Private v state(35 Posts)
DH teaches at well known public school where our DCs will go at 13 thanks to discount on fees. We also aim to educate them privately from age 11 subject to funds. We would love to start them off in private schools from age 4 but as the state primaries near us are pretty good we aren't certain it is worth it. What do people think are the benefits of private from age 4 other than the obvious ones like more discipline and smaller class sizes. DH and I were both educated privately so have no experience of the state sector but have been pleasantly surprised by the ones local to us.
Where does this idea that you have to keep up with the rich parents before considering private school come from? Just because some people at school spend £500 on their child's birthday party, that does not mean that everyone has to! At our prep school there have been a few extravagant parties - one that really sticks in my mind is when the 'party bags' were a remote control car for each child to take home! But there are plenty of us who have more modest parties and everyone comes and enjoys those too. There are also some well off people at school who don't agree with extravagant parties anyway. We are not rich and we are certainly poorer than a lot of the families at the school but if anyone has a problem with that then I don't care and it has never seemed to cause any issues for my older dd who is popular. I've never felt the need to keep up with the families who have gated houses and CCTV.
To be honest it doesn't sound like you can really afford private. I'd definitely go for your decent local state school and put the fees saved into a savings account. You can then consider your options again as the children get to secondary age.
OP, I think you should look at the schools available to you and trust your gut instincts.
We looked at state and private for dd1, and one of the state primaries felt absolutely right - I think having a school that reflects your values at primary is important, as is pastoral care. Social setting, learning to cope in mixed environments, loving learning, enthusiasm and being part of a 'big family' all mattered to us, and we haven't looked back: dd1 is thriving, academically and socially, and I know she'll be ok in secondary education regardless of which system she ends up in.
But it does depend on the schools around you, I think. Personally, I think the state primaries where we are have a lot more to offer than the private ones.
I can't help with suggestions about the schools, however you mentioned music being better at the private school.
If you found the state school was everything you wanted but didn't offer enough music, you could always opt for private lessons.
This is what we have done with dd as we were/are not in the position to afford private school, unless completely subsidised.
Our preferred state primary is our closest (5 mins walk) but is Catholic and we are not. We stand a pretty good chance of getting a place for DD because our town is very small and there are not that many Catholic families. However, I am not certain I want religion rammed down my daughter's throat, especially if not our actual religion!! The next option is a very large primary - far too large for my daughter. There is an excellent private prep 10 minutes walk away. My cousin has 4 children there and raves about it. It has a very good reputation and hubby and I both loved it when we looked around. It is purely money which is stopping us sending her.
I think it depends on the profile of the state school as to whether the extras are going to be different. Our experience of an admittedly very middle class state school has been that reception is whole class parties, so 30 parties plus the ones they are invited to from the parallel class. In the private school, 18 children in the class, one class per year, that's a lot less parties. The kind of parties have been similar such a bowling, soft play, entertainer in a hall. There were no at home mum doing the games parties at the state school but have been several in the prep school and often by the more affluent parents, so no keeping up with the Joneses.
We have had no pressure to take part in the annual dance or anything like that, it's not our scene regardless of the cost so simply don't go. At the state school children were off on the most wonderful holidays, often several times a year. In the private school there are people with incredible trips but just as many having a weekend in center parcs or renting an apartment in Spain for a week. Yes, we are asked for a contribution to the bottle raffle at the summer fair but a bottle of whatever is on offer at Morrisons that week is more than fine and a home baked cake is all that is expected for the cake stand. Our class mums night out was at a local pasta place.
I will admit that I am not aware of any children whose parents are making enormous sacrifices to send their children to the school, all the children seem to live in nice areas and the parents drive nice cars but they are everything from fiestas to range rovers. The houses range from ordinary 3 bed semis to jaw dropping mansions but most importantly the children don't care and to be completely honest neither do the parents.
I would go and have a look at the Catholic school, and don't be afraid to ask questions. (I would also go and look at the large primary and ask awkward questions.)
The more you see and ask for yourself the better you will know what is the right decision for you and your daughter.
Could you apply for a bursary for the prep school?
we have seen all the schools, just time to start making decisions!
Well do contact them if further questions come up. And I would always advise applying to State even if just as a back up to private (you never know).
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