Has anyone done state till eight?

(140 Posts)
lifesobeautiful Tue 10-Sep-13 20:27:46

My DH and I are currently trying to decide what schooling route to take - state or private. I wondered if anyone had tried the state till eight thing - and if so how did it go? I also wondered if I could hear from anyone who was privately educated, but decided to send their kids to state schools - and how they found that.

I seem to be going round and round in circles! One minute thinking we should try the little local state school, then thinking no because of no playing fields etc (we're in central london). Then thinking yes, because we'll have more money for holidays and he'll meet a more diverse social crowd...then changing my mind..AARRRGH.

Any experiences/thoughts would be gratefully received.

teatimesthree Thu 12-Sep-13 21:01:21

Re self-confidence. I work with a lot of privately educated young people. It is true that many of them are extremely confident. However, this self-confidence is often out of proportion to their actual skills and abilities. I personally would not want to encourage that in my own child. But each to their own.

teacherwith2kids Thu 12-Sep-13 20:45:30

Absolutely trivial point here, but if you are looking for 'self confidence', I find it interesting that my children have got it through "performing arts" rather than directly from their schools (they are state educated).

When I see DD (who dances) on stage or backstage, with her group of privately and state educated dancing friends, there is no difference at all in 'shiny self confidence' between the girls educated in the two systems, although all are more self-confident than DD's non dancing school friends.

Ditto DS and his jazz-playing friends, another mixed state / private bunch.

So perhaps if it is that self confidence and 'knowing how to present yourself' that is something you value, that might be an alternative avenue to explore.

mrsshackleton Thu 12-Sep-13 14:31:40

OP, brilliant decision, local friends, no commute and extra cash swung it for us and they are incredibly important factors. I'm sure you'll have no regrets.

lifesobeautiful Wed 11-Sep-13 22:32:40

Thank you missinglaland and for your incredibly sensible and considered post above. Much appreciated and has given me confidence in my decision.

missinglalaland Wed 11-Sep-13 21:12:52

I hope your little one is happy and thrives there. Like you say, nothing is set in stone; you are lucky to have options. Neighbourhood friends and no commute is really nice when they are little.

lifesobeautiful Wed 11-Sep-13 20:52:17

Right, I've read through all of the posts. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone for your input, particularly those that really took the time to answer the question. (Though it was interesting to hear the political side of it, as it wasn't something I'd ever really thought about before and it's good to be in the know obviously!)

I saw a couple of schools in Dulwich with big playing fields, in answer to that question.

Anyway, I think we're going to try the local school and see how it goes. And add in extra sports clubs. What's done it for me is the thought of a long commute both ways, which isn't happy for anyone. And the fact I'd like to know local parents. And the thought that we'd be a lot more skint! And if he thrives and is happy, we'll keep him there. If he doesn't and isn't - we'll take him out. And I do know how lucky I am to even court the idea of private school.

Thank you again everybody.

lifesobeautiful Wed 11-Sep-13 19:55:35

Haven't had a chance to read through all the posts yet - thank you so much everyone - will do when DS is in bed! But just noticed the 'little' - I don't actually know if it's little...it just looks little in that it doesn't have any playing fields. Ie it looks little compared to the prep schools I've looked at. I need to go and see it again!

Elibean Wed 11-Sep-13 18:36:06

Oh - on the language front: my two are bilingual, but all the kids learn a language at their school. dd1 hardly remembers a word of it, dd2 has learned a lot - same teacher, different kids wink

Elibean Wed 11-Sep-13 18:34:34

I can only tell you our experiences, OP, it is a hard choice for anyone (who has a choice) to choose their child's school - state or private or both one after the other - especially the first time around smile

We're in London. We looked at state and private primaries, and chose the school we felt had the best pastoral care, the happiest kids, and the most engaged. It happened to be a state primary. I felt happy that my girls (who are pretty privileged) would have a great social mix to learn and play with, but that's not why we chose it.

It didn't have the top academic stats in the Borough (and it is a top performing Borough, so that doesn't mean all that much - this school had a different intake to the other local primaries). It wasn't shiny, though it's getting shinier by the year. It does have a big playing field and lots of space.

But it was the people who work there who did it for me. The way they worked together, what they modelled to their pupils, the way they knew and cared about the children in their care. And the kids, who ran up to the then Head and the Deputy to tell them what they were doing, and couldn't wait to tell us, visiting strangers, what they were learning.

There is always a bunch of kids who leave at 7-8. Every year. Mostly because their parents are terrified they won't be able to get them into a decent secondary school unless they are prepped at private schools from 8-11. And fair enough, I understand that.

We had to make the decision for dd1, and it would have torn her apart to leave her school - she was so happy, and doing well. She's now in Y5, and is doing so well (we've filled in one small gap with maths confidence by giving her a term's worth of maths tutoring once a week) that I think she stands as good a chance of getting into a good selective indie as her peers who left at the end of Y2. But it did feel like a gamble at the time, admittedly. I know it was right for her, though.

dd2 is in Y2 now, and I think we'll keep her in - though all her best friends are leaving for private schools (siblings there, or parents who teach there) or to go back to Oz or wherever. But the school has grown academically as well as in other ways, since dd1 started there - and what will be will be. I'm not worried.

I suppose...it all depends on a) the child b) the school c) your priorities. Good luck deciding, I honestly don't think there's a right answer!

Bonsoir Wed 11-Sep-13 15:01:19

No-one learns a language entirely at school, IME. But certain schools support language learning much better than others. Including supporting the maintenance of other languages spoken within the family.

merrymouse Wed 11-Sep-13 14:57:37

bonsoir, I am sure many people at private schools are fluent in many languages. The thing I am disputing is that they learnt them at school. (Unless maybe they went to a welsh language school).

meditrina Wed 11-Sep-13 14:07:10

I think OP might have had a specific (small, no playing fields) school in mind when she said "little".

SoupDragon Wed 11-Sep-13 14:06:36

"little" can equate to "good" because of small class sizes - something that is considered a plus of private schools.

SoupDragon Wed 11-Sep-13 14:05:45

...and intend them to go to the 'Outstanding'[at present] comp where dd is teaching.

Would they feel the same if their local secondary schools were not outstanding?

Why are so many of the state schools on this thread 'little'?

The state primary all three of my children attend/ed is a 3 form intake "outstanding" school so not little.

Bonsoir Wed 11-Sep-13 13:58:09

I didn't say I agree with it...

MogTheForgetfulCat Wed 11-Sep-13 13:50:20

I think you'll find it's one of those unthinkingly patronising add-ons, actually.

noddyholder Wed 11-Sep-13 13:46:08

Bonsoir that is possibly the most ridiculous post I have ever read on Mn

Bonsoir Wed 11-Sep-13 13:44:20

"Little" when applied to state schools is generally considered to be a redeeming quality than counteracts the anonymity of state education versus private.

MogTheForgetfulCat Wed 11-Sep-13 13:35:00

Why are so many of the state schools on this thread 'little'? My DC go to quite a good-sized state primary smile.

Bonsoir Wed 11-Sep-13 12:48:58

merrymouse - I frequently meet DC educated in London private schools who are plurilingual (we meet them on holiday - there are obviously certain sorts of hotels/destinations that attract a particular plurilingual clientèle!).

FreckledLeopard Wed 11-Sep-13 12:02:14

Personally, with hindsight, I'd rather have sent DD private from Reception onwards, then state from secondary (if needs be.  I'd probably do private all the way through though).

DD is at private secondary school.  But I found that her state primary school did not prepare her with the basics in the same way that independent schools do. 

Maths for example - there does seem to be more of a focus on really getting to grips with the basics, learning tables by rote, consolidating knowledge with homework etc at private schools.  I was frustrated by the lack of homework at DD's state schools and the 'creative' teaching methods.

Also, independent primary schools tend to have time to teach languages to a far greater extent than state schools.  Sport, too, is a key part of the curriculum and sporting opportunities are better at independent schools, especially in London. 

In short, I'd rather be confident that my children had grasped the basics in key subjects, which they could then build on in the state environment, than the other way round

thegreylady Wed 11-Sep-13 12:01:41

My son in law was privately educated [boarding from 13] and,although they could afford private, he and dd have chosen a small [village] primary for the boys and intend them to go to the 'Outstanding'[at present] comp where dd is teaching.
They feel the advantages they could give the boys [including saving for uni.] outweigh the benefits of private education.The boys are in year groups of 15 in lovely surroundings and are happy and seem to be doing well academically.

FoundAChopinLizt Wed 11-Sep-13 11:43:40

I live in a town where all the high earning educated professional parents, e.g. medics, vets, scientists, architects etc send their dcs to the only comp. The able dcs go on to very good unis on competitive courses. There are great music, drama and sports facilities. As it is a true comp with no competing grammars the intake represents a full range of abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds and some ethnic diversity. Our town has a wide range of property prices, so you don't have to be rich to live here. The only private schools are long bus rides over an hour away, and no one seems to send their dcs there. In fact, it would be social suicide to do so.

I expect many of the pro private people on here would send their dcs to our comp, and not feel they will have a second rate education.

If I lived in a different town, with a really poor comp, and everyone we knew with similar jobs to us were going private I might do the same.

What I object to is the generalisation about state and private, for example kangaroos assertion that state children don't have a sense of inner worth.

merrymouse Wed 11-Sep-13 11:39:34

Agree with your last comment, Farewell, about the confidence coming from the parents rather than the school.

merrymouse Wed 11-Sep-13 11:37:48

I meant children who learn to speak a language fluently at school e.g. because they have French lessons, not children who grow up bi-lingual/tri-lingual.

Anyway OP, you can always change course before 8 and many people do. In particular, many private schools have pre-school sections that are eligible for early years funding, and many primary schools now have nurseries.

Your duty is as follows:

"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

a: to his age, ability and aptitude, and

b: to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise." 1996 Education Act.

Look at the schools and look at your child, then do your best and realise that as with anything else in life and parenting, there is no perfect choice and there will always be another route that you could have taken, but all you can do is your best at the time.

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