2 wanted a place on a summer Latin course he needed a head teacher's letter in support. HT wrote that he was from a family where no one had ever been to university! As DH and I both have post graduate qualifications and HT did not ask us about our education I was not impressed.

Altamoda Wed 23-Oct-13 16:09:13

I think it's a bit vulgar to talk about why you educate your children privately

I would never do it in real life. If people ask me why I always say because of the sport. Lame really.

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 16:28:34

Alta no one ever asks me about DS school, because it's a fancy pants famous one.

But they do ask about DD's because it's not. In fact it's one many an MNer would be sneery about and declare a waste of money.

If I think they're generally interested, I explain what's on offer. If I think they're just being a twat I say I love the kilts grin.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 16:35:18

Saying 'it's a bit vulgar' sounds a tiny bit like a silencing technique to me! I'm not specially interested in the whys anyway... but am never not going to pound the keyboard when people start making silly statements about when (not even 'if'!) you should 'go private'!

Nothing's a waste if it's what you want, in my opinion. I just get twitchy when what people want entails making silly statements about what they don't want but think they'll get if they don't 'go private'.

Whatelseisthere Wed 23-Oct-13 16:36:42

My parents sacrificed my education on the altar of their liberal attitudes.

They took us to Europe, art galleries, museums, theatre etc in the holidays.

It didn't stop me getting routinely kicked in at a comprehensive school for wanting to work, to get A'levels, go to university.

I could post on here about my comprehensive education not holding me back academically. But I won't because I was so miserable all I wanted to do was die. And if I hear one more glib 'clever children will do well anywhere', I will cry. If everyone else just wants to tattoo themselves in biro, swear at teachers and disrupt every single lesson for a laugh, and your child is the 'clever cunt' chances are they might not be happy.

But instead I will tell you that I will scrub floors to keep my DC in the private sector because they will have friends who think like they do; they won't have to stick out like sore thumbs; they can do sports they love and not be laughed at for wanting to be healthy.

They will, I hope, have the biggest privilege of all, a happy childhood and an adolescence surrounded by peers with similar aspirations.

Yes, I'm biased and bitter.

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 16:50:27

But surely nit if someone wants to go private (for whatever personal reasons they have) and can only afford a bit of it, it's a perfectly reasonable question to pose?

Which bit is the best value for money?

People must surely be allowed to discuss these things without the anti-private brigade elbowing in the derail the thread. Every. Bloody. Time.

Beento Wed 23-Oct-13 16:52:00

I agree notagiraffe

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 17:00:03

"People must surely be allowed to discuss these things without the anti-private brigade elbowing in the derail the thread. Every. Bloody. Time".

Yes of course they should. But why can't they do it without saying awful things about state schools? Every. Bloody.Time.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 17:03:49

"If everyone else just wants to tattoo themselves in biro, swear at teachers and disrupt every single lesson for a laugh, and your child is the 'clever cunt' chances are they might not be happy."
Doesn't it cross your mind that you are talking about other mumsnetters children? Or do you genuinely believe that they are all at private school?

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 17:04:54

Sorry curlew But that's not how the thread went.

OP asks for opinions on an issue that is relevent to lots of parents; they'd like to go privatebut can't afford the whole shebang.

A few posters give opinions based on their experience ie in no way dissing the state sector as a whole. Then whoops, here comes the size tens without fail...what's the point? Complete waste of money! You're buying a peer group because you're afraid of poor people!!!

That was absolutely not how the thread was going!!!!

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 17:06:56

And whatelse is talking quite obviously about her own experieneces!

And frankly, they sound bloody awful. Why try to criticise her for her own experiences? Why try to make them out as somehow invalid/untrue?

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 17:16:27

Oh, come on wordfactory, don't be naive - look at the OP. She is asking whether it's better to have a poor (ie state) start and risk not being able to cope with a private secondary or have a good (ie private) start and risk going off the rails at a state secondary!

No wonder she got people's backs up a little. And the posts that followed just confirmed the prejudice.

curlew Wed 23-Oct-13 17:18:03

"And whatelse is talking quite obviously about her own experieneces!"

Yes she is. But she is extrapolating from her experience (which sound awful) to all state schools, which is why, 20 years later, she would "scrub floors" not to let her children go to one.

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 17:23:21

Sorry I don't buy it.

At no point does the OP say that. She simply poses the notion that these things can happen. And they certainly can.

Kids do have a poor start in some primaries. Kids can go off the rails at secondary. This is hardly contentious. Surely?

She even goes so far as to say she knows there are good state schools.

The posts that follow the OP simply talk about their experiences in a fairly measured way, and why those expereiences have impacts on their opinions.

JammieMummy Wed 23-Oct-13 17:29:01

I feel I have to clarify what I said way back at the begining do the thread.
I never said my DDs school was economically diverse, that would be plain madness (as far as I am aware it doesn't offer any real burseries, just short term ones to those current pupils experiencing a short term issue). I meant ethnically diverse as you can tell by the examples I gave. Also at no point did I say this was my reason for choosing the school, as it wasn't. In fact in the post previous to that I specifically said that I would be shocked by a parent chosing a school due to the peer group and that would include "because the peer group is diverse".

I do not feel any need to justify my reasons for chosing either of my children's schools (one state, one private) or any they may attend in the futur. I would repeat what someone above said about you having no knowledge as to who anyone's children associate with outside of school and what we, as a family, value in the people we are friends with but, as sure as hell, money doesn't even enter the equation

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 17:31:41

I felt the op was making assumptions about state schools which are quite hard to miss. And similar assumptions repeat throughout. Nobody actually said 'don't do it all, you twat' or anything unpleasant or jumping brigade-ish. But many, like me, had a problem with the assumptions abounding about state schooling.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 17:40:30

Let's imagine a thread called 'when to go state?' which assumes a bit of state is a good thing.

Op asks, should I make sure he goes to state until 11 to make sure he is well rounded and sensitive and doesn't get a sense of entitlement at a young age, because after 11 he might be more susceptible to feelings of superiority, more at risk of becoming very materialistic and snobby... Or do I send him state at 16, to make sure that as a young adult he is fully integrated in the real world, gets rid of any arrogance before uni etc, and learns to work hard in different kinds of atmosphere.

Would the private school parents (or the 'anti state brigade' if I were to echo the defensive language) not wish to counter some of those implicit assumptions? Would they not want to argue that none of those things are intrinsic to private education?

Cos I reckon there's a pretty strong chance they would not be at all happy about those casual a priori assumptions, to be honest.

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 17:45:18

And whatelese is entitled to feel very aggrieved by what happened to her. In the same way that if someobne was bullied shitless in boarding school they're perfectly entitled to say they would walk over hot coals than send their own DC boarding.

The reality is that on these boards, as in life, we private school users are small in number. The main noise being made against state schooling comes from within the sector. From upset parents. From pissed off teachers. From univeristy lecturers. From employers.

musicalfamily Wed 23-Oct-13 17:45:27

But quite a few of us said we went state for many years and had bad experiences. We also said, that we have other children in state. We therefore advised that starting in state is a good thing and then see how it goes.

But some of you seemed to have conveniently missed it for the sake of making a point.

Ohnoididntdidi Wed 23-Oct-13 18:27:15

I had the reverse experience of many of you. I felt stressed every time I set out in the town that is home to my old Public School. None of the teachers I had were qualified. We managed to get the Maths teacher out but he got replaced by the rugby teacher who was equally as bad. The Biology teacher was fiddling with girls. Eventually, several years later and with a new head, they finally got rid of him. The chemistry teacher was new to teaching in his forties and when bright red when girls talked to him and couldn't look them in the eye. Made everyone uncomfortable as you couldn't ask questions. Yours all for £10000 as a day pupil in the late 80s. I flunked my A Levels and scraped into uni.

I became a teacher (after 2 degrees and a PGCE) in the state sector and my kids are going through the state sector. We will have enough money for them to go through Uni without debts and maybe a small deposit for a house.

My friend had a rotten time in the state sector and has sent her child to the local private school.

We discussed Year 7 experiences the other day. There are a lot more Asian children at the private school (possibly due to families pooling together money to send children there - her words). There are cool bitchy girls in both schools. These are not the ones that are hard working. Also the children that were accepted only just scrapped Level 4 as I think there weren't so many applying to the private school. The teachers at the private school (I spoke to one) are now finding it more challenging teaching these children that don't respond so well to their usual teaching style.

The private school does set very rigidly which would have benefitted my bright children. The comp they go to only sets in maths and languages from Year 8.

My children also have a thicker local accent now and her friend at private is speaking very rp! Very funny.

It is such a difficult choice. If there were no private schools and no choice and schools setted well then it would be a much fairer system.

Ohnoididntdidi Wed 23-Oct-13 18:30:32

Sorry above it should have read 'some' children only scraped Level 4. Can't cook and type at same time.

wordfactory Wed 23-Oct-13 18:51:00

nit the vast majority of parents who use private school are not remotrely anti-state.

They just aren't usuing it.

They still have an interest in it of course and wish it to be the best it can be (mabny would after all much prefer to be usuing it).

That reverse cannot be said for you or the ther anti priavet brigade can it? You would wish to close them down, refuse the choice? You have no wish to see them be the best they can be, in truth?

You're simply nt comparing apples with apples.

But here's the thing. You may wish to jump into every thread abot private school and derail it, and you're free to do that, but where the real disaffection is coming from is on all those other threads started day in day out by state school parents. The posters at the end of their tether with poroblems they're experiencing. Why not pop along to those and tellthem how wrong they are?

IMVHO you're looking the wrong way.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 19:12:55

Well, since ' the best they can be' is within set parameters of 'the best service they can offer those who pay', no, I don't feel very interested in that!

Please don't try to make me feel I can't post by saying all I do is derail; I post what I think, just as you do. It's not as though you've come

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 19:14:05

... Sorry.. Come onto this thread to answe op's question, is it? So aren't you derailing with your posts about how everyone feels about state education too?

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 19:20:40

I really don't think you can derail a thread. How about unwind? Or wind up? grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Oct-13 19:24:00

Oh and I do post about schools and stuff that happens in them all the time, in fact. For various reasons, not the least being that I'm sure you dont' stalk me over the boards, you might not be on the same threads, but I'm sure you don't think that that means I only post about this, ever?

I don't 'tell them they're wrong' - that would be stupid. But I will argue and debate and give my opinion where I want to, and I do.

Finally - why does it bother you? Why do you think I and others like me shouldn't say we think state education is, by and large, pretty good - and why shouldn't we take massive umbrage at posts suggesting you need to go private 'for the basics' or 'for deep learning'? What do you want - we all take our state education but either regularly say it's crap and we're jealous, or regularly go to confession and admit our sins in buying a house in a leafy area or some crap?

I confess I don't know whether you think I just have low standards/expectations, or I bought a posh catchment - I'm fairly sure the first isn't the case, and I know the second isn't. I just care a lot about state education and it makes me very annoyed when people post silly ignorant things about it. Which not everyone on this thread has done, but plenty have. Am I supposed not to mind?

Elibean Wed 23-Oct-13 19:43:12

As usual, on all these private/state threads here on MN, this is what I would add to the mix OP:

It depends utterly on the individual schools around you, on your individual child and your individual circumstances. And probably on your individual ethos (or family ethos, more accurately).

We looked at state and private schools for dd1, as we had no clue what was best. We ended up choosing the state primary that, at the time, many of our neighbours raised eyebrows at (no longer). It just was simply the right place for our dd, and for us as parents, at the time.

We are doing the same with secondary school. No preconceptions, we're looking at both.

I honestly don't think there is a 'best', or a one rule fits all. If you look for one, you will get massive arguments and no solution wink

MrsSalvoMontalbano Wed 23-Oct-13 19:45:30

Wordfactory as always, you post is spot on. People who choose indie education usually do have experience of state. We do, we were at sttate schools, our DC were at state primaries, now at indie secondaries. I teach in a state secondary. Schools vary, not just between schools, but between classes and year groups within schools. I don't think there is an answer to the Op, simply because YMMV - it depends entirely on the circs of the DC and the available schools and classes and sets within those schools.

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 19:45:37

Well said, Elibean.

teacherwith2kids Wed 23-Oct-13 19:51:31

"But quite a few of us said we went state for many years and had bad experiences."

The thing is, DS had a terrible experience in a state school - and absolutely fabulous experiences in two other state schools with comprehensive intakes (ie a 'plain vanilla' state primary and a comprehensive secondary).

If DS had gone private ater the first school, then I am sure that I too would have put down th difference between the experiences as being a 'sector' difference. But it wasn't - it was a difference between one state school and another.

Differences WITHIN a sector are at least as great as those between sectors - the difference between Winchester and one of our local private secondaries is far wider than between the latter and a local comprehensive (for clarity, I should point out that the comprehensive's results are worse than Winchester's, but considerably better than the local private).

However, as parents do not always try a state to state switch before moving sectors, differences are frequently ascribed to a change of sector but may simply be due to a change of school.

Different schools also suit different children - many parents were very happy (rightly so) with DS's first school, though it was poor for him. And if DS had SEN, I wouldn't send him within a mile of his current comprehensive.

rabbitstew Wed 23-Oct-13 20:10:05

There aren't just sector differences, there are Key Stage differences. My children were not that enamoured of reception or KS1 at their school, but blossomed in KS2 of the same school.

Norudeshitrequired Wed 23-Oct-13 20:12:44

Differences WITHIN a sector are at least as great as those between sectors -

I agree with that. The problem is that not everybody can choose to swap to another state school if not happy with the current one due to class sizes and many areas being hugely oversubscribed. But YY, different state schools can be very different from each other (and different private schools too).

Whatelseisthere Wed 23-Oct-13 20:18:04

It depends utterly on the individual schools around you, on your individual child and your individual circumstances

Yes, absolutely. I do know that my experience was not the same for everyone in the state sector. All children should thrive in the right school,

And probably on your individual ethos (or family ethos, more accurately)

Much less so.

When my Marxist nutter of a DF died and left me all the money they'd refused to invest in sending me to a school where I would have fitted in, I promptly spunked the lot on therapy.

musicalfamily Wed 23-Oct-13 20:47:32

However, as parents do not always try a state to state switch before moving sectors, differences are frequently ascribed to a change of sector but may simply be due to a change of school

Absolutely agree with this - sadly because schools are so oversubscribed (including the one my DD1 is leaving), the private option can sometimes be the only realistic alternative.

Teacherwith2kids, Winchester is quite an extraordinary place. Just looked at all our options ( winchester College never an option) and came out with a state school as the best option.

I think Thornden, Kings and Westgate ( state secondaries) all get better gcse grades than the non selective indies like Gregg or Hcs.

However, the rest of the UK is not necessarily like that ( ie state options outperforming the privates) usually it is the other way around.

So yes, it depends very much where you live.

In a place like Winchester I'd go state

teacherwith2kids Wed 23-Oct-13 23:12:36

[To clarify, I don't live in Winchester. I live in a totally different part of the country, but one where the state schools are again better than all the privates except for one [internationally known] school.

I only chose Winchester College 'off the top of my head' as an example of a private school that might generally be regarded as 'outstanding'.]

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 08:40:58

"The reality is that on these boards, as in life, we private school users are small in number."

I'm sure I saw a statistic somewhere that, while in the population at large, only 10%ish of families use private schools, on Mumsnet it's nearer 45%. Can anyone else remember this?

It certainly feels like that when you post on education threads regularly.

JustAnotherUserName Thu 24-Oct-13 09:45:24

Curlew that must be right. Perhaps because MNers posting on this thread tend to be hope I don't get flamed aspirational from an educational perspective (AFAEPs). So if you look at the percentation of AFAEPs who go private, it is probably more than 10% (certainly in London where I am - in my middle class circle of friends/aquaintances I'd put it at 50% for secondary (much less at primary)).

And it all depends (i) if you can afford it; and (ii) what the state options are? ie individual circumstances.

Farewelltoarms Thu 24-Oct-13 09:57:45

Re. a point made further up about how state schools are so continually dismissed by people who don't necessarily have direct experience of them...

There's a post on this board asking for recommendations of schools in Queen's Park and Kensal Rise. Here's the only reply:

I would buy a cheaper house and send the kids to the best private school you can stretch too, its a sad state of affairs but many state schools are failing and churning kids out with a very poor education.

Reastie Thu 24-Oct-13 10:01:46

marking place as we have similar dilemma and live in grammar school area so if DD had to go private my thinking is primary might be more beneficial to instill positive working attitude and more individualised help/learning to stretch/nurture her to carry her through to secondary (and hopefully grammar)

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 10:06:23

OK- I'm really sorry this thread seems to have taken off in directions the OP didn't intend - but "primary might be more beneficial to instill positive working attitude"

Why are you assuming that state schools don't "instil a positive working attitude"?

Reastie Thu 24-Oct-13 10:17:26

curlew I'm just comparing the state vs private school DD would go to in my area, not about all state and private schools. It's not a generalisation, it's an opinion of the 2 specific schools we are looking at.

rabbitstew Thu 24-Oct-13 10:28:36

I think I'm quite capable of instilling a positive working attitude in my own children when they are little. |Tbh, I think learning a musical instrument is one of the best ways of coming to understand the connection between work and positive results and that's something a child can do outside of school time.

Reastie Thu 24-Oct-13 10:51:13

Gah, why are things always taken the wrong way on these threads. I'm really not looking for a discussion about this, just interested in the topic OP posted I didn't mean I don't think I will instil a positive work ethic myself or that all state primaries (or private for that matter) don't do this confused , I just think the way a primary school (be it state or private) motivates students and gives high expectations can give a great foundation for future learning and attitude towards it when these things are formed and developed.

Kenlee Thu 24-Oct-13 12:34:16

I think state or private doesn't matter....

It depends on the teachers. If they are motivated they will get the kids through. If they are just there for the pay check. Then it really doesn't matter if it is private or state.

I would like to add my daughter was state educated in Hong kong and she can still compete with her selective private peers in the UK. So its not all doom and gloom.

It also depends on the cohort at the school. If they are all ultra competitive then your child will either join in and do well or end up on the fringe. Private small classes will help but even then some still fall through the gaps.

What happens if your poor and you can't afford private..... I dont have a solution for that ..
but its worth looking at Bursaries

rabbitstew Thu 24-Oct-13 13:17:13

I agree it depends on the teachers and the teachers in turn depend on the leadership of the school. An unhappy school will not be making the most of its best teachers, let alone its worst!

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 13:57:44

"I would like to add my daughter was state educated in Hong kong and she can still compete with her selective private peers in the UK. So its not all doom and gloom."

curlew Thu 24-Oct-13 13:58:18

Sorry, posted before I added "what does this mean?" To my c and p.

Kenlee Thu 24-Oct-13 14:14:01

I don't know what it means to your C and P...I do know its a good example that kids from state primary can integrate into private sector.

Whereby Im sure private students who wish to return to state say at A level can also.

The message is clear both sectors has its sucess stories and downfalls...

I like private because it fits my child. Others may disagree either politically or ethically about my choice.

Its my child so I do what is best for her.

Vijac Thu 24-Oct-13 15:32:55

At the risk of wading back in (yikes). I i didn't mean to criticise state schools as a whole, or even at all. You have more ability to choose the best school for your child with private (rather than just being allocated). Knowing my local options, the private schools would have smaller pupil to teacher ratios (35 vs 15-24 depending on school), better grounds and facilities, more optional extras and also likely less variation in abilities (as selective and presumably all from parents who especially value formal education). The latter point making it easier for the teacher to focus her teaching and to stretch everyone together. The combination of these things means that I think it is likely that my child would get a better educational and all round experience in private vs. my local state school.

I know that this is not always the case and that there are millions of children with top grades and positive experiences coming from state schools. One example is my husband who loved his state primary, secondary (not grammar) and college, made great friends, got top grades in science and maths subjects a level and went on to a Russell group uni to get a first. Meanwhile I went private throughout and disliked my first school 4-7(convent), but loved the rest. I got good grades but not always A's. However, I think the sport I did competitively with school, stopped me going off the rails as a teenager and made my secondary school experience especiallyamazing. This sport was not a mainstream one (I was rubbish at netball, tennis etc) and I would not have got into it outside of school either. I hope this very long winded explanation gives some insight into where I was coming from. Didn't mean to start a bunfight!

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