Has anyone done state till eight?(140 Posts)
My DH and I are currently trying to decide what schooling route to take - state or private. I wondered if anyone had tried the state till eight thing - and if so how did it go? I also wondered if I could hear from anyone who was privately educated, but decided to send their kids to state schools - and how they found that.
I seem to be going round and round in circles! One minute thinking we should try the little local state school, then thinking no because of no playing fields etc (we're in central london). Then thinking yes, because we'll have more money for holidays and he'll meet a more diverse social crowd...then changing my mind..AARRRGH.
Any experiences/thoughts would be gratefully received.
State 'til eight is quite selfish IMO. It's a real problem for our state primary. Middle class parents take highly sought places at a great school, take the best years the school has to offer then leave, the vacant place is then taken by new students who often are from less good schools or abroad, our school works its heart out trying to bring the new pupils up to speed before SATS etc but its very hard when a considerable cohort leave at the end of year 2/3. Its just not great. In an ideal world pupils would only take State places if properly committed to the State system.
I misread this as "slate til eight", imagining children using slates and chalk only until 8yrs.
"How environmentally friendly, stops them wasting all that paper" I thought.
We're doing state until we don't like it, so probably secondary, perhaps sixth form. I want mine to get that magic self confidence/esteem they only get from the private system, coupled with the normaility you get from the state system.
Kids only get self-esteem and self-confidence if they go to a private school? Oops. I'd better ditch this job that lets me spend time with DD and go and earn more money
I agree with artijoke. That was how it was when I went to primary school, it was really rubbish.
I think children get that magic self confidence from being loved and encouraged in their passions by their family...
But I'd send mine to state school even if we were millionaires, so prob not the person for this!
My DD went to a state infant school and then went private when she was 7. DS went to a state school until the end of Y5 and then private. Both went to selective schools and have done very well - lots of A*s at GCSE between them and now both working hard in sixth form.
Both fitted in well. DD only knew a couple of children at her school, but DS already knew lots of children from playing rugby and cricket at local clubs.
I was fully state educated, but yes, at uni etc and now as a mum, I see a magic light in those that have spent time in private education. I don't know how they do it, but they get an inner worth I've only seen in those from private schools. And not all private schools.
Yuk! Fucking vile term and concept.
And, yes, people have "done" it in my children's school.
Surely if you are in central London, no schools have playing fields?
London's population density is so great, and the population so mobile, that there is a lot of churn in and out of all schools.
You need to go and look at the schools of both sectors near to to you and work out your preferred order based on what you actually see. Also, if you think you are staying put, what would you do at secondary?
It is a very selfish concept. You are basically saying "I will take free education to make my LO worldly wise but I don't believe it's really fit for our family long term so I will whisk my LO away as soon as we have got what we want and to hell with the impact on the school and the other pupils."
if you concede that not all private schools impart the Magic Inner Worth to all pupils, is it just possible that some state pupils somehow attain this for free?
Anecdotally, having been at both state and private schools myself, I contest the idea that private gives you some kind of inner confidence. Academically I breezed through school but have never had that kind of 'magic light'… Agree with sillyoldfool on how that comes about.
As for the state 'til 8 thing. I have known (albeit not personally) a few people who've done it but not round these parts (inner London) so much. I think people either go with state throughout or switch at end of primary. More of a rural thing perhaps?
Also, by that reasoning
Private 'til 8
would be a lot cheaper, and they would still have that ready brek glow of inner worth.
We are inner London and it happens an awful lot at our state primary. KS1 is full of middle class kids, KS2 much less so (especially true for boys).
Awful concept. It happened a lot at my ds primary. One of the mums was in my book group and when I asked her where her dd was she laughed as if to say You didn't really think I would send her there did you? Huge barney and never saw her again
I am troubled by "we'll have more money for holidays" - it sounds to me like you can't afford to go private.
It was suggested I went to a grammar school (fee paying) at 11. I thought about how my parents would afford it, and decided that it would probably mean fewer holidays and less money to spend on family time - and worse Christmas and birthday presents for both me and my brother, so I refused to take the exam.
If you can't afford the lifestyle you want and the school fees, you can't afford the school fees.
Kangaroo didn't say inner worth she referred to private schools imparting a confidence and I agree that the top public schools do tend to turn out graduates with an amazing confidence in their own abilities. I work with several old Etonians and I am very jealous of their lack of self doubt.
Agree with silly and bitzer
I've never met someone with what I'm talking about who went to state school. I'm not very good at explaining it, and it's not about money, and I don't know what it is, quite, but it's about the mask and the person matching. Anyway, that's a personal opinion, and it doesn't affect this thread, it's just a reason I'd like some private education for mine.
I don't think it's any more vile than moving out of a poorer catchment to a better one, or any other way parents have of ensuring the right education for their child. Children, and families are all different, and for some, putting their kids in state school until prep age is what is best for their families, describing it as "vile" is uncalled for. It's not what I intend to do, but I am thinking of private for secondary. I can understand why others would, and I can understand people disliking the disruption if their kids stay in the state class. However, no parent is ever really going to do anything except make sure their child is okay, it's natural.
It would be better for poorer performing schools to have some middle class mums to send their kids there and get involved, for altruistic reasons, but I'll bet none of you are going to offer.
I want mine to get that magic self confidence/esteem they only get from the private system
It might also be the magic self confidence/esteem that they only get from having parents who are interested, committed and well-off enough that they can afford to send their children to private schools. The control group is not state pupils in the large, but state pupils from affluent families who are motivated and committed enough to both get their children through the admission process and pay the bills.
Why is it more selfish than sending your children to a local school knowing that you're going to be moving area by the time they're eight? Or sending your child to a school in England knowing that you'll be going back to Poland when your contract ends? Or knowing that there'll be a place in a state primary you prefer by the time KS2 starts?
No, it's not that. But I'm sidelining the thread, and I'm sorry. Can we go back to the OP?
Artijoke but surely the it is a) not a 'free' place as everyone pays through their taxes including the op and b) if OPs children leave at aged 8 that frees the places up for other chldren. And why is educating up to age 8 'the best years of the school'? What happens from 8 to 11 that is the worst of the school?
I have done something similar--but moving at the end of year five for both sons--and it worked well. It's good to have local connections and friends.
Incidentally we made damn sure that we did a lot for the school while we were there: governors/PTA/helping in the library/marketing, etc. We tried hard to put back what we'd had and I think the head noted this, even if he didn't really approve of us going private. His successor doesn't mind at all if people only want to use the school for a few years.
I find the line that everyone just does 'the best for their child' and doesn't/shouldn't take into account the wider community really strange and sad.
The more engaged and well educated parents who use the state system, the better the system will be for all, and the better society will be for my children IMO. A more equal society would be far better for them than any mysterious self worth or even A* grades IMO.
OP - i know 2 families who planned to do this, both got their DCs in outstanding state schools, they settled, made friends and did well, so took a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude and ended up leaving them there.
I want mine to get that magic self confidence/esteem they only get from the private system
I hope you're not confusing that ^^ with the unpleasant and arrogant sense of superiority and entitlement I am currently witnessing among this years batch of ex-private school freshers.
She did say inner worth. The thread is about whether to switch to private education or not, so a discussion about the perceived merits of either system is likely. I don't think inner worth is something that has anything to do with private schooling.
Fwiw, I went private until eight, then went to a state school which was achieving better results than the private one. I got the same results as my privately educated brothers. I don't see the advantage of private education if there is a good comprehensive available.
Abra.. leaving in year 5 just before SATs year? Hard on the state school you are leaving....
Yes, and I believed that strongly.
Before I had a child.
And I still believe that, but find it hard to be altruistic and idealistic at the expense of my beloved child.
I'm just honest, and if you look at how many people support moving into a "better" catchment (something I actually wouldn't and won't do).
Yes, I believe people should do the best they can for their family, and their child, in line with their own conscience. I'm not going to condemn anyone who decides to put their child in state school, and then move them at eight. Or, who, as I initially thought, makes their child use a slate until they write neatly...
To OP, kids deal with change better than we think. Why not give the local school a go, and see? That's the decision we came to.
I went to private as did do and our ds went to state and is way more confident and wordly than we were as are all his mates. They are confident and chatty and generally interesting and engaged. This sort of thing comes from the parents and the general home life. If you teach your kids that you are hoping to buy them a personality you are on a slippery slope
I can't quite believe what I've just read! I'm a teacher (primary) in a state school, live in the North West. Went to a state school as do my own two DS currently.
Is this what people worry about who have money and live in the South? I am amazed and shocked, I can't even put it into words....?
Why are you outraged louby44?
Thanks so much everyone. I had never thought about the impact on the school of leaving at 8, so thank you for bringing it to light. A lot to consider. Although I have to confess that I don't think that I'm a big enough person to think more about the school and community than what's best for my child...which sounds awful but I suspect when it comes down to it is true.
In terms of the self-confidence mentioned, my DH, a solicitor who was fully state-educated has always said that he's noticed that those privately educated seem to possess more confidence.
I now have even MORE to think about than before. But thank you.
And thank you Kangaroo - I think that sounds like a good idea.
This is interesting as my best friends kids were privately educated and struggled at university with making friends etc.
And Don'tmindifIdo that would be good!
DH went to private schools he certainly didn't come out with an inner glow and neither did his friends. They all refuse to send their children to private school.
I would consider it if we could afford it but I went to an awful state school. Dh says over his dead body.
I would second what others have said about making sure you are really able to afford it as once you start on that road it is very difficult to change back with out feeling you are letting your child down, I don't believe you are if you have to move back to the state sector but I'm sure you would feel like you were.
We have friends that have chilren in private schools and it is crippling them financially. Go look at all the schools and decide which feels right, you will know what will work for you and your child.
Hope it all works out for you OP.
The OPs main
only concern is for her own child. Why would the OP be concerned about the state school having a different child take the place if her child leaves at 8?
It isn't even logical to expect the OP to be concerned about the schools loss of her chid at the age of 8. It's a school, they have plenty of other chidren to worry about.
The OP should do what she feels is right for her child and choose the school that suits him best. I would think its best to go with the most suitable option from reception but people move schools all the time for various reasons.
I think if you can afford it easily and don't have to scrimp on other areas then its fine. Most kids at these schools have lots of extra curricular activities which cost and come from families where nice holidays etc are the norm. If you are scraping together the fees they won't get the full experience. The most educated and moneyed of my friends who were private as kids don't entertain it.
I went private for most of secondary. DH went private from age 7.
Our kids go to the local state school (in London...no playing fields). Because we think them being educated in the community in which they live, rather than an elite bubble, is very important.
Agree with other posters - the legacy it leaves for the state primary in terms of funding, Sats results etc is a real problem. Personally, I think 'state til 8' is an awful concept - if you want your kids to go private, then send them from the start and leave local schools to those who are committed to them and the community that surrounds them.
But if you have plenty of money then why not go private all the way through? If the ultimate goal is for your precious child to to finish off their education in an elitist and privilidged institution, what is the thinking behind allowing them to slum it in a bog standard state primary with all the riff raff up to the age of 8?
I must be missing something.
For a lot of people, the community in which they live IS an "elite bubble". Moving to a better catchment is just as much buying an education as going private, and actually, I think it's worse, as at least good private schools offer scholarships.
You can't get a scholarship from a "bad" catchment to a "good" one.
I would imagine people think of "state 'til eight", not because they want to screw up SATs or whatever, but because that's when Prep schools take from. I think it's more a problem that SATs are not fit for purpose, and should be scrapped. If we're making the move to private for secondary, I shall be taking mine out before SATs, as I think they are dreadful for children to be forced to do. I will try my best to ensure mine doesn't sit them even if we stay in the state system. And I am VERY committed to my community, and our primary. I just strongly object to SATs, and if enough parents voted by ensuring their child didn't do them, they'd have to scrap them.
So "you'll mess up SATs results" is a pretty poor argument IMO.
I didn't say I was outraged. Didn't use that word. Just as a Northerner I have never heard the term before 'state till eight'. I am shocked that that is what people do!
I have no problem with people choosing private education over state - if I had the money then maybe I might consider it.
I just can't believe people would use the state system and then cast it aside when they no longer needed/wanted it, taking up a much needed place that another child could use for ALL of their time in primary school.
It just seems very selfish to me. If you want to educate your child privately then you have a choice, but people who cannot afford the private route do not have that choice. You however can take that state place, thus reducing the amount of places for people who genuinely need a primary school place.
If you're going to go private, do it from the start!
Perhaps because you don't believe that state school is "slumming" it? Lots of inverted snobbery here, from people willing to do anything underhand (like move purely for school) to get their kids out of "bad" schools and in to "good" ones, but judging those who are honest about it.
I know people who have done it. Its a financial thing greedy imo and these people do not give a toss about the community as they also moved straight out of catchment once they didn't need it!I agree with those who say pay from the start if you believe £ gives you the ready break glow
At the moment we would definitely have to reduce spending in other areas in order to send our DS (who's currently 2.5) to private school (and our newly born DD). We do lead what I'd describe as a comfortable life at the moment, a large house (though not in a great area), lots of foreign holidays, I don't work, don't worry about bills. But my DH is doing better and better as his position in his firm gets stronger. But I don't ever want to be in a position where we're terrified of bills because of having to pay private school fees.
Yes pootlebug, hate the idea of an elite bubble. I was fully privately educated and come from I suppose would be described as an upper middle class background (unlike my DH), and I have some relatives who are horribly elitist and arrogant. I don't want that for my children.
It's so hard making these kind of decisions on behalf of your kids. I just want them to be happy and have a good life.
I am considering it although entry to private at 8 means tutoring/prep for tests
They will be happy and have a good life if you do . There is no magic glow it is just something those with low self worth see reflected back at them.
I know I put words into your mouth louby it was just your "I can't quite believe what I've just read!.....I am amazed and shocked, I can't even put it into words....?" Sounded quite outraged!!
Anyway, than you for explaining.
In central london, your options are quite limited at secondary level in the state sector. And it is this you have to plan for.
I would not be influenced by the political judgement of some of the posters that moving your child at eight (having I hope paid some council tax and probably income tax) and releasing a state school place somehow is morally reprehensible. Your first moral duty is to yours childs education. Removing your child will not diminish the school and certainly, the argument that SATS will be more difficult for them is a quite ludicrous argument. Your child is not a pawn in an OFSTED league table or a socialist construct for equality.
Returning to topic, moving at eight is quite sensible as it gives your Prep School time to assess your child and prepare them for secondary. It is especially good for boys if the prep will keep them to thirteen as they mature in a smaller, less competitive environment. For girls, moving on at eleven is usually fine but some parents prefer the security of staying on to 11 if travel and immaturity are issues.
Remaining in the maintained (state) sector can work, but the competition for grammar places is utterly fierce, and ethnically approaching a monoculture in some schools. This may not be an issue for you but if it is you then have to accept your local school. Tutoring then becomes widespread if you can afford it.
As for the social mix of independent schools. I think you would be surprised. Obviously, there is professional and financial cohort, but art, media, academic and a large bursary group are also present at secondary level.
Visit the schools and you will see whether it feel right.
I'd advise that you check out the schools and see which is the best for your child. If the best local school is the private school AND you can comfortably afford to pay the fees, then you'd be better to try to secure a place now rather than wait. Not many places tend to be freed up at the age of 8 and you may find there is no place available. Plus IMO the formative years are the early years. As the old saying goes, show me the boy at 7 and I'll show you the man...
Do the best for your child - your child doesn't have to be a social experiment!
I totally agree with your last post.
FFS don't most people just muddle along, doing the best they can? Do people really have a grand plan for their kids to fit into? That seems backwards to me.
We started all our 3 at our local primary, and moved them when we got fed up (year 5, year 2, year 7). These decisions were made in the heat of the moment, when we felt something had to change. Later on we had one child switch schools in mid year 10, one decide to HE, and one happily stay in school.
I think if your local school is good, then use it, and if the school gets to be less good, think about moving your child.
I object to the assumption that 'only' those people who pay for private school are 'doing the best for their child', or that doing the best for your child must mean paying for private school. I was part private /part state educated.
Many people in central London are, essentially, racist and don't like the fact that many state schools are majority non-white British. I utterly detest this. I believe that privately educating them is more likely to turn them into the people who make this sort of decision, than if they are state educated. I strongly believe that this is doing a good thing for my children. I don't care if people don't like the fact I say this. I hear it every day from people I talk to about schools, so I know it to be true.
I also know that the primary school my eldest now attends and others will be going to does a good job with their education. Its added value score is high, although there is a large mix in actual results and the intake is underperforming - it does an amazing job for those children and I know that a number get bursaries into the local, very high performing, independent secondaries.
State schools give you something that no private school can do. And that is to give a massive injection of reality. I can understand why people who have been badly served by a poor school would make a decision to move from state, at 8. But to consider it as a strategy is, IMO, an entirely wrong way of considering the educational system as a whole. If what you want is private, do it now. But recognise what you are missing out on from the beginning.
I moved two of my at 8. It wasn't planned though.
After two schools failing ds1 we tried for a bursary at a very good local prep, he got it and he's thrived. So when ds2 managed to get a scholarship at the same school we were happy.
Dd would have started this year if we had planned to move her but she's fine at state school so have no plans to.
Dc4 is in reception, there are no plans to move him but we never planned to move the others either.
lifesbeautiful, you definitely need to gather more info about the particular state school you are considering. What percentage of kids leave after year 2? What percentage go on to independent schools after year 6? Which schools?
My dds go to a lovely state primary, where about 20% go on to independent schools. About every other year, a child or two leaves for prep school in year 3. No one is the least bit bothered. The kids who leave are sweet kids and their mums are usually lovely and very committed mums. But, all the other kids and mums are sweet and lovely too, so life goes on.
If anything, the children who leave early are the ones who would have gone through till 11, but their parents lost confidence and decided a place at an independent school would be easier to secure at 7 than at 11.
These parents would say they lost confidence in the school. Those of us watching from the sidelines might suspect that they have actually lost confidence in their own dc!
As an aside, I think your primary moral obligation is to your own children. Doing your utmost to give them a good education seems to be a wholly good thing for us all. I want as many well educated people as possible in this society. I disagree that education is a zero sum game. There is a fixed amount if gold, for example, in this world, but we can make as much education as we want! Pay your taxes, vote for policies that help all children, and if you want to "spoil" your children with an education that is over and above what society generally wants to spend that is your business.
OP we are going "state 'til 8" although have never heard that particular phrase previously. Although we are in a slightly different situation to you as our local school is infants only at which point a number of local school amalgamate and the combined junior school is bigger than the
dire secondary school I attended. Therefore this appears to be a natural break where some children will leave and classes will be reorganised etc.
When making this decision a number of factors came into play, location - we wanted him to have local friends and not travel too far to school, the fact that the prep schools we are considering do not have Pre-prep departments so they start aged 8 and most importantly his personality. We feel that the small-ish infants school locally to us which is well run and has a lovely atmospher (not the best ofstead rating but we don't hold much stock by that) suited the little boy he is now, if he needs a bit more focus on his academics then we will get a tutor in, but to be honest you are only a child once and it will do him no harm to just enjoy being a little boy for a few years.
I don't think there is anything wrong with what you are thinking of doing but I would look at the prep schools you are considering and how many new pupils they take aged 7, you don't want him to be the only new boy in a well established cohort. Also if you are going for a selective school keep any eye on how well he is achieving as if would be a shame to have it all worked out and then he doesn't pass the entrance exam.
Just to put it in perspective, our daughter has attended her prep school since nursery as it is closer that any state school, is a fantastic little school and suits her personality; she has really flourished there! So I would definitely say look with your child in mind and not other people's ideas.
Emerald I was delighted that my children didn't have to take SATs. I am baffled by why so much time is spent on them and how they are even used by our local secondary schools to predict GCSE results.
Surely those who are saying that private schools are elitist and racist and discriminatory are being illogical in saying you should go private from day one, if you want to opt out of the state system? Isn't it better that children have at least some years in the state system to make friends and build lasting contacts?
oddsins you said it best!
spidercalledchester what you say about racism is interesting. In my area, the local comprehensive is almost all white British, while the selective independent schools are at least a third minorities!
I really don't think many 7 year olds make lasting contacts!
In a lot of places 8 is the start of private. A lot of the older preps don't have pre-preps and they start from 8.
I think it is going too far to ascribe racist views to central London schools, where both sectors are all racially diverse (and white may well not be British). Prep schools in the centre are widely used by expats of all creeds and colours. Though of course you do have to be wealthy - fees are at the £5k a term level for many, and bursaries are few.
Just to be clear. I don't think that private schools are racist. I think that some parents make decisions on racist grounds. They are entirely different things.
lalaland - Ifthat were true where I was, I wouldn't make that point! I am not saying it is universal, just that it is what I see where I am.
What if they don't want to leave at 8? What if they are happy there?
Do parents do this irrespective of their child's wishes?
I have never heard of this before, we are in the NW and unless you win the lottery or are rich to begin with your dc go state and stay there.
With the exception of a few like us who leave at 8 to H.ed. , usually at our dcs request.
I was privately educated and both my dc will be state educated. Private education pretty much destroyed any confidence I had and I wouldn't want to put my dc through that same experience. My parents automatically thought private would be best and for my brothers it was - me no - I was that square peg. I love that state although not perfect seems to cater better for square pegs.
Having said that we are blessed to live in an area with good state schools so I don't have to make that decision but I do know that things would have to be pretty dire for us to consider private.
I guess you have to think about your individual child and what is best for them. Look round at all the schools and decide on that criteria.
I think I meant "I think it is going too far to ascribe racist views to those choosing central London prep schools, where both sectors are all racially diverse (and white may well not be British)."
Parents who make decisions based on race would not be attracted to the diversity that exists in central London preps. I think only one still insists on birth registration, which tends to favour families who are long term resident.
Sure meditrina. I'm not saying that everyone's in private school is a racist. I'm saying that I hear a LOT of racist opinions.
"Oh it's very asian, isn't it?" - after visiting the school, on open day.
" Oh, I'm worried about behaviour there." Me: "Why? Have you seen anything that suggest that, because what we have seen has been good?". Them "Well, erm. They're all 'from the estate' and, erm, gosh, my child would be the only white child there."
"I couldn't possibly send my child to that school. They'd be the only white child."
All from the last 6 weeks.
p.s. their child wouldn't be the only white child. Although they might be in a minority of, say, 25-30%, which is not atypical of the local area.
'State schools give you something that no private school can do. And that is to give a massive injection of reality.'
Yes, you're right there - and, it certainly does that at secondary school. My memories of secondary school alone were enough for me to send my DS to private school. I went to a great state primary but secondary is where things can really start to go downhill.
Hmm - bit of a leap from that to assume the parent commenting on one school (which is presumably well out in the suburbs) then goes private, and then does so in the seriously expensive preps of central London (the area specified by OP).
Potatoprints - I am in the NW and know lots of parents who have left state to go private when their children have been 7/8. These parents haven't had this as a grand master plan from the outset and neither are they rich. They are simply parents who feel failed by the state school or are concerned about their school combining classes in the juniors and having classes of 40+ or have some other reason for their decision. Most of these parents are not wealthy and have to make lifestyle changes to afford the fees, but feel they have no choice as their children only get one chance to have a happy childhood and home ed is not something that everyone an manage.
For those who see a racist undertone in parents who choose private over state - the prep schools near me have a far greater number of ethnic minority pupils than the local state schools, so racial mix is clearly not the parents concerns.
Most parents are just trying to do what they feel is best for their own children whether that be private or state. There is no need to vilify people for the decisions that they make.
I think people send their children to private schools before 8 for 2 reasons
1) They have reason to believe that it will make it easier for their child to get into the prep school of their choice which will make it easier for their child to get into the private secondary school of their choice.
2) They don't think the local state school will do a good job of educating their child.
Having said that, for the average child, I think the education at a state infant school will be at least as good as that provided by a private school, but meeting a more 'diverse social crowd' (if they are available at your local primary) from age 4-7 won't make much difference to their perception of others in the long term if you take them out at 8.
(Have been bemused by public school types telling me that they went to a comprehensive school because they spent a couple of years in the local village school before going to pre-prep)
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Oh that inner confidence that turns into outer arrogance is the main reason none of my children will ever go to private school.
Yes, because all children who go to private schools turn into arrogant little shits don't they?
None of the teens I know are arrogant nor are they more confident etc they all seem much thevsame my ds and my mates kids just slot in together and hae v similar lives and friends.
I think that people send their DC to private schools for the much broader and deeper range of skills their DC will acquire there. And I think that the self-confidence attributed on this thread to the privately-educated is borne of knowing how to do many more things...
Nobody's told me yet why it's worse to plan to take a child out at eight, nine or ten to go to privately than it is to plan to switch to a better state primary school when a place becomes available. Or to return to Poland or to take up a better job in the US when the child is eight or nine.
Our sons still hang out with the friends they made at state primary school, despite moving to prep schools at ten. We still spend time with the families we met through the school and still help out at the primary school. I have been a classroomvolunteer there for ten years.
Perhaps we are just lucky not to live in an area where friendships are based on educational and social ideology.
Can you give some examples to illustrate your last point, please?
I sent my DC to private from the off, but there were kids who joined the school later.
In some cases this was planned.
Parents wanted the shorter journey for little ones. And shorter days. Less academic pressures...so they chose their community school.
But since they wanted far more than the state school could offer later, they switched.
We all pay our taxes so we all pay for state education. We are entitiled to access it for our DC at any time we choose. But we have no duty to remain there if it doesn't suit us. For whatever reason.
Ab it isn't any different at all from your examples.
However,the anti private poster will take any opportunity to slate private schools, the parents and children who attend them .
By eight, a lot more parents will have saved up the necessary money to pay for private school fees.
By eight, parents will have a better idea of their child's academic/extra-curricular strengths and weaknesses and how the school is addressing these.
By eight, parents who may have never even considered private schooling in the past may be considering it if the child isn't reaching their full potential in a state school.
I don't see anything particularly conniving in it. I was being academically held back at a state school until the end of Year 3 (they wouldn't give me the higher level reading books, wouldn't teach me division etc.) and I was 8 when I got a scholarship for a private school. It was the best decision my very typical working-class parents say they ever made and certainly I'm very grateful for the massive opportunities private schooling gave me at that age.
A DC who can speak several languages fluently, has participated in competitive sports for many years, has great public speaking and debating skills and is up to date with current affairs because he/she has had regular exposure to movers and thinkers is likely to be self-confident. It is easier to access those types of skills via private education.
I'm doing it the other way around. My dd is in private primary
to make up for the fact I work too much and don't have time to help her with homework the classes are small and they get more attention so this makes sense for our situation right now. They also have breakfast & after school club included on site. The alternative would have been state with 30 kids in a class a breakfast club & after school club god knows where or a nanny who would cost the same as private school.
When she goes to secondary I'm planning on sending her to the local state school as she will be more independent and I will be more senior in my career so able to work better hours.
I agree with wordfactory - no-one in the UK is under any sort of obligation to use state education.
The same is not true in France, where we all need our DC to attend schools that offer the French NC (teachers paid by and answerable to the state), and opting out is almost impossible.
To be fair, what seems to happen around here is that people give state education a go, with the very best of intentions and expectations.
By the time their DC are seven-ish, they're beginning to reassess, especially if they now have more knowledge of senior schools.
Many parents know precious little when they start the whole shebang. I certainly didn't!
I think that's right - parents don't all set out with a finely honed game plan to milk the state system to their own advantage where possible. They are much more likely to give up on it, disillusioned.
Add me to that list
Well half anyway
We do what's best for each of our children. Which is why I have two state and two private.
Isn't that all any parent tries to do?
Thanks for your examples. Would you agree that it is perfectly possible to gain those skills in the state system?
Earlier, kangaroo said she had never encountered a state educated person who had 'inner worth' as she described it.
I said that it is easier to acquire those skills in the private system, and I believe that very strongly.
It is certainly possible but I wouldn't say it is likely if you look at the state system as a whole. There will be state schools that can offer all that and many more which can not. Grammar schools would be the most comparable state secondary schools I imagine.
Provision in the state system is very patchy in the UK.
Whether you live close enough to and are allocated a school that does what you want it to is not within your free choice.
It's a difficult decision, bit I believe quite common for children to join the private system around the age of 9 or even at the start of senior school. I suppose it depends on the quality of the primaries in your area, but if we were in a good catchment for a state primary then we would definitely have gone that route (all the way through though, not just to 8). As it happens we don't (very strict catchments in Scotland) and have gone private.
We have gone through the same issues so can sympathise. I would ignore other people's political views and make a decision on what you think is best for your kids/family. When DD was at 7 we agonised hard (as we had at reception level) re private school. We lived in central London at the initial decision so it was hard to compare the little state schools with the better private ones but in the end we went state. We have subsequently moved to SW London and again have opted for state primary.
A large part of that was we wanted our kids to have exposure to a broader range of socio-economic backgrounds (although even in state schools in our area that isn't that diverse).
Speaking to friends who have kids in private school, it seems like the private schools push their kids more and I guess (that's all I can do) that our kids would be further along if we had taken that route. However, they are happy, well balanced, learning well and loving school. And the cost savings aren't to be sniffed at.
We are now revisiting the topic as DD. prepares for secondary school choices and I simply don't know. My sense is the private school will puce them more confidence and probably higher grades, while the state will be more exposure to a broader strata of society and somewhere DD will be closer to the top of the class than at the private school.
The financial issue is worth considering. What would happen if your family lost (even temporarily) its main source of income? Would you have to pull your kids out of the private school?
One thing to note is that most private schools are selective and children usually have to sit some kinds of entrance exam. Obviously that will get tougher as they get older and I guess the chances of getting in will depend on the pressure for places.
I think this was v common when I was young. Certainly it's what my parents did with my brothers (off to prep at 7/8 after local state). Not with me, but that's another story.
Consequently it was something that I hadn't discounted when I was thinking about my firstborn. We live in an area where everyone with money goes private, to the extent that most of the people I met at postnatal groups didn't even look at local state. We did and it was so much more appealing on every level than the privates we looked at. (OP where are these central london privates with large grounds? The ones we saw didn't even have playgrounds, literally no outside space).
I still had a nagging feeling since I was surrounded by those 'doing their best' by going private. Was I somehow not doing my best? I found it comforting to think that we could always opt for private at 7 or 8 if we so wished. My reasoning was that you can opt out of state to go private, but it was unlikely to happen the other way round.
However, when it got nearer that time, I would no sooner have pulled him out to go to a prep than have sent him off to a seminary. He was happy and thriving and what's more, so were we as a family. I feel so incredibly relieved that we made that choice to go to state school and overall it has made us all happier than we would have been with a horrible commute, financial pressures, lots of homework, boy in one school, girls in another etc.
I also would have felt sort of treacherous if I'd pulled him out. I know others that have done that and, while they're not ostracised, it's hard for them to maintain the links with other families that they enjoyed when they saw them everyday. I know everyone has a right to do as they wish, but you must see that the families you might make friends with might not feel thrilled when you tell them that you're removing your child because 'you have to do the best for them'.
ps none of the (exclusively privately educated) people I grew up with have an inner glow, speak more than one language, are good at debating, can turn tin into gold etc. There are far more bilingual and trilingual kids at my child's state school.
We all pay our taxes so we all pay for state education. We are entitiled to access it for our DC at any time we choose. But we have no duty to remain there if it doesn't suit us. For whatever reason.
Tis is probably the best and most accurate thing I have read on the thread so far.
The steady growth in numbers in DC's school in years 3 - 6 suggests that people must be doing this (DS's year is more than twice the size in Y7 that it was in Y2) but I can't say that I have ever asked anyone if that was a deliberate decision.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Arrogance is due to poor parenting, not education.
I did it.
I gave our local primary (generally seen as atrocious) a chance. It turned out to be a lovely school, pastorally. It had huge grounds despite being in London, in comparision to miserable concrete playgrounds at most of nearish privates. It also had a far more relaxed vibe and less stressy, BlackBerry-gazing/yummy-mummy parents than at the private schools I toured, where they were asking questions like "Why don't you teach Latin from Y3?" etc.
It turned out to be a lovely school. However, academic standards weren't very high (they're improving now), plus at the end of yr 2, we learned a lot of dc1's close friends would be moving abroad.
The only private school near us that I liked and seemed relatively down to earth started at y3, so it seemed an obvious time to move dc1. There's no doubt she's receiving a better academic education at the private school, but she was very happy at her old school and had her friends stayed, I would have kept her there, and tried to fill in the gaps myself.
Dc2 is at the state school and we haven't yet decided whether to move him or not as he is as much more robust and academic character, plus the academic standards are higher now.
I think that if you like the look of your local state, it's worth giving it a whirl and see how it works out. You will probably be pleasantly surprised. State schools in London are improving all the time, many are excellent.
Personally, I didn't give a monkeys how others in the community viewed my decision, it was personal, it was correct for my child, it was not a judgement on them and their decisions. The school were fine about it. But I do know other parents who've been rollocked by the head for moving their child at 7/8, so it might be worth enquiring discreetly how this will be viewed, just so you can prepare yourself.
It's like saying state schools create yobs. No, parenting creates yobs.
A DC who can speak several languages fluently
I have not met anybody, in the state or private system, who has achieved this goal in a UK school...
Bonsoir I don't know many private or state who can do all that. I also believe the next generation have changed and don't give a toss half as much as their parents.
You've not met my daughter's best friend, 6, who can speak Mandarin and Cantonese as well as English, or my son's friend, 9, who can speak Arabic and French, or other daughter's friend, 5, who speaks Portuguese and German...
No I haven't. Fortunately I am not impressed by such things and see a bigger picture. People are individuals and school is a small part of who someone is. The person who speaks more languages or can speak in public is not better in any way shape or form than anyone else no matter where these skills were acquired.
My best friend has 2 out of uni now and they had a v privileged upbringing at school and at home but I can honestly say they are no better or different than any other 20 somethings. They are both lovely and confident etc but nothing exceptional Both have good degrees but working in bars etc as they are only interested in travelling and living a fairly simple life. I think this is great they are just well educated but not at any advantage that I can see.Also both back living at home with mum s can't get a job that will pay rent.
There's nothing more guaranteed to get people excited on Mumsnet than the whole state/private sector debate. This will go on and on ..............
That's my point Noddy - these kids all speak loads of languages because of their parents happening to be native speakers, not to do with their schooling (which happens to be state, what with them being these EAL kids that my neighbours want to avoid).
Generally I think these threads give too much credence to the idea that it's all about the schools you go to. Those glowy private school kids? They've may well have interesting and supportive parents. And had they been sent to the local state, they'd have been just as glowy.
Most of our friends are well-educated, involved and relatively affluent. Their children are almost all articulate, academically successful and charming. They are off to the same universities and they speak with the same accents. It's almost impossible to tell who went to what school.
I was state educated, dh private.
Our children go to state school though we could afford private. Dh was very keen on this - he hated his private school. We send our dc to a bilingual state school and honestly we couldn't buy their education if we tried!
I meant children who learn to speak a language fluently at school e.g. because they have French lessons, not children who grow up bi-lingual/tri-lingual.
Anyway OP, you can always change course before 8 and many people do. In particular, many private schools have pre-school sections that are eligible for early years funding, and many primary schools now have nurseries.
Your duty is as follows:
"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—
a: to his age, ability and aptitude, and
b: to any special educational needs he may have,
either by regular attendance at school or otherwise." 1996 Education Act.
Look at the schools and look at your child, then do your best and realise that as with anything else in life and parenting, there is no perfect choice and there will always be another route that you could have taken, but all you can do is your best at the time.
Agree with your last comment, Farewell, about the confidence coming from the parents rather than the school.
I live in a town where all the high earning educated professional parents, e.g. medics, vets, scientists, architects etc send their dcs to the only comp. The able dcs go on to very good unis on competitive courses. There are great music, drama and sports facilities. As it is a true comp with no competing grammars the intake represents a full range of abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds and some ethnic diversity. Our town has a wide range of property prices, so you don't have to be rich to live here. The only private schools are long bus rides over an hour away, and no one seems to send their dcs there. In fact, it would be social suicide to do so.
I expect many of the pro private people on here would send their dcs to our comp, and not feel they will have a second rate education.
If I lived in a different town, with a really poor comp, and everyone we knew with similar jobs to us were going private I might do the same.
What I object to is the generalisation about state and private, for example kangaroos assertion that state children don't have a sense of inner worth.
My son in law was privately educated [boarding from 13] and,although they could afford private, he and dd have chosen a small [village] primary for the boys and intend them to go to the 'Outstanding'[at present] comp where dd is teaching.
They feel the advantages they could give the boys [including saving for uni.] outweigh the benefits of private education.The boys are in year groups of 15 in lovely surroundings and are happy and seem to be doing well academically.
Personally, with hindsight, I'd rather have sent DD private from Reception onwards, then state from secondary (if needs be. I'd probably do private all the way through though).
DD is at private secondary school. But I found that her state primary school did not prepare her with the basics in the same way that independent schools do.
Maths for example - there does seem to be more of a focus on really getting to grips with the basics, learning tables by rote, consolidating knowledge with homework etc at private schools. I was frustrated by the lack of homework at DD's state schools and the 'creative' teaching methods.
Also, independent primary schools tend to have time to teach languages to a far greater extent than state schools. Sport, too, is a key part of the curriculum and sporting opportunities are better at independent schools, especially in London.
In short, I'd rather be confident that my children had grasped the basics in key subjects, which they could then build on in the state environment, than the other way round
merrymouse - I frequently meet DC educated in London private schools who are plurilingual (we meet them on holiday - there are obviously certain sorts of hotels/destinations that attract a particular plurilingual clientèle!).
Why are so many of the state schools on this thread 'little'? My DC go to quite a good-sized state primary .
"Little" when applied to state schools is generally considered to be a redeeming quality than counteracts the anonymity of state education versus private.
Bonsoir that is possibly the most ridiculous post I have ever read on Mn
I think you'll find it's one of those unthinkingly patronising add-ons, actually.
I didn't say I agree with it...
...and intend them to go to the 'Outstanding'[at present] comp where dd is teaching.
Would they feel the same if their local secondary schools were not outstanding?
Why are so many of the state schools on this thread 'little'?
The state primary all three of my children attend/ed is a 3 form intake "outstanding" school so not little.
"little" can equate to "good" because of small class sizes - something that is considered a plus of private schools.
I think OP might have had a specific (small, no playing fields) school in mind when she said "little".
bonsoir, I am sure many people at private schools are fluent in many languages. The thing I am disputing is that they learnt them at school. (Unless maybe they went to a welsh language school).
No-one learns a language entirely at school, IME. But certain schools support language learning much better than others. Including supporting the maintenance of other languages spoken within the family.
I can only tell you our experiences, OP, it is a hard choice for anyone (who has a choice) to choose their child's school - state or private or both one after the other - especially the first time around
We're in London. We looked at state and private primaries, and chose the school we felt had the best pastoral care, the happiest kids, and the most engaged. It happened to be a state primary. I felt happy that my girls (who are pretty privileged) would have a great social mix to learn and play with, but that's not why we chose it.
It didn't have the top academic stats in the Borough (and it is a top performing Borough, so that doesn't mean all that much - this school had a different intake to the other local primaries). It wasn't shiny, though it's getting shinier by the year. It does have a big playing field and lots of space.
But it was the people who work there who did it for me. The way they worked together, what they modelled to their pupils, the way they knew and cared about the children in their care. And the kids, who ran up to the then Head and the Deputy to tell them what they were doing, and couldn't wait to tell us, visiting strangers, what they were learning.
There is always a bunch of kids who leave at 7-8. Every year. Mostly because their parents are terrified they won't be able to get them into a decent secondary school unless they are prepped at private schools from 8-11. And fair enough, I understand that.
We had to make the decision for dd1, and it would have torn her apart to leave her school - she was so happy, and doing well. She's now in Y5, and is doing so well (we've filled in one small gap with maths confidence by giving her a term's worth of maths tutoring once a week) that I think she stands as good a chance of getting into a good selective indie as her peers who left at the end of Y2. But it did feel like a gamble at the time, admittedly. I know it was right for her, though.
dd2 is in Y2 now, and I think we'll keep her in - though all her best friends are leaving for private schools (siblings there, or parents who teach there) or to go back to Oz or wherever. But the school has grown academically as well as in other ways, since dd1 started there - and what will be will be. I'm not worried.
I suppose...it all depends on a) the child b) the school c) your priorities. Good luck deciding, I honestly don't think there's a right answer!
Oh - on the language front: my two are bilingual, but all the kids learn a language at their school. dd1 hardly remembers a word of it, dd2 has learned a lot - same teacher, different kids
Haven't had a chance to read through all the posts yet - thank you so much everyone - will do when DS is in bed! But just noticed the 'little' - I don't actually know if it's little...it just looks little in that it doesn't have any playing fields. Ie it looks little compared to the prep schools I've looked at. I need to go and see it again!
Right, I've read through all of the posts. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone for your input, particularly those that really took the time to answer the question. (Though it was interesting to hear the political side of it, as it wasn't something I'd ever really thought about before and it's good to be in the know obviously!)
I saw a couple of schools in Dulwich with big playing fields, in answer to that question.
Anyway, I think we're going to try the local school and see how it goes. And add in extra sports clubs. What's done it for me is the thought of a long commute both ways, which isn't happy for anyone. And the fact I'd like to know local parents. And the thought that we'd be a lot more skint! And if he thrives and is happy, we'll keep him there. If he doesn't and isn't - we'll take him out. And I do know how lucky I am to even court the idea of private school.
Thank you again everybody.
I hope your little one is happy and thrives there. Like you say, nothing is set in stone; you are lucky to have options. Neighbourhood friends and no commute is really nice when they are little.
Thank you missinglaland and for your incredibly sensible and considered post above. Much appreciated and has given me confidence in my decision.
OP, brilliant decision, local friends, no commute and extra cash swung it for us and they are incredibly important factors. I'm sure you'll have no regrets.
Absolutely trivial point here, but if you are looking for 'self confidence', I find it interesting that my children have got it through "performing arts" rather than directly from their schools (they are state educated).
When I see DD (who dances) on stage or backstage, with her group of privately and state educated dancing friends, there is no difference at all in 'shiny self confidence' between the girls educated in the two systems, although all are more self-confident than DD's non dancing school friends.
Ditto DS and his jazz-playing friends, another mixed state / private bunch.
So perhaps if it is that self confidence and 'knowing how to present yourself' that is something you value, that might be an alternative avenue to explore.
Re self-confidence. I work with a lot of privately educated young people. It is true that many of them are extremely confident. However, this self-confidence is often out of proportion to their actual skills and abilities. I personally would not want to encourage that in my own child. But each to their own.
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