Calling all mums who send their children to top private prep schools what do they teach compared to state school and more advice needed!

(112 Posts)
Beige1 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:39:29

Hi

Please can you tell me what do they exactly teach children in top private preps compared to state schools? My DS is 3 years old and wondering weather it's worth scrimping and saving to send him to a private prep

On the other hand, is it better to send to good state school and just try to teach at home/ get a private tutor. If so what do I have to make sure I teach him

Ultimately, I would like to try and get him into a grammar school.

Really clueless about all this.

Thanks

Beige1 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:49:37

Oops I meant pre prep

lunar1 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:59:47

Ds1 is in an independent prep school in reception. It is not a top one though and is non selective.

I am not sure how it compares to state, but he gets 1:1 reading time three days a week. They follow the eyfs for the most part, but because it is private it is very well funded so they have lots of resources.

Some of the selective ones I saw were very different and had 4 year olds sat at a table learning for most of the day.

Our school has a higher than average (for our local area) number of children with disabilities and children with statements. Parents do contribute if 1:1 support is needed, but not the full cost, it is subsidised.

One of the biggest pluses for me is that due to religion we were only offered a school in special measures. This school was not suitable for many reasons, one of which being that it was very 'white British'. My children are mixed race and we felt it important that they attended a more diverse school.

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 17:16:15

Not all the reasons for private school are curricular. Some people just don't want their precious children mixing with the oily locals.

Pre-school education is pretty basic stuff.

MerlinFromCamelot Wed 19-Feb-14 17:31:49

If it is 11+ you are worried about would suggest state primary and prep for the 11+ privately outside school. Done the same with DD1 who is now af the local GS. We did not have a tutor either, just kept on top of maths, English and got the practice materials from WHS.

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 17:57:50

3yo is a bit young for worrying about 11+

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 19-Feb-14 18:12:11

have PM'd you

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:19:10

My daughter is five and in her first year of school, at an all girls selective private school. I have no idea what they do at state school, but she does spend a lot of her day at a table learning, she is on red level reading books (but she is the youngest and weakest in her class so some are much farther on), they do quite a bit of number work- at the moment subtracting one/ two from numbers up to thirty and some addition work/ number bonds. She does PE three times a week and it is quite competitive, plus a club one afternoon a week (science/ judo/ ballet/ French/ sports). There is a lot of work on public speaking with monthly assemblies for parents to attend where each girl has a speaking role.They also have quite a long day 8.30- 3pm, but many stay for after school club. She is in an all girls school and there are 16 in her class. I believe this is very similar or the other private schools where we are (Scotland).

Sundaedelight Wed 19-Feb-14 18:30:57

People choose to send their children to a preprep to give their child the best start when learning the key skills which will see them through primary, senior and further education.

Further, it is a bonus to get away from narrow-minded people who make sweeping statements such as: *Not all the reasons for private school are curricular. Some people just don't want their precious children mixing with the oily locals.

Pre-school education is pretty basic stuff.* Well that's a HUGE insult to the talented, hard-working specialists who spend hours planning and teaching pre-school. It's actually key. Get that bit wrong and your child is forever playing catch up.

I wanted lots of sport, music and art too.

Sundaedelight Wed 19-Feb-14 18:31:56

People choose to send their children to a preprep to give their child the best start when learning the key skills which will see them through primary, senior and further education.

Further, it is a bonus to get away from narrow-minded people who make sweeping statements such as: Not all the reasons for private school are curricular. Some people just don't want their precious children mixing with the oily locals.

Pre-school education is pretty basic stuff. Well that's a HUGE insult to the talented, hard-working specialists who spend hours planning and teaching pre-school. It's actually key. Get that bit wrong and your child is forever playing catch up.

I wanted lots of sport, music and art too.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:37:25

I agree that it is vital to get the basics right with literacy and numeracy and that was one of my concerns with some state schools that talked a lot about 'learning through play'. I am sure that it has it's merits but I personally wanted my daughter to go to a school that focused on more traditional teaching methods.

bonvivant Wed 19-Feb-14 18:43:37

My DS goes to a selective prep that feeds into an independent senior school. I think the curriculum is probably very similar to state but I think the work is more intense and he gets a lot more homework. I didn't want him to have to do a full school week and then have extra tutoring to get into the senior school. The prep 'prepares' him to get into the senior school - it was the senior school I was more concerned about, not the prep if that makes sense.

Yamagirl Wed 19-Feb-14 18:57:35

Hi there Beige1, I think it's one of those questions that will have many different responses! For us, both children got into top selective preps. They did not go to private pre-prep or had any tutoring. From my experience, top preps offer a wide range of opportunities and facilities that on the whole you just can't get at an outstanding primary. For me, that's more important - gaining a wider, more rounded experience at school, rather than just an improved academic performance. By this I mean fantastic sporting facilities, theatre, orchestra etc. Also for us, avoiding the 11+ stress has huge advantages. For us choosing the right school that was well rounded and not pretentious was key, not all top selective preps are the same at all. At the end of the day, it will be what's right for you and your child. For us it's worth it and good luck with your decision making.

Misfitless Wed 19-Feb-14 19:01:48

scarlettsmummy, so at age 5, your DD is in an all girls' school?

I know I'm being nosy, and hijacking the thread, but does that mean that your DD is going to go through her whole school life being educated exclusively with girls?

(Sorry, OP.)

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 19:06:51

theatre and orchestra?

They're doing Hamlet and Beethoven's Fifth in prep school? Where do I sign up?

Do they shrink the double bass? Last time my toddler played mine it squashed her.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Wed 19-Feb-14 19:07:24

We've tettered but actually the learning "through play" for as long as possible was important to us, and a key factor in favour of our state school.

My daughter is reading well and progressing well in maths despite being in a mixed cohort. As she gets older though I worry about get not having many peers at a similar level.

8.40-3 here and she does an out of school club anyway.

Lovecat Wed 19-Feb-14 19:09:00

DD (year 4) is in a private prep. It's very mixed in terms of class and race, not 'posh' at all, but quite academic. Classes of c.20-odd, wraparound care, we can walk there, nearest RC school - a variety of reasons why we sent her there.

One of the girls left last year to go to an Outstanding local primary and we have stayed in touch - she says that she has already done everything they're covering in Y4 and is in all the top sets because of it - and is bored rigid. They don't get even half the homework that DD's school give, either (not that I'm sure this is a point in DD's school's favour, though hmm).

They also don't do the verbal/non-verbal reasoning tests that DD has been drilled in since Y2, which I believe form a large part of the 11+ exam (correct me if I'm wrong!).

Apart from that there isn't much difference - I think on balance the state school does more in terms of art and sport.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 19-Feb-14 19:15:33

For me it's about the languages the basics in French, Italian, Spanish and Madarin by the end of year 6.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Wed 19-Feb-14 19:17:33

I'd rather my daughter didn't have homework at a young age but I do hope she doesn't get bored as she gets older (as I did!)

From what I read currently though state schools are expected to differentiate far more than when I was young.

Misfitless Wed 19-Feb-14 19:22:43

None of mine go to private schools.

Surely one of the main differences is the staff to pupil ratio. Even if they are teaching pretty much the same curriculum using the same methods, and even if the resources are similar, smaller classes mean that each child is less likely to merge into the background/go unnoticed/be over looked, or be expected to do work that is too easy/too difficult.

It amazes me how teachers manage with 30 plus children in a class!

And as someone said, private education provides opportunities for sports and after school activities that you might not get in a state school.

Having said that, the school my DCs are at is excellent at providing free sports and activities after school, and I doubt the equivalent is free in a private school, but what do I know!

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 19:27:19

It amazes me how teachers manage with 30 plus children in a class!

Well, some don't, clearly. It obviously depends on the children, largely. But if you pay lots, or are lucky enough to live somewhere nice, all the children are hand picked, so are lovely.

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 19:28:43

And if you pay lots, some of the hand picked children can be expelled too, if they don't stay lovely for the whole school term.

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 19:39:59

My children are in a bog standard nonselective prep school. My son joined from a Good state primary in Y1. They said he was a year behind. State school had said nothing was wrong with him. We had no idea. Autism was diagnosed subsequently. Now doing well, going to top senior private school.

Dd in same school from nursery. She seems much more switched on compared to DS. But the school not happy that she's a bit slow in maths, and she gets one to one support weekly. She is in y2.

Can't really comment on specific curriculum differences, but they do Latin and French from age 5. Not fluent after six years of it though!

Around 15 in a class.

Daily sport/pe. Homework done at school.

Music lessons popular, but we got hacked off with the schools overpriced (him leveraging his position not the schools fault) guitar teacher, and we found a much better teacher privately.

But you are clearly left out if your kids are not doing several after school activities e.g. Drama, ballet, violin, etc.

Eventually we figured out with DS that most of it was a waste of time, so he just does music and one activity.

BrianTheMole Wed 19-Feb-14 19:50:27

columngollum you seem to have a bit of an issue with private schools. I take it you wouldn't send your dc to one then, if you think primary education is pretty basic stuff?

MerlinFromCamelot Wed 19-Feb-14 20:09:25

I think it is perfectly possible to provide the same quality education in state primary provided you keep taps on maths and English and suplement with out of school activities. DD was fluent in French before she went to secondary. She had a lot of opportunities to practise French conversation with native speakers. I think prep schools are probably better if you intend to go on to an independent secondary. It is all about choices in the end but I don't think going to a prep is the only way to get a good education, what happens at home is just as important if not more than what goes on in school.

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