Curious about differences between state & private at primary age: if your kids are in reception at a private school now, what are they doing?

(103 Posts)
tryhardrep Tue 12-Feb-13 12:44:44

Having a quick look at the coaching thread in this section has made me curious (in a friendly, non-confrontational way!) DD1 is at a state primary. We did look briefly at the private options but not in a really serious way because we were in the catchment for a good state school. I know families who have coached their kids from 2.5 plus but I don't want to probe them too much in RL about the whys and wherefores of how that has worked out because I've noticed that parents (of kids at state and private schools) often get a bit defensive about their choices. Which is understandable I guess. And to be completely transparent, I did post a related thread a couple of years ago (under a different talk name) when we were still deciding but things have moved on a bit since then and now that DD1 is at school I'm interested again, from a slightly different perspective.

So, what I really want to know is what the differences are, particularly in the early years of formal education. DD1 is in her second term of reception, she's reading well (moving up through the levels pretty rapidly), doing basic sums, is curious about the world around her and comes home with surprising facts about what she's learned at school. To me it feels like she's thriving and reaching her potential but when I hear of 3, 4 and 5 year olds being regularly coached to get into x,y,z london school (we're also in London), I do wonder whether 'thriving' is just subjective and whether academically those schools are just in a completely different league. Is it that the kids at pre-preps are reading longer, more complicated books and already learning their times tables? What do kids in reception at pre-preps do? If your DC is 5 and you opted for a private school what do you think they are getting that you wouldn't get at your local primary?

YourGorgeous Fri 01-Mar-13 12:44:32

So my ds is currently in YR and is the youngest in his school (28th Aug birthday). We considered the local private school but our village primary was supposed to be good, so we put him in there instead. Now, I am not happy with the school in general and he is really behind in class (31 pupils to 1 teacher and 1 TA) and is getting extra help, although I'm not sure how much with only 2 adults to 31 kids! I would love to put him in a private school where he can get more development.

We can certainly afford private school fees now, but then we'd need to follow on with my dd (3 yrs) and the costs rise. I do worry about putting them in and then something happening which means financially we cannot afford it and have to pull them out.

Also currently we can have nice things, go on holidays etc, but if we are paying for education we might have to let a few of the nice things go...then the kids might not get the family experiences like skiing holidays etc.

Does anyone have a view on the financial side?

NaturalBaby Fri 01-Mar-13 12:59:27

YourGorgeous We're going without the nice things (a holiday lasts a week) and putting our dc's education 1st. It's what my parents did for me and I'm happy with the lifestyle we had so am happy to do the same for my dc's. I can see at least 1 dc coasting and doing the minimum to achieve average results, instead he is at one of the best schools in the country with very high expectations.

thesecretmusicteacher Fri 01-Mar-13 13:37:28

If you could take our state primary....

- stretch it out over double the plot

- add six extra small teaching/small group rooms

- reduce class sizes from 30 to 20

I think it would be perfect.

The thing that most affects the quality of what we do is room.

Intellectually and academically, I think we are working at a higher and broader level than the local privates - at least that's what a dad who moved his son out of the private to us said. But they have fewer children per room, and more rooms per child.

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