Moving from private to state school

(24 Posts)
neshi Sat 19-Apr-14 21:59:37

Has anyone has experience from moving a child from private to state school?
My Ds has been in private school since he's 2 and will start reception next September. I've made the application for state school never dreaming I would actually get a place where I wanted but surprise surprise, we've been offered a place in our first choice! And it's an grated outstanding school!

I know I should be super exited and grateful, we've been offered our first choice in a apparently great school in London....but my heart really is in the private school...

Ds is a very shy child, not easy to settle in and used to a very familiar environment school. I'm used to be able to chat with the teachers every day when I pick him up, to know if he ate alright every meal, to be able to grab teachers for a 5 min talk if needed be and I'm so afraid to lose that and that Ds son feels lost and unsupported in a big school.
I think this feeling comes from not knowing what to expect in state school...
So please come and tell me honestly, am being completely silly? Is there any reason to be nervous about an outstanding state school in comparison to a private school? Will I be able to communicate with the teachers and feel like a part of my child's education?
In the end I'm taking him away from private because it would be a huge effort to support two private fees...I have Dd one year younger.

Sorry if this sounds arrogant or presumptuous of me vs state schools, that's not the intention at all...

whatcolour Sat 19-Apr-14 22:59:56

Our state school is 3 form intake and we has all the things you are looking for . Visit the school again. Ask questions, potentially save huge £££

Bogeyface Sat 19-Apr-14 23:08:52

I am confused. There is no such thing as private school for 2 year olds in the UK is there?

If you mean a private day nursery then my kids went to those and into state school with no problems. Reception classes are full of a mix of kids who went to private nursery, state nursery (precious little places there!), child minder, no nursery at all....

He will be fine.

neshi Sat 19-Apr-14 23:22:21

Yes Bogey, you're right, he's in a private nursery. I tend to call it school because it's a nursery and pre-prep school and it's where he would start reception if we hadn't been offered this state school place...

MrsSteptoe Sat 19-Apr-14 23:23:17

Hi OP, I don't have the direct experience you're describing as DS was in a state nursery and then a state primary in London.
All I can tell you is that DS's primary was a lovely, nurturing school, where you could always grab the teacher and ask questions and DS never felt lost or alone or unsupported. I guess it's possible that having had the private pre school experience, you might initially feel a bit as though the state sector is a bit more "you just have to fit in and rub along", but if it's a good primary, I am really confident that you won't regret your decision.
Have confidence, trust your DC, and remember that it's not set in stone and if it really doesn't work out, there's plenty of time to move him or her back to the private sector. But if the school's a good one, I'm sure you won't need to.
Best of luck, OP!

You're trying to make more than one comparison here. You're going private to state, but you're also going pre-school to school. Do you have a realistic expectation you'd continue to have quite the same level of interaction with the teachers if you stuck with private, as he goes from pre-school to Reception? I'm guessing things would change - and if not this year, they'd certainly change bit by bit as he gets older anyway.

When DD was in Reception we I could have grabbed the teacher any day for a talk, but there was no opportunity to talk casually about just any old thing, not an option with a class of 30. But there was never any problem talking to her if I NEEDED to. I could have found out how DD was eating at lunchtime if I'd been concerned, but it would have been a case of talking to the teacher and requesting that a lunchtime supervisor keep an eye out. Not like nursery where they had 1:8 staff:child ratio and the person who'd helped your child with their meals would be in the room when you picked up.

What a good school will do is make sure your DS doesn't get lost in the system - and often it's the bigger schools that are really good at this, as they know they need to be.

Bogeyface Sat 19-Apr-14 23:53:55

Dontcallme makes a good point.

It wouldnt matter if you were state to state or private to private. School is totally different to nursery, its more structured, there are (usually) less staff to pupils, more expectations of independence (such as toileting and meal times).

And you have said that you would struggle with 2 sets of fees, so you would need to go to state at some point. Better to do that in reception where every child is starting at the same point in the same school. They will all be new, all learning together. Far worse for him to have say 3 years in pre-prep and then move to state. I assume your DD will also go to the state school?

mummytime Sun 20-Apr-14 07:57:05

My DD went to a private nursery /pre-prep, a lot of her class left for Reception. About half went to a state school and the others to various selective Independents. It is really no issue. Lots of children have also gone from our local pre-school to a very selective boys Prep. At this level they should be studying in a similar way in most settings.
My DC have all been through a 2 form entry, 30 pupils per class state school and I have always been able to grab the teacher after school if necessary, their lunch time eating has been monitored etc.

However moving from Nursery to School is always a big step, you don't get daily reports on what has been going on. You have to trust the school more and to allow your child to separate more - this is whether it is private or state. Lots of children who were described as quiet at Nursery have coped very well with a big busseling Reception class, and even grown out of their shells.

Its a nice age to make the transition.

hiccupgirl Sun 20-Apr-14 08:17:31

Mine will be moving from a private day nursery he has been at since 8 months old to a state school in a class of 30. I have to admit I do worry as he's used to being in a class of 16 and the level of care is amazing.

But we managed to get a place at our 1st choice which is a single class entry primary with a lovely atmosphere and great facilities. I think he will be ok. If we had got our catchment school which takes 90 and isn't as holistic in its care then we would have been looking at a local private school.

You have to go with what you're happy with as long as its affordable. But there will be kids coming from lots of different preschools and nurseries - yours won't be the only one.

pommedeterre Sun 20-Apr-14 09:19:27

We are in exactly the same situation! Not in London but otherwise exactly the same for dd1 . We have dd2 due to start at the pre prep in sept and a dc3 due in sept too.

I haven't even been round the state school properly!

pommedeterre Sun 20-Apr-14 09:20:51

Oh and someone on here pointed out I need to tell the private ASAP if we're not doing reception to avoid having to pay the fees for the autumn term anyway.

It sounds to me like you don't really want to send your child to state school anyway?

Mine went state to private ( and soon back to state again, for secondary) in yrs 1 and 3 resp. And the main thing is the class size, also parents' attitude to teachers can be different (private school teachers have to take even more crap, imo)

Also, sport is included, proper training and matches, and more music and drama opportunties.

All round, private school for us has been better for our kids, one who has SEN and benefited from calmer smaller classes and more support, and the other one is doing great, but was doing great at state school too, so would have been fine either way.

We can't afford private for secondary, but are glad they had a few years of it, it's been a good decision for us.

Look at your local secondaries is my advice, and if money is an issue, choose the excellent primary then private secondary, or if your catchment secondary is great as well, do private first, then state for secondary. The latter is a "game plan" some of my friends follow, the kids are about a yr ahead in terms of maths and English by y6, so get into top sets at the State Secondary.

You need a long term plan .

pommedeterre Sun 20-Apr-14 14:43:23

We're going to aim for the first of your strategies I think fiscal.

neshi Sun 20-Apr-14 21:33:13

Thank you for all the answers.
My preference would be for Ds to stay in private school where he is now...it would mean less change for him, he knows all the faces, it's a familiar and small school. But reality is, we cannot afford rent plus two private school fees, so decision is made.
Most of my insecurities are based on my lack of knowledge about the new school, about the transition between nursery and reception. I hope he will be ok and settle in ok, and if not, as some of you mention, I can always bring him back to private school even if it means a stretch in our bank account!

neshi Sun 20-Apr-14 21:36:10

Pommedeterre you made me think about the notice period for private school but, according to rules, they require a 2 month period notice, so I will only tell them a bit later on...

pointythings Sun 20-Apr-14 21:47:44

Mine were in private nursery - no state nurseries here - but it was just a nursery, not a pre-prep. It was small, no more than 32 children, but both my DDs made the transition to Reception with no problems. Reception teachers tend to be really good at settling young children in and picking up on which ones are finding it hard, if it's an outstanding school your DS should do just fine.

MrsSteptoe Sun 20-Apr-14 21:50:14

This is partly about getting used to the big hurdles, OP, moving kids from one school to another and so on. I'm sure you won't look back once he's there!

Nestabee Sun 20-Apr-14 22:17:02

I think you need to be open minded and try to put your previous experience of the private preschool aside.

If you start comparing them then obviously the state school will look lacking simply because of things like ratios and a more personal relationship etc. These sort of things are unfair to compare as at a state school there will be 30 children, one teacher and a nursery nurse/assistant.

Look at the school with fresh eyes. Look at the money you'll be saving. Look at lack of stress with regards to paying school fees with an overstretched budget. Look further ahead and think about having 2 children at an outstanding school.

Also think about what you would do if you do stay private and then somewhere in the future you can't afford the fees at all and then you have to send your children to a less outstanding school, as you no longer have the option of an outstanding school as it is full.

Bogeyface Mon 21-Apr-14 00:22:00

Private doesnt always equal better. In fact there is a private school near me that I wouldnt consider even if someone else was paying the fees, their results are appalling! I would take an outstanding state school over an "ok" independent any day of the week. do you know how hard a school has to work to be "outstanding" bearing in mind the number of children that attend and their individual needs?

Its just a big change, change is always unsettling. It doesnt matter whether you are state or private, the first day at "big school" always means a playground full of mothers trying not to cry!

Your DS's new school will be bending over backwards to ensure that the transition to school is as enjoyable as possible for all their children. At our school, teachers and TAs visit children at home before they start; there is a taster visit; children have photos taken at home which the teachers put on display in classrooms so the child walks in on the first morning and sees themselves on the wall; the teachers are excellent at being available to parents before and after school.

Your DS will forget his nursery classmates very quickly and make new friends, young children are vastly more flexible socially than adults.

LIZS Mon 21-Apr-14 08:42:15

I'd be cautious about the notice period . 2 months may apply to the nursery rather than not to taking up a Reception place which would usually be a full term.

pommedeterre Mon 21-Apr-14 08:55:27

It's a full term for us at our prep so I need to be doing it first day of term (Wednesday). I wouldn't have thought school holidays count?

PrettyBelle Wed 23-Apr-14 13:52:48

neshi, as a mother with a son in a private school I am inclined to think that it's not your child who would need "getting used" to a state school - it's you. He might not get the same as what he is getting now but he will get used to the new environment soon enough. They all do at Reception. If the state school is good and friendly your boy will be fine - and that's what you are trying to ensure.

neshi Wed 23-Apr-14 17:08:55

Well, decision made, state school it is!
I'm much more reassured now, after speaking to loads of people with the same experience, hearing you ladies here and visiting the school and actually really liked it!
Thank you for all the answers!
x

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