'Why I send my child to a private school' Guardian piece...

(307 Posts)
PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 12:43:48

Is there no thread on it? Surely there must be.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jul/23/why-send-child-to-private-school here
It's just so badly written with lots of fatuous unsupported statements. She's been so suckered by that clever thing that private nurseries do to encourage parents to sign up until 11. Our local one makes the nursery children buy and wear the uniform in the pre-reception year. Especially if the uniform has an expensive boater as hers does (I always notice that the most prestigious schools around us have the least pretentious uniform).
And as for 'Katy's exceeding national expectations', well, a good section of children in a state school will do the same, doh, as you'd know if you really were an educational expert.
And that bit about how lots of children would thrive in a non-academic environment/technical school. But not her child of course.
Oh and she lives in Kent so I think we know the answer to her point about her going private if she's not happy with the secondary school provision.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 12:44:34
tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 12:59:25

We live in an area where lots of people are 'forced' to go private. Obviously that sounds like a ridiculous statement to many but what I mean is a lot of kids do not get a place at any local school and, rather than go to a failing school several miles away, their parents cripple themselves and go private.

For that reason there isn't such a huge a private - state school divide here like there is in areas where you can actually get into a local school. In fact many people we know have experienced a bit of both (gone private for primary because there were no school places but state for secondary and vice versa).
We also know lots of people with one child in private and one in state which is totally acceptable here because of the school shortage thing but seems a big taboo elsewhere.
The main differences they comment on are the wrap around care issues (a big deal for working parents since many primary schools here don't even have a breakfast club let alone after school care) and also specialist lessons earlier.

I haven't ever really heard the view that private is better than state except in the childcare sense. People happily jump at the state options when they come up and people in local state schools feel sorry for friends who don;t get a place and kind of get forced into going private. Mind you all the prep school kids are scruffier than the state ones - no straw boaters in sight so maybe the private schools in my area aren't posh enough to be significantly better and the state schools are pretty good (if you can get in) so there's no advantage to avoiding them?

Elibean Tue 24-Jul-12 13:02:33

Most of dd's Y3 (State) class 'exceeded national expectations' at the end of this year hmm

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 13:05:22

Tiggytape it's an absolute disgrace for children to have no place at a local school and I can quite see why this would lead parents to go private when previously they haven't considered it. But the author of the piece wasn't forced, although she claims it was 'accidental' (she fell over and her pen landed on the admissions form?). She does what so many parents I see do, she justifies it with some codswallop about how their child is so very sensitive or so very bright, as if all children in state schools are thick brutes.
Worse she then goes and does down the whole state system in a national paper with unsubstantiated cliches about comprehensives encouraging mediocrity.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 13:07:20

Exactly Elibean - that's always going to be the case isn't it? Some will meet expectations, some won't and some will exceed them. And, on the whole, the well-supported child with no specific educational need will probably exceed them.

Iamnotminterested Tue 24-Jul-12 13:23:45

"Bright children who enjoy academic learning deserve the chance to be educated with like-minded peers".

Shit. I'm sending my DD to our local, non-selective, truly comprehensive school in September; sounds like she's going to be in classes of baboons, then?!

Iamnotminterested Tue 24-Jul-12 13:25:25

Right, Janet Murray, your DD's "Way above national expectations" levels then, please; let's compare with our poor, state-educated thickos.

RaisinBoys Tue 24-Jul-12 13:33:21

I think the choices people make concerning the education of their own children is their own business.

They don't need to "justify" it to me and I can't imagine why I would be interested in reading about said choice.

gladders Tue 24-Jul-12 13:38:16

I absolutely object to her identifying with Diane Abbott's statement "I'm and mother first and a politician second".

Surely if you have strong political beliefs, they impact on every aspect of the way you live your life. To claim to believe in state education and then go private is the height of hypocrisy.

It's common though.One of my most left wing friends (sis is a Labour Minister) has chosen to edcuate her children privately after realising how bad her local state options were....

dixiechick1975 Tue 24-Jul-12 13:42:49

Maybe the point of the article is to show there is a choice?

I personally had no idea that the local private school would take DD 8-6 if I wished from age 3 or run holiday care open to 3 year olds. I consequently paid more for her to attend a local day care nursery.

blisterpack Tue 24-Jul-12 13:47:32

Wow, her daughter is exceeding national expectations for her age. Super that the 1000s of £££ paid to the school is working then. How touchingly naive.

I have no problem with people educating privately, go for it if you want to and have the resources. But this person seems to be pitifully oblivious to the fact that state school pupils are achieving all that her daughter is and more for free.

MoreBeta Tue 24-Jul-12 13:50:44

Sorry but that whole article made me go hmm.

Our DCs go private and if we had a decent state grammar nearby I would happily send them there - but we don't and I dont have any guilt about paying for it instead.

My parents sent me to private school for exactly the same reason as we send our DCs - the local state school option was useless.

I don't know why Labour politicians, BBC, Guardian, and the liberal intelligensia in general can't just say out loud that some state schools are rubbish and I don't want my DCs in them and just have done with the hand ringing.

BeingFluffy Tue 24-Jul-12 14:04:09

There are good and bad aspects to private education. Our experience was very positive in that the school was open from 7.30am - 6pm and there were also year round holiday clubs, where they did interesting things. They also had quite a few kids with SN who were funded by LA's or parents, which has I think made both my DD treat autistic people or people who look a bit different as "normal".

The main downside was academic. It was awful. When my younger DD started at a state school in year 4 the Head told me that she reminded him of children who had never been to school, she was completely lacking in academic skills. My elder DD who is naturally very bright got into a super selective but was found to be years behind in maths.

Classes of 12 are too small in my opinion. The other downside was social - there were very few friends to choose from and you had to be friends with people you didn't particularly hit if off with.

Both my children go to outstanding state schools but I live in an area where most children do go to private school. The majority just would not consider state schools. There are a number of outstanding schools in my borough and neighbouring boroughs, it just doesn't fit into their perception of their lifestyle and status. I don't really care if people want to go private it is up to them. I do mind when they look down on state schools thought. My DD2 went to the party of a girl she knows from an out of school activity earlier this year, and the Mum literally recoiled in shock when I mentioned which school DD2 goes to!

azazello Tue 24-Jul-12 14:07:01

My DD goes private because it would cost more in legal fees, estate agents cost and stamp duty to move into the catchment area of the nearest good secondary than to pay 7 years of school fees.

If the local state schools were good (or at least better than the current 21% pass at A* to C for GCSE, I really wouldn't bd paying. No boaters here either. Trousers and sweatshirts for girls.

blisterpack Tue 24-Jul-12 14:17:26

Is one of the main reasons for choosing private school the fact that they have school the whole day? I was just wondering because the writer of the article mentions that more state schools should have that, and a couple of people on this thread have referred to the hours as well.

Elibean Tue 24-Jul-12 14:18:34

I totally understand people choosing private schools if there are no reasonable state schools around. I can see myself agonizing over that one if things haven't improved near us in a few years' time.

But the article is pretty hmm - lots of guilt and self-justification, which I don't really want to read.

What is hand ringing, btw? <dim emoticon>

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 14:26:15

Me too Elibean, I am undecided about secondary, but I will make a considered decision based on thorough investigation, not on which school offers me coffee or not.
I'm not, on balance, a fan of private education. I'm even less of a fan of flannelly, rubbishy journalism. And I'm a fool to react in this way, because it's the Guardian being just as bad as the Daily Mail in promoting silly views from (invariably) women and then sitting back and letting the comments pour in. Cf Rachel Cusk etc.

MoreBeta Tue 24-Jul-12 14:33:30

Erm.... 'hand ringing' should read 'hand wringing'. blush

It means gripping your hands together in prayer and sort of twisting them in an angsty fashion like you are wringing out a dishcloth. grin

NarkedRaspberry Tue 24-Jul-12 14:34:04

11 in a class.

State can't compete with that, full stop.

Chandon Tue 24-Jul-12 14:36:06

a very boring article on a potentially interesting subject! We have had much more thoughtful, insightful debates on MN than this boring woman's meanderings.

I think it is weak to throw principles overboard like that, and then justify it in a weak article (no compelling reasons were brought forward), and this crap about her "sensing how other people judge her".

She is the sort of weak character I find hard to respect.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 24-Jul-12 14:43:34

'I'm inclined to agree to with the historian Niall Ferguson..."Nobody is going to pay between £10,000 and £30,000 a year for an education that is just a wee bit better than the free option."'

Well actually that's bollocks isn't it. Plenty of people pay that because going to private school is what your family or friends do, or because they don't want their kids mixing with normal people's children, regardless of educational standards. And where there are state grammar schools the private schools in the area may well be less selective (at least in terms of academic achievement rather than wallet size).

I often wonder what some of my friends and colleagues got for their parents shelling out thousands of pounds a year that I didn't get for my parents' £0.

lambethlil Tue 24-Jul-12 14:45:34

Weak article, and if you are the Guardian Education Correspondant and send your children to private school, you have some explaining to do.

And I speak as a Private Schooling, Guardian reading, Labour Party Member.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 24-Jul-12 14:57:30

Do you think the original headline was "why I'm still qualified to do my job, honest"?

I really think with many, many people who send their children to private school the reasons they want to send them are just too shite to say aloud, so they think of lots of other reasons afterwards and backdate them.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 14:59:27

I think her explaining should read, 'my daughter was born really early which gave us the shock of our life and made us even more protective than most parents. She's an only child so we have an over-inflated sense of the malleability of children and it means private is affordable for us. We made our decision about primary schooling based on easiest and least scary option when she was 4, which was to leave her where she was, but failed to take it account how much more robust she and we would become. I am now trying to build a whole intellectual and moral value set around this rather arbitrary decision. But I'm not all bad, I will send her to state secondary so long as she gets into the grammar, for which our boater-wearing primary school is a crammer.'

tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 15:00:58

Yes blisterpack I think it is (for primary at least). The schools around here have minimal childcare provision or none at all. Many people fondly think that once their child starts school all their childcare needs will be sorted and then realise that 9am -3pm for 39 weeks a year is not going to work no matter how much annual leave they have between them.
Other parts of the country have breakfast clubs and after school provision until 6pm. There is nothing like that local to me. Even the limited clubs are oversubscribed so no new parent has a chance of a place Private schools are open 8am - 6pm and feed them some tea and do homework with them which, if both parents work fulltime with no family support, is a Godsend.

Lack of state school places has an impact too. People live a few hundred metres from 2 or 3 primary schools but find that's not close enough to get a place at any of them. Then the council flaps around for a bit and eventually finds them a school 1.8 miles away as the crow flies (so no transport help) which in real terms is 4 miles and, in London traffic, is a very long journey in rush hour. You cannot really win appeals for Infant school so they are stuck with a journey that potentially loses them many working hours or costs them a lot in childcare so they opt for private.

And then we have some quite poor schools too at secondary level and tiny catchments for the o.k ones. The people who happily support state schools are those who tend to be in catchment for the o.k ones. Plus there are pockets that are only served by single sex schools so your nearest school might be a boys' school which is great for DS but means your DD won't have a place. Your next closest school is a mixed comp that won't take DD as you live too far away. Again you are looking at your DD being sent to a school many miles from home. People in that situation often have a boy at state school and a girl in private.

Funnily enough I have never heard anyone mention class sizes as a reason. Quite the opposite in fact. It is viewed by the people we know as socially limiting and the cause of tedious fallings-out and petty squabbles because everybody is stuck with just a few people whether they get along or not.

BeckyBlunt Tue 24-Jul-12 15:02:52

DD was not offered a state primary place in our London borough, in spite of living in close proximity to many schools. Instead we were given a list of schools miles away in other boroughs which still had places.

Sending DD to a private school will enable her to go to a local school and make local friends. Unlike most people, we are lucky that we had private as an option.

GateGipsy Tue 24-Jul-12 15:02:54

I thought it was an excellent article, if you take out the bit about comprehensives (really had no place in there, a totally different conversation).

The point being made here is, why should you feel you have to justify a private education. If you can afford it, and you think it is right for your child, then why not? Schools around here are excellent, with fantastic provision, and a good mix of pupils from all backgrounds. We also have some of the best in the country private schools, and there are parents who opt to send their kids there. That's their choice.

What bothers me HUGELY about the article are the comments underneath. Who are all these people? Why is it always the mother who gets told you shouldn't have kids if you aren't going to stay at home - why don't they tell fathers that?

The real issue for me isn't public/private, but my hard earned cash being spent on religious and free schools. Sure if you want, send your kids to a religious school, or one run by creationists, or people who think you should hop everywhere on a Thursday. Just don't use my money to do so.

MoreBeta Tue 24-Jul-12 15:03:32

It always amuses me how many BBC employees leave London and come up to Oxford to put their DCs in private school.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 15:04:34

Class size is often an acceptable way of saying we want to avoid the 'problem families' of the local school. Just as fretting about EAL can be a covert form of racism. The author of the piece wasn't in the situation you mention Tiggy, of no schools or the wrong-sex, she 'threw away' the application form for the ofsted outstanding local state.

usualsuspect Tue 24-Jul-12 15:08:10

No one is forced to use a private school, to say there are is ridiculous.

RaisinBoys Tue 24-Jul-12 15:12:53

She's an only child so we have an over-inflated sense of the malleability of children..."

PollyParanoia, what has being an only child that got to do with anything? Presumably as the writer (in the loosest sense of the word) thinks no state school will meet the needs of this child, it would surely not meet the needs of any subsequent children either.

Only child digs are cheap, unlike a private education

tiggytape Tue 24-Jul-12 15:13:58

No - of course they aren't 'forced' to.
But some people are forced to choose between a failing school several miles away from home which will take ages to get to every morning and will mean they are late for work every single day (and possibly have to change jobs or hours as a result) or a private school.
Many people have no financial choice to go private so have to do long distance school runs on the bus, make up for any problems the school has by doing extra at home and change / lose their job in view of the fact they cannot get there before 10am anymore.

But many of those who go private would opt for a local state school instead if only they could get a place. Since they can't they'd rather go private than travel for miles and maybe lose their job but they never set out with the intention of choosing a private school.

The woman in this article is in a whole other category. I know lots of people with children at private school but none with her views. All the ones I know are the ones whose first choice would be a local and halfway decent state school but they can't have that option (but then maybe I don't mix in posh enough circles smile)

usualsuspect Tue 24-Jul-12 15:17:03

I know no one that uses a private school, us plebs are happy with the local primary and comprehensives.

Maybe I'm lucky to live in a truly comprehensive city, no grammars here either thank goodness.

BeckyBlunt Tue 24-Jul-12 15:20:31

Usualsuspect, one of the problems is that, like us, many are unable to access their local school.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 15:23:10

I'm not digging at only children, sorry if that came across like that, but I do see that there are an disproportionate number of only children in our local private schools partly as I say because of affordability.
But also I think it's because when I saw the differences between my own children, I realised that they are more themselves than the products of us and our influence. That may well be unique to me and that other parents don't think they can exert a great influence on the personality of their first-born. I kind of realised that they would be them, whatever I did and wherever I sent them to school, to some degree.
Hmmm haven't explained myself at all well and I do apologise if it sounded like I was making an only child dig.

usualsuspect Tue 24-Jul-12 15:25:01

I don't live in London, so don't really get all the school angst on MN tbh.

Everyone here just sends their children to the local schools.

BeckyBlunt Tue 24-Jul-12 15:25:55

Consider yourself lucky!

Ephiny Tue 24-Jul-12 15:29:28

I don't understand all the guilt and justifications either. You can spend your own money however you see fit, surely? And since when was it a bad thing to choose the school you feel will best suit your child, if you're lucky enough to have the means to do so?

NarkedRaspberry Tue 24-Jul-12 15:42:06

Class size is a huge factor. Good teaching is essential, but if you have a class of 11/12 just think how well the teacher knows the children and how much one on one time they get with them. The teacher actually gets to teach! TAs are used very sparingly. You don't need volunteers to come in and listen to reading because the teacher can do it themselves!

It's better for allthe children, from the very bright ones to the average quiet ones who can be overlooked to those with learning difficulties and behavioural issues. No-one gets overlooked and work is truly tailored to ability. And, as the article says, at good private schools the facilities aren't always new and shiny. They spend the money on keeping class sizes down.

RaisinBoys Tue 24-Jul-12 15:44:32

PollyParanoia - Still sounds like a pop at only children to me.

When I had my only child, I gave birth to an individual whose personality was pretty much set from birth. I do not seek to influence his inate personality nor, God forbid, live my life through him.

The description of parents you give sounds like so many I know - all parents with more than 1 child.

If I can influence my DS to pick up his clothes when he removes them, stop liking Top Gear and to complete his homework with some degree of regularity, my life will be complete.

We taught him to read and fostered his love of books, we taught him to count. His delightful state primary has taken on the baton. If they drop it we will make the decisions we, as his parents, see fit for his education.

Can't think why so many parents seek to explain and justify their decisions and I certainly don't see why others care so much.

If this woman wants to send her child to a boater-wearing private, good luck to her. I hope she stays in the private sector, then 1 more child can have a shot at the place that her DD won't be taking up.

NarkedRaspberry Tue 24-Jul-12 15:44:39

In many of the London boroughs there aren't enough school places. I don't mean places at outstanding primary schools 1 mile from the child's house, I mean any place at any primary within 5 miles of the child's house. Local councils have seen rising births and just stuck their heads in the sand for the past 10 years.

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 15:49:27

Again apologies RaisinBoys, it's more a judgment on myself.
You say good luck to this woman if she wants to send her child to a boater-wearing private, that's her business, but she's using her platform as a journalist to denigrate state schools and choosing to justify herself.
NarkedRaspberry - the research seems to suggest that class size is a bit of a red herring. Quality of teaching is the crucial aspect which is why Finland, with its highly qualified and respected teachers, do so well.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 15:54:13

She is just justifying her actions. It's ridiculous in my opinion. I know loads of people who went to private school (and still more who went to state): some are clever, well-educated, plenty of them are normal and plenty of them are below average. Yes, they have better jobs. But honestly, so what? The idea of buying your way up the ladder makes me feel a bit ill. If that's what you want, good luck to you, but don't try to justify it. Having a good job ain't everything in life.

NoComet Tue 24-Jul-12 16:13:16

Polly I agree my two DDs are completely different, despite going to the same pre school and primary.

I think parents and schools can encourage a respect for education and for other people, but not a great deal more.
If you have one child you may feel all their good and bad points are the effect of home and school. With two or more the cracks in this logic rapidly show.

I live In leafy rural middle England, we have good primaries and good secondaries and yet people who need neither child care or sports facilities still feel it's their duty to bankrupt themselves going private. Either because they did or their snobbier friends do. They have clever A* grade DC they would excell anywhere.

pointythings Tue 24-Jul-12 20:07:28

What irritated me most about the article was not the author's choice but the fact that she seemed to feel the need to 'justify' it by taking a swipe at state education in general - and doing it in a completely DM way.

So I commented on it (same name, am on the first page of comments) because I just get sooo tired of all state provision being labelled as crap and catering to the mediocre.

pointythings Tue 24-Jul-12 20:10:14

raspberry my DDs have always gone to state schools with large classes, and every time I have spoken to any of their teachers, it has been very very clear to me that these teachers know my DDs to a T. It really is all about good teaching and good teachers. (And yes, I do know that I have been very fortunate).

PollyParanoia Tue 24-Jul-12 20:38:21

I totally agree with these points - I am amazed by how well the teachers (esp the good ones) know each of my children. Sometimes they know them better than I do and come up with a really fresh (but accurate) way of looking at them.
And yes, fair enough that she felt that her daughter was so delicate and also that she fell for that making-the-nursery-provision part of the school trick, but what on earth has that got to do with comprehensives supposedly promoting mediocrity. And also trotting out that line about how much more honest she is than everyone else who is pretending to be religious or moving house. I've done neither. The vast majority of people ditto.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 24-Jul-12 20:47:15

That is truly one of the most bizarre exercises in self-justification I have ever read. So you chose prviate school, so what - only in Guardian-land (and MN of course, which is broadly speaking the same place) is this even vaguely an issue and even there they can't actually sack you for it, so what's the fucking problem?

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 20:53:02

I went to a private primary and then grammar and that's what I'll do for my kids, they are better schools in some cases than your catchment area. I thought her article was very honest. I really don't want to send my children to private secondary but if that's where they wil get the best education, then I will.

rabbitstew Tue 24-Jul-12 21:04:26

She came across as precious, self-justifying and self-obsessed. She was spouting a lot of unsubstantiated views/political opinions and one or two quite offensive opinions with no data whatsoever to back her up. To lower herself to writing such tripe can only damage any opinion I ever have of any proper journalism she attempts in the future.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:18:38

Wow, quote polarised views... Thought people would be happy with other peoples choices? Doesn't affect you so why the hostility?

becstarsky Tue 24-Jul-12 21:20:38

I had a bit of an awkward conversation with a Mum the other day. She said that she'd been 'forced' to go private as her DS hadn't got into the church schools despite her 'going to church to get him in'. And 'since the other schools are just sooo scary, we had to go private. It's crippling us but the sacrifice is worth it.... It's just such a terrible system isn't it? That I have to pay to get a decent education for him? But we just thought the sacrifice was worth making. Education is so important to us." Then we change conversation to talk about her forthcoming luxury holiday and the problems they've had choosing a new car. I was just dreading the moment that she asked what school DS went to and I would have to tell her that he's at one of those terribly scary state primaries where they let ANYONE in (as long as they're five years old grin) owing to my DH and I choosing not to make sacrifices which in our case would be food and rent because we clearly don't value education very highly despite investing masses of time in our sons education.... and... Breathe!

(DS is achieving above national averages too. As are most of his class - there are a high proportion of children who arrive not speaking any English, and quite a few with learning disabilities and behaviour disorders which brings the SATS averages down. Which is clearly very scary indeed... for some people.)

The article really reminded me of her. Just a bit clueless. But if you write for the Guardian, surely you should GET a clue? Isn't that part of the job description?

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:24:01

If you have the resources why shouldn't you send your child to a private school? My partner and I work very hard to ensure our ds can get all the help he needs... He has a visual impairment and needs smaller class sizes and teachers who understand his difficulties. What is wrong with that? I have also paid ridiculous amounts of money to help him with therapy... Am I clueless?

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:25:53

Sounds very much like jealously if you can't live and let live when they aren't actually impacting you in their choice plus they are paying for state education as well as private.

Levantine Tue 24-Jul-12 21:26:44

Oh god I read that article the other day. Badly written ill thought out crap

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:28:50

Education is one of the most improtant things you am give your child, so surely we should respect everyone's wishes...

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:29:19

ES, it DOES affect people though. If some kids go to private school, they have advantages that others don't. So other kids (who may be just as bright/talented) are not getting the same chances that privately educated ones are.

I am 100% opposed to all private education. I think it is horrible.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:35:25

Well, it's life, every child should be the best on offer to them. My ds had medical issues, if I had relied one nhs, he would be severely impaired. I paid to go private and he is now able to enter mainstream school. I don't regret it for a nanosecond. I'm sure if you were in my position you wouldn't either. The state does not offer the best case scenario to some children... Economic crisis and austerity being factors. I'm not going to settle for my son going to a special school if I can find the resources to help him enter mainstream and have more opportunities and choice. You have to pay for uni education. Education is crucial.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:37:51

Actually, I don't pay for university education, I am from Scotland.

In practise, things are never simple. I pay for private counselling, without my life would be much worse. I would never begrudge anyone who sent their child for private medical care or to a special school. There are mitigating circumstances in my opinion.

I do begrudge people who use their money to perpetuate an unfair system solely on the basis of their money though.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:37:59

To be honest, it's really not anyone else's business how much money i spend on my son. I really couldn't care less if people think private education is horrible. What I care about is his future.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:38:59

ES, fine. Let's all just ignore all the shit things that happen in the world and concentrate solely on our own little bubble.

Oh. That's what everyone does and the world is an utter shithole. What a pity.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:40:11

What a load of shit. Of course I will do my best for my son, asking anything less is ridiculous IMO.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:41:02

Excellent debate, ES. I'm glad we had this conversation.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:41:09

How will stopping private education help those who can't afford it?

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:41:43

Do you have children yellow?

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:43:24

I don't, and I expect you will use that to say that I'm not allowed an opinion and when I have children I'll understand.

But that's ok, because I've already said it for you, so you can save your typey types.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:47:32

Well, you can't really judge someone until you have walked in their shoes. I really hope you don't ever have to walk in mine.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:48:51

ES, I haven't JUDGED you FFS. I am allowed to have an opinion without being accused of judging.

I wager you wouldn't fancy walking very far in my shoes either so let's quit the victim stuff.

Fayrazzled Tue 24-Jul-12 21:51:20

Eclectic, abolishing private education would help those who can't afford it by levelling the educational playing field quite a lot, by eliminating an unfair advantage based solely on parents' ability to pay.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 21:51:34

You said private education was "horrible". Is that not an all encompassing judgemental statement? But your a state school teacher so I guess your biased.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 21:52:58

I'm not a state school teacher actually, not sure why you think that.

Is horrible a judgemental statement? If you take it to be so, I take it back. I don't see it as such.

mumoftwolilboys Tue 24-Jul-12 21:53:11

Very self involved article. Do people actually care where other people send their children to? I couldn't care less where my friends send their DC to school. My child, my choice.

Having had a brief but painful encounter with an independent school, I am really pleased we found out early how dreadful some can be, well, certainly the one we experienced anyway. We tried a private school because the hours suited us and DS is so hyperactive and needs a lot of attention. Is there a stupid emoticon?

I'm sure there are really good private schools. But with my bitter experience of private schools(teachers and parents) at the moment, whenever private schools are mentioned, is thank goodness those parents and their DC are at a private school that they've picked, safe and far away from my DC. But I couldn't care less which school when someone says their children go to so and so school. What a strange thing for her to think that people would judge her. Do people really do that??

HumphreyCobbler Tue 24-Jul-12 22:01:59

It is the way in which people like the author of the article justify their changing of position that gets me.

I don't have a problem with private education although I cannot afford it and possibly would prioritise other expenses ahead of it anyway. I have several friends who were very disparaging about private education before they had children, and who are now justifying it on the basis of their special circumstances (they are SO gifted/nervous/fragile/intelligent/blah blah). Do they not realise that everyone feels the same way about their precious children? They seem to be under the impression that other people's motivations in opting for private schooling are suspect and elitist, only their motivation is ethical. It pisses me off.

joanofarchitrave Tue 24-Jul-12 22:02:59

'The comprehensive system is built on the premise that every child has the same needs'

That's a silly thing to say and quite untrue IMO.

Finland has a maximum class size of 20 pupils. The USA has around 25 in a class. England has a greater differential between state and private class sizes than anywhere else in the developed world. Class size matters. So in that sense I think she's right, that time and attention make a difference. All the research apparently shows there's very little difference between 30 children in a class and 60 (this was told to me so I'm not going to try and link, sorry) but there is a MASSIVE difference between 20 and 30.

I do think she should say more openly 'When I faced the reality of socialised education, I realised that i was not prepared to take the consequences of my beliefs, and so I am setting out to convert all Guardian readers to the value and importance of a diverse education sector'. Good luck with that, by the way.

exoticfruits Tue 24-Jul-12 22:05:26

I agree Polly- your last sentence says it all. (I know that you shouldn't judge something so unimportant, but who on earth thinks it appropriate to dress a 5 year old in a blazer and hat? a hat - in this day and age!)

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 22:05:38

Apologies, I thought you were a state schools teacher. Yes I took it like that, but lets leave it there.

exoticfruits Tue 24-Jul-12 22:08:34

I missed some pages - I was agreeing with the post of 14.59 - it is a crammer for a grammar school and that is what the writer is aiming for.

Elibean Tue 24-Jul-12 22:14:01

The important stuff (and a fair bit besides wink) has been said, but had to pop back in to grin at MoreBeta: hand wringing, of course!!

rabbitstew Tue 24-Jul-12 22:51:00

EclecticShock - you aren't an education journalist. You can hold any opinion you bl**dy well like, I don't care. I object to a journalist who supposedly specialises in education journalism writing in the way she did, though. For example, where she gets the idea that a comprehensive system is based on the premise that everyone has the same needs, I don't know. I'm 100% certain that is not the premise under which all comprehensive schools operate. For an education journalist to write something that sweeping and unjustified indicates to me that she is not an education journalist worth reading (or employing). I could get more intelligent, carefully considered and educated opinions from my 6-year old ds.

rabbitstew Tue 24-Jul-12 23:01:53

ps you can never use the argument that other peoples' decisions don't affect you, because they frequently do - we do not live in hermetically sealed bubbles. You can use all sorts of other convincing arguments to justify what you do, but the "it doesn't affect you, so leave me alone" one is pathetic.

mirry2 Tue 24-Jul-12 23:05:40

Why do people feel that private education perpetuates the class divide more than anything else. Surely if people have the money they can spend it on whatever they like. Some families go on very expensive holidays, live in very expensive houses and flash the cash on their cars, move to areas where the state schools are particularlay 'good'. All these things advantage children in one way or another. People who have sufficient money are all buying privilege in one way or another.

I think that much of it is jealousy and no wonder parents who send their children to private schools are on the defensive.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:13:24

Trust me, it's not jealousy. I don't have kids, why would I be jealous of people who send their kids anywhere? It would be pretty silly.

There's a big difference between buying an expensive education which offers you advantages, contacts, better university possibilities and just taking a nice holiday, which is nice, but doesn't really stand you in better stead.

Obviously a private education DOES offer advantages or parents wouldn't pay for it. Who are those advantages over? Other people with less money. It's fairly obvious, to anyone, why this perpetuates the class the divide.

People are on the defensive because they know their kids are benefiting at the expense of others and can't admit it.

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 23:25:10

I dont agree yellow and it would be good if you could refrain from being so derogatory. You can surely get across your point without being personal and offensive?

EclecticShock Tue 24-Jul-12 23:25:57

I'm referring to your last paragraph.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:32:26

Er, you've been pretty personal yourself.

You seem to really be struggling to accept that I'm not talking about you, ES. I'm really not. I'm talking generally.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 24-Jul-12 23:37:43

It's an interesting point though that people will call other people out on schooling to their face about their immorality and yet people arent called out on their massive houses by people living in overcrowded conditions. And yet surely if everything was equal then everyone would have enough space or as near.

Maybe I'm tilting at windmills though.

mirry2 Tue 24-Jul-12 23:39:46

If you don't have kids you won't know that plenty of 'ordinary' people send their children to private school these day. It's not all Eton and Harrow you know.

Most of us are doing something that benefits us more than others. That's a captialist society for you. Pople send their children to private school for all sorts of reasons and not because they think their child will benefit at the expense of others.

What about parents who move house to get their child in the best state school? Arn'te they giving their child an unfair advantage?
What about parents who pay for private tuition for their child so he/she can pass exams to get into the local grammar school? what about the parents who pays for extracurricular lessons in gymnastics/piano/dance so that their child can get into the local secondary school with places allocated for children with those abilities?

If you don't like private schools why don't you lobby your local MP to abolish them? I'll tell you why they won't - because it wouldn't be a vote winner because not enough people care about it.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:40:18

YouBroke, people are called out on their massive overconsumption all the time. Did the Object protests totally pass you by?

EightiesOlympicGolds Tue 24-Jul-12 23:40:34

I've just read it. Hugely self-justifying. I'm not a fan of private education but at least the posters here saying 'I can spend my money on what I like' are being honest! Janet Murray must be aware that she is cherry-picking evidence to support her case. Niall Ferguson, the right-wing historian: wow, he thinks private schools are superior? What a surprise! And why should a historian be quoted as if he is some kind of expert on the education system? She might as well have quoted Bono.

The 'plebby children would probably like to go to run-down plebby schools' bit was particularly annoying, as was 'lots of my friends agree with me'. I would have hoped someone writing on education would have a broader view of life.

Devora Tue 24-Jul-12 23:40:42

Regardless of your views on private education, it's a very badly written article. She basically defends her use of private education (and she's saying she needs to defend it, not me) by suggesting her child is a special case, attacking parents who commit the worse crimes (in her view) of moving near a good school, slagging off state schools, then saying she shouldn't feel the need to defend her actions.

I'm not offended by her personal choices but I am offended that an education correspondent has such poor analysis of the situation. So state schools have 'got it wrong' in not having small class sizes, have they? Like this is the way state schools prefer it, and nothing to do with their resources? So private schools help improve state schools by providing competition? Exactly how does this work? Does she think your average overstretched state school is thinking, "ooh, there's a private school up the road doing really well. Think we should start upping our game or the local community might start sacrificing their holiday homes and second cars in order to prioritise their children's wellbeing?"

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 24-Jul-12 23:40:56

Not to their faces personally they're not. Don't be daft.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:42:03

Thanks mirry2, I know plenty about private schools. Not having kids doesn't mean I have no idea about education. I WORK in education.

I also object to parents moving to get their kids into state schools, private tuition and those who dupe the system in other ways.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:43:57

"Daft". Good argument.

People care more about some issues than others. That's hardly surprising is it? It's a bit of a non-argument to say "why do you care about this and not THIS?"

I don't know what people accuse people of or judge people about to their faces. Not having been involved in every single conversation that's ever happened ever, it would be surprising if I did.

EightiesOlympicGolds Tue 24-Jul-12 23:45:23

Devora exactly! It's not that state schools can't afford to run on smaller class sizes, it's that they don't realise they have to try harder to compete, silly them!

I really don't see how she is going to be able to continue at the Guardian with any credibility. If these really are her views, she probably needs to find a more free-market friendly paper to write for.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 24-Jul-12 23:47:42

Yellowraincoat I am not actually here to argue. This isn't CIF.

All I am saying is that I have never overheard or been in a conversation where someone has said to someone else, ' I think you having a big house is completely immoral' Have you?

Why is one equality so much worse than another, why is the healthcare ok but the schooling not? It's interesting no?

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:49:12

It's obvious to me why it's different. Because you are giving your children chances, directly in competition with other less advantaged children, based solely on your wealth.

What is the problem in understanding why that is abhorrent to many people?

mirry2 Tue 24-Jul-12 23:50:38

Yellowraincoat, if you know about private schools you must know that parents who send their children to them are not all rolling in money.

I don't think parents are necessarily duping the system, unless you are comparing it to tax avoidance a la Jimmy Carr, which is also perfectly legal. Parents with children will do what they can for their children and unless it's illegal i don't see why we should be critical of how they spend their money. As I said before if we as a society really abhore private education we should abolish it. don't criticise the parents for doing what they are perfectly entitled to do.

yellowraincoat Tue 24-Jul-12 23:51:23

I never said they were all rolling in money, did I? That's not my objection.

Odmedod Tue 24-Jul-12 23:54:18

yellow- my children are inherently advantaged by being born into a comfortably-off well-educated household in a first-world country.

Perhaps I should expose them to malaria, beat, and starve them so they don't gain from their advantages hmm

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 24-Jul-12 23:54:22

Our children are possibly going to be in direct competition globally for jobs with children worldwide. The terrifying reality of the world they may be facing needs addressing with something. If you think that private school users think that their dc are in competition with those down the road in particular I think you would be mistaken. It's much bigger than that.

And I would agree that that shouldn't be what schooling is about but sadly it is now. Across the board, not just in the private sector.

That isn't what this article is about though obviously.

Devora Tue 24-Jul-12 23:55:31

I'm one of those hypocritical parents who moved house, in part, to get into a good school. I'm not going to slag off parents who send their children private. I disapprove of private education but I know that there are circumstances, and if I had the money to spare, when I would make the same choice. I think it's a crappy system that makes hypocrites out of many of us.

BUT I think prioritising your child over your principles is one thing. Completely abandoning those principles is another. I find it harder to forgive parents (and journalists) who immediately start justifying their choices as though there is no moral dilemma, no wider social consequences, no poorer, less privileged children who have been disadvantaged by our ability to get the best out of the system for our kids.

I don't get why it is apparently so hard for some to acknowledge our privileges and the morally compromised choices we make within a decaying capitalist society. I was raised poor, got socially mobile, and am acutely aware of how much more social power I have than my mum had when she was raising me. I'm glad of that, and I'm going to use that social power to help my children, but that doesn't mean I just walk away from all those other children and stop fighting for an education system that works better for all.

kaumana Tue 24-Jul-12 23:56:03

25%. of Edinburgh pupils go through the private route.

There are alot of bursaries to be had.

mumoftwolilboys Tue 24-Jul-12 23:56:37

mirry2 "I think that much of it is jealousy and no wonder parents who send their children to private schools are on the defensive"

Really? Jealousy? (not picking a fight, just genuinely interested because I had once considered the private school route for DS1)

mirry2 Tue 24-Jul-12 23:59:13

Yellowraincoat, every parent is trying to do what's best for their own children.
What sort of wealth are we talking about? A child living in social housing in Tower Hamlets, East London is unlikely to have the same educational or other opportunities as a child living in social housing in Hampstead. Wealth distribution occurs across the board and across and within social classes. We should be ensuring no cild is disadvantaged in anyway, but it is just not possible in our capitalist society. Communism didn't work.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 24-Jul-12 23:59:14

That's a good post Devora.

yellowraincoat Wed 25-Jul-12 00:00:53

No interest in a bun fight. At all.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Wed 25-Jul-12 00:05:47

If not housing then what about feeding a child? Surely wealth brings inherent advantages there? Or health inequalities that come from different levels of wealth.

I distinctly remember 4 of us in a mouldy 1 bed flat growing up, my mum would have taken a 3 bed council house over a prep school place any day of the week and yet we had to wait years. Families now are languishing in b&bs, isn't this a moral issue when some people have spare bedrooms aplenty?

yellowraincoat Wed 25-Jul-12 00:07:25

Yes, it is YouBroke and I'm not sure why you think that I'm not bothered by that as well.

We can sit here and talk about 200000 different social issues, it's not going to make me suddenly say "you know what, you're right, private educate away."

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 00:08:16

mumof to - if you send your dcs to private school you are likely to be constantly asked wh you'd done it, what's wrong the the local primamry or secondary, if it's good enough for our kids why isn't it good enough for yours. In my experience people take personal offence and you just have to grit your teeth and smile and agree that yes, the state school is reaaly briilliant but your child wasn't allocated a place/there was no wraparoundcare. heaven help you if you even hint that you prefer the teaching style offered, which is the most common reason people send their children to private school.

kaumana Wed 25-Jul-12 00:09:24

Noone wants to pick up on the 25% here in Edinburgh?

yellowraincoat Wed 25-Jul-12 00:10:49

mirry2, because you are directly giving your kids an advantage based solely on your income.

Do you really expect people not to be pissed off about that?

If you weren't giving them any sort of advantage, you wouldn't bother sending them would you?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Wed 25-Jul-12 00:14:42

Yellow in London it isn't really as clear cut as that. Day nursery fees can be the same as prep fees and once you have got used to that for 3-4 years you can just continue. Mad but true.

In areas like Richmond isn't the private number of children educated supposed to be nearing 20%?

yellowraincoat Wed 25-Jul-12 00:16:15

For me it's clear cut.

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 00:18:21

Of course people who send their children to private school are giving them an advantage. Most parents who have any choice in how they spend their money are using their income to do the same whether private school or not.

We all use our incomes to benefit ourselves. Otherwise why work? (I'm not talking about people who barely survive on a minimum income).

Why shouldn't people use their income to send their children to private school? Many people argue that private education is no better than state education anyway. If that's the case there's no reason to whip the morally bankrupt parents, is there?

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 00:19:33

yellowraincoat - 'it isn't clearcut.' - say that again when you have children and live in London.

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 00:20:46

yellowraincoat - sorry - I mean to quote you as ''for me it's clear cut.'

Devora Wed 25-Jul-12 00:28:24

Hmm, mirry, you see I doubt that most people send their children private for 'the teaching style' unless that is shorthand for small classes and selective intake.

I'm thinking back on conversations I've had with friends who went private. There hasn't been that many because I don't ask them to justify it. The one that I found best was a friend who said, very simply, "I was educated privately and so was my dh. We understand the system and are comfortable with it. I can't get my head around class sizes of 30. We can afford to give our children the best - or our understanding of the best - and so we're going to".

The one I found most irritating was one who talked about how her own (extremely posh - one of the very famous ones) school was packed full of teachers who 'had a real passion for helping children learn, and couldn't teach that way in the state sector which believes it's elitist to help children flourish'. Like she knew ANYTHING about state education, or about the teachers within it, or about how much more skill it takes to get 30 disadvantaged children to a place of excitement and enthusiasm, than it does to get 15 privileged children through any number of exams.

But most irritating is parents who refuse to acknowledge the role played by private education in social inequality. Who will not accept that they, or their dc, did not get to where they are today through talent and hard work alone. Again: why? My dd goes to a really great state primary, but frankly it would have to work at it to get bad SATS scores with the intake it has, and it does a great job of transmitting social privilege. Not as great as the local prep schools, but it plays its part.

sausagerolemodel Wed 25-Jul-12 00:35:51

There has been a response in the New Statesman. I thought Matthew Parrish's quote in it was interesting


mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 00:40:57

Devora when I said teaching style I mean not having to stick rigidly to the national curriculum plus other rules and regulations that would be viewed as old fashioned in state education terms.

Anyway it's great that you think your dcs school is doing such a good job at transmitting social priviledge.

Lots of parents would also admit that their child wouldn't have done so well if they hadn't gone to a private school but my argument is that there are many other ways that some chi,dren are disadvantaged more than others but for some reason private education is the one that always raised parents' hackles.
There are as many obnoxioul parents who send the children to private school as there those that send their to state schools. As many parents don't have a clue about private education as those who don't have a clue about state education.

Devora Wed 25-Jul-12 00:50:35

"My argument is that there are many other ways that some children are disadvantaged more than others but for some reason private education is the one that always raised parents' hackles". Well yes, that is the point I made further upthread. Of course it's not the only way of embedding social disadvantage, but it's a big one, and I think it behoves those who profit from it to acknowledge that.

"It's great that you think your dcs school is doing such a good job at transmitting social privilege". You see, it just doesn't help to try to twist meanings and so traduce others in this debate. My point is that I think all the individual mudslinging over this issue is entirely pointless. I have no interest in slagging off parents who pay to go private. But I do think it's a crying shame that we always get pulled off down this path, rather than discussing how we can improve the system. I don't give a flying fig whether you or anybody else on this thread uses private education; I am interested in how we can move forward and do something better for the next generation.

Accuracyrequired Wed 25-Jul-12 00:54:59

"the role played by private education in social inequality"

because it's better?

surely better to improve state schools than to worsen private schools

why would you want to get rid of a successful arm of the education system?

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 07:09:46

I can't believe anyone thinks that people don't have opinions on the size of others' houses. I've heard plenty of opinions expressed on that one in my life.

I'm amazed that people exist who justify what they do by arguing that if they aren't willing to expose their children to malaria, beat and starve them, that means they can justify anything they do, because they are taking advantage of someone, somewhere, so why not go the whole hog and piss all over everyone else they come into contact with? That's like the African dictator who swans around in palaces of gold, removes as much money from his country as possible in order to preserve it for himself and presides over a starving populace. There are limits to what most people consider reasonable, even when it comes to excess. We don't all have to be anorexics or morbidly obese, so to try to shut people up on the basis of that sort of reasoning is inane.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 07:11:17

As for wanting rid of a successful arm of the education system - why indeed? Why not just open public schools up to anyone who wants to go to them, regardless of income?

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 07:13:42

(What?! That wouldn't work?!...).

lambethlil Wed 25-Jul-12 07:17:38

It's a side show. Private Education is a symptom of a very unequal society, not a major cause of it.

And while we are fretting about our choices and judging each other we're not addressing the real scandals of such unequal life outcomes at birth.

lambethlil Wed 25-Jul-12 07:20:53

rabbitstew lots of big name schools are doing exactly that- becoming means blind and offering places to all he pass the entrance test.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 07:27:01

lambethlil - and are they giving full details to poor students on the syllabus they have to have studied and the level they need to have got to in order to be able to pass the exams? And telling them how they can access what they need in order to be able to get to that stage? Or is this like allowing people the vote if they can prove they are literate, but making sure that nobody teaches them how to read?

lambethlil Wed 25-Jul-12 07:32:09

Honestly- I don't know. I'm sure there is some resistance from parents as well. But the school consortium I'm thinking about puts a lot of adverts on the Tube and London papers.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 07:36:33

Public schools cannot become totally means blind, because they are far too expensive to run if nobody at all pays one hell of a lot more for them than the taxpayer does per pupil for state schools. I should imagine public schools are actually fascinated by parents' means.

MoreBeta Wed 25-Jul-12 07:45:23

The wife of a now retired Labour MP once wrote an article in a newspaper confessing that she felt she had damaged her childrens' education by standing on her political principles and sending them to the local constituency Comprehensive school in the 1970s rather than work the system to get them into a better school outside her husband's constituency.

I thought that quite honest.

handbagCrab Wed 25-Jul-12 08:34:30

If all middle class families and those with particularly bright children send their children to private school in an area then obviously the results of the local state school will be lower as the intake is skewed and not comprehensive.

I'm actually appalled that she worked as a teacher in a state school and wrote this self serving drivel.

PollyParanoia Wed 25-Jul-12 08:45:42

Indeed Handbag, the journalist is in Kent which has a high number of schools failing to reach floor targets - schools in which the top streams are effectively absent but are berated for not getting as good results as the grammars.
It's as if some hospitals could choose their patients and only picked those that were healthy and other hospitals were left with all the elderly and sick. And then the first lot of hospitals crowed about how much better they must be because so many less people died in their care.

handbagCrab Wed 25-Jul-12 09:06:03

Good analogy polly

State schools get roughly half the funding per child that private do and more often than not have more pupils with additional needs and a wider range of abilities. I'd like to see state schools funded at the same level as private for an extended period of time before I think anyone can make a definite judgement.

I feel sorry for families in London who can't get their kids into a school, paying private isn't a long term solution though, although individual families can't do much about that when faced with a five year old and no school place for them.

RiversideMum Wed 25-Jul-12 09:33:21

I think those of us out in the sticks, with our DCs at lovely comps, must snigger happily to ourselves sometimes, because many of the problems that are talked about to do with schools don't affect us at all.

The issue is that (like MN to be fair) the media is very London-centric and bashes comps when they have no understanding of true comprehensive education because it's not available to them. I have friends in London who seem to be under undue pressure to choose private education to "keep up with the Joneses". Others of them have chosen private schools for secondary because the only decent school nearby is not the correct religion. I have another London friend who changed her religion to that of her husband to ensure their DCs would be top of the admissions list. And of course there is always a childcare issue because nobody (unless one of you is a trader) can afford to live in London with a mortgage on one salary.

I would never have chosen private education (unless backed into a corner), but I honestly don't think private schools are the issue here. There are always going to be some people who always want to send their children to private school because they can afford it without thinking and because it's what their parents did for them.

I think what the government needs to look at in the first instance is abolishing church-affiliated state secondary schools. Then they need to look at abolishing grammar schools. Remember that the original vision was to have 3 types of senior school - it never quite got off the ground in most parts of the country, and is certainly not appropriate today. There is no doubt that grammar schools made a massive difference to some families (mine included) in the 40s and 50s but now all they are doing is fuelling an artificial market in prep schools, tutoring and house prices in the counties that are still selective.

iyatoda Wed 25-Jul-12 09:46:30

As someone who schooled in a different country, it is really shocking to read the views expressed here.
I have always thought that one of the underlying problem with state school was the attitude of the students and parents not so much poor quality teaching or state of buildings.
We are moving DS1 to private and DS2 will be joining him too this sept. The simple reason being that I do not think I can get want I want from state education in his current school. I do not have the fight that is needed and I am not sure the other parents want the same thing as me. Because education is free some parents expect teachers to also parent their children, noone takes responsibility.
My DS1 has only had less than 2 homeworks since June this year, meanwhile a lot of parents I have spoken to says it is fine and that they do too much anyway. I cannot change peoples attitude because their views are deeply embedded in them so are mine. At new private school DS1 will be getting homework Mon to Thurs amongst other things that are familiar to me.

Before anyone says you can do things at home with them, I already do, but because I was taught in a different system sometimes it is difficult to get things across to my DCs in the way that they can understand.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 09:57:03

You are unlucky with your child's school and parents, then, iyatoda - your experience of state school and state school parents is not the same as mine. Funny that you think state school parents want their children parented for them, when one of the justifications for private school is the wrap around care for working parents and the fact that a lot of private schools get the children to do their prep before they even go home.

BeckyBlunt Wed 25-Jul-12 09:59:08

Converting the existing faith schools to multi-cultural schools and implementing normal proximity-based admissions requirements for those schools would mean that many more people in London were able to access their local primary school and be educated in their local community.

This would cut down on school drop-off transport issues and support the ability of parents to travel on to work, as well as obviating the need for some to go down the private school route simply to get a local school.

merrymouse Wed 25-Jul-12 10:10:11

"In areas like Richmond isn't the private number of children educated supposed to be nearing 20%?"

I'm not sure of the exact figure, but that sounds about right.

However, AFAIK, currently Richmond and surrounding boroughs are struggling to provide state places for the children that they do educate (several years of temporary classrooms in Wandsworth, Kingston, Richmond, no funding yet available for secondary school places for current 'bulge' years), and this is a problem in other parts of the country too.

The problem with educating children, is that whatever your principles, you can't educate your child in some far off future when the government might provide the education your child needs, you have to educate them now.

As far as I can see, the only way that it would be possible for private schools to be abolished would be huge increases in tax for everybody, including those who currently benefit from a good local state school. I'm sure many parents who feel forced into sending their children to private schools would be very grateful for this more equitable funding of their child's schooling.

NoComet Wed 25-Jul-12 10:11:18


We all dupe the system, if we are MC graduate parents.

By going to a Russell group Uni and marrying an Oxbridge graduate, I swing the odds in favour of having genetically brighter DCs.

These DCs are brought up in a house full of books and science talk. If the TV or radio are on its likely to be BBC2 or radio 4.

If they ask a question chances are me, DH, the bookcase or one of several computers knows the answer.

By moving nearer DHs work we moved to an area with several high tec firms.

This educated catchment gives rise to several very good local state schools.

Thus even without tutoring or going private my DCs get a far far better education than many in the inner city schools I helped in as a student could dream of.

wigglybeezer Wed 25-Jul-12 10:23:31

Class sizes are a complete red herring, research has shown that class size makes little difference to academic outcome, it's the quality of the teacher that counts. Small class sizes can be a disaster socially (DS3 has been in small classes at state primary).

iyatoda Wed 25-Jul-12 10:31:12

child care provision does not equal wanting school to parent your child rabbit. My DS1's state school has wrap around care too with a nursery and after school provision on site (7:30am to 6pm) and both are over subscribed so not sure where you are coming from with that. I work full time so does my DH. Are you advocating that 1 parent should be a SAHP?

BeckyBlunt Wed 25-Jul-12 10:34:55

Rabbit, those of us who missed out on a local state primary place in London are also missing out on wrap-around care in most instances, as this is not offered by the majority of local private schools.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 10:36:44

More leisure time, cheap public transport, free museums and libraries, cheap internet access, the fact that anyone with a computer, radio or TV can turn on radio 4 or BBC2, good quality state education - weren't these supposed to be means of evening things out a bit? There's acknowledging that all people are different and circumstances can never be equal and that different people are interested in different opportunities, and there's saying that because of this fact, there's no point doing anything at all to address the inequalities in peoples' lives and opportunities.

Elibean Wed 25-Jul-12 10:38:50

Re class sizes, we chose the dds' primary school partly on the basis that they would get to make lots of friends, of both genders, many nationalities/cultures etc. dd1 had 20-26 children in her class up until now (just finished Y3) which I think is perfect - one of the indies we looked at (and didn't choose) had classes of 12, which seems a bit limited to me, especially at primary level.

30 (dd2's experience in Reception) is a bit busy, but with experienced TAs and small group work, they did really well. dd2 is a million times more confident, socially and physically, than she was a year ago.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 10:40:08

I am pointing out that using the term "parenting" in the context of what some parents expect out of school is a stupid use of the word - there are many different ways to "parent" your child. What you mean is that some parents don't seem to value formal, academic education in the same way as you. To suggest this means they want school to do the parenting for them instead is saying something else altogether, on which you are actually totally opaque as to your meaning.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 10:40:54

To me, it comes down to money. If one could afford it, one would go private. If one is borderline, than will prioritise between building up a good inheritance vrs private education. Who would not want 10 kids to a class rather than 30?!

iyatoda Wed 25-Jul-12 10:43:54

Besides majority of the people I know when considering a school for their DCs are thinking is it a good school for my DCs (whether state primary, prep, comp, grammer or indie sec), is it easy to get to, what is the pastoral care like, what religious affiliation (if religious), and not which school can my DS mix with people from 'underpriviledged background', which is the best school to help close the social divide.
All these other factors comes later after you have decided that the school is right for your DS.

The other way round and there is somthing seriously wrong with you.

iyatoda Wed 25-Jul-12 10:45:56

Thanks for calling me stupid rabbit. You need to calm down. It is difficult to engage otherwise.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 10:52:22

I didn't call you stupid, I called the use of the word "parenting" stupid. Perhaps you would prefer the words ill advised - either way, there is a difference between calling someone stupid and calling their choice of words stupid, just as there is a difference between telling a child they are bad and telling them that they have done a bad thing.

vezzie Wed 25-Jul-12 10:53:17

Devora, I like your post.
But I think it is interesting that education holds a unique position of, as Beta would call it, hand-wringing. People with money make all sorts of choices to make their children's lives better, and some of these generally at the expense of the world at large. Somehow there is a particular taboo on this around education, as if it works much more directly than it does: as if sending your child to a private school actually and directly makes the child next door more likely to fail at school and have an impoverished life. I find this interesting.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 10:53:28

ps I am feeling perfectly calm, thank you, iaytoda. Are you feeling calm?

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 11:05:25

vezzie - it isn't really surprising that there is a lot of debate around private schools and state schools, given that we keep being told about the apparent over-representation of privately educated people in particular walks of life by our own politicians. It makes it very difficult for people to assess how much of that is down to their education, how much down to their family background, how much down to their own innate intelligence, how much down to individual drive, so people plump for education making the difference, particularly since some people are willing to pay so much for it.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 11:15:30

rabbit people 'plump' where they can. They can do nothing about class, background, parents education etc so they 'plump' school education. It's not really rocket science. Re. The jobs, people will employ people who 'fit'. Not fair but there it is.

Elibean Wed 25-Jul-12 11:20:38

But, SiliBili, I can afford it but didn't choose it. Its not the best choice, all round, for my dds and our family.

And personally, I would rather 30 than 10 (though 25 is even better!)

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 11:22:48

I am not even sure what we are debating here. The guardian article to me seemed lazy. Why is the point of it?! The journalist seems to want to publicise that her daughter goes to private school with a posh uniform. There is really no deep substance to it.

vezzie Wed 25-Jul-12 11:23:04

rabbitstew, I know, and that debate has to happen, and those questions have to be asked. On a systemic level it is outrageous.

PropositionJoe Wed 25-Jul-12 11:34:14

What a weak article. Written by a parent with very very little experience of having a child at school, but based entirely upon extrapolating from that limted experience. The new statesman piece is much stronger.

My sons went to state primary and now go to private secondary, despite passing for the local gammars. The younger has just finished year six. 18 out of 70 in his year (in classes of 35) achieved level 6 in maths on the externally assessed SATs. So you could pretty well say that they exceeded national expectations, since under 1% of the national cohort does so. You choose the school you like best of the options available to you, it's not rocket science.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 11:42:30

elibean, maybe because u may live in a 'good school' catchment. Would you for example send you children to a 'bad' inner london comprehensive of you had the money just so that your children can experience the cultural (in all forms, from class to financial ) difference? I really doubt it.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 11:44:47

proposition I agree with all your comment.

Mintyy Wed 25-Jul-12 11:46:32

I think 10 in a class is too few. Larger classes give your children more chance to make friends and a variety of friends.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 11:52:51

minty by class sizes, people may generally mean teacher/teaching assistant to child ratio.

Mintyy Wed 25-Jul-12 11:54:18


TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 25-Jul-12 11:58:42

If they mean that, then it's not at all uncommon for a state school 'class size' to be 15, then! Hurray!

paddlinglikehell Wed 25-Jul-12 12:21:34

Lots of 'fatuous unsupported statements' in you responses Polly!

Kettle, pot, black?!!!

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 12:51:10

Oh, I wasn't aware Polly was being paid to write an article for a broadsheet newspaper, paddlinglike hell?...

redskyatnight Wed 25-Jul-12 12:52:36

I don't think anyone ever means adult/child ratio when they say class size. They generally mean - er - the number of children in the class.

IME private schools do better on adult/child ratio too. Private school classes (at primary level) generally seem to have a dedicated TA, whereas state schools are more likely to share TAs between classes.

Mintyy Wed 25-Jul-12 12:55:55

Ah, it is ok, I was just letting silibili tell me cos I is an uneducated product of the state school system - a comprehensive, too! Just think.

Lalilalaland Wed 25-Jul-12 13:01:33

Silibilimili: my 2 are at state schools and we can more than afford 2 sets of private fees without sacrifice but we chose not to as we have very good state schools which have more than lived up to our expectations. One reason we didn't choose a local prep school is precisely because the classes were too small. We did not want our children in a class of 10, the teaching would be more tailored but socially it is too restrictive. My daugher has 10 girls in her one form entry class, she is now year 5 and it is too claustrophobic and they are starting to get sick of each other. I don't think that this would be such a problem if there were more girls. Ideally I would like a class of about 20. It is big enough to choose friendships and small enough for more attention. Having said that 30 doesn't bother me a bit, I actually think it works well for my children.

paddlinglikehell Wed 25-Jul-12 13:15:51

No she wasn't, but there are far too many generalisations about Private vs State both in the press and on the boards.

I went to a tough Comp. and did OK, but the state system I chose for my dd let her down badly and is still letting those kids down that are in her old class now. I feel incredibly lucky that we could do something about it, but also desperate and angry about the whole thing, for my friends who can't and the kids that are still in that madness.

I have to say however, I am shocked at the differences, maybe I am naieve, but I didn't think they would be so great.

I also think the fact she had to wear a hat is ridiculous!!!

LaVolcan Wed 25-Jul-12 13:16:05

The journalist seems to want to publicise that her daughter goes to private school with a posh uniform.

I thought that too. I wonder if the school would have been so attractive without the uniform complete with boater?

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 13:29:22

It might have been more attractive - how embarrassing and uncomfortable can it be to wear a straw boater? I'd be really annoyed to have to go through that just for the sake of a good education.

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 13:34:43

Not all private schools have a straw boater as uniform but so what if they do. Seems a silly thing to pick up on and object to.

MoreBeta Wed 25-Jul-12 13:39:24

No straw boaters at our DCs private school. We do have a boat house though. wink

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 13:39:56

minty you seem to want to pick fights rather than have a debate. Maybe that is uneducated.

Re. The class sizes, I was trying to understand the debate. I have only experienced the smaller size so far so no experience of the Benefit of the larger.

Yes, those straw hats do look silly and out dated. grin

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 13:45:56

It isn't silly to object to a uniform that is expensive and looks uncomfortable. You may think the school is wonderful so it doesn't matter, but if you don't then an uncomfortable looking school uniform with lots of unnecessary trimmings which add to the cost would put me off, not attract me to the school... And I doubt anyone would choose a school just because of the uniform.

paddlinglikehell Wed 25-Jul-12 13:57:09

Agree Rabbit.

dd wears her hat from the car into school, a walk of approximately 500 yds. We hate the thing, but it isn't a deal breaker!

Having said that, I was attracted to a school because they had 'nice' tartan kilts grin School was pretty bad though wink

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 14:03:21

I don't object to hats. In the article, that's the thing that stood out to me the most. I would also understand if her child went to school in that uniform in a hot country for example. I wonder what happened to her child's hat last week when it was pouring down with rain? Maybe the other parents were smirking at the ridiculousness of it all.

paddlinglikehell Wed 25-Jul-12 14:35:49

Sili She wouldn't have had her hat on last week, most of the private schools had already broken up!! smile

Elibean Wed 25-Jul-12 14:42:10

Silibili, no I wouldn't - not for Secondary education, not if I could help it. But the dds primary IS a London inner city, its just not a bad one!

I've already said I anticipate wrangling with this issue (right at start of thread) for Secondary, unless things improve a bit locally....I mostly just take issue with the article mentioned in the OP.

But I stand by my choice of bigger class sizes smile

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 15:02:36

Me too * eli*. I object to this pointless article. No wonder it did not get picked up on mumsnet the first time.
I don't have kids at school currently so apologies if I am out of touch with term times!
Hehehe how silly of me to not know when private schools break up for summer. Haw haw haw. hmmhmm

Oh dear.

paddlinglikehell Wed 25-Jul-12 15:06:16

Sorry, bit flippant, but I think this thread was ready for it!!!

PollyParanoia Wed 25-Jul-12 15:51:25

Cor what have I done to you Paddling? I've tried to address the specifics of the article rather than slag off either sector. Like I say, I'm not virulently anti private. I am pretty anti people who use private and slag off state though, especially without experiencing it.

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 16:07:52

How many here have slagged off state schools? Sillibilli is doing her best to belittle private schools with her 'haw haw haw and 'smirking.'
It's all a little childish in my opinion.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 16:20:12

I think the heat is really getting to a lot of us today. Maybe those hats are needed today!

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 17:25:11

My dd wears a straw boater in summer and a felt hat in winter. She doesn't look silly or ridiculous she looks .

The state school she was in was failing her massively which is why she moved to private.

I have found reverse snobbery (for want of a better term) a lot like this among my peers. I haven't given a reason why she left state school as do not want to run it down, have not shouted from the rooftops about her going private. However I have had a lot of comments about her uniform, how bright children do well in whatever setting they are in. Yawn.

Interestingly do not hear the mums at the private school run down the state schools or their uniforms, results.

Shit article but why get so het up about someone paying for their child's education? Because it offends you and should be dirty secret?

Some people need to get a grip.

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 17:25:48

*she looks smart

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 17:33:56

5 year olds need practical, easily washable clothes - I hate seeing the poor little things having to wear hats and blazers. Why on earth do they need a hat unless it is a washable sun hat for the odd day it is needed?

iyatoda Wed 25-Jul-12 17:38:29

I know Poodlepower, can't understand it myself. When I told one of DS1's friend's mum that we were him to private school she said good on you but be careful who you tell, some people take it quite badly. That really scared/puzzled me.

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 17:39:55

Their dresses and cardigans just go in the washing machine like state primary uniforms!

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 17:46:09

Maybe the private school haters are jealous?! I have no problem with private schools or state. As someone said, sometimes there is reverse snobbery and sometimes the private school people have a chip on their shoulder. One should not have to explain in detail ones very legitimate choices in life.

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 17:51:17

I have absolutely nothing against private schools just blazers for tots and hats for anyone. They can't get away with hats for 15 yr olds anymore but the poor 5 yr olds don't have a voice. Added to that parents think they look 'sweet'. I suppose the only saving grace is that the hats are only for a limited period. Blazers are fine from 11 yrs onwards. You would hope that the 5 yr old gets a cheap, washable blazer, but I doubt it.

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 17:52:21

I wore a hat at my state school - we all loathed them and they went eventually but too late for me.

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 17:53:53

They don't get dirty as they have "play clothes" .

Don't state school children wear sun hats or winter hats.

My dd doesn't mind, never has, she thinks those legionnaires hats she used to have to wear at primary were much worse.

Seems to be people on here that mind, not the children wearing them!

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 17:54:00

There are many state schools where poor little 4 yr olds have to wear ties! Why?

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 17:54:42

She won't like them as a teenager.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 17:58:16

The uniforms I suppose are another way to distinguish the wheat from the chaff if they are not practical. hmm
Ties also on tiny tiny kids look silly.
Some of the uniforms are so outdated. Poor kids!

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 18:00:36

They only get away with fashions of 1930s because the DCs don't have a say and are too young to know better.

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 18:01:54

Adult women wouldn't go back to the days where you had to wear a hat to leave the house.

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 18:06:12

Oh dear.

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 18:09:43

What I object to is the journalist saying, 'when i walks down the street with dd in her blazer and straw hat [sic] I feel other parents are judging me'. Get a life! No kne really cares. Of the are looking at your dd is probably because is either looks ridiculous in that uniform or cute. Don't have a chip on your shoulder. Don't get bitter about having to spend money for education when others may not be. As a journalist, write a better article and open up a proper debate re. The state of our education system. Don't have a pic of ur daughter in said uniform for all to 'judge'.
Sorry posters, I need to go take a dip in the cool paddling pool! hmm

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 18:13:27

But you have nothing gainst private schools.....

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 18:16:50

Sorry cross post I agree with above though.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 25-Jul-12 18:18:12

The boaters and special socks etc always strike me as a way to make it very clear what kind of school it is.... I would personally be unenamoured of what looks like a bit of a reactionary stance, but maybe that's what some people are looking for.

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 18:21:09

Does the fact that the local state here wears tracksuits and trainers and have to wear slippers indoors make it clear what kind of school it is?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 25-Jul-12 18:24:07

Having to wear slippers indoors sounds quite sensible: I always wondered when, in between me leaving primary and the dds starting, 'indoor shoes' were abandoned!

I guess it suggests, if anything, that they value practicality, cost effectiveness and accessibility over someone's notions of 'smartness'?

My personal preference is for jumpers, shirts and skirts/trousers at secondary as I do think that uniform should be smarter than jersey material at that stage - at primary, I'm not fussed though. Certainly can't see any sensible argument for a small girl to wear a boater other than as a little message to everyone else that she does go to private school!

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 18:25:41

I think strict uniform is a good thing. Private or state. So, no to sportswear if you are not doing sport. It should be about uniformity and discipline. And education. Not about class/money etc.

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 18:30:51

But why does everyone seem to care about a hat so much. It's the uniform so she wears it. End of story. I don't choose to send her there because she wears a hat. Neither would I send her to our nearest catchment state so that she can be comfy.

It's about education. To choose a school based on the uniform would be nonsensical.

At first I thought the journalist was an idiot bu by looking at the thread most of you have confirmed what you ridiculed - that you judge based on uniform.

Insulting children by saying that they look stupid for wearing a hat. Go figure.

My dd chose the independent school (even with the uniform) because she preferred the children there, the routine, the activities and the facilities. She is not bothered about the sodding boater!!!!!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 25-Jul-12 18:37:18

No, but the article mentions it as a problem, and so people had moved on to talking about uniforms and what they say, I thought. I don't judge the child on the uniform they wear though it's a handy way to help form opinions about the parents but I do query the ideology behind some of the uniform choices the schools themselves make.

Aboutlastnight Wed 25-Jul-12 19:10:18

I used to work with grown men who still wore their Eton school docks hmm

Read the article, hate all this liberal handwringing. She sent her kid to private school because she knows her DD will have advantages as a result.

I am very happy with our state offering and dislike the behaviour and attitude of the parents at the local private school so would not send any of my DDs there.

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 19:10:50

What I object to is the journalist saying, 'when i walks down the street with dd in her blazer and straw hat [sic] I feel other parents are judging me'. Get a life!

Exactly-I wouldn't make judgements on the parents-I just tend to think 'poor little soul' in passing.
Little tots in outdated, impractical, expensive uniforms would put me off in the first instance-the school would have to impress me a lot to make it worthwhile.
In the same way I wouldn't have wanted my DSs wearing ties before they were 11yrs. I obviously wouldn't choose the school according to the uniform but it makes you wonder about the thinking behind it.

Aboutlastnight Wed 25-Jul-12 19:13:32

Wonder why she cares what other patents think - she's on the winning team, she has bought her DD advantages that her state peers will have to work their socks off to get. Thst's what private education gets you.

I don't see why she cares whether she is judged.

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 19:19:42

I think she cares because her aim is to slot back into state education with a free grammar school place-not something that Guardian readers would admit to generally.

mirry2 Wed 25-Jul-12 19:21:22

Does anyone here want to slag off state schools? No? I guess we don't have so many chips on our shoulders.

Aboutlastnight Wed 25-Jul-12 19:28:21

I'm not slagging off private schools, I'm slagging off the woolly liberal attempt to justify her actions. Give me Xenia any day- at least dhe's bloody honest.

flexybex Wed 25-Jul-12 19:29:40

exotic 'I think she cares because her aim is to slot back into state education with a free grammar school place-not something that Guardian readers would admit to generally.'

Not one that many people would admit to, but you only have to look at the dearth of private secondary schools in Buckinghamshire to know that it's true.

PollyParanoia Wed 25-Jul-12 19:30:23

I never said anyone on here was slagging off state schools - I was talking about Janet Murray. She was justifying her choice by saying comprehensives encourage mediocrity and don't offer wraparound care and coffee, but since her child has never been to a modern school I don't think she's truly experienced what a good one has to offer.
Generally i think the quality of debate's pretty good here - it's why I started the thread because the stuff on the guardian website can be so mad.

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 19:33:50

I thought she was in Kent?

paddlinglikehell Wed 25-Jul-12 19:35:50

Actually I could slag off both my state schools and my dd's state school, but I won't, because it won't make any difference to anyone what my opinion is or does it your thoughts on my dd's education to me.

However, I do agree that the hat thing is a little silly, although I can't see the point, it does look 'cute'! grin

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 19:35:55

I agree-give me Xenia any day-she is bluntly honest-and secure in her choices. If hers wore hats she wouldn't get the slightest bit upset that a stranger on the Internet thought they were outdated!

pointythings Wed 25-Jul-12 22:00:29

Completely agree with you, exoticfruits - each to our own and all that. <Confesses to having worn extremely daft hat all day due to strong sunshine and hating baseball caps>

exoticfruits Wed 25-Jul-12 22:09:07

My DS finds my hot weather hat embarrassing!

PasMoi Wed 25-Jul-12 22:17:17

I was one of those smug types who was in the catchment for a lovely state school with no deprivation or hardship. Years later as the head runs the school into the ground and the staff leave in droves, I get it now - parents pay so they get the service they want. And I don't blame them one bit.

Many of you who remain snug are just lucky.. If you were in a rubbish school, you'd think differently I think.

rabbitstew Wed 25-Jul-12 22:23:07

Aww. How cute to remain snug. I feel snug, today, in this heat.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 25-Jul-12 22:41:39

Wouldn't matter how I thought, I'm not rich enough for any private school to let my children past the front door even if I didn't find the whole concept deplorable!

Poodlepower Wed 25-Jul-12 22:51:20

Unfortunately in our area the local school doesn't teach times tables or do spelling tests before yr 4 as it is "too hard". My husband is appalled that he has to essentially pay twice for her to be educated to an acceptable standard.

We see independent schooling as our only viable option. I will not put my daughter at a disadvantage because of any misguided principles.

We are very fortunate that we are able to have a choice, my own parents did not and I got into a grammar on 13+ entrance.

I don't care if people don't like my daughters uniform but I do think it's unfair to lambaste parents who are able to and do choose to educate their children privately.

Obviously lots of you don't like the hats but if your children don't have to wear them it shouldn't really worry you. I certainly don't look at state children and think "poor little souls" or whatever was said about boater blazer wearing infants earlier.

Elibean Wed 25-Jul-12 22:58:12

If a school was the best school for my dds, I wouldn't care whether they were wearing trainers and tracksuits, or no uniform, or boaters. I might hmm a bit about those sort of details, and challenge them if they bothered me enough, but it certainly wouldn't be a deal breaker.

Good teachers, grounded adults, happy kids, an atmosphere that encourages creativity and learning - yes.

For us, the best at all that was one of the local state primaries. We think we are very lucky. But the bit that baffles me is that a LOT of local people raised eyebrows and threw up horrified hands that we were sending dd1 there - because it isn't private, and has a mix of families. A few years later, its been a whole different matter with dd2 - they nod politely and say 'oh I hear its really quite good now' (it always was, IMO). Interesting.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 25-Jul-12 23:03:49

Private schools - like many successful institutions - like to foster a strong ethos and sense of identity and a smart, distinctive uniform is often part of that. I find it very strange that anyone would object to this. It may not be something you want for your own children, but why on earth should it bother you that others do?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 25-Jul-12 23:08:17

It doesn't bother me if anyone likes straw hats.

EclecticShock Wed 25-Jul-12 23:09:04

Like your post pasmoi.

Elibean Wed 25-Jul-12 23:16:47

Is anyone bothered by smart uniforms? confused

I thought people were bothered by the journalist going on about people judging her dd's boater...

CecilyP Wed 25-Jul-12 23:20:57

It's not really a boater though, is it?

Silibilimili Wed 25-Jul-12 23:49:13

Thank you elibean.

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 06:35:02

I am all for smart uniforms - but age appropriate.
If the journalist was secure in her choice she wouldn't bother writing about it - she seems very insecure and far too worried about what people think.

seeker Thu 26-Jul-12 07:02:18

I do think people are disingenuous about private school uniforms. There can be no other purpose for the more...outré..ones than to underline the exclusivity. And to make the socially insecure parent feel more confident. Oh, and to make sure, as grammar schools used to, that even if a poor and or working class person managed by some freak chance to get in, they couldn't actually go because they couldn't afford the boaters or spongebag trousers!

orangeberries Thu 26-Jul-12 09:23:07

I don't recognise the small class sizes. We looked extensively at all private schools in our area and none of them had class sizes smaller than 22. Some had 26 children, especially the ultra-selective and very popular ones.

If there was a school around with 11 children I would be a bit nervous as to their financial viability, but that's just me beng paranoid. But as there aren't any it is a mute point.

As for wraparound care, all state schools where I live make provision for it (not within the school, but there are companies that work with the school to provide it). Also there are childminders on top who offer a similar service.

So having said all the above, I feel I can't relate to the OP's experience at all - oh and there are no boater hats to be seen, but then again we're UP NORTH so maybe not posh enough to wear them!!!

As for the comment of being above average, frankly as another poster said, if your child is in a decent state school with decent parental support and no special needs then they will be likely to be above average, no need to fork out £10,000 per year in that respect.

Having said that, we have had to supplement/support at home more than I would have liked, but I guess private school parents will be doing that in the guise of homework. One of the criticism of our school is that it sends home no homework thus leaving you with the false sense of security that all is well, when often it isn't. But then every school is different and no school is perfect.

Silibilimili Thu 26-Jul-12 10:10:33

What are spongebag trousers? Must google.

bnad Thu 26-Jul-12 10:28:48

You should do what you think is best for your children, nothing else matters. If that is sending them to private school then do it, there is nothing to be gained by pontificating about it.

MoreBeta Thu 26-Jul-12 10:41:14

A Pre-Prep with 11 in a class will not be covering its costs unless the fees are phenomenally high or subidised by bigger classes further up the school.

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 10:45:34

Many private schools are struggling orangeberries-it seems to be overlooked on here that there is a recession and they will be forced into bigger class sizes to be viable.

APMF Thu 26-Jul-12 10:50:26

Indies with uniforms that belong to a bygone era are quite rare so I don't understand why so much MN Time is being spent on the subject.

Could it be some of you are grasping at straw (boaters) just so that you can bash Indies?

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 10:53:46

True-but I wasn't bashing private schools-I might well have sent my DCs to one. Luckily the 5 yr olds weighed down with outdated clothing are rare. Most independent schools have moved with the times.

APMF Thu 26-Jul-12 10:56:31

Re class sizes at Indies, a form size of 24-25 is quite common in year 7. In year 8 streaming kicks in for subjects like maths and class sizes for those subjects are about 10. As for subjects like art, where 1-2-1 isn't an issue, the class will remain at the form size

CecilyP Thu 26-Jul-12 12:16:06

There can be no other purpose for the more...outré..ones than to underline the exclusivity.

I do so agree, seeker; the hat looks like something that was withdrawn from the uniform requirements about 50 years ago, from the grammar school I attended.

mirry2 Thu 26-Jul-12 12:27:40

I live in London surrounded by state and private schools big and small, grammar and comprehensive selective and non selective, boarding and day. I can't remember ever seeing a boater. All I see around town are rather scruffy teenagers from all the schools hanging round at bus stops or walking to and from school. All cultures, religions, economic backgrounds hanging out together. Where do mnetters get their ideas from? Or is it just cosmopolitan Londoners who have less of an issue with state/private school provision?

seeker Thu 26-Jul-12 12:42:14

" All cultures, religions, economic backgrounds hanging out together. Where do mnetters get their ideas from? Or is it just cosmopolitan Londoners who have less of an issue with state/private school provision". As opposed to the rest of us country bumpkins? grin

I would love to think your rose tinted view reflected reality, but sadly, I don't think it does. Certainly not in my experience. Which, it may surprise you to know, is quite cosmopolitan!

rabbitstew Thu 26-Jul-12 13:07:30

Alas, mirry2, to us country bumpkins, it looks like the Londoners have the problem - I've never heard someone from London say they didn't find getting their child into a reasonable school a hugely stressful experience. Also interested that you know the economic backgrounds of the children, if they all just look like scruffy teenagers to you (and interested that all London children love bus stops - are they catching buses together or just hanging around?). You write like someone who doesn't actually have anything to do with children, but who occasionally observes strangers walking in the street...

rabbitstew Thu 26-Jul-12 13:10:57

Also interested to know what scruffy teenagers who have started making their own choices when it comes to clothes have to do with young children whose schools and parents can dictate their dress code in and out of school... Where are all the young children in London? Are they too scared to be out and about, mirry?!

tiggytape Thu 26-Jul-12 13:36:30

mirry - I'm not sure about the scruffiness comments but I do think the state / private boundaries are more blurred in London through lack of choice and lack of school places. As I said upthread, we know so many people who have had kids in both types of school at some point or have 1 child in private and 1 in state. It is common in more economic groups than just rich people (even if people who have to move in with a relative to afford the fees or have a partner go and work abroad fulltime to get a higher salary)

There are parts of London where people will comment that if you move there 'the primaries are lovely but you have to go private for secondary and there's no 6th form provision at all'

Obviously this isn't literally true - all boroughs have schools! But it is true that in some areas there simply aren't enough places to go around and the councils have always relied on a hefty number going private (which with recession and increased birth-rate is proving to be quite a short sighted plan!).
The main difference I notice living here in contrast to MN opinion, is that when people have kids at private school, the assumption is that they wanted a local state place but couldn’t get one and therefore people feel a bit sorry for them. Everyone knows someone who applied to their nearest schools, got none of them and ended up remortgaging the house to pay for a couple of years in private to tide them over until a state school place became free.
I haven’t yet met anyone who sniffily declared that avoiding local riff raff was their main motivation and the private schools seem to do no better in terms of results than the decent comps (assuming you can get a place at one).

Poodlepower Thu 26-Jul-12 13:53:57

Well you are all very fortunate to have state schools that get better/equal results to independent schools, that private children are pitied for apparently not getting into a state school.

Would love to know which areas these are in as here in Kent we do not have financially strained private schools with classes of 25 ..... We have financially strained rural schools with so few in junior years they are mixing classes and having over 30 pupils in classrooms barely able to contain them.

Pupils are leaving in droves to go to one of the 10 independent schools in the surrounding 7 miles. None of these appear to be feeling the pressure as much as the state schools here all of which are if fearing terribly.

Poodlepower Thu 26-Jul-12 13:54:15

*suffering terribly!

seeker Thu 26-Jul-12 13:57:55

Non selective state schools do not get equal/better results for everyone to independent schools. But that is because independent schools are by definition selective.

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 14:00:01

I think that Kent has the problem of most children going to whatever they call secondary moderns these days. I bet they don't go to private schools if they get a place at a top grammar school! If you live elsewhere, with good comprehensives, you don't have the problem.(you would in London).

Poodlepower Thu 26-Jul-12 14:05:49

exotic I went to state, secondary comprehensive and at 13 left for the local grammar. Most of the children there came from private and if you like that is another factor sending my DDs to private .... If they can get into the grammar they will go. If they gain advantage over others by going through prep school so be it.

Perhaps the pay off is that she has to wear a boater!

Silibilimili Thu 26-Jul-12 14:08:07

I have noticed also a huge demand for 1 to 1 tuition. I did not know what these were when I was at school. Friends of mine in London (DCs attending state schools), seem to spend a lot of time and money on tuitions. Poor kids. It's becoming like it is in Asia. Is it just the people I know or is this a common phenomena now too?

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 14:08:08

A big reason no one has mentioned for private is to get the grammar school place. ( luckily boater free these days!)

Poodlepower Thu 26-Jul-12 14:14:46

Well I mentioned we have 10 private schools in a 7 mile radius. I will also say these go to age 13. The local grammar school starts at 13. We have 3 senior private schools. The nearest 3 independent prep schools publish their 100% grammar entry success regularly.

tiggytape Thu 26-Jul-12 14:33:00

Poodle - I am in a part of London where you could commute for the super selective state Grammars. As far as I know going private doesn't help boost your chances with this in the sense of targeted preparation because the private schools here all finish at either 13 or 18 so have no interest in losing their pupils at age 11 midway through. Prep school kids have 11+ tutors just like the state school kids do.

There are plenty of non selective (in academic not monetary terms) secondary independents that get about 70% decent GCSE grades which is what the decent comps also manage.
I am not saying that this is a glowing reflection on either just simply that in terms of pure results, you can get the same for free as you pay for if you happen to live in the right place and therefore people at comp don’t see the independent alternatives as superior.
Of course there are also some very selective independents too which get practically 100% decent GCSE grades but people whose children are bright enough for these are often in with a chance of a state grammar place so again they aren’t seen as vastly superior to state provision (even if it is the type of state provision only available to the top 5% or so). In terms of pure GCSE and A Level results, you can get for free what others have to pay for and the same is true at Primary level (some truly outstanding schools but you have to practically live in the playground to get a place).

strictlovingmum Thu 26-Jul-12 14:37:14

I don't see point in this debate at all, I agree it is a very poorly written article and mother/writer very obviously has very deep insecurities.
Parents choosing to pay for schooling or not is a secondary issue, primary concern being wanting the best education or style of it for your child, Imo this a very private matter and decision each one of us try to deal with in the best of our abilities.
IME choosing good school private or state has very little to do with style of the uniform(banal example given in the written article)but everything to do with quality of education, care provided and provision made for children.
Generalising either sector, without possibility of having two children of the same age at at the same time in two different schools, one private and one state, I am afraid none of us will ever get the "right picture" or which one is better.
We have used both routes with our own children and never looked back, one solely state educated and one solely private, in both cases it worked out very well.

paddlinglikehell Thu 26-Jul-12 14:42:06

Poodle, sounds like your situation was exactly the same as us. However, in the Northwest there is hardly a grammar school to be seen. State primarys are bursting to the seams with three form entries of 30 in each, the two nearest us are in special measures, the outstanding one my dd went to didn't do homework, spellings or proper PE and by Yr 1 she was on a specialist reading scheme and we were thinking there may be some learning difficulties. There were 29 in the class and a PT TA.

Moved her to an Independent (with boater!), and a different child, very obviously no learning issues. My switched off, demotivated little girl is back to the tenacious, enthusiastic child she used to be.

Mind you two other independents, one very small, have closed in the area recently, so things are tough out there.

I know a good state primary would give us exactly what we are getting now, but sadly that isn't an option where we live, so bully for you lot who are lucky enough to have that. In the meantime, I do what I need to do for my child to fulfill her potential and what should be her right - a good education if I have to pay for that, so be it. I count myself lucky we are in that position.

Poodlepower Thu 26-Jul-12 14:45:53

Tiggytape it is fact that few places are offered to children from the secondary comp to go to the grammar school. It only takes from 13 so prep schools do not lose their children as the majority do not have senior schools. It is common entrance tested. All independent schools here will tell you they teach the building blocks for common entrance and do not have to follow the national curriculum.

It would be nice if things were as equal here as you say they can be in London, but is not . The grammar school here is very different from others as it takes boarders which out of catchment independent schools use to get their pupils in...

tiggytape Thu 26-Jul-12 15:12:25

Not all people in London think it is equal here either to be honest but not for private school reasons. The huge debate here centres on catchments and tuition. Some children now having 2 or more tutors (one for maths and one for English and reasoning) and they start tutoring younger and younger. The grammars get 12 applicants for every place so the competition and preparation is mad!

The grammars have no catchment areas so attract people from miles away which ups the standard required to get in and is seen unfair on bright local kids who miss out by 1 point...... since the people applying have good local schools it is argued they should stick to those whereas the grammars are situated in areas where there isn't enough comp provision.....etc. If you fail to get in, you can be stuck to get in anywhere else.

The prep schools don't seem that involved in the increasingly competitive grammar school system. Prep school kids get tutored outside school hours if they are thinking of applying to them for example so I am assuming they do little to encourage kids to apply. If the grammars took children at age 13 instead of age 11 though, the demand from private schools would be huge I imagine.

CecilyP Thu 26-Jul-12 16:37:10

A big reason no one has mentioned for private is to get the grammar school place. ( luckily boater free these days!)

I thought that was implied in the last paragraph or the Guardian piece in, 'I plan to send Katy to a state secondary if I can, but if I find myself dissatisfied with what is on offer, I will go private again.'

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 17:18:46

Exactly- she lives in Kent - if she thought her DC could walk a place later she would save her money.

mirry2 Thu 26-Jul-12 17:30:01

rabbitstew there's no need to be so patronising. I may not know the economic background of every teenager in my area but I have lived here long enough (and brought up children) to know there is a huge socio economic variation. The point I was making was that the school uniforms round here of a similar standard and unless you knew one uniform from another you could not tell whether pupils wearing them went to state schools or private.

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 17:34:41

The only way that I could tell is that state schools don't tend to wear tartan - but maybe they do in some areas.

mirry2 Thu 26-Jul-12 17:38:45

Yes they do in my area, and kilts and stripy blazers

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 17:43:55

In that case I don't see how you tell the difference .

DontmindifIdo Thu 26-Jul-12 17:46:13

thing is with this article I thought it was missing was the debate about the cost and the availability of good preschool provision. As she said, the 'free' hours are only useful for a family with both parents working if you already use a nursery (of which there really aren't enough places) or if you have free childcare from grandparents, otherwise in many parts of London/SE childminders insist on being paid for those hours, and not all will do drop off/pick up from pre-school if they have school drop offs to do at different locations.

We currently have DS in a nursery 3 days a week - if I worked full time the cost of a nursery place would be more than prep-school. For a lot of people who are used to this expense every month, it doesn't seem like such a big deal - if you have already arranged your finances to allow for over £1k a month going out for childcare, you will be able afford private prep.

I've also noticed, DS is 2.5 and some parents are taking their DCs out of his nursery for prepschool's pre-school, for the full time places they are attracted by the increased facilities to nursery and that their monthly bill will decrease. Many are vage about what they will do at 5, a couple of years ago they were keen on State, but I can see once your DC is settled it, you are used to paying the money each month, you would need a good reason to move them. At the earlier stage it doesn't seem like making a 'state vs. private' debate as if you need full time childcare for a pre-school DC, it's all 'private'. I can see that some people 'drift' into it.

However, if there was more affordable preschool provision, it wouldn't be the case that parents are used to paying out such huge sums that it doesn't seem like a big deal to go private.

Poodlepower Thu 26-Jul-12 17:55:08

Exotic even though we have different views you have hit the nail on the head. Hopefully my DDs will fly through common entrance for a grammar place. If not they will stay private ..... But then many try to go private here at 11 when they fail the 11+ but as not many senior schools they find it hard to get into these too. Plus here if you are not an existing pupil you must also take a test to get into the senior independent.

rabbitstew Thu 26-Jul-12 17:59:21

OK, mirry - I will try to stop patronising you if you will try to stop patronising people who aren't "cosmopolitan Londoners" whose ideas come from you do not know where (ie my post was a reaction to the way I perceived your post.... I don't tend to view "I don't know where you get your views from" comments as entirely benign, so my apologies if you really didn't mean to be mildly offensive).

mirry2 Thu 26-Jul-12 19:00:21

rabbitstew, I may have put this badly but I was trying to say that I've never seen a boater in London so I assume they must be far more common outside London. I was getting a bit fed up with all the judgey comments about private school uniforms because you honestly can't tell the difference around here. Actually they're all pretty horrid.

exoticfruits Thu 26-Jul-12 19:04:03

If I was in 11+ area and they failed I would go private-if I could afford it.

PasMoi Thu 26-Jul-12 19:17:15

dontmindifido - you make a very good point. I know several people who drifted into private schools after private nurseries because the cost just didn't seem that much more, if any, if you already pay 1k childcare a month per child.

dixiechick1975 Thu 26-Jul-12 21:48:56

Agree Don't MindifIdo

Most at DD's school come for the pre school and stay. A prep school in the next town has now got an onsite nursery taking children from 3 months.

Parents also are used to nurseries open 51 weeks a year, 8-6. The state school my DD was offered had no before/aftercare/holidaycare. Private schools meet that demand.

mam29 Fri 27-Jul-12 00:06:17

We dont have any state grammars in bristol.

instead we have one of worst performing leas within bristol itself.

hundreds of kids dont have any 3primary places due to primary admissions crisis.

we have mix of comps and academys.

so no I doint blame so parents for going private.

i would say situation equally as bad as london, birmingham has similar problems

the city keeps growing but sadly not infrastructure with it.
nearby suberb new builds becoming so big many families means my areas desperatly crying out for new secondry school.
my lea is south glos suberbs of bristol very poorly funded .

bristol has highest amount independat schools outside of london.

The nearest ouytdoor prep sadly way beyond affordble for us.

we luckily got eldest into state va rc catholic primary-we noth catholic and 15mins from home and okish results so count ourselves lucky.

what i resent is the guardian and its hypocritical stance on education.

i belive we a democracy that allows choice.

regardless of political persuasion should be parental choice why should writer feel guilty

carycach Fri 27-Jul-12 08:36:30

*'11 in a class.
State can't compete with that, full stop.*

you are wrong.Many rural schools have classes that size.

seeker Fri 27-Jul-12 08:52:25

And anyway, 11 in a class is, in my opinion, far too small! I would actively avoid sending my child into a class that small, regardless of sector.

mam29 Fri 27-Jul-12 09:21:11

I dont get why the small class size such a bad thing.

I dont think the current 30 my eldests class is or most classes work.

Have seen some parents who use rural small schools or priavet worry that if private primary than child maybe will feel overwhelmed at secondry but then and again most secondries seem huge compared to primaries.

when you break down a class into

what year group they are
ability-there will be some at top who need pushing, some at bottom who need extra one to one help.

I feel smaller classes would make it easier to cater for everyones needs and 30s just too large our local private is 12-16 we have 3independant preps nearby.

Theres plenty time for larger groupos at playtime or sports ect.

what i resent about the guardian.

is most of irs journalists make big someg and dance about state education.

The milliband brothers may have gone state but was very good secondry in wealthy catchment area.
They fooling themselves if they think theres genuine choice.
Their wealth butys them state in decent catchjment area or if they so chose private.

Even dianne abbot went private.

lot older politicians on both sides went through pre comp system so benefitted from grammars school system.

today with such little choice and shortages is it any wonder why private systems booming.

They get more control over what they teach and diversity of subjects state dont have and can be fantastic places for sports or if child has special needs so why writer feels so apologetic i dont know.

carycach Fri 27-Jul-12 10:32:05

mam29 when classes get too small there is not enough of a mix of personalities and also it can prevent the children from becoming independent workers.

exoticfruits Fri 27-Jul-12 11:21:08

I like small classes but 11 is too small. Around 16-24 is the ideal IMO. Carycach has the reasons-also you need more than 11 to bounce off ideas and opinions.

exoticfruits Fri 27-Jul-12 11:21:56

I would avoid a school if the classes were too small, in the same way as if they were too large.

DontmindifIdo Fri 27-Jul-12 12:51:49

It does seem odd that people will assume you are rich if you private school but not if you are a working mother with a pre-school dc in nursery. I guess those with free child care or at stay at home parent don't realise just how expensive it is.

But also how easy the pre-school years are compared to school years for working parents- you send them to nursery from 8-6 (most are flexible either end as well), they are always open, if your dc's key worker is sick they arrange the cover and food, preschool 'teaching', naps etc all happen in once place. I can see the temptation to just continue with that level of care in a private school setting.

I get what others are saying about the negatives of small class sizes, but I'd take that over large classes anytime. I'm currently hoping we get ds into a good state school, I think once I only have to pay for wrap around care I might finally feel rich grin if we do go private, it'll be a bit like someone turned off the light at the end of the tunnel and I shall never actually have any money...

seeker Fri 27-Jul-12 14:06:54

But you are rich! You just choose to spend your money on school fees! If you weren't rich you wouldn't have the choice.

allchildrenreading Fri 27-Jul-12 14:28:19

When mine were at school, grammar, correct spelling, teaching science as separate subjects 'ooh, aah science' instead as DS referred to it), cooking (save for things like making sure to bring packet of Angel Delight into school and being shown how to get rid of the lumps), French by pictures, mainly, and definitely nothing as oppressive as learning verbs.
For a boy full of curiosity, it was torture.
There are a heck of a lot of good Comprehensives but some of these require an arm and a leg to move house to get into the appropriate catchment area. Undoubtedly there are good State schools - and that's the best of all worlds.

DontmindifIdo Fri 27-Jul-12 19:17:08

Seeker - I wasn't saying it doesnt mean you can send your DCs to state school without being 'rich' but that nursery doesn't seem in the same way a thing for 'the rich' - perhaps because if you only have 1 DC it is still cheaper than a nanny. But still, if you do need to have arranged your finances to allow for nursery, you can easily afford prep, and that for the 2 years before state school starts, it's often cheaper than nursery. I can see how the writer in the orignal article 'drifted' away from every actively making the decision.

redskyatnight Fri 27-Jul-12 19:34:13

I (and most parents I know) saved before and during maternity leave to cover some of the childcare costs for pre-school children. And did so knowing that it was for a fixed length of time and actually the cost would come down during that time (babies being more expensive than 2 year olds and 3 year olds getting early years funding). And all breathed a sigh of relief when their child started school. Not quite the same as committing to paying for years and years as private school (as is likely the case if your child starts in pre-prep at 4).

dixiechick1975 Fri 27-Jul-12 20:00:56

I know where you are coming from DontmindifIdo.

The parents at DD's school are not rich - just working parents (99% of the mothers work) teachers, Drs, nurses, own businesses, builders, solicitors, hairdressers, firefighter, police etc

Most are older parents in their 40's. Plenty of only children.

If you've paid always childcare then you just keep paying.

(I'm in the north - some of lowest house prices in country and i'm talking fees of £500 a month - not boaters/£15,00 a year territory!)

exoticfruits Fri 27-Jul-12 20:10:49

There are a lot of people who simply can't afford it-they don't have holidays, smart cars etc to give up. They are working just to get the basics of rent, food etc.

flexybex Fri 27-Jul-12 20:13:29

And many have had free child care, pre-school.

DontmindifIdo Fri 27-Jul-12 20:36:51

exoticfruits - yes, those are also the parents who couldn't afford to go back to work unless they had free childcare. If you've done the sums once when pregnant/on maternity leave deciding if you can afford to go back to work if you have to pay out for childcare, then a continuation isn't that big a deal. Whereas, even someone on the same income suddenly thinking about finding £1k a month would be hard for most.

Flicktheswitch Fri 27-Jul-12 20:53:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Fri 27-Jul-12 21:01:28

You tend to start threads if you disagree - it has nothing to do with jealousy.

rabbitstew Fri 27-Jul-12 21:15:15

Why did she write an article drawing attention to herself and her choices, Flicktheswitch? Presumably not to tell the world that it's none of their business, they shouldn't be bothered by her opinions of have any opinions of their own on what she wrote and why should they even care?... And why do some people think that expressing an opinion on other peoples' opinions is a sign of jealousy???? And why did you comment?????? Oh no - you weren't expressing an opinion, were you?!.....

rabbitstew Fri 27-Jul-12 21:20:09

Maybe she was forced to write the article by her editor?

Flicktheswitch Fri 27-Jul-12 21:41:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rabbitstew Fri 27-Jul-12 21:46:49

Why would anyone care about anything?... Bleach, anyone?

rabbitstew Fri 27-Jul-12 22:01:55

The bit of the article I was interested in was not the bit informing us about her choices for her own child - I don't have any interest in where her own child goes to school - but the second half of her article in which she made several unsubstantiated comments about state education in general, private education and what other people might want from a school, all of which I thought was a lot of badly written drivel.

PastSellByDate Tue 31-Jul-12 08:19:57

I've read the Janet Murray article and what concerns me is that gradually the print version Guardian Education section has become smaller and more opinion pieces than conveying useful information to parents.

There are key points in the school year - chosing schools (primary & senior) is one of them - but is there an article really investigating this 'choice' situation? No.

How much actual choice do you have in London? in Liverpool? in Leeds? in Bristol? What happens if you put down a school ridiculously far from you as your first choice? Why aren't they interviewing LEA's administering this system and finding out what the constraints are so parents can make informed choices. Next Dec is the deadline for primary - perhaps the Guardian can start doing some reporting on this difficult decision for the benefit of the thousands of families who are struggling to make this decision for their first child.

Now the other concern is that the education pages seem to be publishing opinion pieces and 'fashionable' educational solutions. Again - these need balance and investigative journalism.

I agree with a lot of the sentiment that Janet Murray made a decision because it was easy, safe and she was in the very fortunate position of affording to do so. However, she raises a good point - it was also about finding a child care solution to her own working life when her DD1 was in nursery.

Why isn't there more flexible/ wrap-around childcare (in nursery or primary school)? What do other countries do? How is it paid for? That is the newsworthy story I think. So Janet Murray - if you're following this discussion - why not prove your worth as a journalist and look into this. It applies to a vast number of people who are facing this struggle of juggling work and child care. STAHM are becoming rarer - and 'our system' doesn't accommodate that - why not? The cost? No political will? No one's thought about it? It's a huge problem - just look at the Mum's posting here worrying about staggered reception starting, which they didn't realise would happen. (it caught us out too!) Parents need information and help with this. Of all papers, The Guardian should be investigating solutions and campaigning for change!

BeckyBlunt Tue 31-Jul-12 09:33:01

Very good points, PastSellByDate.

If the government wanted one parent / 50% of each parent to stay at home rather than go to work, abd the majority of people could afford to do this, then I can understand that the current school hours / holidays system is perfectly acceptable.

However, both parents are encouraged / find it necessary to have full time jobs, and the school system doesn't appear to have caught up with this; instead, it seems to be working along the same hours that it did 40 years ago when parents had different working patterns.

Society has moved on, but the education system set-up is lagging behind, and it is no wonder that some people are looking to access private education to provide the support systems that they need that are lacking in the state sector.

Aboutlastnight Tue 31-Jul-12 10:22:19

Don't most state schools have breakfast club/ after school care? Ours does and a summer playscheme - in fact there are several summer play schemes, some council run ones are very affordable indeed.

I've heard the after school care argument before - but parents at state schools have demanding jobs too! What do they do? Also private schools have such long summer holidays - how does your average hardworking, banger-driving, sacrifice-making (as mumsnet would have us believe) private school parents cope?

Also many families choose to suck up the cost of nursery knowing that in a few years they won't have to pay any longer - exposing yourself to that sort of investment long term is a different proposition and one that only a tiny minority of parents (like that journalist) can afford.

The notion of 'choice' is an illusion in both sectors though - in the end it's the well off who benefit whether by buying an expensive house in a particular state school catchment or paying school fees.

BeckyBlunt Tue 31-Jul-12 10:40:03

Aboutlastnight, the point was that an awful lot of people need after-school clubs etc, and struggle with the holidays, and that some people are turning to the private sector to help with this, where state help isn't provided in their area.

I was agreeing with PastSellByDate that the set-up needs to evolve to help all parents with this (private and state), and that some parents may well be encouraged to stay in the state sector rather than going private if their needs are met there.

rabbitstew Tue 31-Jul-12 11:39:00

However hard you try, I am 100% certain that what I would get if I paid someone else to look after my children while I went out to work would not be of the quality that I could provide by staying at home and looking after my children, myself.

rabbitstew Tue 31-Jul-12 11:56:25

And the same comment applies to before and after-school care when my children are at primary school age. I would quite like my own children to get the benefit of my education, not just my employer.

Aboutlastnight Tue 31-Jul-12 11:58:33

Frankly at the moment my mortgage is getting the benefit of my education!

rabbitstew Tue 31-Jul-12 12:06:47

In other words, most people will always have to make huge compromises, rather than remotely get what they want for their children.

londoniana Tue 31-Jul-12 19:57:52

her child is in private school because she can afford it. what a load of rubbish.

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