Move back to state primary after disappointing private in 1-2 terms

(31 Posts)
herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 20:11:42

My DD changed school from state to private last Sep, beginning of year 4, because of continuous issue of teachers leaving and poor management. She is getting settled in the new private school quite well, making friends. But to my surprise, teaching, especially in maths, has turned out not as good as expected. DD feels it is too easy and she was more challenged in the old school! The private school has good reputation of happy, all round education, which was why I choose over the more academic school. Now I wonder if DD needed a more academic school.

DD says she does not hate the new school, but would prefer the old state school, where teaching was better. Did I make a mistake? Am I wasting 3k per term fee? Should I move her back to the old school, as DD wants?? She does not want to move to another new school, which I can understand.

What would you do in my situation??? Many thanks for any thoughts.

MillyMollyMama Sat 01-Feb-14 13:54:42

You absolutely cannot expect a private school to be able to get all its pupils into a selective secondary. There are some children in private prep schools who really struggle so they will always need a non selective senior school.

It is also perfectly possible to have a useless teacher teaching 14 children if the lessons are not built on prior learning and differentiated. This is critical and can be a poor feature in prep schools who have a fairly ordinary academic profile. Obviously the 10 better children are n the top set of only 2 sets. This sounds like a variety of attainment to me so it could well be that the teacher is not taking prior attainment into account. This is bad practice and not good enough.

ChocolateWombat Fri 31-Jan-14 09:13:37

I think you probably need to stick with it. Moving a child in the first place is a big decision. I think when you do that, you need to then be prepared to stay with it for continuity sake (unless there is a serious prob) and accept nowhere is perfect. Moving again would be a big disruption.
It is easy to feel there is always somewhere better. Listening to school gate gossip can particularly make you feel like that I think. There might be somewhere better, but you have made a decision to be where you are, based on careful consideration of the information available at the time. Do speak to the Head again, but try to see the positives and remember why you went there I. The first place and what you didn't like about the old one. Try not to look for better alternatives....you will always think you have found one, but constantly looking doesnt help.
Best of luck.

Laura0806 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:49:28

She was at private school for 5 terms and back in state primary by term 3 of year 2. No awkwardness to be honest and shes quite shy, she settled back in well. The only awkwardness was felt by me to be honest having to explain myself! I have 3 other children aswell who I didn't move as they didn't have the same issues as her. I feel I completely wasted a lot of money which we don't really have . I don't think all privates are like this but I think there are a fair few that are. Maybe the head will change things for your dd but in mine they just plodded along saying it was at thre right level for her. Well it was at the same level as most of the rest of the class and seeing as she has now been assessed as having a reading age and spelling age 4 years above her chronological age, it isn't likely but despite their small numbers they didn't pick up on this. I think state school teachers are under a lot more obligation to assess and differentiate and private schools have much their own agenda, which can be very good but can also be very poor . feel free to pm any questions and good luck with your decision

herdream1 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:20:24

Hi Laura0806, may I ask how long your DD stayed with the private school and which year? Did she find it easy to move back to her previous state primary or with some awkwardness? Thank you.

herdream1 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:12:49

Hi Laura0806, how long your DD stayed at the private school and which year? Did she settled back to her previous state school quickly with no problem? Thank you.

ah, see you answered that question...

at that age, children are quite good at saying things to sway your opinion.

She might just try to "play" you, to get back to her old school (where her friends are!)

Now, your private primary, where do the majority of kids go for secondary? If it is a selective secondary, you should be able to count on them getting them to adequate levels at maths and English, otherwise they would not get in. (our private school does mental maths every morning, kids know times table " answer within 1 second" by year 2/3, and I have just been in to say they are a bit too pushy IMO!

Timetoask Thu 30-Jan-14 13:01:22

Is it a very small school? Do they not stream the children?
My son's prep schools has 4 streams for Maths in year 3 and 4.

Laura0806 Thu 30-Jan-14 12:57:50

wondering if its the same school as my dd went to. I took her out of state into private and then back to our local state. I moved her into private as she was so shy and I thought the smaller classes would help but became very frustrated by the lack of differentiation. The 'bottom' half got extra help whilst the 'top' half were all taught the same boring stuff that my dd knew inside out and back to front.I thought they rested on their laurels as they knew my dd would sail into their senior school so they concentrrted on helping those who wouldn't. Again they made sure they wouldn't loose the top half to other schools as there would be no way any of them would get scholarships with the slow speed of teaching. AT her state school dont get me wrong there are issues but she is challenged more and at least Im not paying for the pleasure of a lacklustre education as i was before

herdream1 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:48:12

What made me think yesterday were, 1) a mum at the school gate said that the school has been known to be not good at teaching maths and children need extra supports for 11plus 2) another mum whose DD is leaving, gave me lots of negatives, bullies, head's laziness, being behind is maths, etc about the school. 3) DD complained the maths is too easy at school..

DD was assessed when joined and I gave them the report from the previous school. I think the teacher knows where DD's level is. Maybe it is more to do with the policy about how much challenge/stretch they think the children need. The school might not be aiming to bring the children to the level I think is necessary for 11plus, probably as they have their own senior school?

It is time to book a 11plus tutor for year 5 and I want to know if the school is really preparing DD for the exam. They, surely, say yes they are, but in reality most/all children have private tutors. It is hard!

tiggytape Thu 30-Jan-14 10:08:12

That's the same for all parents I think - it is so hard to know if you are doing the right thing because you never get to know what the alternatives would have been like.

That's not to say you have to put up with things that aren't right though and hopefully you'll find they are just letting DD settle in gently and things will pick up this term. Do they have all her records from her last school? Do they do class assessments? Perhaps once they know her a bit better they will increase the pace of the work a bit? It is still fairly early days.

herdream1 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:58:37

Hi tiggytape, You are completely right. Thank you!

I did not want my DD to go to the academic school as it did not have the same happy feel. I had expected this non academic (but supposedly better than most state schools) private school to be able to provide suitable level of works to DD. And they should be! So I will keep talking to the school, while continue working with her at home.

I think I would always wonder if I have made a right decision. In the end, we have to just pick a school and then deal with the unexpected problems the best way we can.

tiggytape Wed 29-Jan-14 23:18:14

There must have been a reason you took her out of her old school

If it was because it wasn't academically challenging enough, why did you choose an easy-going private school instead of a more academic one?
If the answer is because you wanted her to be happy / have a rounded experience / not be overly pushed why are you now unhappy that she is settled but not being pushed?

I presume the old problems of poor management and staff turnover hasn't massively improved since you left (or maybe it has) so a move back to what you were unhappy with before doesn't sound like the best solution.

Assuming the financial side is manageable and she is generally happy, there must be a way tou can work with the school a bit longer before considering moving her again? You must have thought long and hard about moving her in the first place and it would be a big deal to move her back again unless you are absolutely certain you cannot be happy with the current school and you will be happy with the one you move her to.

herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 22:14:04

Hello itsahen, thanks for your posts. The previous state primary was really not good in reception, year 1 and year 2. DD made a good progress in year 3 but we also worked at home every day. Her progress in year 2 was nearly none, some of her friends' maths level went down after a year. So we decided, after many long thoughts, that the state school is not good enough. They may have better/more committed teachers now, or DD's next teacher (if DD moved back there) might leave in the middle of autumn term, as the previous example. No way to tell.

We thought about moving house, instead of choosing a private school, nearer to a better state primary. But that involved lots of costs and no guarantee of a place at a good/oversubscribed school. We have only one child and we decided that for 3 years we pay for the fee.

itsahen Wed 29-Jan-14 22:01:51

I didn't mean to be harsh with my original comment but I sometimes wonder what private education gets you, if you already have access to a good state primary. Better facilities I would expect but also 'better' teaching - not due to teacher competence but due to small classes, resources and less disruption. If I was paying and dd was in a class of 14 I would expect very high standards of attention. It's so hard to compare apples with pears especially where tutoring is involved too. Definately worth taking a very holistic view

herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 21:50:29

Hi nonicknameseemsavailable, ther old state school has places. It is a small village school which has never been oversubscribed.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 29-Jan-14 21:46:53

I expect though that her place in her previous school will now have been given to another child so going back is probably not even an option.

herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 21:46:12

Hi Littlefish, yes I will see the head again for more talks.
It is hard to know how good the year 3 teacher was. DD progressed from 3C to 4C in a year (we also do maths works every day) so she must be good.
DD's current teacher at private is good too, I think. Just that the work is not pitched at the right level for DD.

Maybe DD is now getting to work to her potential and her teacher is not yet catching up..

Thank you for your post, very helpful.

herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 21:37:30

Hi ICanTotallyDance, thank you for the post.

DD's current private school runs to year 6 and has a senior school. Some people says the reason for not pushing the children academically is so they do not loose much to grammars = they get good number move onto their senior school, I do not know.

They follow the national curriculum, and supposed to be a year ahead, but DD finds the maths at the private school is not much harder than her old state school, possibly easier.

The private school says they prepare for 11plus, but in reality just doing VR, when the weight of VR in 11plus has been greatly reduced lately (not accommodating to the change in 11plus, another frustration.)

I agree that the grass always look greener. There is always the risk in choosing a school.

For secondary school, we probably choose a state school, for the fees.

Littlefish Wed 29-Jan-14 21:37:00

I think you should go back and see the Headteacher again.

Are you taking your dd's word for it that the teacher at her previous school was good? What was your opinion of her?

I would strongly counsel against moving her again before the end of this academic year. In my opinion, it takes longer than a term or so for children to settle into a new school and start working to their full potential.

herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 21:26:07

Hi MillyMollyMama, The private school does have a varied children, just as the state school. So achieving better results could mean better teaching but there are more children with private tutors at the privates, making it harder to compare.

Her current class has 14 children, who made into two maths groups: 10 higher level and 4 lower. The 10 children seems to be given the same works, which I find it disappointing. Do you think they should be able to differentiate within the top group?

The school do have a good reputation. I had talked with mums whose children were there, but not a bad comment while I was choosing the school.

DD had a same teacher in year 3 at the sate school, and DD says this teacher was good, though she had 6 weeks of sick leave and as a deputy, were absent from the classroom in so many occasions.

ICanTotallyDance Wed 29-Jan-14 21:05:46

So let me understand, there are three schools here?

1) your child's former state school
2) your child's current private school (happy kids but not great learning)
3) a second, more academic private school which you aren't involved with.

Does your current school end at year 6, 8 or 11/13? It could be worth sticking it out in the hopes that teaching improves as time goes on but after a term they should have cottoned on to your DD and be providing more challenging work. Is it possible that the state/private curriculum doesn't quite line up and they are working in a different order (so maybe your DD repeated some work last term but will move onto more difficult work now?).

I have just read your above post where it seems that children are tutored for 11+ at this school.

Overall it does sound like maybe she would have done better at the third school but the grass does always look greener. Perhaps finish this year (I assume you have to hand in notice or pay a term's fee when you leave?) and then move back. If you were so dissatisfied with the first school, I would encourage you to investigate other state and private schools in the area though. It may not be worth it for just year 5 and 6 but maybe a prep that goes to year 8 (or right through to senior) or a really good state school would be worth having to resettle.

MillyMollyMama Wed 29-Jan-14 21:05:19

What you should look at is how much progress the children make, not what results are. If the private school children start from a higher level when entering school, they should get better results at the end. I am surprised the independent school did not assess what your daughter can do and set her work according to her ability. That is not rocket science and any good school would do that. Do not assume all private schools are good though. Many wing it because children are tutored! Why did you choose the independent school if it does not meet your daughter's needs? It is quite an expensive purchase. You say your DD had a succession of teachers in the state school, yet your DD thought she was better taught there. This is somewhat inconsistent! How good is the teaching if you go back? What about the other subjects?

If you change schools again, go back to the first one, don't look for yet another one. You could then afford a tutor if you need one.

Helpyourself Wed 29-Jan-14 20:51:42

Re 'over- acceleration': other countries, countries that do better according to the Pisa rankings, don't start formal education until 7; we start here at 4.

herdream1 Wed 29-Jan-14 20:44:28

Hi Helpyourself, Thanks for the post. Would you explain what you mean by state school over accelerate at KS1?

My DD's KS1 years were horrible in terms of learning (though children were happy playing to no end) with no structure as they had numerous teachers who did not communicate with each other.

The private has about three times more success at 11plus and much better SATs results, but maybe because of the parents' supports.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now