Money would be my first reaction to your pros. and cons. There is a big difference in forking out £10,000 a year (poss. more depending on area) and not!!!
Having said that we moved our dd in Year 2 to an independent and haven't regretted it for one minute (year 3 now). However, I am well aware that a good state school would probably provide us with what we are paying for - but locally the state schools are not really up to the mark.
I would suggest you check out your local state schools first, but take no notice of 'outstanding' it means diddlly squat to be honest. . The differences we have found are 10 less students in the class, quieter working environment - the kids tend to enjoy working hard and achieving and it is 'cool' to be good at stuff (the opposite was at her state!). Subjects like, Science, Art, IT etc., are taught by specialist teachers. PE is three times a week, not once in the hall, but hockey, netball, tennis, dance and swimming once a week. In the IT suite each child has a computer, no sharing between two. There are lots of other things that are also different, the structure of the work and the reading progression seems faster, with a new book each day if they want. They also seem to fit in more in the day and do lots of fun extra currliculum stuff, visits each term, not just once a year, visiting theatre groups, authors, talent shows, music concerts etc. etc. ...Generally the 'can do' attitude that anything is possible and you can do want you want to do in life if you want it is the biggest change and our dd is now 'buzzing' with it all.
A good state school can provide the above and if you have one near you then lucky you. Personally, I am glad she is now getting a work hard ethic and a good basis in all subjects up to Year 6, rather than leaving her at her old school and then moving....for one thing I don't think she would have been at the same level by then, as she was switching off and becoming disillusioned with school (at 6!!!!!). However, if we did have to move her now in Year 6, I think she would be OK anywhere with the skills, attitude and confidence she is gaining.
We chose independent because we wanted the added extras - healthy cooked lunches, team sports, matches against other schools - all our children have local friends from both state & independent schools but my kids go running through the woods on cross-country expeditions after school, they have had diving adventures, they can choose to go sailing as an option in games - all that on top of the small class sizes meaning they have much more individual attention. It meant that we had to cut down a bit in other areas but I have never regretted it - it's the best thing I ever gave my children.
I think you have to look around your local schools before you make these sort of judgements. Look at the results too if you are this way inclined. In my area we are lucky with good state schools, the private school was only getting marginally better results than state and so IMO not really worth paying out for.
Also there is much more to a school than academic results. The whole community/social aspect. There are a lot of plusses to things like being able to walk to school, have local friends, mix with children from all backgrounds and abilities etc. It just depends on what your priorities are really, how risk averse you are and what you are looking for in a school. Also, think about your child. Different schools will suit different children.
There is no right and wrong IMO just personal choice. Plenty of folk start one way then jump the other at different stages in their child's education.
One other thing to consider. There is research showing that the home environment up to the age of 7 plays a much bigger part in influencing the child than the school. So.... certainly up to 7 it doesn't matter so much, although independent schools will have different expectations of children at 7 than state schools so bear this in mind .
I think it's really important to get the basics right. Once they can read they can follow their heart & find things out. Getting the tools is the most important thing - so I went for independent primary. If they do well they can be prepared for scholarships or if you're close to Plymouth you can try for the High Schools - grammar schools - great education for free.
what are the pros & cons of state V independent primary schools. Does it matter at such an early age or should I be looking to do this for her secondary school? If i start my child at independent school will i have to continue till she is 18 to get the most out of my investment?? Help! I would really like to know your thoughts? I live in South East Cornwall x