Does your own educational background impact on your choice of State or Private for your children?

(47 Posts)
Swishyswashy Wed 15-May-13 13:04:41

My son goes to a private nursery in near where we live in London and will start reception at the local state primary in September. Most of his peers are going on to private prep schools, and it seems that most of the other parents would not consider their local state school, which I find really odd. I went to the local school and then on to a large but excellent state secondary, but I think most of the (British) parents at his school have very little experience of state education so are a bit afraid of it. I wondered if most people who pick private have been privately educated themselves and base their decision partly on a fear of the 'unknown' and a lack of knowledge about the state system?

christinarossetti Wed 15-May-13 13:13:20

Yes, I think this is a massive factor in school choice. People who went to private schools often feel that they should provide the same for their children or, at the very least, a state school in a middle class area so it has a similar social feel iykwim.

I went to okay state primary schools and a crappola secondary and, although I went on to do very well, I don't want my children to have the same experience of schooling as me, which is kind of liberating.

Private education way out of my comfort zone and my children are doing very well indeed without it.

BlueberryHill Wed 15-May-13 13:22:58

I was educated in state schools, DH in private schools. Our children will be educated in the state sector, DS goes to the village primary. It is in a mixed, rural area and school has very good results. They are likely to be educated in the state sector as they continue through school, assuming that they get into the local grammar schools. If they don't the nearest local secondary school has poor results so we will either try other state schools or look at the private sector. However, at this point, I doubt we would be able to afford for more than 1 child to go private.

In summary, it isn't a massive factor for us, we are driven more by the standards of local schools and financial constraints.

TeaTowelQueen Wed 15-May-13 13:26:58

I was educated both state and privately (parents moved abroad) and with my experience I would NOT send my child to a private school without excellent reasons - so it doesn't always go that way!

I was educated abroad through my primary years and have found the state system a bit bewildering to start with - but I think that is always the case when your first child starts school regardless of whether you pay for it or not.

I have friends who were both state educated but won't even consider their excellent, beautiful state primary as good enough for their children - takes all sorts as they say!

maillotjaune Wed 15-May-13 13:28:36

Yes, I think most of us are influenced by our own school experiences when looking at schools for our children.

Now my oldest is in Y5 and we're starting to think about secondaries, I'm finding that many parents who were privately educated are keen to get their children into the grammars (we're in London but near enough to travel out) because they don't really think that even the very good state schools around here will be good enough. They were less bothered at primary level which is why I know them.

As a product of mediocre state schools with the kind of exam results, degree and job that these friends expect their children to have, I am more confident that the school you go to is only part of the story.

Admittedly the extracurricular activities were lacking - but I think state schools are quite different now in that respect - and I'll never be a Tory cabinet minister but I can live with that particular limitation on my children too.smile

redskyatnight Wed 15-May-13 13:53:26

I was also educated in private school and based on my experience would not send my own children there.

But my brother and SIL (both privately educated) didn't even look at state. When I asked why, it basically came down to they had assumed private must be better.

expansivegirth Wed 15-May-13 16:44:50

yes. i was educated in state primary and private secondary. i have always assumed i'd do the same for my children - mine are in a state primary now ... However, i'm open to other choices if local secondaries suddenly look more appealing.

my private secondary school did make me very aware of the gulf between the standards at my state primary and my private secondary. a GULF. I was out of my depth for years (the vast majority of the other children had come from private preps, including the feeder school, and had been training towards the entrance exam for years). the state primary wasn't even bad - it was just alternative and deliberately steered away from conventional educational methods - all free play, no homework, no uniform, no rote learning, no maths or handwriting or any formal lessons - but also big on independent thinking and creativity which turned out to be a big advantage in other ways.

i also notice that many of the middle class children from the state primary went on to do well in their chosen field - mainly creative - which i assume is down to parental support. the working class children (this was the seventies so class generalisations make more sense) do not appear have gone on to similar high-profile jobs (or at least none of the children me or my sister were friends with/know about). So ultimately, I suppose I believe that parental expectations/money top even state/private schools as a predictor of educational attainment/outcomes.

Blu Wed 15-May-13 16:50:06

I was at private primary and sort-of-private secondary (Direct Grant). DP was at a truly awful secondary.

I felt cloistered at my school, to my great detriment. I have also often felt that my achievements are 'assisted' and that I will somehow be found to be not all I'm cracked up to be at any moment.

DP recognises that secondary schools in London now are nothing like the violent, ill-disciplined, underachieving hell holes of his youth.

We are confident that DS will do well academically, his community primary school was excellent and we are very happy with his state secondary.

MrsMelons Wed 15-May-13 17:01:37

DH and I both went to state schools but will be sending our DCs to a private school. Our experiences weren't that great (not majorly bad either) but we have a severe lack of reasonable secondary schools in our area (most are failing).

DS1 went to a lovely state infant school and I couldn't have been happier with it as far as schools go, its a shame there are not the further schools they could go to that are as good.

We took a long time deciding and it came down to what was right for us/our children. It wasn't as straight forward in our minds as state or private - some of the private schools we would not have sent our children to in any circumstances (not because they are not good but due to other factors!)

amigababy Wed 15-May-13 17:16:00

I was private, but on a scholarship. I did well academically but didn't have the confidence to have a good career. dh went to a poor secondary school. he often didn't attend but is very clever and also has good people skills and has done very well.

DD went to a tiny rural primary which just felt right, and was lucky enough to get into one of the grammar schools. I honestly don't know what we would have done if she'd not got in. I don't think we'd have gone private.

dinkystinky Wed 15-May-13 17:27:04

I went to private schools, DH to state schools, and we both said wed try the local state school and move to private if it wasn't working out for our kids. As it is ds1 is in year 2 and ds2 in nursery at our local primary school - we are moving them next year to a small independent school 15/20 mins drive away for smaller class sizes and better pastoral care. The teaching side in state has been fine but the pastoral care has been rather lacking. Ultimately it comes down to which school is best for your DC.

musu Wed 15-May-13 17:31:24

State school but ds is at private and will do private throughout. I went to a grammar school in the days before tutoring, Ofsted, league tables. I don't recognise today's state education compare to my day. I do see a number of similarities between ds's prep and my state primary.

MarshaBrady Wed 15-May-13 17:32:04

Yes I'd say so. A positive experience in private or state will probably make you think I'd like to use the same system for the dc.

I did feel much happier in a school with good streaming and people who wanted to study and do well. Which happened to be in a private school.

Gubbins Wed 15-May-13 17:34:58

I was educated privately throughout my school career. I loved my schools and all their wonderful facilities, but both my children are at state primary, and will be going to state secondary. Happy though I was, my schooldays were very sheltered, and I don't think I'm a better person for having been educated among such a narrow section of society. I would rather my children are a real part of the community they live in, not just a select part of it.

The one person I know who has decided to withdraw her children from our excellent community primary in favour of a private school was herself educated in the state sector. She seems to think a paid for education is a magic wand that will automatically confer success. I work with many people a great deal brighter and better than I am who would prove otherwise.

lljkk Netherlands Wed 15-May-13 17:45:43

Yes for me all govt schools, I didn't grow up knowing anyone who went to private schools except for religious reasons.

I went to multi-ethnic school in a dodgy deprived neighbourhood. I blossomed, was taught bilingually even though my family home monolingual, I soared away academically. Then I went to a Naice primary school in middle class neighbourhood where everyone's parents were doctors, teachers or lawyers (I am not exaggerating, my parents were too). That school had innovative and unusual programmes for Gifted children. I was horribly bullied lost all motivation & self-esteem and my academics dived.

My secondaries (still state) were known as under-achieving, but accommodating of the eccentric and I blossomed again to come out with very top marks. I went to a top Uni where I floundered, couldn't decide what to do, transferred to a mediocre Uni where I blossomed and picked up very valuable technical skills that made me very employable.

So I am extremely satisfied with bog standard comp as long as my children are confident in themselves with good social circles I am sure they will reach their potential.

DH also was a very high achiever at an otherwise mediocre secondary.

Elibean Wed 15-May-13 17:46:34

I was privately educated, and have chosen state so far for my children (both at primary still).

I looked at schools in both sectors, and chose a primary school based on how happy the children were, the standard of pastoral care, gut feeling, good enough stats, and a good fit for the individual kids. I have absolutely no regrets.

I tend to agree with Gubbins about the narrowness of private ed v. state ed, but I do think it varies from school to school (and state can be narrow in a different way, though thankfully not around here).

Overall, I chose based on individual school - not on my past history.

motherinferior Wed 15-May-13 17:48:27

We've chosen the option that got one parent a scholarship to Oxford.

That would be my comprehensive, not DP's private boarding school.

Tubemole1 Wed 15-May-13 17:54:48

We send DD to a good state school but we suspect the teacher is lazy. She sticks the children too often in front of the tv watching films for our liking. We were both state educated, but haven't achieved much in our careers. My daughter has a talent for reading but also loves gardening and photography, even tho she's only six. If we could send her to our local private girls' school, we would, but sadly we can't afford it, despite the school being able to encourage individuality and tailored learning.sad

Rooble Switzerland Wed 15-May-13 18:17:29

I went to comprehensive school; DH to a good public school. DS currently at state primary which is perfect for us and him. When it comes to secondary I don't know what we'll do. I don't believe that private = necessarily better. Really wouldn't contemplate the kind of school that DH went to even though - but it's a weird one. I would feel kind of immoral giving my child such obscene privilege. My PILs think it's utterly wrong to deprive your child of it. And part of me can see where they're coming from - that schooling has left my DH and his siblings extraordinarily self-confident high-achievers - not in an arrogant way, just in that they never question whether they will succeed. Whereas my peers and I tended to be pleasantly surprised when we did.
DH reckons we should take each school on its own merits when the time comes to decide. No grammars here, so no panicky tutoring from Y4, luckily...

Talkinpeace Wed 15-May-13 19:26:06

I was at private but as school fees have increased at double the rate of wages over the past 40 years, my kids are at state

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 15-May-13 19:38:47

I try to divorce my own experience to that which I choose for my DCs but it's hard.

I was privately educated at secondary and in the long run it has done me no favours at all. They only had an eye on their outcomes and I was channelled into higher education that was completely inappropriate for me. I know not all private schools are like this but it makes me very wary of them, particularly when you look at the websites and there's a page just for the leavers' destinations.

I know I could have chosen differently but it's hard not to take your teachers' view of things as gospel when you're 17. My mum just relied on the advice from school. I got great grades but mostly down to my own hard work and was seriously unhappy.

I think I'd have been way happier and better educated I think at a new university. In fact, I know I would have been because I made friends with students on the same course at the ex poly up the road and snuck into some of their lectures. But that wouldn't have looked good for the school. A more open minded approach would have been healthier.

It also made me feel as though there were no other way to do well and that all state schools were not as good. Which, as a secondary state school teacher, I know is a load of rubbish now. I received some dreadful teaching. Because we were all so well behaved lots of the teachers had become lazy.

The facilities were amazing though. And it was a beautiful place to be.

Re. entry to Oxbridge - our local high profile secondary academy is taking a good number of applications for sixth form from independent school students...

So to answer your question, I'd take each school and each child at face value. Ours are at our very average local state school and are very happy. So, for now, that's fine imo.

1969Sarah Wed 15-May-13 19:41:35

I was at state so was DH. Both our children at state but moving to private as the state primary has gone downhill terribly. No other decent state school option aa no places for the year that are currently in Reception. It was a VERY oversubscribed year.

teacherwith2kids Wed 15-May-13 19:42:52

I was at private boarding secondary on a 100% scholarship (and all my relatives clubbed together to buy my uniform second-hand...the phrase 'church mice' comes into our circumstances at the time).

Both my siblings were state educated to 16. One won a major scholarship to private sixth form, the other was state educated throughout.

We all went to Oxbridge and have comparable degrees and further qualifications - proof, it were needed, that it is family background that is often the strongest factor in educational success.

DH was at private school (full fees) throughout.

Our children attend state schools and will remain in the state system (comprehensive). I think if DH didn't have me saying 'no honestly, state is fine in general, and in the specifics of where we live, state is significantly better than private,' he would consider sending them private - family on his side have never considered state for their children.

Hulababy Wed 15-May-13 19:44:25

Both DH and myself went to our local state primaries and comps. DHs schools were better regarded than mine, mainly due to the intakes and areas they were in. I have since taught in state secondaries - one top of league, very affluent area type school; other was a failing school in a not so great area. I now work in a state infant school - very mixed intake on all accounts.

DD goes to an independent primary and is going to an independent secondary in September. We made the decision for many reasons. Our local state primary is very good - that was not the reason.

Succubi Wed 15-May-13 19:52:21

I think it does have an impact. I was state educated at primary level and went on to private at secondary.

I intend to educate both my boys privately unless a suitable selective state can be found at secondary level.

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