If you can afford it, would you send your children to an independent school?(517 Posts)
This is a hypothetical question, and I would greatly appreciate your insight.
My question is based on this assumption: In England, if you want your children to have a better chance in life (great success, joining the elites, etc), a good independent school is a requirement. Of course, few have enough money to afford it.
But suppose you have enough money, would you send your children to an independent school? Or would a grammar or a comprehensive school be good enough?
We can afford it and we would never do it. Does that answer your question?
I'm sure a whole lot of people will turn up in a minute to say that it borders on child abuse not to pay for 'the best' for your child if you can afford it, but I don't think independent schooling is 'the best' frankly and am a firm believer in the benefits of the state system.
Society is really going to the dogs if you can now only be viewed as having a successful life if you join "the elites."
Can't afford it but yes I would if it was a good school and offered more than our local.
I don't think I would on principle. We don't have grammar schools in this area either and I don't think I would go that route either as the idea of selection doesn't sit well with me. However I think it depends on the child and their needs. If there was a school they really wanted to go to for a specific reason or they had special needs I wouldn't rule it out just because it was private (if I had the money).
We have enough money, but I wouldn't. Dd and ds both go to outstanding state schools in socially and ethnically mixed inner city area. I think they are nicer, more open and understanding people for having friends from different backgrounds - hijabi, teen parents, recent migrants as well as uni lecturere and scientists. I wouldn't want them pushed academically more than they already are being (which is plenty)!. I don't think 'joining the elite' is 'better' than being a good citizen and a decent person.
Money would allow me to consider a wider range of schools for my children tram otherwise, independent and otherwise.
No. I think private schools damage society by being divisive and anti-meritocratic.
I think their existence harms us as a society because they perpetuate inequality.
If my children stood NO chance of going to university or having a great career without a private education I'd probably find myself unwillingly compromising my principles in relation to this. Luckily bright and motivated children in the state sector with supportive and involved parents appear on the whole to achieve highly and go on to career success, so I don't need to be conflicted on this one.
I accept that private schools, like most other types of privilege and unfairness, will always be with us, but I feel strongly that they should lose their charitable status unless they showed willing to offer bursaries to disadvantaged and UNDERACHIEVING children, as these are the ones who really need small class sizes and strong pastoral care to thrive, rather than extremely bright children with pushy but impoverished parents, as these children seem to thrive in state schools.
I luffs you FantasticDay, I feel EXACTLY the same
We could at a stretch but we would not consider it. I wouldn't want to move anywhere with 11+ either.
We can (just about), and we do.
My dad could have written fantastic's post, 30 years ago. I am outstandingly grateful to him for it. On terms of social and cultural education, I reckon my siblings and I had the "best" education in London at the time. My school prided itself on having pupils with 46 first languages. My form had the son of a hereditary peer and the janitors' daughter and every other drop in the socioeconomic ocean in between. Academically ok too.
We can't afford it but if I could then I would send them to a state primary school and then an independent secondary school, purely because by then I'd have a better idea of what sort of school would suit them.
Mine are at private.
They went to a little village school before that. Far greater ethnic mix at the private school. Village school was all white and middle class.
They are not academic that is why they are there as it isn't particularly selective in that way. I live in Kent so grammars rule and we are denied entry to that type of school as they wouldn't pass the 11+ much less cope afterwards. I won't pretend to be religious to get into a faith school.
Don't give a rat's a* about the elitist aspect of the school.
Everyone says that bright, motivated children will do fine wherever they are and are generally stumped when I ask what happens to the mediocre not so bright ones like mine.
So yes I would and do pay but would rather not to be honest if there were a half decent alternative open to us.
A million percent yes. Though we could never afford it unfortunately. I experienced both state and private, and I would definitely send my children to private if I could possibly manage it.
DD1 would in a heart beat, because her BF does. (Wealthy GPs, DDs don't have).
Me may be, It would be a very long day, we are not on the bus route.
I'd have to be able to afford it very easily and it would have to provide all sport, music, dance and gymnastics as DDs wouldn't get home in time.
I'm not convinced that her very bright (year older) DF wouldn't have got much the same GCSE grades at their local, good comprehensive. She musical and her school charges far more than DD pays privately and not particularly sporty so I'm not sure private school is that good a value for money.
For some sport mad DCs, I think it can offer things that are very hard to organise otherwise.
I can and do, but if I lived in a different place I might not -depends on the options.
Ecuador - I grew up in Kent and my parents sent me and my brother to Private schools for exactly the reasons you describe in your post. Kent is a terrible place to go to school unless you are religious or academic enough for grammar.
No. I hate the idea of private education. Its just one of those things I feel very strongly about.
I think it depends on your area. Our most local schools are amazing, so regardless of money I would send my children there. If I lived somewhere where the schools weren't so good then I would pay for private.
Could afford it but would rather not.
Would depend on the alternative though. If I felt the state option was hugely disadvantageous.
I went private and did not enjoy school. Kids were very entitled and not too nice. It was also a small school which made it hard to find a clique to fit into.
DP was state all the way and has been more successful than me. That said I have grudgingly caught myself wondering where he would be if he had gone private. Pretty sure Oxbridge then even bigger career. But doubt he would be happier.
No grammars here.
I could have afforded private for the DCs but I prefer holidays and good food.
OP which paper do you write for?
We have just made the move and for now I can see nothing but positives.
We have been in the state system and encountered fabulous teachers and wonderful families but the system they are caught up in does not allow them to deal with some of the issues we encountered. That is why we moved. I have and will continue to sing the praises of the school we have left, there were specific circumstances which made it the right thing for us to move.
Doodle, it is awful isn't it and I have to admit that 20 years ago when we moved there it hadn't even occurred to me that we were in a divisive grammar area as schools weren't on my radar pre-children.
Mintyy, just out of curiosity if you were in my position what would you do? Send your child to a failing school even if you could afford private if there was no other choice?
It's often very easy to say that you wouldn't go private when you have good comprehensives in your area.
We have excellent grammars and some pretty third rate indies. I wouldn't waste my money as their results aren't particularly wonderful and you could probably do just as well at the local comp if you're academic.
They do have good sports facilities though. And nice buildings
As I said in my post though somwhereinessex, the question no-one can ever answer me is what if they are not academic? Not going to do just as well then are they in the local comp - they are secondary moderns where we have grammars anyhow so not even true comps which would be much better.
You have me there OP, real sucess joining the elites ... yes but can they make her drop dead gorgeous? Can they?
Sorry (laughing too much at new seaon of Fresh Meat).
Are you a journo?.
ds - no. He is very happy and doing well at his state secondary
dd - yes. Her primary is in special measures and is completely teaching to the test. Ie. the nonsense word test at the end of year 1 is impacting on having fun in reception.
Both of ours went to independents. I think they did get a better education than they would have in our local comp (although I'm aware that would not be the same everywhere) and got a wider range of experiences such as cadet force, debating, sports, etc. We live in a very white, middle class area and I think mine probably met a wider range of races and religions at their school.
yes and we do- although only just afford it (with lots of sacrifices)
My DS who was ' gifted and talented' thrived at the state school. My dd who struggled did not. The state system wasn't able to give her the extra support she required so we moved her and my ds and now we both work full time to pay for it.
It didn't matter a jot to me who the children would mix with. It was all about the education they would get. However, as I am sure every school has (state and private), there are social climbers and leeches.
Yup, as long as my child was well suited to the school and vice versa.
Here's a question for you OP:
Would you say that those who profess to be against the very principle of private education are, in fact, concealing their envy?'
I think it would depend on what was available in the area I lived. If state schools were very good, not necessarily by Ofsted's judgement, but my own, then why pay?
If local schools were not very good, then yes I'd consider the right private school, but not just any private school over state.
Hypothetical for us as we can't afford private
LIve in a good area here so didn't see the need. 2 bright top set kids who did well in their state comp.
If I lived in a really grotty area, I think I wold probably spend the money moving into the catchment of a good school rather than go private.
Thank you so much for all your opinions. And I am not a journalist. This is my real concern for my real life. We are trying to think of the best way for our children.
There is loads of good threads about this Fiona, the concensus seems to be state for primary year alongside enrichment and private for high school.
Yes, we did. I have some major political objections to private education, but at the end of the day my son was very unhappy and 'lost' in his state primary, and money allowed us to opt for a school and education which was a better fit for our child.
We are delighted with how our decision has turned out for DS, although I still feel that I have sacrificed my principles, and wish that we had been able to find a state school that offered the same benefits (we have not ruled out a return to the state sector in future). We try to distance ourselves from any social climbing.
No. I am very happy with state education in the area I live.
We could afford private but have opted for state and are very happy with our dc's school.
My children are getting an excellent education for free (well, we pay tax, but you know what I mean). Why would I be envious?
I won a bursary in due to my exam results a 11 and therefore my parents were able to send me to a private school. I hated every moment of my one year there. I came from an inner city primary school that had a mix of ethnic, social, economic families and limited resources. I went to this private school (which has the best results in our county) and straight away I was laughed at as my primary didn't have its own swimming pool...there was not only the social aspects but altogether I didn't feel comfortable in the environment at all and I begged my parents to pull me out and send me to a 'normal school'.
I will admit that in hindsight my academic results did suffer from this choice (I went back to education later in life) but I personally feel that as a person I developed more through being at a state school than I ever would have at the private school
Well we pulled DS from an outstanding cofe primary at the end of Y3. Bad year and he needed a lot more stretching. He is quite clever and we felt he needed to go to a very selective school. He got in (in London) with no tutoring at all.
DD is probably top 25% and we sent her for two years to an outstanding cofe school with an exceptional reputation. There had been a change of head, the behaviour was shocking, nothing was being done about it and we were very glad, in spite of our principles and support for an excellent school that we thought was a perfect fit for her (but they lied about ethos, etc) that we had enough money to pull her out at the end of Year 8. It was the best thing we ever did. She has been at a very nurturing school for nearly 2.5 years now and has been offered a place at her brother's old school which we thought would have been unachievable for her when she was 12 or 13.
Absolutely I would recommend anyone to abscond to the indy sector if they can afford it. But that is a big if because we are in London so no boarding fees but it does mean about £35,000 to £36,000 for just two children after tax and all other bills are paid.d And don't forget there mght also be a school trip mooted for £3,900 to the Galapagos Islands. It's true, it was.
It all depends on the schools available. We don't live in a grammar school area, but would love for DD to have the opportunity to go to grammar school. I've seen some ropey private schools that I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I've seen great comprehensives that differentiate fully and could give grammar schools a run for their money with the most able and provide well for at all levels. For me the decision is about my DD being in an environment that is stimulating challenging and instils a love of learning.
My eldest went through a failing state secondary and came out with a D in Food Tech, that was it. Despite constant meetings with the school and reassurances he was doing fine.
My middle daughter, now having 2 failing secondaries to choose from, goes to an independent secondary. She is not a straight A student and we are trying to ensure she gets a decent education and leaves school with enough exams to go on to do what she wants to do - whatever that may be. We carry huge guilt about our son's education and are still supporting him now in obtaining relevant training for a career.
No interest in the elite, have no opinion about the social classes and just want what is best for our child.
I can just afford it and DD is at a private school, but mostly because the primary she was offered is horrible and it was that or home ed, DS is at an outstanding state school because I have shared custody and his other address is in catchment, if I could of got DD in there I would of been delighted.
When they get to secondary school I am hoping for Grammar. I am in Kent so if they failed the 11+ we would try the very over-subscribed Catholic school (I'm Catholic but Grammars are better) then look at Private schools because, as others have said the alternatives here aren't brilliant.
I do worry about her not mixing with as much of a wide range of people as she would at a state school but she goes to Rainbows and mixes with lots of other children outside of school so I'm not worried enough about the social side to turn down a better education.
Yes, if the school is right for your child. If the state school is more right then that's the best option. Also you need tone able to properly afford it. And the child must never be badgered by saying things like "you must achieve X because we are paying for your education"
as a child said at Mother's Day assembly when asked why children should be grateful to their parents
It all depends on the child and which Indie or State school you are looking at.
On here there is always a pro and con group.
It doesn't matter what you choose as long as it is right for your child. Don't listen to others about their opinion. Only take it in if its directly about the school you want and they have had recent experience of said school. Otherwise it is just rhetoric and most of it is BS.
Who cares if its left or right... as long as it fits yoir child...
BTW ....I can afford it ...So my daughter is in private and she is enjoying it very much....
Neither DH or I had a really good academic education and we wanted to ensure that our DC had the best of opportunities and choices open to them.
So we paid and have not regretted it ever. Both schools (south London) have a really wide mix of children. - think consultant's children, children of single parents living in a one bed high rise block. Both schools actively work towards increasing the number of bursaries they can provide each year. Some of the earlier posters seem to have a very skewered idea of private schools being white, middle class bubbles.
Maybe this was so in the past, but now there are far more links with the local community i.e. older year groups help run reading and maths groups for local primary schools, volunteering in local care homes, gardening and decorating for local pensioners.
I would but only because I would like to send dd to a school I have seen with sen support that would suit her to the ground but cannot afford it.
Yes and we do. Again we make sacrifices but it is completely worth it.
Depends on the 'enough' money. We can't afford private now (or holidays tbh), but it never occurred to me to send my dcs private. I am a teacher & just always assumed my kids would go to a state school. I went to private primary but my wealthy grandparents paid the fees (my dcs don't have that luxury). I don't feel it was particularly worthwhile.
The nearest private schools to us are rubbish (although states aren't that great either). So no. But if we had lots of money, would probably move house nearer a good school, whether private or state, & send them (plus have holidays!).
We could afford it (just) but we don't. If I felt the DC were very unhappy at school I would rather home school than go private.
I think, OP, it depends what one means by achieving greater successes in life, or joining the elite.
If you're asking if private education (especially a certain handful of schools) offer their pupils a far greater chance of becoming a part of the minority who have great power of the majority (ie working in global business, law, finance, politics, media, science, medicine etc), then the answer is yes.
What wordfactory just said: it depends on how you define a better chance. "a better chance in life" defined as the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Cameron and Clegg- hmmm, not so sure about that one.
But not just politics Cory.
The minority of people who have a huge influence over all our lives, perhaps in some way control our lives, are often not part of domestic party politics.
We can't afford it.
If we could, then I would consider it; it would just mean having a greater choice of schools to choose from.
But it depends what "afford it" means - just manage to scrape the fees and have to make major sacrifices? Then probably not, unless I really felt that no other school would suit my child.
Be able to comfortably afford the fees with no real impact on lifestyle? Then I would probably strongly consider it.
I agree that independent schools are bad for society and perpetuate the class system and inequality.
I send dcs because of the above. It's not fair but if they have nice speaking voices, polite manners, and the ability to access cultural capital like the elite it may help them have an easier life. If the parents of their friends run successful companies and employ people in the area, this might help them get started.
Every little helps.
Private school won't help your children join "the elite." Public school will - if you really think that is something to aspire to and approve of. If you have the more mainstream aims of wishing for your children to be healthy, happy, well educated, well adjusted, thoughtful, productive citizens, then you are highly unlikely, if you can afford to look at alternatives, to send them to a school which you do not believe is fulfilling those hopes for your children.
rabit do you really believe that the two are mutually exclusive?
I know lots of people who are in highly influential positions and many of them are healthy, happy, well educated, well adjusted etc etc.
Aren't public and private schools the same thing?
I would send my kids private (and currently do). Not convinced it is worth the sacrifices some people seem to be prepared to make, although I guess that depends on what the local State alternative is like.
In my case, the local State primary is lovely and I can't see that the private school fees are worth the (admittedly relatively small - mostly stress from the relentless upward pressure on fees) sacrifices we currently make. If there were spaces at the local State primary, I'd take them like a shot.
I think a lot depends on area. Where I live the two good schools are hugely over subscribed and the council is building more and more houses. Kids are being pushed out into village schools which are now under strain. One of the two grammars that accept girls is re-locating. I am now worried about the education my DD (2) may have to have as even the good comprehensives are struggling due to the council's complete idiocy (IMO obv.). I have the £ to do private, and went private myself, so I know the system. However it would be more due to lack of faith in what is left of the comprehensive system in this area than anything else.
Yes, and have done. Our local catchment high school is absolutely dire when it comes to educational choice leading to university. It has positioned itself as a vocational school and doesn't even offer the range of Advanced Highers required for a number of university courses. In addition, it is one of the schools which will be limiting S4 choice to 5 courses under the CoE.
DS started P7 this year at an independent school and he is absolutely thriving there- it's one of the best decisions we've ever made (though is very much early days so could change!)
Your question is too open. Do you have specific descriptions of the school choices?
It depends so much on what is on offer.
I would not pay for private education if the independent school is mediocre. It has to be absolutely top notch to justify the expense.
I can and (probably) wouldn't. I don't think you get good value for money. I went to a pretty crap pair of secondary schools - I've now got an MA and I'm the breadwinner for our house, mixing with 'the elites'. My husband and our flatmate both went to the same well-regarded private school. My husband wasn't as established in his career as I was before he jacked it over to start again, and our flatmate has been dossing about on jobseekers for 3 years in between intermittent customer service jobs he can't hold down. Of all their friends, I can't think of one that wouldn't have achieved the same in a standard comp. North of £12k a year - what better things could have been done for that money?
If the school is good enough, what makes the difference is the effort you put in and the expectations you set.
Yes. Whatever the academic level the child is at, he/she will surely learn and enjoy more at a "better" school with better management, planning, teaching and communication skills. The difference between the two schools might not be so big, yet big enough for those who could afford it. There are good state schools but numbers are limited, while you can join an equivalent private school any time.
Kerosene, I think you are spot on on the academic side, and am sure that many state schools are at least as good if not better on this front (from personal experience, I think my son's state primary had the edge on the independent school that he is now at if I look only at learning outcomes for core subjects).
What parental influence can do less about is culture, pastoral care, opportunities outside of core subjects. Now I appreciate that many state schools will also be strong in these areas, but the one my child went to wasn't (and we couldnt find any local state schools that looked better), so this is what we are "buying" - a broader and far happier experience for our son.
wordfactory - I'm interested you seem to think I believe the two are mutually exclusive. Why on earth would I think they were mutually exclusive? I just don't think you need to seek to join the elite in order to be happy, well adjusted, well educated and productive. Given that this is my belief, why on earth would I advocate busting a gut to get your children into a school where they might stand a higher chance of joining "the elite"??? I would prioritise other reasons for choosing a school, personally, rather than the seeking of some "elite" status which does not automatically make you a nicer, better adjusted or happier person.
Doodledumdums - no private schools are not the same thing as public schools.
Or more accurately, public schools are private schools, but not all private schools are public schools...
My two are currently in state education, and love it (as do we).
We could afford independent. We chose their school because we liked it best out of all the local indies and state primaries, and because it suits our needs and our dds' needs the best.
The bonus, for us, is that the girls are now comfortable in loads of different cultures, are not frightened of differences, and we have life long friends from a far more varied background than the local indies would have afforded. But that's not the only reason we chose it - the pastoral care, and excitement about learning, was palpably better than at our other choices.
At secondary, we don't yet know. The only state option is still a bit of an unknown quantity, and we are looking at private as well as state. My heart would like to stay in the state system, not just because of ethics but because I like the openness - it feels healthier. But we have to balance that against the dds' needs and preferences, and most of all choose somewhere they will be able to learn effectively. I've no idea where that is yet!
"So we paid and have not regretted it ever. Both schools (south London) have a really wide mix of children. - think consultant's children, children of single parents living in a one bed high rise block."
Private schools absolutely DO NOT have a 'wide mix' of children.
They are overwhelmingly full of very bright and massively well supported children, whether from rich or poor backgrounds.
What you are paying for when you buy into private schooling is to have your children educated separately from ordinary children who are not on the whole rich, exceptionally bright, or being hot-housed by ambitious parents - whether those parents are rich or poor.
It makes me roll my eyes when parents with children at private schools insist that the school is 'inclusive' because it has children from ethnic backgrounds, and from poor families. 'Inclusive' means a school which reflects the actual makeup of society, and not the top 2% of educational achievers, whether rich or poor.
I never would even though I can actually see that some state eductation provision is woefully lacking...
Yermina my DD goes to a non-selective independent with high number of children from 'less rich' backgrounds and has a high percentage of children with SEN. She is getting an excellent education and experiencing a range of trips etc. that she would never have received, sadly, at our local comp. She is also free from the constant low level disruption which seems commonplace in the state school system but is just not tolerated at her school.
Sidney - do they have a lot of underachieving or low achieving children from ordinary background ON BURSARIES?
Because my inserts anoint is that the only way the children of the not well off (ie about 90% of UK children) can gain access to private education is by performing exceptionally well in a test of their academic ability and/or being gifted in music/arts or sports.
Obviously this means the vast majority of children are excluded from private education as they have neither an exceptional talent, a high IQ or enough cash to bypass these requirements.
As for mainstream private schools taking large numbers of SN children - do you have figures? My dd's mainstream state secondary has 20% of its children with SN.
Should add - private schools don't have to 'tolerate' low level disruption because they can just exclude/not admit in the first place disruptive children who then have to be educated in the state sector, alongside MY children.
Oh yes, I would. I went to state schools (several) and it was a bloody shambles. Complete waste of time; no opportunity for any kind of education. I had to educate myself tbh. I can't see the point of it at all. If not private then HE.
State schools are warehouses. Multi storey kid parks.
I can and I do send my children private. Its not about joining the elite, I am very successful from a state school background (hence being able to afford private schooling). The private school was the best option for us out of the available choices (the DC are not Christian so that knocked out quite a few of the local schools before we started!).
Both of mine are summer birthdays so really benefited from smaller class sizes.
Bloody hell, "State schools are warehouses"?
We could afford private but wouldn't pay for private school. By attending local state schools our children will gain from spending their days with the full ethnic, cultural and social mix of their area. The teaching is not automatically better in an independent. The pastoral care is often worse. Thee opportunities for enrichment (of the whole family) would be gone.
Can afford and yes - we do use. There are some people who believe we should be using the state system. They use it and are fine with it. Well, maybe where they live there are fab schools but its not the same for everyone.
I went to a state school, complete rubbish with no real aspirations for anyone. In a capitalist country there will always be people who can buy more than you. Whether that be education, luxury holidays etc. Its life.
What an very presumptuous (and sad) assumption: "if you want your children to have a better chance in life (great success, joining the elites, etc), a good independent school is a requirement."
Maybe it really is totally different in Scotland but I am extremely happy with the (state) school that ds goes to and fully expect him to do well, be successful and happy .
And for the record, my state school stood me in good stead: I got 6 As at Higher (as did a large number of my cohort) and I went to St Andrews from the equivalent of Lower 6th (my friends stayed on to do 6th Year/Upper 6th and went on to study medicine/veterinary science)
I do whatever seems to work at the time. For one of our dcs the move from state primary to independent was the best thing we could have done. Another dc is now in independent prep but Tbh would have been fine at state primary and it's been a bit of a waste of money academically. Youngest is in state primary and doing really well and has a lovely year group so there she'll stay.
rabbit- Can you explain how public and private are different? I am just interested as I have always thought they were the same?
That's my experience. I went to plenty of state schools. They were all like that. In my family the boys went private and the girls went state. The boys got a better education. By miles.
Of course your experience may differ. I'm glad if it does.
Yes I would and I do. I'm very happy with dc's school.
the majority of FTSE 100 bosses, and judges and MPs and PPSs and Generals went through the system over 20 years ago : things are changing
but not if Gove has his way
I think it would really depend on what the local state schools were like, if they are good then I would put them in state school, if they were awful and failing schools I'd be more likely to pay out for private schools
Anatanacoat I'm sorry you went to bad schools but some private schools are crap too and I wouldn't dream of making a comment of the 'all private schools are...' type. don't see how anyone can make an 'all state schools are...' statement that can be true (other than 'all state schools are different' perhaps).
Even with experience of 'plenty' of state schools.
The local run of the mill privates are a far cry from the top public schools where the 'elite' send their children. Mine are at a fairly modest fee-paying school and I don't see them rubbing shoulder's with Cameron's children any time soon.
That's not what they are there for though.
We could but choose to home educate.
I agree; I don't see anyone making the statement "all state schools are" anything.
I said firstly that "state schools are x". Then I qualified by saying all the ones I went to were x. At no point did I say that "all state schools" were anything. The only thing that all state schools are is state schools.
My DS goes to a very well known public school. And I am no one at all! My. son is getting the education of his life. Its not all full of the elite.
Wow, you surprise me, I thought public schools were only elite.
You learn something new every day.
OP, most parents choose the education that best fits their family.
We are H.ed for the rest of primary, unsure for secondary, may opt for specialist private school.
I don't think there is a right or wrong or better or worse collectively, but rather individual schools or choices.
most parents choose the education that best fits their family
Most parents put up with what they can get as they can neither afford fees, moving house or tutors
so they settle for what the admissions code throws at them.
Please remember that half of the adults in the UK live on less than £18,000 a year and half of all households have a total income under £26,000.
My children love their independent school. They have subject teachers from Year 4, a wide range of activities, loads of space to play and daily sport. We have never had a morning where they don't want to go.
They are not afraid of competition because the school aims to find what every child is good at.
We do more activities out of school and see other children from all backgrounds.
I hope that we have done the right thing but so far I cannot fault it.
We have just had a "MOUTH FULL" of Public school boys on another thread.
These very people who in 20 years will be the Judges, MPS, Doctors and members of the ruling elite of this country. The reason we have so many
private(Public Schools are Different) is because grammar schools were
destroyed they offered parents at least a chance for their children to get in to the lower echelons of the establishment. Despite the problems with grammar schools being filled with lower middle class/ middle class children
and not enough "Under Class" or working class children. The ones that are at grammar schools have at least a fighting chance taking on the
upper middle/ upper class twats from the public schools who have destroyed this country. Therefore if no grammar school provision exists any parent who can afford it with children of academic potential must send them to a (private grammar school) NOTE NOT PUBLIC SCHOOL...
Yes we can afford it.
No we didn't send them to a private school because our local comp schools are good and suited our kids.
So far the eldest ones are doing exactly what they want at top Uni's so no regrets. The younger ones are also doing well and turned down places at a grammar school 45 mins away to go to the local comp which is 5 minutes walk.
We love the fact that we have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds and our kids are still doing medicine etc.
However, we would have sent them to a private school if they needed it or if our local schools were not good. We have absolutely no desire to join 'the elites'. . .
Can afford it but chose not to . Goodish local state school did the job well and dd both ga
Both gained from rounded education on offer and mixing with a good range of people from different backgrounds . Dd just gone to red brick univ to study medicine - worked for her
soul2000 are you on some sort of crusade ?
but having seen the number of deleted messages on the locked thread, MNHQ had their work cut out stopping bored public school boys and their potty mouths posting
Not necessarily. Depends on the school and the child.
There are pros and cons, with my child (very bright, but easily led) I suppose I would if money were no object, I wouldn't stretch myself to send him though.
A woman at work overheard me talk about DC and how he was off school because half term starts early at private schools. I got the lecture about how they could afford it but don't out of principle.
The woman lives in a predominantly upper MC part of Kent where her 4 bed cost a million plus and a highly ranked state secondary is round the corner. God save us from people who buy their way into an expensive catchment area and then lecture others about how people like me shouldnt be allowed to buy a better education for their kids by going private.
We couldn't and wouldn't even if we could, because we are utter lefties and both come from countries where there isn't much private education. I know that isn't reasonable in the UK context but it's just how strongly we feel about it - however, we do have the cultural capital to give our DDs what they need.
I'd home educate if our local schools were dire, but they're not - DD1 is in the local comp which is very good at differentiating - she is in a group which is aiming at RG universities at least, getting lots of extension work but not being pushed into early GCSEs.
Yes, house prices need sorting out, too...
Talkinpeace, I bet your grandmother's hat that they weren't schoolboys posting !
it appears that they were - as they found the thread through an FB page linked to the school and named the pupil - sadly for him people have screenshots of the bragging which will have been emailed to the school already.
IMO your average state school would be very similar to the average private school if:
they removed the 15 lowest achievers in each class and replaced them with 3 to 5 high achieving children.
they removed most of the children with special needs, particularly those whose special needs include intellectual impairment and significant behavioural problems. Bright children with dyslexia, high functioning ASD or Aspergers could stay.
they spent an extra £1000 on enrichment activities for the children.
Other than that most private schools haven't got much to distinguish them from state schools. Most of their teachers are trained in the state sector and gain their experience there.
Primarily you're paying to educate your children separately from poor children who don't have any intellectual gifts which would make them bursary material, most children with a diagnosed special needs, and the children who generally slow down the rate of learning in a class by claiming more of the teacher's attention than a brighter and more able child would.
Those posters who say they could afford private but won't have presumably already bought their way into a catchment area for a good school, so their kids still get a good education due to parental wealth.
Not all adequate schools are in wealthy areas, nosleeptillbedtime. I suspect, however, that those posters are not living in areas where the state schools are awful.
Nope, I live in a shitty area in the catchment of an utterly dire school but was lucky enough to get my kids into a decent school.
Others at the school live in council flats within the catchment (which is miles across)
There are pockets of deprivation all over - the Stanmore Estate in Winchester is Council houses and less than lovely (Peter White off the radio grew up there) but feeds into fantastic schools.
Please do not equate "good schools" with "wealthy areas" - they do not always tally (especially outside London)
But they often do talkin
I have over the years bought BTL flats, and the very best returns come from properties in catchments for good schools where so many simply cannot afford to live!
Is that in selective areas or non selective?
Just that round here the only school that has that effect is Thornden and the people moving out of Cantell catchment tend not to have a problem renting their own houses to University students!
There is one school in this city which does have a sought after catchment - estate agents put it on listings etc, and it does seem to add a few quid. That said, it's one of eight or nine schools here, and not particularly far ahead of the others in terms of results - and when I went to look at its sixth form, I wasn't impressed at all.
It shouldn't ever be the case that catchments are all expensive or that families are priced out of schools, but obviously sometimes it happens that way, and I bemoan it. I don't think it's half the inevitability that MN would have you believe, though.
Absolutely,our nearest secondary schools are either in special measures or heading that way.It is bizarre because all the primaries that feed into these schools are classed as outstanding.I don't understand why things have gone so wrong with the secondaries here.
But tbh my very best investments have been in non selective areas near the outstanding comps and faith schools. There's one where people will sell all their internal organs to get in and the catchment is tiny and eye bogglingly expensive. The properties are expensive (more than I woulkd usually wish to pay) but the captial appreciation is excellent, and there is a non-ending stream of tenants.
Where I live the best schools are in the most expensive areas. We live in a good area, but not in the top tier of costs. The utterly dire secondary school pulls house prices down. We can't afford to move to the areas with the best schools. And I do live outside London tally. Affluent families here do buy the best education, whether through private school or where they live.
Well maybe you could stop doing BTL in such areas, if you worry about exclusive catchments!
We all have to make a dime, I suppose.
Yes I would / will in the absence of outstanding state schools, which I will be unlikely to find / get them in to in central London.
It does concern me that by sending my children to independent schools they are likely going to be exposed to a relatively limited cross section of society which is not representative of this country as a whole. I think my children will miss out on certain social aspects as a result of this. I am not sure how to address this (though they are 2 and 7 weeks so have some time to think about it!).
I was state school educated but was very lucky to attend an outstanding primary and secondary and went on to Oxbridge where I met my husband who was at boarding school from age 7 and then went to Eton.
Despite the fact both my schools were amazing, I have been staggered over the years to learn of the chasm between state and independent in most cases.
"Please do not equate "good schools" with "wealthy areas" - they do not always tally"
When middle-class parents start to flock together like sheep at certain schools, results appear to miraculously improve.
This has happened at a local secondary which 2 years ago was labelled 'the best state school in the country' because of its OFSTED - outstanding in ALL areas.
Parents describe it as a 'great school' and 'it's the best school in the area' because it ranks very highly in the local league tables. The fact that its average GCSE grade for high achievers (who make up 70% of the student body) is lower than at a scruffy community school half a mile down the road seems to pass by the middle-class community who fight like wolves to get their children in there.
People think the school is good for 2 reasons: because it's high in the local league tables (because it's full of high achieving kids) and because it's full of middle-class kids.
Meanwhile there are other local schools which have a much lower staff turnover, much better value-added, and where kids are happy, settled and achieving. Local middle class parents reject these schools as 'bad' because they are low in the league tables (primarily because of their intake) because they want social selection above all else. Which is what parents with their children at private schools want too: an education away from the oiks.
"I don't understand why things have gone so wrong with the secondaries here."
Occasionally it's down to poor management.
Often it's because our system allowing educated and middle class people to access private education, grammar schools, faith schools, and selection by postcode has resulted in a hideous social polarisation in the secondary sector, whereby all the most disadvantaged, difficult to teach and underachieving children are clumped together in certain schools, making these schools difficult places to teach and to learn.
We have the worst sort of polarisation in our school system here, and everything that middle-class parents do to give their children an educational advantage over poorer children by clustering them with similar peers in socially and academically exclusive schools perpetuates this. It's incredibly damaging and unfair, and it saddens me that so many people support it.
Yermina, I would like my son to go to a decent school because I do want to socially select his peers. I come from a deprived area and went to the klocal school where being clever or interested in lessons was a shameful thing to be hidden. The kids at my school were not thick but they did have absolutely no interest in education. I don't want my son going to a school like that.
I did gain in some ways from my school. I am disgusted by some of the attitudes of my more privileged adult peers, or just shocked by their lack of understanding of poverty. But I feel I lost more than I gained. Going to a separate sixth form college and being with people like me, who liked learning, where it was okay to be interested was like finding an oasis after a long time in a desert.
Nit I don't worry that much .
And TBH, my little flats have a negligbe impact. The family homes in catchment, price the vast vast majority of people out of the school. And there is almost no rental accommodation, certainly nothing ordinary folk can afford.
I live in a small market town which has two primaries and one secondary, so there is no real school choice. They are all good schools - not OFSTED outstanding, but good. The town itself has a mad mix of the relatively affluent (though not mega-rich) and the very deprived, which means the schools all have a similar and mixed intake. The primaries take in, on average, cohorts of children who are below age expectations and turn them out at or slightly above. This continues in the secondary, which seems to cater well for all abilities. They tend to do particularly well with high achievers, so I'm happy to send my DD1 there and DD2 will be going too.
When we bought our house, the school was on the edge of special measures - we bought what we could afford and weren't thinking about school catchments.
I believe that there is a very big problem with school choice in large urban areas though - I'm not far from Cambridge, and there's a definite pull towards some schools and away from others there.
(but I don't have enough money so it won't be happening)
No sleep we bought our house in 1995, nearly 10 years before we had children. We didn't think about schools, and actually our excellent local comp has a reasonably wide catchment through pricey suburbs, very expensive private roads (a few), local authority housing and some very average areas. So we aren't congregating in a ghetto of shiny middle-classedness to get into a good school
"The kids at my school were not thick but they did have absolutely no interest in education. I don't want my son going to a school like that."
My dd is at a school where only 30% of the children are classed as 'high achieving'. They take children off the big estates, lots of children from very disadvantaged backgrounds.
And yet there are students there who will get 12 A* gcse's, and go on to RG universities.
Motivated, very bright kids who're well supported still do well in these places. Even in schools in deprived areas.
But I agree - it takes a child with motivation and real strength of character to succeed. Not all children have this or are able to learn to gain it in a more challenging setting. Only you know your son's strengths and weaknesses.
Meanwhile there are other local schools which have a much lower staff turnover, much better value-added, and where kids are happy, settled and achieving. Local middle class parents reject these schools as 'bad' because they are low in the league tables (primarily because of their intake) because they want social selection above all else. Which is what parents with their children at private schools want too: an education away from the oiks.
Exactly what I've seen at my ds's school. Eyebrows raised when I sent him there. OP, and everyone LOOK at your local school, don't dismiss it because on paper it's "only" Ofsted good and not top of the league table.
Having said that, for various reasons, it didn't suit my dd and she is in a private school. As everyone says, horses for courses, different schools suit different children and if you are able to buy a place at a school that suits your child, then you are extremely fortunate.
"different schools suit different children"
I think that's guff.
Children just need well trained teachers, reasonable class sizes, a decent, well run school with a good social mix, a broad curriculum and access to extra-curricula activities.
This is what they have in Finland, up to the age of 16. It's only from 16 onwards that they specialise in technical learning or academic studies. Their system is one of the best in the developed world and their children achieve highly.
Sadly what people in this country seem to want is social selection - and they'll achieve that by hook or by crook, by academic selection at 11 (which hugely discriminates against children from poorer backgrounds), separation into faith schools, and with the private school system.
The point is yermina the kids at my school weren't well motivated. It is shit to be a kid who likes learning at a school like this. I am not talking about what grades are achieved. I am talking about the experience of being at school, of being somewhere where it is clear you don't fit in, of the frustration of never having a real class debate, of kids being scared to engage in teacher's attempts to have one because they will be mocked by other kids. Of having a love of learning and being somewhere where that is frustrated and unfulfilled except for with your books at home alone. That is what I am talking about. Of course bright kids get good grades at shit schools. It's the rest of it that they miss out on that I am talking about. And I talk from personal experience.
Maillot, good for you. You clearly don't live where I do.
yermina you have completely missed something that is hugely important to an education; like minded and similar ability peers.
I'm sorry you think it's guff that different schools suit different children, yermina, but having had one child thrive and one not in the same school, I would absolutely disagree. It wasn't about social selection, the school is very socially mixed, it was about children's personalities and abilities.
Nosleep, the school I started off at was like yours, and I hated the experience too. I was very lucky to be moved to a private school, where I was so much happier. Yes, I might have achieved the same grades in either institution but I wouldn't have enjoyed the experience. Of course, it would be fantastic if all our children mixed in the same schools. But until our anti-intellectual culture is transformed, some - NOT all - schools, are not great places for children who do want to learn.
My eldest has just started reception at the local state primary which is where his brothers will go.
It is an inner city school and the class reflects that.
Private was an option but I prefer the convenience of the local school and have been really impressed with it all so far.
I've got an open mind about secondary.Plan has always been to go private but the feeder school is in the top 300 comprehensives in the country and gets pupils into Oxbridge & RG unis which is good enough for me.If other children can do well in that system no reason why mine can't either!
I agree wholeheartedly with nosleep.I had the misfortune to go to a sink comp where any sign that you were interested in learning or even behaving would result in teasing at best and being beaten up at worst.I don't recall ever putting my hand up to answer a question or any classroom debates.I would have loved to have gone to a school where you could actually learn stuff rather than sit there whilst the teachers tried and failed to control the class.
Sadly,the very same school is my DDs catchment school.I have visited it and it seems nowhere near as bad as it used to be,but is in SM and according to OFSTED,children arrive with above average levels of literacy ect,but soon begin to fall behind.I've got everything crossed that DD1,who moves up next year,gets to go to the school out of catchment instead.If I had the money I'd certainly go private.I find that those who knock parents who make this choice have never attended a really bad school and seen how it can affect children.
"like minded and similar ability peers."
What - you mean there are some schools in England with NO, or only a tiny handful of intelligent, resourceful and intellectually curious children?
As I said - my dd's school only a third of children are 'high ability', and yet they still manage to turn out doctors, lawyers, teachers. Not loads mind, but every year a good handful.
"You clearly don't live where I do"
I live in a very deprived inner city area.
"it was about children's personalities and abilities".
What - you mean less able children need teachers who are trained in a different way to those who teach able children? Smaller class sizes for less or more able children? A different curriculum?
My children have very different personalities: one is sensitive, highly musical, artistic and the top of his class for maths; the other is in a bottom set for literacy but his very able in IT and maths; my other child is lazy but quick witted and articulate. They all went/are going to the same inner city primary and thrived there. Are you saying that they need different schools because one is artistic and musical and the other is technically able? At 11? At 5?
"If other children can do well in that system no reason why mine can't either!"
Jolly good for you, Yermina, but most people don't fork out these huge sums for private schools unless they have very good reason to do so. You sound very smug.
We have the luxury of choice being able to afford fees, but we obviously can't choose a selective school - the school chooses the student.
I have narrowed down a list of 50 or so in London within 1 hour travel to about 13 - a mixture of private, grammar, state, mixed/single sex, church, etc.
I have a pretty good idea of my child and what sort of environment they will enjoy - it will be different for each of us.
Surely, given the choice, the most important thing is to find somewhere you think your child will be happy, safe and do well. What flavour of school that is doesn't make a jot of difference and what flavour you choose will often be completely different.
People get really hung up on this - I prefer to focus on my kid's welfare and ignore the politics and what works for other parents and other kids.
My DC are/were at private schools, but not English über expensive ones - we are in Paris, where private school teachers are public-sector employees and must follow the French NC.
Nevertheless, despite the relatively modest fees, there is a huge difference between the state and private schools and we would not contemplate using a state school again. I want my children to be happy and educated alongside DC of reasonably similar ability and background.
I love the way those of us with access to good comps are described as "smug"
FFS its luck : we bought this house for the garden before having kids.
School catchments did not feature on our criteria list.
Yermina, the fact that your kids' school turns out professionals shows that it is not a crap school. It would have never occurred to me or my peers that we could be doctors, lawyers. It simply wasn't on the horizon. And the school never encouraged us to have aspirations. At our careers lesson they got someone from the local bank to talk to us about becoming a bank clerk at £100 a week. Do you think the kids at Eton get that?
I don't think you understand what bad schools are like. You don't seem to have experience of of one.
My comment about 'you don't live where I do' wasn't aimed a you and you clearly misunderstood what I was saying there.
please link to one of these "crap schools"
and we'll rule out ANY secondary modern in Kent, Lincoln of Hertfordshire as they do not have top sets.
DH travels the country and "crap schools" are incredibly rare - because of data transparency most of them now push their top kids.
You clearly know better.
Which (named) schools are you thinking of?
I think I'm being clear that I am talking about my own school which was the John hunt school. The crap school in my catchment is tyncastle high. 14 percent getting three qualifications at grade c or above. It shouldn't be that top kids get pushed. All kids should be. All kids should have teachers having expectations. And aspirations for all their pupils. That's kinda my point.
And yes talkin, I clearly do know best about my own school experience.
Talkinpeace - I've often seen your posts (and liked them). I used to work both at PS and BP! I've since moved away and wish our county had 6th form colleges rather than school 6th forms. Anyway - I'm insanely curious as to what your husband does that he visits so many schools.... any chance of putting me out of my misery?
talkinpeace are you sure secondary schools in Kent don't have a top set? I'm pretty sure they do, to compete/compensate for grammar schools taking the top achievers.
OK, those two are definitely "lacking" -
Tynecastle I'd need to know more about how it fits in amongst the other schools in the area to understand more.
Your old school .... yup "community sports college" sums up the aspiration of the SMT. They need taking out and replacing with people who give a stuff
by definition a secondary modern with a grammar school next door does NOT have a top set as they are in the other school.
Hence why there are so many prep schools in Kent tutoring those who can afford a few years of fees through the 11+
Talkinpeace - there are comprehensives with grammar streams (accessible via 11+) in Kent. I think you don't know about the reality.
Talkin I don't understand what you mean about how Tyne fits in with other schools. I know it is one of the worst schools in the city and I work in the social sphere and know the areas that feed into it. They are deprived areas like the one I come from.
I am going to have my tea now.
We are very much considering it as our local primary is shit. Full of polish kids who don't speak English. The sad thing is there is a very good grammar school for those who pass the 11 plus. There is no chance of that for any of the kids who go to this primary.
We could afford it but not without noticing. We would have to cut back on holidays and luxuries and Im not happy about it. On the other hand it would only be until secondary school.
We are planning four children, but would only put the smart ones through. DC1 has a good shot at passing the 11 plus, but DC2 does not.
word I know you don't
No - we live in an area with a lot of outstanding primary and secondary schools - also super selective grammars very close (Birmingham). I adore my dc school and couldn't ask for me if I were to pay for their education.
So, it seems bright and well behaved children need like minded peers... Does that apply to everyone else as well?
Depends where you live.
If you live somewhere with an outstanding, happy, secondary, which has better grades than the private school, who would...
According to Kent County Council's website there are four comprehensives in Kent, one of which is an Oasis Academy.
Streaming is an equally divisive form of segregation.
All children need like minded peers - but the like mind will depend on the subject as some are good at maths and others good at sport and others good at art and others good at essays
We sent one child to a private school and no, we couldn't afford it but obtained grants and fees provision so that it was paid for. DS had problems and so it happened to be better for him.
DD chose to stay at the local secondary and that's where she went.
None of it was about "elite", it didn't come into the equation. And many private/public schools are not filled with "elite" (whatever that is) but ordinary folks looking for an education which best fits their child. There are many children who could not afford such an education in these schools, in some schools those on bursaries is as high as 20%. Children come from all sorts of backgrounds, from all walks of life...
"folks looking for an education which best fits their child"
If anyone here isn't doing exactly that and is, instead, caught up in ideology and opinion, then they are making bad decisions for their kids. I know quite a few parents that say one thing (befitting their politics) but want to do another.
Journey. Any family today who can afford 80% fees are in a fortunate position. We have millions of families who can't afford food or electricity .
Therefore if you can afford 80% fees your family are probably in the richest 10% of population. If you dont believe me ask Talkin Peace, you will be amazed how low the income level required is to be in that percentage of the population .
There are about 400,000 people in the UK earning over £100k.
There are about 20,000,000 people earning less than the national average.
No surprise that about 1% of taxpayers can afford about 5% of the education system that requires fees.
(I love stats a bit too much)
MuswellHill : have a look at this thread then ....
Oooh Talkin that map thread is fab! Thank you for sharing
Just to mention, soul2000, but I think JourneyThroughLife meant that up to 20% of the pupils were on a bursary, rather than that the bursaries were up to 20%. Thereby making the point that a significant chunk of pupils are not from 'elite' backgrounds.
Bursaries may make other private school parents feel all fluffy inside but they do remarkably little for social mobility.
Very few parents even consider the stress of applying, because of the humiliation of being turned down.
Very few parents can afford the "extras" that are not covered by bursaries - and if you live on little, fitting in with those who are used to "choice" is hard.
Very few parents can afford to send their kids to schools any distance from home.
In fact I'd be interested to know what percentage of bursaries go to families where the parents neither attended private school or university - ie where the bursary is reaching out rather than helping those who know the game.
Well talking about extras....
I think going to Paris on a school trip is an excellent idea.
Children in private schools DO NOT COME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE.
They come from well off families, or they come from poorer but exceptionally motivated families. The ones from poorer families often have highly educated and intelligent parents.
The majority of children in the state sector do not fall into either of these categories.
Private schools serve an elite of wealthy and/or exceptionally clever and well supported children.
Our school has cut right back on bursaries. They've added 4 new 50 percent scholarships so although they are nominally non selective this way they will keep their results up. All quite businesslike but then they are businesses
Yermina, sorry to sound like a stuck record but what you describe is exactly the situation in the best state schools where I live. Except poorer families, or even middling income families, have no hope of getting their kids in there unless they inherit a house.
nosleeptillbedtime - that doesn't stop it being a fact that the state sector has to educate children from all walks of life, though, does it? The existence of exceptionally expensive private schools is a bit of an advert that this country tolerates or even encourages segregation, so obviously that will spill into behaviour in the state sector, because that's the way our society is set up to behave.
I don't think private schools can be blamed for social segregation. If private schools disappeared the situation in my city would not change one bit. The causes of the segregation are much deeper than that and much wider than just education. The state sector does educate all children but there is still social segregation in the state sector.
Yes as long as a good one. Would so so for smaller classes, better discipline and more encouragement
For several reasons will have 1 dc in state, other in private. Completely openminded about it, all about what child needs and what we can afford.
If we could get DS into a genuinely very good comprehensive or a grammar school, we would not have made plans to go independent. But we started the slog towards independent (working on practice papers etc.) because we can't be confident of getting a place at a school where more than half the pupils get five GCSEs - which is fine if your child decides to join the 50% who work, but not so fine if he decides to coast with the 50% who don't.
Now that we've started, and encouraged him to put in the effort to get into a private school, we'd feel that we'd given him mixed messages if we were to put him into anything other than the two most outstanding comprehensives on our list - which are massively oversubscribed. So - yes, we are spending our last dime on school fees (provided DS gets a place), but would have considered state if our chances had been a bit better.
I entirely agree, nosleeptillbedtime - getting rid of private schools overnight won't change the fact that this society is set up to tolerate or even encourage segregation. The behaviours encouraged by centuries of segregation don't just disappear because someone says they should, one day. A majority have to really want the status quo to change, which won't happen until a majority think they are getting the bum end of the deal with no genuine chance of improving their situation without lying, stealing and cheating.
My DS goes to a school which sounds very much like Yermina's. A state comp, high ratio of FSM, very high GCSE stats, and in an area of S London which is less expensive than elsewhere in London with similiar transport / distance from centre, and the school intake is mostly from council estates and social housing, so house prices aren't the defining factor in the nature of the school.
From my address there is a choice of 3 excellent primaries, 2 good comps, one as yet untested comp and a lottery place at another good comp.
DS is progressing really well - challenged academically, has loads of extra-curricular activities, the school orchestra is astounding, he is happy - I would not choose independent, no, unless something went very wrong with his experience in his state school and we had no other option except moving.
Independent would be my contingency. If I could afford it. And it was my only / best solution available.
If it was up to me, I would abolish independent schools. Shut them down, get rid. Why already privileged children should be given even more advantages in life is beyond me. We should invest more in absolutely top quality state education, and everybody should send their kids to the local comprehensive. Not going to happen, I know, but that would be the right system in my opinion.
To answer OP, we can afford private and DS has been privately educated since he was 7, having spent a very happy 3 years at our local primary school. BUT we live in Cornwall, it is a poor area with a very limited choice of OK, but not great, schools and is 99% white. If we had stayed living in greater London we may well have made a different choice.
I remember reading this article and finding it quite interesting. Although the research is 5 years old, I would be surprised if a lot has changed since then.
It begs the question, do schools make society or does society make the schools? I tend to think that it is the latter and perhaps we should stop expecting so much from our schools in terms of bringing about social change. Perhaps we should just let them get on with their main priority which (IMO) is to inspire ALL children and young people, teach them and educate them to the best of their ability. Hopefully the rest will follow on from this in a more natural way. Or maybe I'm just too idealistic and out of touch.
I also believe that there is a big difference between 'education' and 'qualifications', and I feel that, because it is easier to measure 'success' in terms of exam results, that maybe the 'education' element has lost out to some extent over the last decade or so. Maybe this is one reason why people seem to be losing respect for education, and feel that it is pointless and has nothing to offer them. Echoes of Russell Brand's feelings towards politics?
Interesting article and one my own experience would back up.
I think the thread is drifting away from the OP question and into the age old "ban privates/free choice" debate.
We can argue that one forever. My take is that we should focus on the 95% of schools that are free and make them better. So good that only total snobs would consider wasting money on private schools.
I also think that we should focus on the 30% or so of faith schools that often have church going motivated parents and well motivated kids. The local comp gets what's left. That has a much much much bigger effect nationwide and is funded by the taxpayer. Closing private schools would mean, on average, 1 extra pupil or less in each state school class. That won't change anyones outcomes in that state classroom, nor will it change social mobility one jot.
I am with MuswellHillDad on this. Banning private schools is not a realistic policy, and actually if it were attempted could back fire. improving stae schools so that you have the situation you have in France where Private Schools still exist but are not seen to confer an advantage.
(They are often religious schools, and of course, in France, all state schools are secular.)
That last post of mine got garbled: I hope the sense is clear.
Private schools produce loads of nice, socially aware, caring kids. Let's not pretend they are all heartless toffs.
" improving stae schools so that you have the situation you have in France where Private Schools still exist but are not seen to confer an advantage." Perhaps the French experience is down to them being a Republic . The Class system is behind the advantage conferred by a top public school
Yes, I was let down by the state sector and I'm not prepared to let my DC suffer the same fate. There is too much government meddling in state education, shrinking budgets, growing classes etc etc
a) Private schools will never go away. They have their place.
b) Private school is not ever an engine of social mobility
c) State funds should be pushed into giving good schooling to the maximum number of children rather than those whose parents have the time to set up "free schools"
d) there are good and bad private schools
e) there are good and bad state schools
f) stuck up snobs come from bothtypes of school
In France private schools most definitely confer an advantage. They select their pupils and teachers, for a start. They are cheap and accessible however.
I disagree. Private schools can definitely be an engine if social mobility.
In what circumstances are fee paying schools engines of social mobility?
I'd like to see evidence that bursaries go to children whose parents did not attend Private School / University / post 1970 Grammar Schools
because only by outreach beyond those groups is social mobility achieved.
Talkinpeace. You are right about "Stuck up Snobs" from both types of schools.
The difference though is that the Stuck up Snobs from state schools are the
Hyacinth Bucket types, deluded but harmless. The snobs from the "Public" schools tend to be Prime Ministers, Judges, Lawyers senior officials, I.E the people who decide peoples lives and have no comprehension outside their
bubble about life.
I'm not quite sure why you are so anti private schools.
They are a fact of life.
The famous ones are a useful source of overseas earnings for the UK.
The parents who use them have already paid for several unused state school places through their taxes so they actually subsidise state schools.
Having chips on your shoulder will not serve any constructive purpose.
Supporting State school and non stuck up kids to achieve their potential is a much better aim.
We live what is described as a deprived area of London. Our DD is currently in an outstanding state school but we have decided to take her out and she will be starting in Jan 14 in an independent school. The main reason for this is that she is August born, described as a well behaved child and frankly she is getting a bit 'lost' in her current school. In the past, I never thought about private options but taking into account that I wasn't educated in the UK, from what I have seen so far, I have lost the faith in the UK state education.
What taxes are you paying as a foreign national not living in the UK when you pay your child's UK school fees, Talkinpeace? I can see that you are contributing to the earnings of people and institutions based in the UK, but don't really see a direct tax connection?
Why can't one be anti something that is a fact of life though talkin?
Talkinpeace. you are anti grammar schools but ambivalent to public schools.
I have said that i know that many private schools exist solely because there is a lack of selective education available in the state sector. That is a reason why
my niece and nephew would have gone private if no grammar school provision was available. Fortunately there was grammar school provision available. I just wish state education was good enough and varied enough to make only "Snobs" and foreigners use private education not the vast number of people who can.
There is also a huge difference between a independent Northern Day school
and a Southern Public school. Its public schools, i hate not private schools that have developed to serve a need, infact many of these private schools were ex grammar school.
Providing we could really afford it, then yes I definitely would send DD to a private school.
By this I mean not only the fees but all the extras that tend go with private education, expensive trips, sports etc.
DH has worked in the private education sector for 14 years and we could have sent DD to one of the school's he's worked at for ridiculously reduced fees. We would have struggled to afford all the extras though so decided against it.
I'm very happy on the whole with the state primary she attends, but having recently become a parent governor I have to say that the financial, practical and educational restraints present in the state sector are pretty terrifying.
IMHO private education offers a breadth of educational and social experiences that even the most outstanding state school couldn't hope to manage.
ha ha thats funny my daughter is a foreigner at her school....haven't seen any snobs or racism yet..
ooo maybe I sent her to the wrong school
We don't have many extras. Music lessons are extra. Sports are included. One trip to France in year 9. Occasional trips to local theatres. Uniform (I bought it in year 7 and she's still wearing in year 9)
When it comes down to it, there are good schools and bad schools and I would pay to avoid a bad school. I would also pay to avoid a school that was good for most children but did not fit my children's needs, if there was an alternative that would fit my children's needs. The greatest good for the greatest number is all very well if you are one of the greatest number, but it's pretty damn shite if you aren't one of them, and it's almost impossible to sit back and let yourself perish as one of the necessary victims on the altar of the greater good if you don't actually have to...
Talkinpeace - in my building, the gardienne and her taxi driver DH send their DC to a private school. Locally, the illiterate Moroccan couple who have a greengrocer's shop sent their DC to a private school and both DC have gone on to higher education.
When people with little education are brave enough to use selective schools, fantastic things can happen.
They can also happen at non-selective schools, Bonsoir. Good schools can certainly cause fantastic things to happen; I see it at my daughter's non-selective non-leafy comp too.
I went to a quasi private school (selective Direct grant school - now abolished), a highly academic school, and my DS's state comp offers:
More extra-curricular activities
A wider range of academic subjects
Far better musical opportunities
Greater breadth in every way than the education I had.
And performs brilliantly wrt to achievement in relation to the base level of intake.
I experienced some truly inspirational teachers, but then so has DS.
I just don't think you can generalise about anything based on sector.
Talkinpeace I've known a number of bursary students in various Edinburgh independent schools who have not come from private/uni/grammar backgrounds. One of my colleagues worked in a minimum wage clerical job and her husband is a bin man- her son went to Edinburgh Academy. I was involved in a Big Brother/Big Sister programme and my "little brother" lived in a deprived part of Wester Hailed and attended George Heriot's. The niece of a friend of mine comes from a very difficult background and is currently a Foundationer at George Heriot's- and I've known quite a few others over the past few years.
Going back years and years now, my uncle attended George Heriot's as a Foundationer. He was brought up in absolutely dire conditions- one of 7 children squashed into a 1 bedroom flat on the top floor of an Edinburgh tenement. His father was an unemployed alcoholic who died when my mother was 2 and his mother scrubbed floors for a living. He was given a full scholarship including extras like transport, uniform, books etc. He was eternally grateful to Heriot's for the opportunity and without getting into too much detail, his experience impacted the whole family. I know his example is well out of date now but I know enough bursary students now to know that some schools, at least, do offer them to pupils without a strong educational background in their family.
I also know that Edinburgh can be a bit of an anomaly- I really somewhere that something like 25% of students here are privately educated which is way above the norm!
Bonsoir. it seems selective schools work best,when taking children from lower
middle class/ aspirational working class families and placing them in to academic environments.
In the "Times" this morning there is a report , stating that not enough working class kids are attending grammar schools. Its not something
none of us on here don't know. The sutton Trust stated that the grammar schools involved should be doing up to 10 hours free practice/training with kids who have the potential but not the parental funds or knowledge. This was something i advocated on another thread and was dismissed out of hand by some.
As for what qualifies in Britain as wealthy who knows, is two parents working earning 25k each a well to do family?
Because a family earns £50k pa before tax it, does not make them wealthy.
These families are being forced to go down the private school route, because a lack of appropriate education be that academic or vocational is available. These families and children are the future of Britain , the Lower
Middle/Aspirational working class not the "UnderClass" or serious "Rich" were education seems to be set up for . The majority of families in the £50k
bracket want grammar schools available for their DCs to offer them the same opportunities as the kids from "Public" Schools.
My family were "Wealthy" working class, if you know what that means.
It means despite growing up in £2 million pound house i had a very poor
education because my parents did not value education particularly.
Our state primary school thinks nothing of asking parents to contribute £360 for a 4 day outdoor pursuits holiday.DH and I have asked several times why they choose such an expensive location,so far away,at peak holiday time and come up with cheaper,more local sites run by the same company and used successfully by other local primaries,but they aren't interested.We aren't the only parents to query the cost either. Most parents can scrimp to send one child,but not more as that 4 days for 2 or 3 siblings is the cost of a family holiday.I don't think expensive trips ect are the sole preserve of private schools.
My cousin has 1 child at private and 2 in the above state primary and says that once she has paid the fees,that is it,no letters home every week wanting money for this or that
I would have said no until last year as I hate the very essence of private education. What I have seen is my DS being let down by his school and it made me wish I could afford to send him somewhere else.
I wouldn't do it. Not ever (my parents don't get this - we could probably afford it but choose not to).
I'm a teacher, I wouldn't work in a private school either - in fact I chose to do my pgce in Glasgow because at the time the college in Edinburgh was expecting one 8wk placement of 3 to me in an independent school.
It's partly political (I'm a scary leftie) but also this: my children are bilingual, they are educated through the medium of Scottish Gaelic. Honestly, no matter how rich we were, we couldn't (unless we went for private tutoring) buy the education our children are getting for free. The Gaelic education system in Scotland (and sounds like its similar in Wales) is really awesome.
Yes, I went. The children go. Feels like money well spent.
Ds' non-selective, non-leafy comprehensive with a high proportion of EAL and FSMs also does fantastic things with the kids.
Duke of Edinburgh up to Gold, trips to Paris, Poland, Iceland, South Africa, Italy (skiing) in recent years. Involvement with Commonwealth Games presentations, bids for the Youth Olympic Games 2018 (unfortunately losing out to Buenos Aires). Trips planned to Peru and Munich. Achievement Fund to ensure that no kid misses out due to genuine lack of funds.
Fourteen subjects offered at Advanced Higher Level . Not sure if any of the private schools in Glasgow could match that -although to be fair I haven't checked that closely
because I didn't see the need
If it hadn't been for the bilingualism my dc would have gone to the same school as prettybird's ds - it's excellent. Why pay when you don't need to?
Why pay if you don't need to? To relieve the stage of the burden of educating the 500,000 children in the private sector so there is money available to educate those who cannot afford to pay.
weegie I think it depends what you mean by need.
There will be some obvious examples of need, such as families not being offered a state place remotely close to where they live. Or families where SN provision has been unforthcoming. Or families who have suffered unmanged bullying.
But there will be others for whome need will feel very subjective. They feel, though others may disagree, that there state provision to not give their DC an appropriate education.
But, frankly, so much of it is not about need but about choice.
I don't think I could manufacture a case that my DC need independent ed. My DD would no doubt be adeuqately catered for. DS perhaps less so, but I'm sure he'd survive .
So really it comes down to choice. I choose to send my DC to independent schools. For me it has a value worth the cost. Perhaps if we had less cash, I'd have to revisit that. It's subjective, no?
I quite very much suspect that is not the kindly motive of most private school parents, though it's terribly noblesse oblige and all that
mother whilst I think relieving the state might be a happy by product of going independent, I could never use it as my reason, even in my most ironic moments .
Yes: I can't help feeling also that if that's the motive, do bog off and take your attitude with you.
motherinferior wordfactory Muswell
please remember that certain posters have very well known views about private school, parental earning capacity and maternity leave that are almost calculated to get a reaction.
I thought it was a quite restrained offering this time
I agree with wordfactory its not about need. I choose to send my children to a private school because it is the best option, in my view, available to them. They don't need to go there and I am fortunate to be in a position to make a choice many/most people aren't.
I feel I am doing the state school sector, and in fact the nation as a whole, a huge favour in allowing my DS to be educated at our S London comp. Our local borough will get the credit when he becomes an international Nobel-Prize winning particle physicist virtuoso rock guitarist.
Eek - but what if Gove claims the credit?
Home Ed. Never has there been such a compelling argument!
Blu - at least in Scotland we
escape the nightmare that is Gove don't have that issue.
So when ds becomes the Scottish kicking scrum half, Olympic gold medal winning cyclist, Tour de France winner, Nobel prize winning astrophysicist, we'll be able to give the school all the credit! (ok, and his cycling and rugby clubs! ) (and Glasgow City Council for investing in the world class facility that is our velodrome )
and yes, I do pay through the nose for it with my Council Tax but it's worth it
Talkinpeace, thanks for the heads up. It's clearly well known to you and others, but wasn't to me. I'm just not spending enough time on here
Bonsoir in the UK the equivalent schools would be way beyond the financial reach of your gardienne/greengrocer.
"whilst I think relieving the state might be a happy by product of going independent, I could never use it as my reason, even in my most ironic moments"
Yet government after government, on the left as much as on the right, acknowledges that outsourcing the education of the gifted & talented to the private sector is of significant benefit to the UK education budget. You might
naively think of it as a happy by product but governments view your sort as essential.
Eh? Plenty of bright kids in state schools. (Even despite the private schools' attempts to boost their own results and thus bring in more fee-paying pupils by offering reduced price places, if that's what you mean.) Plenty of thick kids in posh schools too, come to that.
My local council certainly counts on a good proportion of parents going private, hence the lack of state primary places.
Excellent. 'thick kids'. Nice. I think that poster needs to ask herself why it's OK to call children at private school 'thick'.
I've had experience of both.
Private wins by a long shot.
I wonder what mother inferior would have made of me repeating 3rd year and
an October Birthday at my last resort private school ending up with
5Es and 1D at Gcse.......
Private school would be purchased over my dead body unless my child was utterly miserable and private school was the only way I could see to make them happy. This is because private school is wrong, in my opinion.
I think we have all missed out an important concept when we discuss private schooling. Most will always endeavour to compare results. Yes I agree that is one key area. Yet it is so much more than that. Good private schoooling is also about self confidence. Its about learning to think outside the box. Its about making a child become the best that they can be. They achieve this by having small classes and attracting motivated teachers and staff who are commited to this end. Yes most children are from middle class famlies who take a keen intrest in their childs upbringing. So yes there is selection. Creating a school with children who are well supported by parents. That being siad disturbances in class can be dealt with easier than in a state school.
Its only been one half term and we have already had a progress report. In which the children are asked how can they improve for next part of half term. Teaches them the need for self improvement. To compete agaisnt each other but also to compete against oneself. That is why good private schools turn out winners.
You'd probably think my child was 'thick'. She has mild learning difficulties and problems with hearing. State school would have been a bloody disaster for her. She's thriving at her private school. She'll have to work very hard to get a B in maths but I know the school will do its utmost to get her there. They care about her in a way that they could not at the huge faceless local state. Her abilities in sport are valued so highly it had given her a huge confidence boost and has, with no exaggeration, turned her life around. She was at an outstanding state primary before where being 'thick' meant you held no interest for the staff whatsoever. It has also proved to be an amazing environment for my other child who is very academic. I think we are incredibly lucky to be able to afford to educate our children in this way.
A progress report at half term.... Wow. We can only dream of such things in the state sector. FFS.
If the left want to tell people to "bogoff" because they state the fact that private school paying parents save the state 500,000 x £7000 a year in what it would cost to educate their children, I suspect it says more about left wing posters than anything else. People might not like these facts but they are facts and the brighter private school educated children do give an awful lot back to the state over their lives too. I am not saying charity and good moral principle is the only reason to send children to private schools but it certainly is there and if that is unpalatable to some then so be it. The argument is exactly the same as if middle class people with enough money for food clogged up food banks taking all the resources.
Assumption behind the original question that paid for/ independent is always better but there are many very poor independent schools and
top quality free state schools.
If the option was between a very poor state school or paying for a good school I would pay. I do know of parents who feel that their local state schools are THAT bad. Fortunately for us we have a good choice of excellent schools in my area and my children are in them.
I do think there are some complex reasons for choice independent schools, however. Eg some offer long hours with extra activities, which can be perfect for some families.
Prettybird, if we lived in your catchment we wouldn't have gone private! Unfortunately there is such a divide in the State schools in Scotland which is being made worse through the Council's implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence. Our catchment school only offers 4 Advanced Highers- English, Maths, Biology and Graphic Communications. DS' Edinburgh independent school offers 23 Advanced Highers plus 1 A level. I wish all State schools were like yours!
I can say that all the things mentioned by Kenlee happened at my (state) school (albeit I will acknowledge it was in a leafy, middle class suburb) and still happen at ds' (state) school - a very non leafy school with a high proportion of EAL, asylum seekers and FSMs.
Maybe the difference is that I am in Scotland
There are good schools and bad schools in both the public and private/independent sectors - so I would still challenge the premise of OP that independent school is a requirement to be successful and the implication that if you can afford it, you are somehow letting your child down if you choose not to send him'her to one.
I went to private on a scholarship. My parents did not have the level of wealth that most of the parents did there and my grandparents contributed. I enjoyed my time there but don't see one single person from school nowadays.
I would actively choose NOT to send my children to private school. The attitude of entitlement that so many of the girls had was deeply unpleasant. I have a lovely
but very snobby friend whose children go to private school. Already she can't see how privileged they are. She thinks that lots of the parents there are just average earners. I have tried to explain that people who are average earners do not have thousands of spare pounds a year to spend on education but she is already in the bubble.
Luckily my dc are bright and we are in a grammar school area so hopefully not an issue for us. I do have an issue with 40% of grammar school places being taken by children from private schools. All the extra training/coaching they have to get them there and then some of them struggle once in grammar school seems to be a real problem here. I want to say, if you can afford to send your children privately then don't take a grammar place IF your child is not going to thrive there.
<off to massage the chip on my shoulder>
Gosh 40per cent! I'm hoping mine will get into grammar as the alternatives aren't great . . . But if they're up against that level of coaching :-(
Grammars aren't an option for us (thankfully, as I went to one and I would rather not send my children to one) but I am interested in the concept of 'coaching'. What's the difference between good teaching to a relevant standard ie the 11+ and 'coaching' (horribly frowned on). Are we assuming that the teaching at private preps is so good it gives child an unfair advantage? That the children who go private would never have got in without this miraculous 'coaching'?
To be fair, the interim report is only a table detailing their effort, behaviour and homework on a scale of 1 to 4 for each subject, plus an attendance record (which I had to challenge as he was showing as late for some sessions despite being at school but they have now fixed that anomaly).
We will have a parents' evening in January or early February to help inform us in the choices that ds will have to make for his subjects the following year. The S1 Parents' Evening is in November to let the parents get an early view of how their kid is settling in at secondary school.
Taz1212 - yes, the one weakness of CfE is the different way it is being implemented across the country. Ds has friends in a neighbouring council area who were made to choose their subjects in February of S1 . I know another parent who is a principle teacher at a school in Ayrshire who thinks ds' school is wrong in making them choose subjects in S2 as that goes against the broad general foundation principles of CfE and that it should only be done in S3. At least ds' school they are being allowed to choose up to 7/8 subjects.
I think the main difference and benefit at private school is choice.
It may be that some state schools replicate each and every aspect of an independent school that a parent chooses, but the essentail difference is that you don't get any say in getting a place in said school. There is no meaningful choice.
Perhaps somehwhere in the UK there are state school offering everyhtingmy DC receive in their independent schools? I hope so. But I don't have any choice about getting a place, do I?
What I despise is parents who fault others who use private. Yet their own child attends a grammar/ state which is not open to the poor... ie catchment area. If these schools are funded by the state they should open their doors to the poor.. say 50% local catchment area and the other 50% from deprived areas. This is what we call leveling the playing field. leave the Private schools alone. We have paid into state and Yes it should be equal....
Or those who go to church for five years to get their kids in a church school because the ' local comp ' isn't good enough but still harp on how private schools are divisive etc.
It's a unique British thing that opting for private is seen as a "snobbish", class issue. And as others have said, often so hypocritical with the catchments issue.
Where i live/have lived overseas it's simply assumed - and never questioned- you do the best for your kids and pay if necessary and it's affordable for you.
Don't forget those who move themselves into the catchment of a good school to ensure their dc gets a place.
Re-read my post, ffs. I didn't say all kids at private school were thick. I said there were thick kids at private schools just as there are bright kids at state schools.
And while I probably shouldn't have used the word thick, and apologise if it offended, I do find the assumption that all bright kids are hoovered up by generous scholarships equally out of order.
I live in a fairly revolting part of London, btw, and am in catchment for an excellent comp.
The term thick kids is fucking vile whoever you are referring to.
This report is interesting....
Ok: kids who aren't particularly bright academically, then. I am not, obviously, referring to kids with learning disabilities. If that's what you thought.
Or 'the kids who would be written off by the 11+ as more deserving of what would euphemistically be termed a more vocational education, rather than educated within a school that offers them the opportunity to develop later'....
I agree with Salbertina.
You do what's best for your kids. If you have the money, and you can get something better if you paid, so be it. Why is everyone going on about people who do so being 'snobbish'?
Look - no one is equal in this world. Newborn babies are not equal. And it all starts even before they are born. One mother may have lived a healthy lifestyle whilst pregnant. The other smoke and drank.
Plus - if intelligence had anything to do with genetics (as every other trait we have seems to be), then I assume intelligent and educated parents are more likely (but not exclusively) to give birth to intelligent kids. Presumably, they would also value education enough to educate them accordingly. This alone shows that straightaway, kids are not going to have equal opportunities in life.
Why on earth - when it comes to education, do some people suddenly take a higher ground and argue otherwise???
'thick kids' is nasty. Do you refer to your dcs friends who may not be as bright as your kids as 'thick'? Or do they not have any' thick' friends as like tends to find like even in 'non - leafy comps'?
Eh? What makes you assume my kids are bright?
Look, it was a perhaps unfortunate choice of words and I've apologised. More to the point, I was answering a post that implied that bright kids were removed from the state system. Plenty remain.
I can afford it so I do.
But I have to say that I absolutely resent paying twice. The fact that fee-paying schools offer such a greater educational experience is a disgrace. I think that the state system is letting our children down.
Wuldric -how do you suggest the state system gets the money, facilities etc it would need to improve to private standards? A lot of finance would be needed to gain the extra staffing, grounds, opportunities.
You're not comparing like to like.
I read Wuldric's post as objecting to having to pay the fees, not the taxes.
If you live in an area where the state schools are so good they beat many independents then it is hardly sacrificial to say no to the private sector.
Personally, I'd never give it a second thought after choosing private.
I do not feel that the state system is letting my kids down.
They are far happier and doing better at school than myself.
Of all the people i know, many were educated at private schools a few from grammar schools, they have all done well either in business or in professions.
The people i know who went to comprehensives are either on the dole or earning basic wages, with the exception of a very special friend of mine who was labeled a dummy at her comprehensive school.
my husband went to a comprehensive.
he pays the bills for me to shop at waitrose and spend my mornings doing yoga
I went to a comprehensive and on to Oxford. I'm far from the only MNer who did. I am not rolling in money but that's because I'm a freelance journalist
lets see, DHs school friends from his sahth lunnun comp
- v rich programmer
- quite rich project manager
- comfortably off accountancy practice manager
- supermarket manager
- another programmer
- yet another programmer
- one lives in the states doing something techy
yup, disasters, the lot of them
My contemporaries include a clutch of university lecturers, a rather good musician, teachers, a theatre designer, people working in finance and computing...
Mmm mine? Um teachers, designer and not a few shop-workers. One Oxford.
My ex's from posh public school all high achievers, many Oxbridge.
OOH, ooh, my chums from my naice selective private school
- divorced housewife
- freelance journalist raising kids alone
- wife of d list celeb
- works for the above
- works for the above as well
- internationally famous research chemist
- horse trainer
- manager of phone sex line company
Wow, the money our parents spent was useful
The comp from "Gideons" constituency town did very well providing Y.T.S though.
The comp my friend who was labeled "Dummy " was in kent and since her sister went to the grammar i guess it was a "Modern".
You all must have gone to different comprehensives than i or some of my friends went to then....
The comprehensive was also in the supposed richest town outside london/south east, then again London and the South East is totally different
from the rest of the country.
What amazes me though is that the people you describe are mostly in the top 1 to 2% of the population yet going to schools that cater for 90% of the population.
So what are the other 95% of the kids from those schools doing then.
This site is amazing in that everybody apart from me seems to have been to University. Statistically only 20% of the population have been to University so i don't think your examples represent what the vast majority of kids educated at comprehensive schools are doing for a "Living" not a career.
soul DH and I both went to comp. Mine was worse than his, but by a margin.
He's a senior partner at a magic circle law firm.
I was a lawyer, now I'm a writer.
However, you will never ever get DH and I pretending that this was easy or usual. Our school peers for the most part did not pursue education past 16. I am the only person in my huuuuuge extended family
Dangerous list .... six degrees of separation reduces to 1?
I didn't go to school in the south-east either, btw.
Soul-you're right, only about 20% of is went to uni. But that was a while ago, imagine much higher proportion now. And yes, many/most are probably in semi-skilled jobs. Just not in contact with any of them especially as most left at 16.
I am the only person in my huuuuge extended family who stayed at school past 16, including all the younger generation.
Most are in low paid work. Some are on benefits.
The reality remains that most state schools do not send swathes of kids to Oxbridge or into the professions that have the biggest influence on all our lives.
And while people pretend that this is not the case, nothing will ever change.
Being a SAHD, I don't have any friends so have no idea what anyone does ..... (lies through his gin soaked teeth)
Actually one of the reasons I cite to relatives of DP's who clearly think our use of state ed borders on child abuse is that I have a rather better degree from a posher (and arguably better) university than him, or any of his three brothers, all of whom were expensively educated. As an argument it's flawed but it does shut his aunt up
I'm not pretending anything. It's a comprehensive, which means that a substantial number of DD1's contemporaries will not get particularly glowing qualifications. I do, however, have good reason to expect that those who have the ability and the potential will do very well indeed.
Ah but mother I cannot abide that argument!
By that measure everyone in my school should have done as well as me. And somehow they failed!
When the reality is so so much more complex!
The flawed one? I said it's flawed. Or the one about the comp? Well. We'll see. I like it.
MI, aren't you the exception that proves the rule to a certain extent though? Of course the shiniest, most driven (and clever, obviously) will make it through whatever the school within reason. And of course there are some v good comps, but sadly most of them, in my experience, are mediocre and expect far less of the great mass in the middle. The very bottom and the very top will get the attention. I had a teacher who celebrated us passing our A-levels with great satisfaction despite half the class only scraping an E! She thought this was ok.
As I say: I'll wait to see how my daughters, at their sprawling scruffy comp with its high proportion of kids with EAL and FSM, do eventually. So far they seem to be fine.
It would be easy for me to be disdainful of private education and extoll the virtues of our excellent comp...
But the fact is that the catchment area is exclusively areas with nice houses, no estates. 3% FSM. Lots of kids get tutored, most parents help kids with homework etc etc.
It is almost as selective as some private schools, I'd say.
It is all reflected in house prices too.
In a roundabout way, we sort of pay to have our children educated with children of like minded parents.
It is not about state vs private. The real divide is between kids of parents who care about education, and kids of parents who don't.
It can work the other way- we lived in rural area so posh that the comp wasn't used by most locals so it's not actually that good. This seems to happen much more in the country than in urban/suburban areas.
Salbertina. That is the case with the comp i went to not so much 30 years ago it was just crap then, but now. The school complain that they have a two pronged attack from private schools and the nearby selective area.
They have a relatively low number of local kids, they seem to bus kids in from
less advantaged areas despite a low Fsm of 7%. So i guess 65% A*-C Eng/Maths is not to bad then.
Interesting, hey? Wonder if this is a rural phenomenon? Plus of course the choice issue- often isn't one in the middle of the countryside!
Class size for reception is 30 in our local state, vs. 18 in local private school. The smaller the class, the more time spent on each child, I would think.
That can go too far the other way though, FFRD. There's a school near me with 12 in the year and they split into two groups of 6. I think 6 is too small. As a teacher I think to get a good class dynamic you need at least 14-15, and you also want a range of children for your child to make friends with.
But Fiscal - that assumes that its your like-minded wealthy parents that are the ones that care about education?
I'm an Oxbridge graduate but due to various mix of circumstances (divorce, ill health and redundancy - bingo!) we live in an estate area in a mainly w/c area I guess. It's not a bad area though. We certainly care about education, but I guess I'm being written off by the more M/C mothers I meet out and about as not caring about education simply because I'm not wealthy?
"The real divide is between kids of parents who care about education, and kids of parents who don't."
Good point. I imagine every MN poster here is the former not the latter. And what do we guess the ratio of one to the other is?
1 care for every 10 don't cares? Or 1 to every 100?
Yes it could northern but where I live, it does not. The numbers I used are actuals.
........ however we need to be careful how we deal with parents that care but don't have ability, time, etc to do anything to improve their kids education.
Northernshores, I did not say anywhere that you have to be wealthy to care about education. If I implied it, it must be because it is somewhat linked, but not essential.
It is more about the parents own education ( or sometimes lack thereof which makes them determined to do things differently) than their money. It transcends class, race, wealth, religion etc.
Also, personally I don't look up or down on people based on their financial situation.
I do however think that parents who care and put time and effort into their kids education ( whether through private ed, grammar, tutors, helping themselves, reading with their kids, or moving into catchment of a good school) are the biggest factor in determining a child's academic success.
In RL I always assumed the mayority of parents care, on MN education threads about 100%
Muswell hill. You are so right , despite refusing to move me from state schools until it was to late for me. Though oddly my dad wanted me to go to
"Millfield" at 18 despite only having 5Es and a D, it seems one of his mates was sending his 14 yr old DD ,I ended up at the FE college on a Btec First.
It was my families particularly my Dad, most of my (Mothers family are Graduates) who had a distinct lack of interest in education.
I went to the sort of Comp that people wouldn't go out of their way to get their children into. I'm afraid that bog standard sums it up quite well. I eventually ended up in an FE college as the death of one of my parents disrupted my studying. I got decent 'A' levels and went to a good uni. Once you are at uni it's a fresh start.
I am very academically inclined, I loved learning for learning's sake. I saw quite a few people slogging their way through uni because their parents thought it was a good idea or doing my subject (law) because it would lead to a 'good' job even though they hated it.
So, come on Fiona, are you a journalist?
Bumped into a former colleague at DS's school at parents' evening. He said 'It's against my principles, sending the kids here. You shouldn't have to pay for education.' My reply was 'It's against all our principles, isn't it?'
I absolutely agree that private schools are anti-meritocratic and intrinsically unfair. But if you want a proper academic education, proper sports facilities (both mine are sporty) and decent music (DS is musical) there really isn't an alternative.
I got myself into the line of thought that I was being unfair to the kids by not sending them independent, tbh. Because I could afford it, was I squandering money on stuff that is irrelevant rather than investing in their education ...
It is easy for me to value education because it has brought me very tangible benefits. I do wonder if you live in an area of high unemployment where most jobs are zero hours/NMW if the benefits of staying in school and studying hard are so easy to see.
Motherinferior you have an odd attitude to education. I wouldn't feel cocky about having a better degree than my Dh. I wouldn't feel cocky about having a better degree than anyone. With your attitude I really hope your kids do exceptionally well at their 'scruffy comp'
I do see it must be hard if your ILs are very unsupportive about your choice of school and perhaps your Dh didn't enjoy private education.
If you have sporty kids then our local state secondary is a complete no no.
It's not just the sports and the music. It's the academics. To be in an environment where it's cool to be a swot. To see them competing to be top of maths or whatever. To see them working really truly hard and getting the best they can out of themselves.
I do see the difference because DD is at a state grammar school following private at primary. The intention was for them both to go there - but the state grammar was and is just terrible. Fabulous grades at GCSE but frankly, which school wouldn't have when they cream off the top 5%? At said state grammar, they teach to the test rather than teaching the subject, the range of the teaching is poor, the teachers themselves are poor and unreliable (DD had 8 French teachers over two years) the facilities are terrible, the attitude to school work is worse ... I could go on, I really could.
everything you say about the private school I see at DCs comp
including celebration of and no bullying of the really bright kids
and the sporty kids - national level competitors some from council houses
and the musical kids - national competitions etc
Wuldric. Education or lack of it for your children is too important to go all
principled about, even though most believe in state education and the principle that everybody should be educated by the state.
The state does not provide the required diversity in terms of academic or vocational education. It is the duty of any parent to give their children as good an education as they possibly can, if that is a private day school then so be it.
What i don't like though are public schools, that are there for the sole preserve of the elite and keeping their club going. No matter how successful
or bright state school kids or even bright kids from normal private schools
are, they won't get into their club.
Why cant we have boarding grammar schools specifically set up to cater for pupils from inner city areas. This could take them out of their environment and place them in to a "Safe" place where being bright is not fraught with danger or bullying.
I think by 'public school' you mean the big-name boarding schools. DS is actually at a public school the definition of which is that the heads attend the Headmasters' Conference. See here for a definition. There is no way in hell that I would send my children boarding. I like them! And I'm foolish enough to believe that they like living at home too.
Why are you against the segregation by wallet of private schools but in favour of the segregation by narrow test of grammar schools?
I like comps because children get to understand the diversity that makes up society even if they have progressively less to do with them in class because of setting and exam choices
Ds' school (which celebrates academic achievement, sporting prowess and musicianship
although not necessarily in the same pupils ) is an inner city one %23justsayin
Talkinpeace. what do you mean by highlighting council houses. Most of the best sportsmen/women come from council or the lower economic categories.
The only sports they are not the best at are the ones they have never had a chance at I.e, Horse Jumping/Tennis/Motor Racing or LAX. I suspect you knew that though.
what do you mean by highlighting council houses
because ours is a "leafy" comp and the constant accusation that kids only do well because they were MC beforehand. Our catchment is VERY mixed, as well as the hundreds of kids who are out of catchment.
You really are intent on misreading me, aren't you. My partner, for the record, rather liked his private boarding schools. His aunt's disapproval of our choices doesn't particularly bother me at all - why on earth would it? I don't give a toss about my parents' views either, I'm an adult woman - and I'm not 'cocky' about my degree but it is useful to demonstrate that particular point.
And come off if, you're secretly hoping my kids crash and burn to prove that my selfish sacrifice to my political principals has been a disaster
I am not against private schools that serve a role the state does not. As you know better than me, "Public Schools" are a different animal to private schools.
As for boarding grammar schools specifically set up for bright urban or inner city kids,these kids need to be taken away from the diverse culture they are in and placed into a rigid system. Diverse culture is great for middle class kids who only see its positive ways, but not in the educationally limiting way it can be for some kids from urban areas.
In the last show of Educating Yorkshire, there was a girl called Hannah a bright girl who in her mind thought she was "Thick", so did not really try "What's the point" type attitude , I end up doing Hair and Beauty at the college (Nothing Wrong with Hair and Beauty) but i think a lot of that is down
to not knowing anything different. Towards the end of the show she goes in to she the head of year to discuss what she is doing next year. He sarcastically suggest she does A Level Further maths , she Laughs at the suggestion. It turns out she ends up with 8 A-C grades without really working or believing in herself just doing what her peers and social circle do.
Hannah is capable of doing A level Maths (Does not know it) will probably get to 30 or so and realize she is bright.
Selective education is needed for the Hannah's of the world , whether VR and the current tests are the correct way to select who knows.
Hannah is the type of bright child who though her environment is brought down to mediocrity and under achievement (Though She won't know it).
Motherinferior - How odd. Of course I don't hope your children do badly! What a completely bizarre thing to suggest! I apologise if I have touched a nerve. You are extremely defensive and quite rude for someone who is completely happy with their choices in life.
Yes from reception to senior and then one of the brilliant local grammars or to another independent
I saw that episode and I thought that the head of year was shockingly sneering. Clearly a clever girl.
Sadsometimes - I too read your comment to Motherinferior as having a go at her for being "cocky" - your word - about her degree and with an undercurrent of hoping for some sort of comeuppeance about her kids at her comprehensive school. Maybe the tone in which you wrote the post could be misinterpreted but I for one read it the same way she did.
Thank you Sad. Hannah in the right environment would probably have got 8As . She is the type of girl who needs to be in a strict academic school that is full of as bright and brighter girls than her to achieve.
I remember some people on this site saying how pleased they were that Hannah got 8 A-C Grades. I just felt sad and a waste of potential.
I think living in London gives us all a head start in diversity compared to rural settings. But, much more importantly, the attitudes an politics of parents have a much greater bearing on a young person's attitude to socio-economics or multi-culturalism. I have never bought the idea that schooling at a comp really makes a difference either to the rich kids and their attitudes to poorer peers or visa versa. I've seen little evidence of it at our state primary where parents and kids seem to stick to their "groups". In fact some parents seem to despise the presence of wealthier families at the school.
That said some of my best mates are toffs and others are scum
I never understand the point of these threads. Some of us will think going to private school is the morally right course both in terms of our duties to our client and also in saving the nation the cost of educating the children.
Others will think it's wrong to pick private eduction but do so anyway (they are probably the worst ones morally).
Others will choose state education when they could afford private on principle because it benefits less fortunate children to be educated with theirs or whatever the reason is.
Others again (i.e. most of the population, at least 90%) could not afford the fees and their children cannot win bursaries so they go state and many state schools are fine.
As long as you are happy with the school your child is at - private, state grammar, comp there is no problem at all. No need to argue over it.
I think selection by IQ whether in a state or fee paying school tends to help brighter children get on most and gives them a good education and that is what I favour. I can/ could (3 of mine have graduated) fees at top 10 /20 schools and was lucky enough to have children able to pass the entrance tests without coaching and it seems to suit us well but 50% at Oxbridge are from state schools and many of those children do fine too.
Elizabeth, I would say there is another category.
We could afford private, and I have no ideological principles against doing so. But the private school would need to be better in terms of ethos, results and value added. In our case, the local comps are better, so we simply do not see what we would gain.
As to sports, we have great facilities in town and boys are at cricket club, tennis and karate.
Private school is not always better. There are people who therefore don't choose private, despite being able to.
That's true. I've always said there are a good few private schools around which are worse than good state schools. You need to choose carefully.
However the bottom line is private schools educate 8% of children yet get them 509% of the best university places and then make up some huge percentage of the cabinet, senior board posts, the judiciary etc etc etc. t is a huge advantage those mothers who earn enough to pay school fees can confer on their children (if but only if you think those positions of power and success and money is worth bothering about of course).
Someone above mentioned choice being the main advantage of private schools and that is true. If you are lucky enough as a woman to be able to afford school fees then you can choose if it will be a selective single sex, a free school with few lessons like Summerhill, boarding or day, strict Muslim or atheist, specialist music or whatever if might be. If you are the 92% who cannot afford those choices then you have fewer choices but even so you may have some eg getting aj ob in a private school where the fees are then paid for you or the child getting a bursary or music scholarship or moving to an area with grammar school or state muslim schools or whatever you are after plus always of course home education (again if you can afford the loss of a salary).
Have you got an island at all?
I agree with you and being totally up myself, I'm going to report my first post in this thread .....
"Surely, given the choice, the most important thing is to find somewhere you think your child will be happy, safe and do well. What flavour of school that is doesn't make a jot of difference and what flavour you choose will often be completely different.
People get really hung up on this - I prefer to focus on my kid's welfare and ignore the politics and what works for other parents and other kids."
Oh well, I heard on radio 4 this morning that there is an epidemic of mental health issues in the children of the high achieving rich, possibly linked to the pressure of exceptionally high expectations. And I'm sure those parents think they only want what's best for their kids, too. It's a wise parent who knows what the right balance is and how to achieve it.
Yeah but nothing beats the smugness of sending you kids to the local comp and them doing well - medicine, top Uni's etc . Saved ourselves £100,000's and our kids are quietly
smug proud that they haven't needed any help. (i admit our local comp is a decent school) We haven't tutored them either.
We could have easily afforded private education and, to be honest, if I thought my kids needed help then we would have got it for them but I am happy that wasn't necessary. Our local comp is 5 mins walk away - perfect.
I find a lot of private school deliberately promote elitism and are pompous. I want my kids to be proud of their schools but I hate the thought of them being encouraged to think they are better than other people simply because their parents are wealthy. I listened to a speech made by the Headmaster of Harrow at the beginning of term on the recent TV show about the school. It was nauseating and all about promoting the children's feeling of superiority.
And is nobody else going to comment on ElizabethJonesMartin's assertion that privately educated people get 509% of the best university places?
My first thought as well TOSN,
I think you might be missing the motivation of why many folk do spend that kind of money and some even remortgage their houses to do so - I don't think most people aiming for top (not the mediocre privates and there are a few of those) private /public schools are sending them for mere A* at GCSEs or A level ...a clever child should be able to get those at most schools public or private including a good local comp or grammar (with a bit of extra tuition on the side if they needed it) ...rather it -a notion of all round education that is formative of character etc. rather than teaching to the test - music, extra-curriculars, drama, sport, going beyond the curriculum, well honed social skills, public speaking and something else called leadership and self confidence and some will also not admit it, but it came across strongly in the Harrow programme - the network of well positioned (and often international) peers and alumni. If you go to the top schools you will get a very privileged education during your formative years - how you use it will be up to you but think of meeting speakers that are top of their field, leaders in politics or business, visiting musicians from leading symphony orchestras etc. A full on education with the best sports and music teaching as well as the academics which can be way beyond the curriculum. That is what the major public schools promote as well as a university type education that encourages real thinking (rather than pomposity), a leg up to the top Unis, as their USPs to draw people in to spend 33k plus a year at places like Westminster, Winchester and Eton.
If it was just about exam results, many of the middle classes (than the very wealthy who will always send their children there) would not bother given the money it takes... although it is a given that the top selective private/public schools get many more into Oxbridge/Ivy League than any state schools do. The professions - at least the higher echelons of the professions - be it law, politics, the City, CEOs, media etc. are still heavily dominated by those with that background. Medicine may be different but I'll take a bet that many at the top there are also privately educated. Otherwise organisations like the Sutton Trust would not be highlighting lack of social mobility otherwise.
I am not saying they always deliver what they promise...and there are lazy children who do take not advantage or appreciate of what is on offer but that is what attracts people to them - - so comparing them by simply A levels or what course or uni they end up at is not comparing like for like. I am sure many public school parents (rightly or wrongly) believe they are paying for what they believe will be a different "product" at the end of it than that of a comp or grammar and also not for mere exam results.
509% is indeed an intriguing number.
Also, private islands are not relevant! No need to out anyone. It is nice to get diverse opinions.
I can assure you that many state school parents want - and frequently get - an all round education too.
I'll give you the posh contacts point - not least because it is the old-boy-network to which quite a few of us object.
which state school in your view delivers an equivalent all round (music/sport/academic and the rest) education comparable to likes of a Winchester, Eton or Westminster....if I could find that, I would love to save 300 k+ of prep and public school fees per child, believe me.
There is no old boy net work my DH went to one of those school most on here would associate with "old boys network". it's not made a jot of a difference to him. It's parental connections that are the important network. If you paying £34 000 pa per child in school fees and most people have at least two children then you are pretty wealthy it's highly likely that you have a very well paid job and that most of your friends and colleagues are in a similar position. Therefore when you want work experience for Rupert with a top law firm then you get on the phone to a friend or colleague after all you gave his DD work experience in you hedge fund company two years ago.
In my experience that is often how it works, like it or not, especially in certain sectors ...people need to separate the school from the fact that the parents themselves of children at those schools are likely well connected...and often very well off...abolishing private schools won't change that.
i know many who have used their business, professional and private network who are lawyers, top businessmen, in the City, media etc. to help give their children an internship which then opens doors... no-one should pretend that does not go on and not sure how you could outlaw that ...it's especially prevalent in politics as we all know.
Well, at least you are being open about the fact you are paying to prop up and perpetuate a repellent system of nepotism. Kudos for that.
But it can happen through friends at school also with those who have parents that are well connected...I know of one girl who recently got a summer internship at a famous PR firm (and will likely get a job there after uni) because she was good friends with a girl at school whose mother was its head. Getting her CV straight to her friend's mother and the fact she'd already met her, rather than having it sit in a pile of 100s of others obviously helped.
motherinferior, I am not saying it's fair...and I did not ascribe that as my motives ...I want my DCs to rely on their own talents and they are smart and driven enough to succeed on that basis...but I know some parents do go private/public for those perceived advantages and while they may not openly admit it, also for the social milieu of a public school vs. a comp or a grammar ...to pretend otherwise and to pretend successful careers are not sometimes built on networking is naive...I know, I see it all the time and if a good friend asks me about helping get their child an internship, I would look at it but only if their child is good enough in the first place and can pass through the relevant hoops. That doesn't mean you can't build a successful career without the networking...of course you can, and you even may have more drive to do so.
Tilleroy. I agree that there should be much more to education than just grades and that many private schools offer their students incredible opportunities. However, our large local comp does have all sorts of enrichment activities. I don't suppose it matches up to a private school but it's pretty good.
I like the fact that a lot of the kids that go to our local school are involved in local sports teams or cultural activities. It makes for a strong community and its nice that the kids don't live in a bubble surrounded only by their contemporaries. I know it makes a huge difference where you live though. Our town is fairly affluent so there are plenty of opportunities about.
I like the fact my kids have friends from all walks of life. I think it gives them a rounded education.
Another bonus from not sending them to private school is that it is easy for us to afford to do extra things with them such as theatre trips and travelling.
There will always be parents who want the "snob factor" of a particular school and those who genuinely believe the old boy net work thrives but I don't believe this is the motivation of the majority. Most are paying £34 000 pa per child because the think the education whether it be exam results extra curricular opportunities or which Uni their DC will go onto is better than what the state sector can offer.
IAlwaysThought, sounds like you made absolutely the right choice for your DCs then and they have turned out just fine....but like you said if your town is fairly affluent ...that makes it rather inaccessible to some who can't afford to move there...it's horses for courses I guess...I wish the state offered much more by way of all round education as well as academics that is comparable with the better privates ...it should, and in countries like those in Scandinavia folk would think it odd to go private when state is so good and also offers the vocational options, and then those here in the middle classes who feel compelled to spend so much to go private would benefit from it also, but sadly in many areas here it does not even come close to compare.
Tilleroy There is certainly a lot to consider when choosing schools. We moved to the UK when the kids where all in secondary school so we already had a good idea what type of schooling would suit our kids and we were in the fortunate position of being able to choose where to live. Choosing a naice town and a naice local comp worked for us.
I think there are a lot of resources available for children in less affluent areas but you need savvy parents or a proactive school to access them.
One of my DDs attended a Headstart course this summer, these courses are to remote science and maths degrees and careers to school children. The organisation that runs Headstart is a registered educational charity and courses are subsidized. Bursaries are provided for children from deprived backgrounds. Unfortunately, the majority of the girls on my daughters course were from prestigious private schools (Habs, Westminster etc) or top Grammar Schools (Kendrick). My DD was one of the only ones not studying Latin It would have been nice if there had been a wider cross section of students on the course.
I just don't think getting a full on education, ensuring the best of everything (best sport, best drama, best music, best facilities, best speakers and contacts, best academics) is actually very good for anyone. I don't really see in what way it makes you a better, nicer or more rounded person to have everything thrown at you like that. (Please note, however, I don't think it will make nice people obnoxious - plenty of good people come out of these schools, I just don't think they were made that way by the schools themselves, I think they would have ended up like that, anyway). Obviously, I can see it's great for you, in a very self-centred sort of way, because the opportunities on offer are amazing, but I don't see how it can actually be good for you, or indeed anyone else. I've only so far seen one episode of the Harrow programme - the one with the cadet force - and I have to admit to wondering what those boys were learning about real life when they could just order spanking new uniforms for their competition without, apparently, having to think about the cost. There's something too puritanical in me to approve of that! They really are being prepared for a different life from that of the majority - different and separate. I don't see that as a good thing.
just had to pick up and say,
I've never accused HappyGardening of talking bollocks before
but to say that Winchester does not look after its own is laughable
DN left there with (for them) shite grades but they ensured that doors which should have been slammed shut were wide open.
I am with Tillory on this thread,. However it would be a boring world if we all had the same views.
I don't see why a child getting the best food at home or best attention or cuddles or best genes is any more wrong than one whose parents seek to buy it the "best" education.
I genuinely don't mind what my children do after I have paid for their education. i want them to find themselves, feel they can achieve anything they want (even if that be a life as a hermit in a cave looking at walls) and have exposure to a large range of hobbies and I suppose infusion with my own ethos (both at home and school).
The Harrow is worth watching and I think it shows a lot of kindness, consideration for the children, some of the pros and cons of boarding and is a pretty fair description of school life. Boarding isn't necessarily an advantage however for many children which is why it's on the wane.
Firstly I'd like to say I'm not convinced the vast majority of small private schools that serve their local area are necessarily better than state schools. I'm lucky to live in an area with the best state schooling in the country apparently and so there are only 2 private schools, one of which is about to become a free school. The state schools send people to Oxbridge every year, academically you couldn't want for more.
Having said that if I could afford to send my children to a top notch private day school then yes I would do it. It's just part of the same continuum as taking your children for days out that have educational benefits, or paying for private music lessons or asking a friend to give them some work experience in an industry they are interested in. In other words 'would you do the best thing you can afford for your children?' Yes, obviously.
Talkin, really? Shite grades from Winchester? I thought you got letters threatening to boot you out if you did not keep up?
Anyway, that is an aside.
You could be right Talkin I accept it happens in a few cases. But it's not my DH's experience (now middle aged) or any of his contemporaries, not Win Coll but an identical type of school. Nor is it the experience of friends DC's we know who've fairly recently left Eton et al again it was all parental contacts which have opened some very prestigious and lucrative doors.
happygardening. Yeah the "CLUB" its "FAMILY" . Its just like the "SICILIANS"
Looking after their own..
soul of course it is. I'm not saying it's right just detailing my experiences.
I'm so relieved none of my family are ever likely to want to be hedge fund managers or lawyers.
I'd be no use to them whatsoever
What it opens you up to is excellence in the relevant field ...be it sport with a leading sportsperson, music with a symphony musician or meeting with a Nobel Prize winner or a successful entrepreneur and examples of very successful alumni ....all of which hopefully leads an aspiration of "well, why not me...."...I can't see how such aspirations can be bad at all ...sure you don't have to go to a public school to have them...plenty of role models who didn't if you seek them out.......but top public schools do aim to instil high aspirations and leadership as part of their day to day ethos...and that I do buy into..... the worst would be to have surroundings that instil nothing but mediocrity being the norm.
I should add I would wish for every school to offer an aspirational ethos...it shouldn't be the preserve of the posh .. even if it offering vocational aspirations for children that are not academic inclined but talented or motivated in other ways.
On a relevant subject, i have just logged on to you tube and heard the head of St Johns Catholic School in Gravesend Discuss the Damage Grammar Schools are doing. I don't agree with him of course, but it worth watching the 9 minute film. It is under
(The Damage Grammar Schools do A Headteacher Speaks out)
Unfortunately i don't know how to set up a link.
On the film the head goes on the attack over prep schools destroying the education in kent. It shows that of the 150 places at Tonbridge Grammar last year 62 went to girls from prep schools.
Its worth watching whatever your views are.
and what about the damage that selective faith schools (let's face it they are a sort of social selection) do to an area - did he address that by chance?
His school is full of all religions and economic groups. He claims that they are making the 11+ easier and letting kids in to the grammar schools who he should have. He has got this brand new sparkling school but still can't attract
parents or kids to it.
Mind you, what organisations DON'T look after their own?
We have an oversubscribed catholic state school near my neighbourhood...one of the better state schools at primary level ...all the parents are interviewed, asked about attendance at church, etc...I doubt there's any single parents or divorcee parents with DCs there...and I bet they are all middle class ...even though they are ostensibly open to taking a minority of different faiths it's social selection...and worse still at expense of tax payer...I find that pernicious. In the US, religious as it is as a country, selection by faith is only allowed in private faith schools -i.e. tax payer is not funding it.
I just watched it soul2000...was interested in his view that the grammar schools don't offer social mobility any more like they used to in his age....I guess what he is decrying is the siphoning off of the more academic children in his area and the fact that he feels others who don't make it risk feeling second tier...despite their better facilities it seems.
Tillory - I agree, public schools attempt to instil leadership and high aspirations as part of their day to day ethos and I would rather my children had these qualities than a desire to be mediocre. Others don't like it when I say it in this way, but I do think the top public schools aim to build a ruling class.
ah forget "ruling class"...that really sounds so antiquated...think aspirational class...which is no bad thing ...how can encouraging aspiration to be a top scientist or entrepreneur or sportsman or musician be a bad thing for a society...like I said i wish it was the ethos in every school
I am sure half the reason may state school candidates (not all as I am sure some are aspirational) don't aspire and even apply to Oxbridge or Ivy League is because their school either don't encourage it or have many role models who have achieved it...very different where it is the norm (i.e. at least 30%) to apply to those unis.
Of course it's the ruling bloody class. Just look at who does the ruling. Still.
I think the problem is, if you know too much about the "little" people (the ones with "mediocre" aspirations), it's harder to make decisions which affect them. It's why the ruling classes protect their own - because they sympathise with each other and understand each other - but can really make some very "tough" (this is a euphemism...) decisions on behalf of the masses.
OK so are the 20% who are on some kind of bursaries at Eton going to be "ruling class" as result of going there ... or are they just beneficiaries of social mobility which people think is no longer being afforded by the grammar school system?
Well, they have a far greater chance of being part of the "ruling class" now, don't they?
I suspect they'll leave the real ruling to the born-to-be elites, though, and will be more likely to go on to teach in and run the public schools from which they benefited, themselves, given that they will be so grateful.
It's a pretty cool system, really - you need some lower tiers who know how to mix with the upper echelons of power and to service their needs. You won't find as many of those in a comprehensive school, so you need to bring them in-house.
I take issue with the view on the thread that looking after your own is wrong. I would say it the primary duty of every parent to feed their child and nurture it rather than abandoning it and looking after the children of others./ That favouring of your own whether it's your husband getting your oldest child a job down the factory or you finding Jenny at 16 a job at the local beauty salon or whatever it might be at any level of earnings it is not wrong. It is a moral good that people help those whom they love.
Don't really need to say anything about islands, do I? Tell you what though, I think NLCS and Habs are shit.
I think Oxford and Cambridge are overrated and not exactly part of my ambitions for my children.
Neither do I envisage them being ruling class.
Unless they want to, and then I would support that.
There are many, many ways to be successful i n life, and of my objections to some of the private schools is their narrow, limited, idea of success.
All these parents pushing their kids into Oxbridge, as if it is a goal in itself.
There are, of course, ways of helping those you love, and ways of helping those you love... I might draw the line at murder. And NLCS and Habs, if they really are shit, anyway.
but how can it ever be right that a kid with lower grades than a state school kid ends up not only in the Oxbridge college of their choice, but pres of the JCR
not by merit that's for sure
strings pulled by the school (not the parents btw)
I sincerely hope my DS doesn't become part of the ruling elite I also am not mad about the idea of him teaching in or running a public school or servicing their needs of the elite in any other way. I'm not parting with my hard earned cash hoping that will be the outcome. Neither do I get the impression that is what the school are training him up to do.
I don't think so - I just can't get my head around the idea of being there because you are the elite - either financially or academically - and how that might affect the child, to know they have been "creamed off". It automatically cuts out associating with a wider cross-section of people, and I do think that for most jobs/aims in life it's better to have more awareness of more different people and a wider sense of the realities of life.
I also think education doesn't just happen at school and you can add a huge amount at home via the things you talk about, books, documentaries you watch, art galleries and museums you go to, countryside walks, whatever. And as a product of the English state education system who got an Oxbridge 1st and has a much-admired and envied career I can't fault it myself.
The only situation in which I might consider it, if I was rich, is if I had a child who was deeply miserable at their school and the only other option was a private school - I think seeing my child suffer would probably override my principles.
I know that my Oxbridge degree got me my first job - I know that because I was told straight out that the boss prioritised those applicants.
Not saying it's right, and this was 20 years ago but there is an effect.
middleclassonabursary - you might have been safer sending your ds to a state school, if you didn't want him to become one of the ruling elite. Obviously, though, most of us ultimately are, directly or indirectly, serving the ruling elite, it's just that some of us are closer to the action than others.
Eyeofnewt we live in the exceedingly affluent Shires It's not exactly diverse here either by ethnicity or financially. Our local comp has more white middle class children than the London independent school my friend sends her DS too.
That's alright then, happygardening - it's well worth your friend spending her money, to avoid all those white, middle class children.
My DH's school has a long tradition of boys becoming part of the ruling elite fortunately my DH has avoided this path as have all he kept in contact with, those who have gone down this road are not those my DH liked at school or had any desire to keep in contact with on leaving. As my DH said about one very well known and prominent member of the coalition "he was an unbearable self congratulatory twat when I was at school with him and he still is now." DS's school also historically has been the school of many who are part ruling elite but I'm optimistic that DS will also avoid going down this road.
ps I'm only teasing - I know plenty of people send their children to expensive public schools because they want their children to be happy, to have wonderful experiences to look back on, and to go out into the world at the end of it all capable of leading fulfilling, worthwhile and productive lives, and that this is the beginning and end of their thoughts and desires on the subject.
It is a shame that these schools make it easier for the unbearable, self-congratulatory twats, too, though.
You can tease rabbit but I genuinely worry that DS1 local state school virtually all white middle class will have very limited experience of other backgrounds. He was by the way born in one of the most ethnically diverse and poorest areas in London we are a million miles from that now. Although I personally am glad to return to my beloved "blue remembered hills" and I can see it has many positives in comparison with raising children in London I can also see that it's not all good.
John Major has just given a speech about this. He says today there is no way he would have got anywhere today. Whatever your views of his time as Prime
Minister, he is the last Prime Minister that came from a genuine modest background . He stated far to many privately educated people from a few schools and families are in the"Elite" . It is an attack on the public school cabal who run the Government now. I wonder would he even be a minister in this cabinet.
As one of the wealthiest in the coalition, it's all family money, I don't think the school played any part or in fact needed facilitate his position into the ruling elite he was already there from the moment he first drew breath.
Also we need to get this into perspective we're only talking about a relative handful of people. Most leaving Eton SPS Westminster etc are not going to become household names and political policy makers.
If any of the cabinet or even Labour MPs had been educated at "Thornhill" do you believe any of them would be anywhere.
I expect now to be told about someone who made it, not the 99% who are nowhere.
Do you soul really think it's their schools that made them cabinet ministers? DH was recently reading Old Boys directory looking up old friend none listed their occupation as an MP let alone cabinet minister. Ok most had "good jobs" and would be considered successful some were very successful but this is hardly surprising bearing in mind the school and it's academic selectivity. The majority were from very affluent MC homes, ok some were super rich like the well known cabinet minister, some were hereditary peers but these were in the minority. The majority are still very affluent middle classes they've gone onto well paid jobs like their parents not become the ruling elite.
When you consider how few of them there are, less than 0.5 % of the population the amount of influence and control they have is unbelievable.
I have been fortunate most of my life (NOT IN TERMS OF EDUCATION) but in material terms. I know many very Wealthy/Rich people though where i have lived and though family business contacts, all of them and their families are self made ( Maybe their kids will have it off) not one of them are in the ruling elite.
This is despite their achievements , they are not able to join the club because their don't have the right school tie and though wealthy and successful they will still stay in their own group. The old boys network is not just about money or success, its something "Darker" its about keeping their
alumni in the forefront of british life and stopping better brighter people from taking their places.
We will be sending our 2 sons to an Independent School in the UK. We are not looking for a fantastic school with lots of rich people so we can feel elite. I want small class sizes with lots of resources. I think my sons would do OK whether they went private or state, but it is not about that. It's about the meat in the sandwich. I want them to do lots of different things, have access to great resources, do loads of sports and learn lots of things not needed for exams. I want this because I went to a crap state school and you can tell! Both DH and I are working class, who have had a good job so we can afford it. However, DS's both have their feet firmly on the ground and our family is definitely not in the elite. The type of Ind school we have picked has people of all social backgrounds and it is quite academic with small classes. It is not mixed because of where it is and the people who live in that town. This really doesn't bother me. Right now I have both my sons in an international school. There are 16 different nationalities in my class. My son gravitates to the other western kids (Aussie, NZ, American and English) not because I have conditioned him to dislike anyone! but because he hasn't got to develop a relationship with the other kids. We have many children from India and Asia in our class and they mostly do a lot of academic classes after school and at the weekend. I've invited loads over the years for playdates and they say no. Whereas the western mums will jump at the chance to get the kids together and play. I think kids are a lot more used to mixing with everyone these days, much more than our generation and they don't need to be taught that there are other people in the world.
soul at the very top the "club" is full of Russian/Arab/Indian plutocrats and oligarchs, their children may be or have been at these elite schools but many of them have come from impoverished backgrounds or at the very least their parents have. They've joined the club because they do hold the golden key (encrusted in diamonds ostrich skin and ivory) money.
Depends what you mean by "genuine modest background". Gordon Brown was the son of a minister
hardly the world's best paid profession and was fully state educated.
happygardening I take your point but the private school will be selecting, either by money or ability or both. There may be more racial diversity in London but everyone will know they "got in" because they are "special" and "better" in some way - I'm not sure that's great for kids as they learn.
I'm also in a fairly naice area but DS's state school class has every level of ability including a physically and mentally disabled child who attends part-time, and my own DS, who is dyslexic and way behind his peers academically. I confess I'm ignorant about if and how dyslexic children get into private schools - maybe it happens a lot - but I can't see him passing (or even being able to bring himself to sit) an entrance exam.
It's the understanding of, inclusion of and kindness to everyone that our school teaches that is a huge benefit IMO. Obviously you want good academic teaching too, and that is there too. The lack of funds for nice things is a PITA but it also brings people together.
Thought I'd throw this in to the mix, which hopefully makes it clear that any school that does well academically is likely to produce good university students - state, grammar or private.
I'll keep saying it, isn't that what we all want for our kids? The rest is just politics, ideology and opinion. Why do we even bother trying to change each others' opinion on ideology?
"The Higher Education Funding Council for England research, set to be released in the spring, tracked about 132,000 students who enrolled in 2007-08. It looks at how likely they are to achieve either first- or upper-second-class degrees, depending on their background and controlling for different grades.
State pupils generally do better than their private peers with the same A-level grades, even when the varying difficulty of different degree courses is taken into account.
But when schools are divided by academic performance as opposed to their funding status, there is little difference in pupil standards."
Oh yes - educate your children alongside the children of Russian oligarchs and Indian plutocrats. That'll teach them wonderful values of hard work, ruthlessness, holding your money in offshore havens, tax avoidance, crime and corruption. Although maybe the school will get through to the kids and help wash that stain off the next generation (whilst accepting the money earned that way to pay for the school fees...).
Eyeofnewt I can only speak for myself I have never told my DS he's special or better in any way. I have told him he's lucky to have such a unique opportunity and that there others who are equally as bright or brighter than he is who wont have this opportunity but not special or better. I don't personally believe that being exceptionally clever makes you a better person but I do believe that the exceptionally clever need to be in an environment where their needs can be met. Just as I believe those who are physically and mentally disabled need to have their needs met. IME inclusion means that those on the extreme either end of the spectrums needs are not properly met this applies to both the state sector and the independent sector.
My DS is dyslexic by the way.
rabbit I avoid judging the background of the parent at my DS's school just as I avoided (as I hope you do) judging the backgrounds of the parents when my DS was at state school.
Over the years I met some pretty ghastly parents in both sectors and from all different backgrounds and unsurprisingly they often have pretty unpleasant off spring but the vast majority of children I've met from the children of Russian oligarchs and billionaires to the children of local travellers and petty thieves have all been in general decent and polite.
I don't believe you can tell whether someone is genuinely decent on the basis of whether they are polite to you when you talk to them and have good social skills, tbh. There is a difference between genuine decency and understanding how to behave in a public place. People have been happily married to murderers, child abusers, philanderers and embezzlers without realising it. Neighbours have lived next door to all sorts of unpleasant people and thought they were nice, quiet types.
I don't judge children by their parents' backgrounds. If I knew someone's parent were the equivalent of Al Capone, however, I would on the basis of that knowledge, judge the parent. And clearly you do judge parents, niddleclassonbursary, if you have met some "pretty ghastly parents."
There are awful people in all educational sectors and nice ones too. I think some state school parents don't really know what sort of people send children to private schools. The vast bulk tend to be people who aren't millionaires but in fairly well paid jobs 0 the £60k, £20k earning couple, the GP and the teacher etc etc... The elite billionaire types are few and far between as are the aristocracy.
Someone mentioned dyslexia. There are private schools which cater very well for dyslexics. One of my older children is slightly dyslexic and her (fairly academic day school in the private sector) was supportive and she did well (she has graduated now).
I agree there is a lot of ignorance about what kind of people use private education. The newest, blingiest cars and flashiest holidays are without doubt at my dc3's state primary rather than at my older children's private school.
Of course there are awful people and nice people in all educational sectors. I know what sort of people send children to private schools, given that my parents worked in the medical profession and a fair proportion of their peers sent their children to private and public schools; and my dh went to public school; and I went to Oxford. I could hardly avoid having friends whose children are privately educated, really. It's because I know a bit about it that I don't think it advisable to wax lyrical about the private sector, which also has its fair share of issues, thank you very much. That doesn't mean I think the state sector is fantastic, wonderful and blameless, just that I don't think the private sector is something to be held up as shining beacon of virtue.
MuswellHillDad that was a v interesting quote, thank you.
And on the subject of ignorance - I think there is plenty on both sides. I know private school parents who genuinely haven't a clue as to the reality of the kids and families at the local state schools, and vice versa.
Thanks to the mix of my background and my choices, I am now less ignorant. And very keen on promoting community initiatives (eg choir) that mix adults with kids in each sector up, thus further reducing said ignorance. It makes a huge difference, when people start talking.
Well I am not ignorant as my children went to state schools early on and still do clubs with lots of kids from state school. There are lots of lovely kids and families, and they are bright and funny. I still wouldn't choose the state secondary for my dcs though.
Rabbit I have found some parents to be ghastly although I try to be slow to make these judgements but you might be disappointed to know that this is not confined to Russian oligarchs and billionaires or indeed convicts. In fact admittedly only in my experience the most ghastly parents and their children have come from the very affluent middle classes rather than oligarchs and criminals.
You are right we cannot truly know somebody by their social skills but I don't accept that even if you were the DS of Al Capone we have any right to assume that you're going to be a thoroughly bad lot and I am happy to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and assume that those who appears polite and decent our exactly that. Also if I was to cast such unkind aspersions on state educated children many on here would be justified it taking extreme offence.
We need to accept that our DC's as teenagers and even younger have a right to choose their own friends they will at times chose and perhaps even be influenced by those we would not choose in the ideal world but I personally hope that our family standards and beliefs of decency prevail in the end.
My DS full boards I barely know the names of the parents I see when I pick him up let alone their occupations frankly I'm not interested. I'm not naive and am aware that there probably are a small amount of parents who acquired their money in nefarious ways (although we have hardly any Russians) exploit other but let's not forget one mans nefarious is another mans honest and that plenty of the very affluent middle classes are employees of some of our investment banks who've not exactly covered themselves in glory recently.
I am repeating myself, but I think the thread is too, so I'm not bothered.
Strong objectors to independent schools often propose the abolishing of those schools. My prediction is that rather than achieving, any "social mobility utopia/improvement", nothing would change. All the children would continue to absorb and take on the nature of their parents. The fact that some other kids parents are Oligarchs or live on benefits won't make a jot of difference.
On top of that the academic performance of the majority of classes would remain the same (completely unaffected by the introduction of, on average, 1 kids from a private school). It could be argued that the kid that did pass an 11+ may or may not get as much appropriate attention in a comp, but who cares (right?).
I think it's up to those objectors to private schools, selective schools and grammar schools to show how society would be better off as a whole without them. I think the only people who would be better off are the wealthy parents who would save £250k+ on fees or could save similar on buying a house (as high value catchment areas would presumably disappear too).
Perhaps the objectors are secretly in the pay of Russian oligarchs hoping to get out of paying school fees .......
I've never believed that abolishing independent schools is a workable proposition and the anti independent education mob are deluding themselves if they think that all these children are just going to be transfer into the state sector and that their parents are all going to become staunch members of school PTA's and campaign tirelessly for improved academic standards and more extra curricular activities. These parents will simply find viable alternatives elsewhere.
I don't think high catchment value areas would disappear at all. I think they'd be rather worse. If independent schools were abolished tomorrow there's still no way I'd be sending my children to our catchment high school. We are in a very tiny tiny minority of parents who go private in this catchment so there would be maybe another 1-2 kids max per year group. That's not going to make any sort of difference to the education provided by the school (and the required numbers needed to increase the number of course offering has been documented by the Council).
My one requirement is that my children receive an education equivalent to the one (State) education that I received. If independent schools were abolished we'd be moving to Linlithgow and I suspect most of the other West Lothian private parents would be as well- what would only be a couple of additional kids for one school would be a significant number when spread across the region and prices in Linlithgow would be even higher than they already are.
I want to bring this piece in the Manchester Evening News, to your attention of an incident that took place last Wednesday/Thursday at Hyde community College in Tameside.
School Children tried to hide behind each other after a fellow pupil went around the playground firing a BB gun. One 12 year old girl was shot in the leg after she says the boy walked around the school firing the weapon over two days. Jamie Leigh parker was left with an injury to her right leg after being hit with a pellet. Teachers failed to find the weapon and it is believed
he returned the next day shooting at pupils at break and lunchtime.
Jamie Leigh Parkers Grandad said "some people may say its only a BB gun its not serious but what if Jamie Leigh had been shot in the eye" and how can a boy come in to school with a firearm.
The playing down of the seriousness of the incident is not surprising, when you consider the school is less than two miles away from where Dale Cregan assassinated two women police officers.
Its ok for the mostly University educated middle class people to advocate
comprehensive education in their nice middle class environments, but for many pupils in less salubrious areas these, incidents could happen at any time. This incident shows why bright kids need to be separated from those types of pupils that are more prevalent in urban areas like Hyde.
The boy who did that might be very bright - intelligence doesn't stop you being anti-social.
Why was this allowed to continue for 2 days?
soul2000, awful story but what on earth relevance does your reference to "bright kids" have to a safety issue?
And can you please stop insisting that the only reason anyone middle-class and university educated might like comps is that their only experience is of middle-class comps?
Bright kids can't learn in these types of schools for obvious reasons , they are brought down to the average or below average of the school in this case
50% A-C 27.4% FSM . God knows what goes on everyday in the classroom there. If this incident had happened to a child to a parent on this site,Every single parent would demanding the Head resign, and that the local authority
move their child to a new school. Sadly all the schools in that area are just as bad even worse. They might look alright with 50% A-C but in reality they are places with serious behaviour problems. Chazs I bet you the child who shot the gun was not Oxbridge potential or even capable of 1 C. The kid is liable to be related to the "scum" that have made Tameside a dangerous place to live and operate a business, as i found out to my own families cost.
But soul average and below average kids can't learn in these environments either. We know that not having maths and English GCSE has a massive impact on your ability to get any kind of job let alone go to university. No child should be in this situation, all children should receive a free high quality education regardless of intelligence background race.
hear hear happygardening
Why should the state only throw funds at bright kids?
Rich people throw money at average kids to get them a good education.
Why should poor average kids not get treated properly?
In fact in this day and age of austerity and we're told difficult choices have to be made I believe more should be done for the average/below average child to get them up to an acceptable standard so that they stand a chance of getting any job, research shows that if your parents work then yoor child is less likely to grow up and be dependent on the state we must take the long view. Independent schools prove time and time again that these children can achieve beyond their perceived academic ability.
Sadly bursaries etc in less selective independent schools are aimed at the bright I actually believe they should be for the struggling less academic child who might achieve more in the independent sector.
"Why should the state only throw funds at bright kids?"
Funnily enough, I was talking with the PTA at our state primary about finding ways of helping G&T kids and the clear answer was that there would be no money for that at all - it all goes to the low end and SEN services.
For what it's worth, half the school seems to trot off to the local Explore Learning centre. My idea was to get the school to provide the same service on-site. I'm sure they would make money off those that can pay and then be able to offer it to those that couldn't. Obviously, in my school it's just not going to happen as its a complex and risk laden project and if you already have an "Outstanding" rating, why take any risks?
soul2000, who on earth learns well in a state of fear?
I grew up in a similar area to Tameside and I know crime has been getting worse and worse. The police where I grew up ignored the hard-core troublemakers for years and drugs have now taken hold very deeply. I went to a comprehensive and although the education wasn't great it wasn't unsafe at that point (the eighties, smackheads were just appearing but gun crime was unheard of.)
I do wish there was selective education so we could get the best out of pupils with academic potential from all backgrounds. But the crime issue for all citizens needs to be separated out from that argument.
MuswellHillDad there was no money for the genuinely gifted and talented child in 2005 when we were advised by the school to put our very able to DS into independent ed! There was also no money in 2010 when again we considered state ed and were given the same advise (different state school) so God knows what the situation is now when there is no money for any one. But I still think those who are average/below average should be the priority we have to get all up to a basic minimum standard.
I chose independent education precisely because I didn't have a gifted child! Or one of the ones that 'will do well anywhere' that well touted mumsnet phrase
Yes sadsometimes, if I had my time again I'd try private secondary for my non-academically gifted son.
The well-regarded state school he attends doesn't provide the same structured framework that I see the pupils I know at private schools getting. He doesn't have my motivation to do well as he lives in a comfortable world, which given the Tameside story I'm glad of! But a pushier school would have done him good, I think.
Just checked out the FSM proportions at ds' school: it is "only" 19%, against a Glasgow City wide average of 29.3% (and a Scottish average of 15.4%)
Half the pupils are bi-lingual with a range of languages spoken.
Despite that, it still gets results that are comparable to, or above, the Scottish average.
Two great posts Funnyossity. the school in Tameside has 23% high attainersl. I imagine the vast majority of those high attainers at Hyde Technology achieve C and Bs at Gcse for the reasons given above. These 23-30% of kids from these areas are the ones that grammar schools were set up for to enable pathways in to professions and University. I am not saying some kids don't get there despite the disadvantage of going to these schools. However i bet out of ten pupils in the 23% high and top 7% of middle attainers from the Hyde school their destinations would be, 1 in jail 3 would be on the dole
3 would be in low/medium skilled work, 1 would be a housewife 1 would be a university graduate 1 would be successful at business.This is for the brightest of that school, god knows what the other 70% are doing probably minimum paid work if lucky. The sad thing Funnyossity that in the areas that need grammar schools or some form of selection , the chances of there being any is zero.
Bright kids under achieve much more than average or below average kids in these types of schools. The reason is if you were a bright kid, would you want to make yourself a "Target" or would you just go along with the majority of kids and your peer groups whose ambitions are limited.
Would you send your Dcs to a school that after one of their pupils had been shot , issued a statement like this....
"The School had an incident where a student brought a BB gun and plastic
pellets on to the premises"
"Staff were alerted on Thursday, and the students concerned sent home pending a though investigation.
"The school regards this as a very serious incident and immediately contacted
"it is unfortunate that this event has been sensationalised by the press"
"Hyde Community College remains a safe and harmonious environment for staff and students".
"SENSATIONAL" GCSE RESULTS 57% A-C next to this on the website.
You really could not make this up.
soul2000 - what percentage of children do you count as "bright"? And do you mean all-round "bright," or can that figure include, eg, dyslexics, or dyspraxics, or children with adhd who nevertheless have high IQs? What about musical children? Or sporty children? Or children who are averagely bright, but really work hard, behave well and want to learn? Even when grammar schools existed across the country, I don't think they ever catered for the up to 30% of children to whom you refer at one point in your post - in fact, I think in quite a few areas, there were real problems with providing enough grammar school places for the number of children who passed the 11 plus (and that's before the days of coaching for it...). What would you do to improve the provision for the majority of children who don't get into grammar schools? Or does it not matter for them if their education is disrupted by a boy with a pellet gun? Or do you think that in general, 70% of the UK population would be OK with sending their kids into school with a pellet gun, so it's only 30% of people who need protecting from this?
so dangerous, badly run schools are OK for all but the brightest and richest
I sent miy daughter to pivate school but now she goes to state school its not that I cant affod it anymore but if you can get into a good state school then do that instead I feel I have wasted my money as she is no better or worse than any other
I have gone off private school since reading some of the threads on the education boards on mumsnet. It is a crazy world, parents having 3 year olds tutored for entrance tests!
Rabbitstew. Regarding dyspraxics and children with Dyslexia/As .
When i left my Comprehensive at 15 years old unable to barely write , probably because of Dyspraxia or other symptoms Undiagnosed as was normal 30 years ago with a high IQ but unable to show it (WAIT TO BE TOLD I HAVEN'T) because education did not understand differences in how people
with these conditions comprehended instructions and lessons. I am very aware of how bright many of these kids are and thankfully today they are able to show their intelligence .
Talkinpeace. No child or member of staff should have to ever face that kind of situation, i have faced ( A real Gun situation with a customer of mine actually being shot in the buttocks) thankfully she survived, so i know who frightening it is and unfair on 95% of the school population. I would be amazed if this is the first frightening or threatening this pupil has done or said
.to staff or pupils, if that pupil is not removed from the school or any other place of education in the near area, a scar will remain with all the pupils and staff. As for the schools statement are they aware it could have been a Real Gun and a grenade that the pupil brought to school, oh yes as the idiot Chief Constable of Greater Manchester said, we are unable to track or control the number of weapons that are in circulation around north Manchester and Tameside. This incident could have been very serious indeed and real casualties could have occurred . You may think what i have said is EXTREME but one day "SOON" a kid is going to walk into a school with a real GUN.
The school is a grade 3 with Ofsted so needs to improve . Talkinpeace as a matter of fact , how could anyone deal with a student bringing a Firearm on to their premises, the only way is to get these kids out at the first sign of abuse or threatening behaviour.
The well-regarded state school he attends doesn't provide the same structured framework that I see the pupils I know at private schools getting. He doesn't have my motivation to do well as he lives in a comfortable world, which given the Tameside story I'm glad of! But a pushier school would have done him good, I think.
Funnyossity. We are really struggling with our son at the moment in International school. We have good years and bad years depending on the teacher. One year we can have lots of structure and he is pushed quite hard and we end up having a brilliant year, he literally flys. The next year we can have a teacher that seems to focus more on the others and just leaves him to it, as he doesn't seem to need fixing and he lacks motivation and enthusiasm to do anything. Whenever we have a teacher like this, we see real regression in his work and attitude. It gets to the point where I dread a new school year. When we move back to the UK I am definitely putting him in an Independent School. I definitely think my son needs a pushy school. He is definitely not one of these students who needs to make his own decisions about what they want to learn and at what pace (at 5-6 years old) like my school insists!
Parents differ in what they are after and if your career enables you to pay fees you end up with a bit more choice than if it doesn't.
As for firearms some private secondaries of course teach children how to fire them. It's one way to get the interest of some teenagers. Probably a little safer than a pupil smuggling them on to the premises although that could happen in state or private school.
ElizabethJonesMarti, unfortunately the spread of firearms in some cities has been exponential in the last few years. It really came out of the blue and in my days at a comprehensive guns belonged to another world, that of the huntin', shootin', fishin' fraternity. So maybe these incidents do seem more normal at a traditional private school, I wouldn't know about that
Yes, there's a difference between bringing a gun into school to shoot at clay pigeons and bringing a gun in to shoot at people... However, if private school kids are just as likely to sneak firearms into school so that they can shoot at the backsides of their mates as state school kids are, then I do think it is quite right of ElizabethJonesMartin to bring this to our attention.
I think most people looking at private schools are looking at the calibre of the parents if they are honest. I could afford it but didn't I think its pointless unless a child has a specific need which requires it. I would say the majority of my 'old' friends eg before dc have their kids at private. I can see NO DIFFERENCE in them and my ds and his mates now they are in HE they all seem to drink smoke give parents hassle etc in equal measure
noddy I agree but I am noticing that the private school people at university age are more conservative (perhaps not a surprise) and the state school ones are more likely to choose less conventional courses.
The jury is out at the moment as since the world of work has changed massively and I can already see how one of the less conventional students has graduated and their career is flying right now.
Yet Eton this week has said it does not want coached children but the eccentrics and original thinkers so I don't think it's fair to say all private schools want to produce conventional children. I like the ability and almost right to be different which some private schools perhaps seem to allow more than some state schools.
I suspect private school children pick better careers and earn more and that is something the state system perhaps should address.
"I think most people looking at public school are looking at the calibre of huge parents if they were honest"
I'm proud to say I've never looked at a loo or a bathroom in my life and now it would appear I can also proudly say I have never looked at the "calibre of the parents" either what ever the hell that means.
Interesting spell correction I'm unsure as how the becomes huge! I suppose looking at parental size is one way of judging their calibre!
Curious - was that in some article you read this week? Do they mean coached for exams or for interview? Imagine many are coached for the scholarship exam.
Have just seen
Assume it was this?
But all this "number of kids applying for every place" stuff is rather a lot of guff.
Back in the stone age when I was changing schools I was entered for the scholarships at and applied to go to around ten schools (including St Pauls, Frances Holland, etc).
Then circumstances changed and I went somewhere totally different.
DD is currently applying for 6th form.
Her friends are applying to 3 or 4 colleges but there is no real demand for that many places.
Which is why I prefer the DFE measure that comes out a few weeks after state school admissions which shows the number of children in each area who got their first choice.
Outside London its in the region of 90%
I suspect Private schools are pretty much the same -because if there really was that demand, private schools would not be going bust and closing every term.
On the other hand I can rightly beleive that the staff at Eton are heartily sick of over tutored hothoused kids who will crumple without constant prodding.
I'm amused that you can be rejected by a school because it fears you will fail to fit in whilst the school simultaneously wishes to escape the tyranny of conformity. Perhaps they should scrap that conformist uniform and all that tiresome tradition, too. And have a debate with Winchester on whether manners maketh man, or whether that's a bit too conformist.
"I suspect private schools are pretty much the same - because if there really was that demand, private schools would not be going bust and closing every term."
I agree the small unknown ones and even the well known but not overly academically selective ones are struggling to fill their vacancies but the likes of a Harrow Eton Westminster SPS and Win Coll they are over subscribed. There are numerous posting on MN about how to get your DS of Eton waiting list, and I know from a conversation with the admissions tutor that Marlborough is over subscribed.
Talkinpeace. As you know many private schools some "Quite Well Known"
are having to do one of three things. 1. Go coeducational 2. Become a free School 3. shut their doors, just recently Howells school in Denbigh Wales closed after 130 years as a girls boarding and day school. London though is a different Continent, from the rest of the country the difference between London and the rest is huge , so maybe there is still great demand there.
but the fact that a school is oversubscribed just means that Vladimir's daddy has enough money to pay the deposits at lots of schools and see which one pans out
it does not mean that there is actually an excess of people with the funds for such schools
especially boarding schools where the daily journey is not an issue
I genuinely do not believe London is a "different continent" because lots and lots of people move OUT of London when their kids hit year 3
( I have family and frinds in and around Nappy Valley BTW)
the fact that you have mentioned Vladimir, confirms London is unlike anywhere else in the U.K. London has over 500,000 foreign nationals most of them wealthy or rich, London has also sucked the life out of the rest of the country ( maybe not the 25 miles North or South of it) but everywhere else . It is the only place in the Uk where demand out strips supply in everything including private education.
I'm a foreign national who grew up in London and went to private schools.
And actually the tax revenues of London and the uber rich significantly subsidise the rest of the country even with the offensive tax gap.
For that matter Southampton - with a population of under 300,000 has over 30,000 Poles
Eh, there's been a couple of small school closures/mergers over the past decade, but the demand in Edinburgh definitely outstrips the supply - and we're not full of Russion oligarchs!
Talkin I'm unconvinced that Eton et al are struggling to fill their vacancies. If they were why did 5 boys in DS2 prep fail to get places at Eton, 4 failed to get places at Win Coll (not a Russian amongst them by the way), why are there frequent postings on here about getting Henry of Etons waiting list? There's a mum on here hoping to get off the Win Coll waiting list and we know quite a few who weren't even called for an interview at SPS despite having paid the deposit.
I suspect there about another 50-60 (maybe even 100 but I doubt it's that high) in the UK that are similarly over subscribed. The rest I agree are probably struggling especially the boarding schools and inevitably taking more students from abroad.
Well, yes, I seriously doubt Eton is at risk of going bust.
I quite agree with you that well known academic schools will never have a problem filling places
I've got friends locally who got their kids into Winchester with minimal stress (and the parents are not intellectual giants or famous) so I do genuinely think that when it comes to the crunch, the applicants to places ratio is probably nearer 2:1 than 4:1
Its a bit like the superselectives making huge kudos out of 20 applicants per place. How many of those kids sit the test "on spec" and then go to their perfectly decent local school or the fee paying school that yummy mummy always had lined up as a backstop
Where have i said anything offensive about foreign people in the UK?.
I have stated that most, if not all the growth in the country is centralized around London and the South (Excluding Cornwall) they just have their houses taken by London people. The United Kingdom with the exception of London, the South and tiny areas of affluence around the country is in dire trouble. I am aware the country needs foreign money and expertise , but that does not mean that we let them run roughshod over us by paying little tax on earnings.
I like the thought of a school full of Russions.
Talkinpeace - now tell me, when these people move out of London, where do they carry on working?...
From as far away as Yeovil and Lincoln
The nearest ones send their kids to schools like Bohunt (which is significantly larger than its feeder primaries)
Great way to kill off a place, to live there but work (and do a lot of your shopping) elsewhere.
had you really never come aross "dormitory towns" before ?
Funnily enough, yes I have. Great way to kill off a place.
Or do you think Yeovil and Lincoln were originally built as dormitory towns?!
Rabbitstew. you are right the United Kingdom is just becoming one big Housing estate for London.....I know people who live In Lancaster and travel
2hrs 45 or more on the train 3 times a week.
Talkin we also got our DS into a Win Coll with minimal stress and we certainly aren't intellectual giants or famous, SPS ditto, all seemed remarkably easy to us but the parents of the children I mentioned above some who are intellectual giants and even vaguely famous in a sort of aristocracy type of way would perhaps tell a different story.
A friend staying with me the other day was telling me how her DS has just been offered a place at MIT, all achieved with minimal stress, she was not overly excited or proud of her DS's achievements stating that he was "nothing special". I on the other hand was seriously impressed as there are over 30 000 applicants for just over 2000 places!
Talkin, I too question your belief that it really is not that difficult to get into the superselective London independents. Although I don't have experience of the senior level, I do have experience of getting into the feeding preps for the big Senior Schools and can tell you that at this level, which indicates what is occurring further down the pipeline) and although my son was accepted by both superselctives he applied to without any additional tutoring, the percentage accepted of his classmates has dramatically decreased from a decade ago. Even just over the past five years, the competition has become ever more fierce with number applying being record breaking each year. This has resulted in pre-preps having to up the academic pushiness of their schools to ensure that they have a handful each year getting accepted into the big schools. !0 years ago, my sons' pre-prep would get a third of their leaving class going onto WUS or CC, now it is averaging 10-15%, and the amount of work DS2 is being given is much more and harder than DS1 was given at the same time. The schools's rationale is precisely that the competition has really ramped up to get into the top London Day schools, which then increase the difficulty in schools further down the selective scale (e.g., Hampton, Harrodian). There is a flight to quality amongst the "Squeezed Middle" and the thinking is that if we are going to pay for school, it better be a good one, and although some dodgy privates may be under pressure, this is the reverse at the schools which are academically successful.
It would depend on the independent school in the area, like everything else they are the good,bad and indifferent.
On a side note Eton are not struggling to fill places! They are having massive building work done at the moment.
We have two pretty well known independent day schools near where I work, one super selective, one nearly a super selective. Friends I work with DS's have applied to both recently and were saying it's becoming so difficult to get into the super selective and nearly as difficult to get into the other, one friend was stunned at the numbers sitting the pre test for the latter. Having failed at both they are now looking at what is considered locally to be a non selective but have been advised by their prep that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get into there as well because the above mentioned are so over subscribed that this having a knock on effect.
I also think the decline in the numbers wanting to send their DC's to a full boarding school probably has an impact (we've also got one of those in the same city). Many parents are what is frequently described on MN as "first time buyers" of independent ed and are not keen on the concept of boarding or just simply don't have the kind of money needed to pay boarding fees.
It's difficult to measure the demand for the Etons and Winchesters. There's the crude of measurement of how many sit the tests etc but there is a preliminary filtering system. Prep school heads up and down the country put parents off applying on a daily basis if they don't think the boy has got a chance.
A very good point grovel.
From my prep school days schools also seem to go in phases of popularity Eton was of course always popular but as it's become harder for even the very able to get a place, Harrow started to become everyone's favourite. Win Coll has a reputation amongst parents and prep school heads for being exceptionally academic and also taking the more eccentric, a couple of parents we knew who were very keen on Eton felt their DS wasn't bright enough for Win Coll despite being in the top 4-5 in the top class another felt their DS was a bit "too normal".
When looking at SPS we were told that in general a boy who was bright enough to thrive at Eton was likely to bright enough for SPS, Westminster and Win Coll which you choose to go for was just down to personal preference.
Do you think prep school heads do that or does it differ from head to head ...if parents tell them they are set on a particular school...or is it only when a child has virtually no chance at all vs a say only a 10% chance? I wondered how "diplomatic" heads are these days to parents...it must be hard, but presumably a child will only really have a chance if a prep head supports them in the (confidential) reference..I guess they can say things like well you really have to be in top 5% or 10% to even be applying to these schools to stand a chance...because that is an objective measure ...I do wonder how much pre-filtering does in fact go on as we keep hearing about the record rise in applications to the top schools.
Amber - prep school heads definitely do this. The more serious the prep school, the more likely the head will carefully steer parental expectations as their own reputation, as well as the credibility of the school, will be at stake. They have a disincentive to encourage candidates who will not be successful, or be a misfit at the target school.
Mominatrix, that's right. Our prep head had a terrific track record in getting Eton B list boys onto the A list. Why? Because Eton trusted him and he could "special plead" for a boy who might have under-performed on the day and be believed.
I should add that his main motive for steering some parents away from Eton, Winchester, Westminster etc was "the good of the boy". He wanted his boys thriving, not struggling, at their secondary schools.
It's not only prep heads but some parents who are filtering. I know a couple (the DH was an old Wykhamist) who would have loved their DS to go to Winchester but decided he would not be up to it. Our prep head persuaded them otherwise on the grounds that the boy had thought/learning processes that weren't particularly suited to Common Entrance work but would be well-suited to a Winchester-style education. He was right.
Interesting ...then I recall reading an article about heads at some leading prep schools which are traditional feeders to Eton saying that the new pre-test (I think it was soon after it came out) meant some boys, to their dismay/surprise, who they thought were "perfect" for Eton (and moreover with OEs as fathers) were not getting in.....
Amber, you're right. At the beginning some trad prep schools didn't "get" what Eton were trying to do. My understanding is that Eton felt that they had too many boys who were not taking advantage of the teaching and facilities. They were either not bright enough or "too cool for school". Hence the 2 part test. The test of innate ability (not knowledge) and the long interview to test for enthusiasm and resilience.
So, being a polite, confident boy who could be coached to 60% in CE was suddenly no longer the definition of a "perfect" Eton candidate any more.
"the long interview test for enthusiasm and resilience"
I'm not convinced Id call an interview which last a maximum of 10 mins a "long interview test".
My DS's interview at Eton was 30 minutes with 3 adults. Quite long, I'd say, for a 10 year old.
My experience of prep was that the school and the parents were realistic on the whole.
So pupils self selected themselves out of trying for the most selective schools.
That said, there are always a few who give it a punt (and not worry too much if uit doesn';t come off), a few whose parents Just Will Not Listen, and a few suprises (sometimes the head can get these kids in with a good reference, but only if he has a good reputation ie he's not putting too many kids in who don't pass).
No, not in a million years. A system that churns out David cameron and his ilk, yuk!
Besides, the kids from the private school close to where i live are vile.
Whistlebower - in what way are the children 'vile' ? The children from our local comps. throw rubbish in our gardens, cause havoc on the local buses (I've seen them push an elderly lady out of the way to board the bus first) , swear at people who challenge them- but I wouldn't describe them as 'vile'
What do they do? C* in the street? Sacrifice live goats on the pavement!?!
well said Whistleblower. However there is a difference between a Northern independent day school charging £8-11k PA and the vile PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Realistic. on the thread about, Super Education Dot has declared she feels
poor on 250k PA net of tax . I cant make my mind up if its a wind up or not.
Sorry that should have said 'crap in the street' !
What about a Southern independent day school that charges £12- 14k PA?
Ok Sidney pie accepted. One of the differences though is that i think a lot of those independent schools in the north were direct grant grammar schools. They were forced against everything that they stood for, to go private to protect themselves from the "Purge" set up by Wilson and Crossland in 1965-75.
Is it that the same for Southern independent schools?
Yes Sidney, they are vile! They have form in the local shop for being rude, and are frequently sneery towards the kids from the comp. The schools schools are close to one another, and a stonesthrow from a couple of shops and a takeaway.
The private school kids are the ones most likely to be found smoking at lunchtime [grin}
Vile? Why. You do realise that your stance of pro grammar yet anti public school (essentially the grammars of private education) is very difficult to understand.
Fair enough soul. Yes there is a difference. I should have made that distinction. I do however, disagree on principle with private education.
I agree. The inconsistency is odd.
I am against the state funding of segregated schools - because I believe all children should be given equal chances as far as possible.
I have no problem with parents paying out of their after tax income for fee paying school, so long as Universities and employers are aware of the disparity
and yes, unpaid internships should be outlawed forthwith.
No. I have been to both an independent school and a state school and would pick a state school for my DD.
Good parenting is all that is required to help a child succeed. Independent schooling in no way guarantees exceptional teaching or a better class of peers. It is only worth it if you are going for the absolute top independent schools that have cemented a reputation for excellence.
Mominatrix, is your post aimed at me?I'm not pro grammer. Never made any reference to grammer schools at all
No, Whistleblower - I have no issue with people absolutely against selective education. My comment was aimed at Soul, who is adamantly pro grammar and normal privates, but anti public schools.
Thanks for clarifying Mom.
I think its aimed at me Whistleblower. I am pro grammar school, have no problem with the independent schools i have described for the above reason.
I hate Eton/Harrow/ Winchester/Downe House. Beneden is a little bit better because at least they offer a full scholarship every year to a girl from a local primary school. They have help set up an academy (John Wallis ) in Ashford,
though maybe they did not realize how difficult it would be.
I went to very good private school. I did ok but out of everyone I know the people in state school have achieved more than the majority of people I wentvto school with. They were good state schools though.
Part of the reason i like the independent schools i have stated , is because i have a forlorn hope that one day grammar schools were be available all over
England/Wales. These schools could then rejoin the state sector or take fees from the Government for any child who passed their exam.
Grovel I think you'll find the Eton interview is now only 8-10 mins with one beak; I've seen the letter from them about the test/interview. I suppose this is because so many apply now they don't have time to do long interviews.
why do you want grammar schools back?
are the 70% who fail the 11+
because they are weak at maths or English but brilliant at other things
not worth the same resources and opportunities?
and what about late developers?
or even early developers who turn out to be lazy (see other thread)?
why should they be segregated at 11?
After reading these two threads running side by side with each other, i feel depressed . The talk on the other thread about what normal salaries are is ridiculous . I deliberately stated salary and wealth figures that i thought were a bit silly, it turns out i was spot on with them. Thank god i have no children and my Niece is at a RG University and Nephew is L6 at a grammar school.
After reading these threads i believe its going to be a case for the vast majority of parents "You get what you are "Given, which for most be a Comprehensive school and the inconsistencies that provides. Most kids will be lucky to earn 20k Pa, Pro Rata during their working lives. Reading particularly the other thread about the "Elite" makes me want to weep for the majority of kids.
I was talking about the bright but lazy thread - and there's no salaries in there
and I'm not quite sure what your beef is.
Those who work hard will succeed, even in unconventional ways.
My client who digs holes on building sites nets over £28k a year, loves his job and will work till he breaks. The fact that he can barely read or write does not impact on the skill he has.
BUT he is making sure his kids work as hard as him but learn to read and write.
He'd never have even considered putting his kids into a selective school (he cannot fill out the form FFS) but if they are half as hard working as him and given wider opportunities they will do well.
Only a comp can give them opportunities in this day and age.
Here will go again Talkinpeace. I believe we can't save everyone 100% so lets try and give say 30% give them a chance to take on that "Rubbish" we have been reading on the other thread. Whether VR and NVR tests are fair at 11 who knows ,perhaps there should be a General Knowledge exam that have random questions that can't be tutored for. I understand about late developers myself being barely able to write at 15 years of age.
We need kids like the one who shot the BB Gun segregated from all kids, but will also need very bright kids from deprived areas educated among themselves. I have quoted the case of Hannah on the last episode of Educating Yorkshire, who has been brought down to average because of her surroundings and environment.