Grammar vs Private - your thoughts please......

(54 Posts)
Confusedpersonified Wed 17-Jun-15 16:01:54

If you had the choice between a place at a leading independent school with a scholarship and a top grammar school, which would you choose and why? Fees affordable but not insignificant.

Aethelfleda Wed 17-Jun-15 16:10:09

Depends on which you think suits your child best. If they were otherwise identical, Grammar school, because there'd be no risk that a change in family circumstances could jeapordise the ability to pay (because even with a scholarship, private schools have many extra expenses: trips, meals, clubs, and lots of the parents will view expensive holidays/clothes/extras as standard. Having said that, many grammars are so coached up that it's the privileged kids who are more likely to get in anyway.

ZeroFunDame Wed 17-Jun-15 16:41:50

Has the child already taken and been awarded the scholarship and the grammar school place?grin

Which do they feel is the greater achievement?

senua Wed 17-Jun-15 17:07:54

I don't think that generalised questions are very helpful when it comes to schools. You will only get a nuanced answer if you name names.

BrilliantDayForTheRace Wed 17-Jun-15 17:13:40

Depends on both schools.

But personally I'd choose the grammar because I feel more comfortable with the other parents there.

My DS s grammar is fantastic and far more selective then the local private schools.

In fact I think in a grammar area often private schools are the fallback for children who didn't pass the 11+

ErrolTheDragon Wed 17-Jun-15 17:17:31

Depends on the individual schools and the individual child (stock answer to any school A/B question, but it's true).

We had a choice similar to this - we chose the GS because it seemed the better fit for DD, and we're very happy with it. It was the one which really clicked with her when she went round in schooltime. One of the things to consider is what subjects are available at what stage (though of course this may change by the time they reach that stage) and how that is likely to map against their abilities and preferences.

senua Wed 17-Jun-15 18:20:20

My DS s grammar is fantastic and far more selective than the local private schools.

We have superselective grammar but many parents prefer the independents which give a better end result.
You can't generalise.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 17-Jun-15 18:24:02

State comprehensive every time.

Millymollymama Wed 17-Jun-15 18:26:29

I would go for the leading independent school providing you will all feel happy being there. Leading must also mean - leading. Lots of private schools are not household names so I would think twice about a second rate one. Trips are very expensive at lots of schools. I think if the independent offers more opportunities than the grammar school and produces well educated, confident, well rounded pupils, I would choose it. In fact, we did! No scholarship though!

zzzzz Wed 17-Jun-15 18:30:14

depends on the grammar and depends on the independent

Confusedpersonified Wed 17-Jun-15 18:35:52

Many thanks for the replies. The grammar school is "superselective" but the independent is also highly selective. The independent gets better results at both GCSE and A'Level although the grammar does brilliantly too. DC is currently in the independent sector so we know what to expect from the independent route. V tough decision to make.

senua Wed 17-Jun-15 18:43:44

Our superselective is a bit tired. Budget restraints and all that. The DC are super-bright so the teachers don't have to work that hard and don't from what I've been told.
Never mind exam results, what about destinations?

senua Wed 17-Jun-15 18:45:10

Do you have other DC? If the first gets in on a scholarship, what about subsequent siblings who aren't so bright.

TheWordFactory Wed 17-Jun-15 18:52:49

We had a choice and went for private.

We've never regretted it (fingers crossed for GCSE results in August grin).

But there are definitely some grammar schools I would choose over some independent schools.

But as Senua says, look at destinations and what courses the sixth form are going on to.
Look at extra curricular activities.

Also look at distance and ask if that's an issue for you etc.

Yamahaha Wed 17-Jun-15 18:54:15

I think you'd have to name the schools in order for people to give advice- it really is about the individual schools concerned.
I presume you've namechanged?

TheWordFactory Wed 17-Jun-15 18:54:46

Also look carefully at your finances.

Can you really afford the independent?

Teens are flipping expensive! And university is knocking at the door!

MyPelvicFloorTrainsItself Wed 17-Jun-15 20:09:13

It's a bit too wide to say without more info. I know of crap grammars and crap independents.

summerends Wed 17-Jun-15 22:21:15

Don't forget if the independent school is boarding, better results may from an overseas boost.
Other factors worth considering
whether your DC would prefer the shorter school days to fit in outside clubs and other interests or you all prefer the interests to be fitted in within the private school day.
If you have any idea of potential academic or arty interests of your DC look at whether those subjects are provided at GCSE and sixth form in both schools and the relative results. As discussed on another thread music, MFLs and Classics may be less well served in the grammar school due to cuts
How much you value the 'poshness' of the private school.

Confusedpersonified Thu 18-Jun-15 09:28:04

We have other DC who are already in the independent sector and we have money set aside to pay for fees going forward. We can afford it, but obviously it would be lovely to have one less set of school fees to account for.
Leavers wise, both schools v good. DC currently says they are keen to do medicine and grammar seems to do well in this field. Is there an advantage to applying to Universities from a (highly selective) state school rather than an independent?

Biscuitsneeded Thu 18-Jun-15 09:31:11

Grammar. Keep the money you save for university fees/car/mortgage deposit etc for your DC. The quality of the academic education will be just as good and the all the trimmings of private school are lovely but not necessary.

moonbells Thu 18-Jun-15 09:43:47

If your DC want to do medicine that's an extra 2-3 years (depending on whether they intercalate) on top of a normal degree so fees and living expenses will be doubled compared with a conventional 3 year degree. If you can save money on schooling to put towards those, I would do it.

TheWordFactory Thu 18-Jun-15 09:53:14

No advantage confused.

Ladymuck Thu 18-Jun-15 10:20:44

How large is the grammar, esp the 6th form?

I would be cautious about assuming that past performance is indicative of future performance especially in light of the changes to state school funding. I am guessing that the grammar school will already be an academy, but it may need to form/join a multi-academy trust or find other ways of supplementing income in order to continue to balance the books. I'm in South London and we have seen most grammars being forced to take an extra form of entry, or two, which is leading to a very crowded experience. In order to secure capital funding schools are having to change entry requirements in order to take more local and/or pupil premium pupils (so the cohort isn't necessarily as super selective as it was in 2008 when lots of parents opted against independent and towards grammars). One grammar locally is doing great work in securing business sponsorship in order to run some of their non-core curriculum eg music. Others are having to look at joining together.

6th form funding in particular has changed/reduced, though the impact at school level will vary. Some schools used the 6th form to effectively subsidise KS3&4.

Again it is down to individual schools. Make sure that you read the accounts of the academy, and also their governor mtg minutes if those are published (they should be).

entirelyidentifiable Thu 18-Jun-15 16:58:02

I don't want to sound snipey but it might be considerate to hurry up - if you are holding places at both schools, there might well be someone desperate for the place and it is getting a little late in the day given the end of the school year is looming. Plus nicer for your child to know where they are heading in September and attend any settling in days.

Moominmammacat Thu 18-Jun-15 18:12:04

Name the schools then we'll tell you!

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