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AIBU to think that state schools should be achieving this?

(201 Posts)
KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 31-Aug-13 07:41:45

private schools GCSE results

Should state schools be able to achieve results closer to this?

I don't want this to be a private school bashing thread, but really, should state schools be able to achieve closer to this?

Kleinzeit Tue 03-Sep-13 08:49:28

Eeeeeowwwfftz asked Are private schools exempt from disability legislation?

Indeed they are not exempt, but disability legislation is not clear-cut – it’s all based on “reasonable adjustments” and what’s considered reasonable for a private school may not be quite the same as you’d expect in the state sector. Private schools aren't subject to the state's obligation to educate everybody somehow and after all, private schools can’t call on the same support that state schools can get from the LEA. I think things are slowly changing so that e.g. you might not have to pay for extra TA support if it’s due to a disability, but I’m not sure.

And realistically - say you have a child with behaviour problems due to a disability and a private school might decide to exclude them rather than support them - you might not want your child to be the one who fights the legal fight, not if there’s a decent state option available, because although the battle may benefit future generations your kid will have suffered even if you do win in the end.

Eeeeeowwwfftz Tue 03-Sep-13 08:05:16

Are private schools exempt from disability legislation?

Lazyjaney Tue 03-Sep-13 07:34:29

My kids have been in school in a few countries around the world, the UK comprehensive system is unique in:

- the lack of discipline, and the power given to pupils/ parents over teachers, leading to total inability to deal with disruptive children
- the huge focus of classroom resources on the poorest students, at the expense of the average and above average
- the massive and continual government involvement
- a market in exam setting, leading to different standards for the same exam
- overall, the use of schools as surrogate social service systems rather than just education systems

There is so much to be fixed, but while everyone seems to want them to reform, they also want to meddle and make schools carry out their pet agendas.

Mimishimi Tue 03-Sep-13 07:19:28

Well if they did, all the parents forking out £18,000+ would be up in arms wouldn't they? Well, apart from many being involved with the arms industry in some way of course wink

Runningchick123 Tue 03-Sep-13 06:56:43

Manchester does get a good deal all round. Wages in manchester and property costs are also lower in Manchester than in London which goes some way to explaining why the prep fees can be a lot lower. I do appreciate that in the South fees are a lot higher and in many regions prep schools charge over 10k per year.

But just looking at Manchester as an example, most state schools are full to bursting so £5k per pupil per year = class income of £150,000 (not including pupil premium which in some of the inner city schools will be paid for up to 70% of pupils). Private school with 15 per class charging £6500 = class income of £97,500.
Do state schools also get extra money for major building work? Private schools obviously don't but still manage to maintain their buildings.
Stockport, which is a neighbouring town to Manchester has average funding of £4200 per primary pupil, but for a class of 30 that's still £126k income per class.
The govt should give all schools the same level of per pupil funding (small village schools and thos affected by London weighting allowance would need extra).
I would also like to see the pupil premium being spent on extra teaching staff, more technology and homework clubs and rather than some schools using it to give children free karate, cookery and horse riding lessons.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 22:57:05

From your figures, it seems Manchester is one of the areas that has a higher than average amount of state funding and lower than average private school fees - which makes sense really: in pockets of the country where children are deemed particularly affluent, they'll get less state funding per head and the local prep schools know they can charge higher fees). That's not any comment on Manchester other than to say it may not be very typical of the national picture.

The median spend per pupil nationally is £4147 from the government (not including any funds the school may raise itself).
And, even in the outer regions of London, prep school fees hover around £10,000 per year eg here or here - the national average being about £8625 per year so again Manchester gets a good deal that isn't typical of most areas.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 19:40:22

Funding figures for any region can be found here - Manchester primaries get on average more than £5k per pupil plus pupil premium.

A few prep schools in manchester /cheshire and their fee schedules an be found here:
This one is just nder £6k per annum up to and including year 6
This one is £6360 per annum up to and including year 6
This one is less than £4500 per annum (but. Don't know anything about this school other than its location)

So my figures are not unrealistic.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 19:25:13

It's primary funding - take a look at the figures for central Manchester.

ReallyTired Mon 02-Sep-13 18:27:23

"Most state schools around here get an average of £5200 per pupil "

That is secondary funding and not primary funding. Primary funding is substantially less.

Runningchick123 why don't these incredibly cheap prep schools become free schools if they are close to going bust?

Where I live you will get reception for 6 to 7K, but it is 12K a year for year 5 and above.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:07:48

And my local prep school has all fully qualified teachers and publishes all the teachers qualifications in the schools brochure.

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:06:34

The figures are based on Manchester schools. Most state schools around here get an average of £5200 per pupil plus pupil premium and most prep schools around Manchester and Chesire charge between £6000 and £7000 per year with class sizes anywhere between 12 and 24, but most well under the 20 mark. I am aware that Stockport state schools get less funding (average around £4200 as they are amongst the lowest funded in the country). These state school figures rightly don't include special schools where the figures can be as much as £25k per pupil (but probably needs to be more for the children with complex needs).
I am aware that some schools have gone bust but this is partly due to falling pupil numbers due to the recession which puts the less popular schools under additional pressure, the schools near me with classes of 15 are thriving and investing in new facilities.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 16:20:32

Plus prep school fees go up 4-6% every year. I am pretty sure the state schools don't see those kind of increases.

Talkinpeace Mon 02-Sep-13 16:19:23

Many, many small private schools are nearly going bust with classes of 15
and where do you get your pupil share figure of £5200 from? it was £4500 at DCs school.
Also state schools have to have qualified teachers - private schools do not.
And state schools deal with social issues that private schools refuse to handle.
Having been a state school governor, there WAS NO SPARE CASH.
And £6500 a year is really, really cheap for a prep school - round here its nearer £10,000

Runningchick123 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:03:39

But why can't state schools have smaller classes and then be able to give more individual attention, given that the amount they get per pupil is sufficient to allow this if money is managed better. Look at the examples of my local prep and state school - prep charges 6500 per year and has 15 pupils per class, state gets 5200 per pupil and then 900 pupil premium for each FSM child (about 15% in this area) but has average 30 per class. Perhaps the state school can't manage 15 pupils per class, but based on their level of funding they could afford to employ an additional part time teacher (say two thirds of a full time equivalent) to provide more individual attention.
Also, you are right that private schools have longer days but they also have shorter terms (around 3-4 weeks less than state schools), so it balances out at not much difference in actual teaching time.
Obviously you cant change things like parental attitude.
State schools can never fully mimic private schools but there are some things that they could work towards that would help improve standards and results.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 12:34:03

It isn't the only explanation.
There is also the smaller class sizes, more individual attention, better facilities, longer school days, better staff or staff retention, parental interest in education (if only because they're paying for it and want value for money), freedom to teach what suits their pupils in the way that suits them without government changes and directions, experience in jumping through the hoops to get the desired outcomes, knowledge that continued existance depends on each year's results being great....

But like all schools that do well (defined purely by exam results), independents are allowed to select their pupils. When a school selects who it wants to take and who it will reject, it tends to get better results than a school forced to take all who apply.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Mon 02-Sep-13 12:24:56

I don't accept that 'disruptive pupils' is the only explaination.

tiredaftertwo Mon 02-Sep-13 09:36:00

Surely the more fruitful line of enquiry is why state schools with similar intakes have such very different results? And why pupils in some achieve so much more highly than others? Then start asking why.

tiggytape Mon 02-Sep-13 09:30:13

justgive - many independent schools say upfront that they cannot / will not cater for children whose additional needs will have any significant impact on the rest of the class in terms of disruption or pace of learning. State schools obviously do not do this and whereas only specialist independents will have a high % of children with additional needs, some state schools naturally have this. The average and high ability children aren't always shared out equally between schools.

Independent schools can be quite ruthless in forcing children who are disruptive ornot likely to get good grades to leave. State schools are not able to do this - only extreme cases of disruption would ever result in permanent exclusion whereas in private schools, they will get rid of a troublesome child because otherwise 5 other paying parents annoyed by this child disruption their own will go elsewhere.

If a school can select its intake by ability tests and interviews (or as a minimum just filter out those with significant delays and behavioural problems), and if it can ask children to leave who behave badly or who turn out to be of lower ability, it is hardly surprising they will go on to achieve great results! I know one child who was forced to leave her private school to prevent her from messing up their exam results and this is not uncommon - she wasn't even the only one at that school in that year.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 02-Sep-13 00:05:17


I agree that the system is wrong, But it is what happens when all inclusive is misused.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:55:53

Please note I say a failing system, not poor teaching!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:54:42

bomeyback The situation you describe is a scandal. Children are being let down by a failing system.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 01-Sep-13 23:53:01

By definition though, the vast majority of children in comprehensive education will also be average, in which case they should be competing on a level playing field with privately educated children. At my comp there were children who were below average, as well as dyslexic pupils, children with physical disabilities etc. It was situated in one of the most socially deprived areas in the UK at a time of deep economic depression and social unrest (we were at the heart of the miners' strike). I would be severely pissed off if I thought my teachers used this as a reason to provide me and my classmates with anything less than the education we deserved.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 01-Sep-13 23:49:15

I am passionate about making sure pupils are give all sorts of opportunities. We make regular theatre trips and all sorts of extra opportunities such as Latin GCSE after school but state schools do reflect the society they operate within and I feel teachers are all to often blamed for society's problems. When programmes such as Geordie Shore show stupidity and a total lack of morality as a path to success it makes it very difficult to inspire high aspirations!

I have to say if you compare the top 10% IQ wise of pupils you would find no difference in grades. The top 10% at my school came out with a minimum of 10 A/A* grades, oh yes we had the jumping girls! The real difference are the pupils who would be on the C/D borderline in the state sector who often emerge as solid B in indies.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 01-Sep-13 23:47:49


No one is saying that it is "an automatic reason for a lost education"

but there is a huge difference in a class that has a child that throws furniture across the classroom disrupting the learning of the entire class and the same class when the child is removed.

In a private school the child would not come back in a state school the child will be back in a couple of days/lessons (depending upon the timetable).

It will take the school months (more likely years) to build a case for the child to be moved to better provision. The learning environment for pupils in that situation is not going to be conducive to learning.

Lilka Sun 01-Sep-13 23:43:50

The majority of private schools mostly have students who are at least average. There are a few private schools which are designed and specialise in students with a range of SEN's but they aren't the ones getting top results

State schools will have the entire cohort including those who are working very significantly below average and who are not capable of achieving C grades and above no matter how good the teaching is

Overall the range of SEN is much wider at state schools. There ARE many children with significant needs who are floundering in state schools with poor support, children who would probably do a bit better is special schools with small classes and teachers knowledgable in handling their issues. EBD provision is very poor in some areas - I'm LUCKY that my DD1 and DD2 were both able to attend an EBD specialist school, which is quite close to where we live.

I had to put up a fight to get my DD2 a statement and therefore her school. And she has/had (IMHO) very significant emotional and behavioural issues, although not extreme violence

I know many parents whose children are in mainstream state schools, and those children have needs ranging from autism to schizophrenia to Down's syndrome.

And I do think it's realistic to say that behaviour and emotional issues among students will always create a divide between selective private and state schools.

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