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To think it is a big risk to pay for private prep school and assume they will get into grammar

(37 Posts)
Villagebike3 Mon 30-May-16 12:36:23

This is a follow on from a response on a different thread. I live in an area with grammar schools. This means the state secondary schools are polarised between fantastic grammars and sink failing comprehensive schools. The clammering to get your child into grammar is a nightmare. It starts from before they even go to school!!

Many parents pay for a private prep school with the assumption that this will get their child into grammar. Prep schools are a lot cheaper than private senior schools.

However, I work in a private prep and there are lots of children each year that don't get into a grammar. Some parents can afford the private senior school if they don't get pass, but there are a handful every year from the school I work in, who have no choice but to send their child to the comprehensive.

The step from a private prep to a comprehensive secondary is huge. It seems a big risk.

Am I being unreasonable to think that if you embark on the private school route, you need to be able to pay right up till they are 16/18?

katemiddletonsnudeheels Mon 30-May-16 12:37:15

I agree with you but I don't pretend to understand the private and grammar angst on here - it's not really something that happens round here.

sue51 Mon 30-May-16 13:06:13

I know people who have been shocked their children did not get into grammar school. Paying for prep school is no guarantee of a pass, always make sure you have a back up plan.

GoblinLittleOwl Mon 30-May-16 13:08:07

I like grammar schools; the best way to social mobility at present, I think, but they are definitely being commandeered by fee-paying pupils.
Either because state schools have teachers who are ideologically opposed to selective education and do everything they can to discourage possible entrants, or are so bogged down in SATs preparation that their pupils are not prepared for any other form of examination.
Why SATs study doesn't prepare pupils for Grammar school exams I don't know.

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Mon 30-May-16 13:12:07

I think YABU to,expect anyone to be able to predict with total certainty whether they can afford private schools for X number of years, because so many things can intervene in plans over that time.

Private primary is education in its own right, not just a stepping stone for the next stage. It's fine to use it in that basis, and with a general hope of a preferred outcome or two.

Comprehensives (or in your area something more akin to a secondary modern) aren't necessarily a 'risk'. Especially if it is set/streamed and the study habits (and general level of attainment) mean the DC is in the top ones.

Stillwishihadabs Mon 30-May-16 13:12:14

Because Goblin they take the 11+ in the September of year 6, the entrance exams for private schools in January-March and the SATs in May. So most state schools haven't even started the topics they need to pass the 11+ when they are expected to sit it.

silverpenny Mon 30-May-16 13:15:17

It's discusting that the majority of kids who go to what are publically funded grammar schools use private prep to get in. So much for the so called social mobility they offer.

Stillwishihadabs Mon 30-May-16 13:17:18

Silver penny that is not true, at the most it is about 40% ( I agree far to high) but the majority of pupils there have been to state primaries.

silverpenny Mon 30-May-16 13:19:24

In my area it is about 60% so there must be big regional variations

eyebrowsonfleek Mon 30-May-16 13:25:29

I disagree. If parents really think that they can get a grammar school spot because they paid for a prep school education then they are fools. A good prep school could improve chances but they are not a guarantee. I know parents who fall hook, line and sinker for the idea that private is always better than state where as there are a huge range of schools from both sectors.
I guess that some parents don't realise that when you enrol at a prep school you need to find out what exams they will help prepare your child for because 7+, 8+, 11+, 13+ and grammar school tests are all different and a prep school wants children who will ideally stay all the way through.
I know a lot of people who went state to private (including myself) and coped absolutely fine and I bet there are plenty who make an easy transition the other way. There is no need to stick to one sector the whole way through.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Mon 30-May-16 13:25:36

Well in fairness there are other factors at play - it isn't just the fact they are at a prep school putting them at an advantage.

MatildaTheCat Mon 30-May-16 13:27:15

It surely depends on the quality of the state primary schools you have available. If they are excellent I would consider sending my child there are spending extra money on tutors for the grammar entrance ( if your child is suitable, just attending a prep doesn't make a child more intelligent).

If the primary schools aren't great and there are good preps or you get a good fee reduction for working there, I would do that. Your child will still have had the best possible start. A very bright child will tend to do well in a comprehensive anyway.

We did a mix of state and independent education and it was different rather than better. Both boys finished with excellent A levels. Find the right school for the child rather than focusing on the grammar as the Very Best solution.

Catmuffin Mon 30-May-16 13:29:38

Grammar schools used to offer social mobility but not any more. In the 70s we did 11+ preparation at school and the whole class took the 11+ in class time. I never heard of tutoring back then. I didn't do practice at home but was still able to pass because we'd been prepared in class. There were a couple who came from prep schools but they were intelligent enough they'd have got in from state primary too. It was very much on ability and not ability to pay for tutoring/prep school.

TurquoiseMoon Mon 30-May-16 13:34:07

YANBU to think it's ridiculous that people assume their child will get a place in a grammar school. However, they don't have to be prepared to pay for it, up until 16/18. As long as they're happy for their child to go to a state secondary...

LogicalThinking Mon 30-May-16 13:55:01

I like grammar schools; the best way to social mobility at present, I think, but they are definitely being commandeered by fee-paying pupils.
How can they be the best way to social mobility when they are being commandeered by fee-paying pupils?
There are a lot of very good comprehensives that offer a very high standard of academic education for those pupils who are suited to it whilst offering a broader range of subjects for other students.
Selective schools will always have better results, simply because they are selective! It doesn't mean they offer a better education.

silverpenny Mon 30-May-16 13:57:16

kate you are on the wrong forum I see. Daily mail more your thing from your bitchy dig?

Kennington Mon 30-May-16 14:03:04

The rule around here is the state primaries don't prepare them for the 11+. No idea why not.
As for the prep school: they do prepare and tutor them.
Obviously not all at prep kids plan on going onto grammar and many stay within the private system.
The system isn't very good admittedly. At our prep school it is 80% pass - for those who take the exam, which isn't all of them.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Mon 30-May-16 14:09:54

silver, honestly, seriously, what? confused

What 'bitchy dig'? I can't see where I have made a bitchy dig?

silverpenny Mon 30-May-16 14:14:46

Kate "it isn't just the fact they are at prep school putting them at an advantage"

Care to clarify that comment? What are the other "factors" you refer to?

katemiddletonsnudeheels Mon 30-May-16 14:18:48

Well, certainly - I'm still lost as to how it's a bitchy dig, though!

A child at prep school will have a parent or parents who earn enough to have them there - therefore chances are they will earn significantly above average, and will not be living in poverty. An average class in a prep school won't have any children living in poverty, I imagine, whereas an average class in a state school - even one in a well to do area - will.

Plus, we can also deduce from that that they will mostly be filled with children coming from homes who value education, where parents and carers are interested and involved - again, that's not saying that a state school won't have those, just that there will be a mix.

In other words, money does have an impact on a child's educational attainment, and it stands to reason that children at a prep school will have it. Teaching at independent schools isn't automatically amazing; if an average state school primary class was put in a prep school setting and the prep school class was put in a state school, I doubt there would be any significant change in attainment.

KittyandTeal Mon 30-May-16 14:26:53

Those who honestly think grammar schools enhance social mobility have a very different experience to me.

I work in a county with grammars. I work in a primary with a fairly socially deprived in take on the outskirts of a very niace middle class town.

We are lucky if we get 2 out of class of 30 into grammar every year. A couple of schools in our cluster have a small handful who don't get in. Thinking about one school in particular who are rated R.I by ofsted while we're rated 'good' with outstanding areas and most of our children making 'accelerated progress'

Something there doesn't add up. Our parents don't and can't afford to tutor the kids. One of our TAs does a few sessions for free so they can experience the test structure (not allowed to do it in school time, quite rightly)

Boiing Mon 30-May-16 15:58:20

YANBU. It is a big risk and a bit foolish I think. As a child I would not want have gone to private school then at secondary level switch to state school (seen the Inbetweeners?), you might as well pin a 'please bully me' label on your child's back. You shouldn't put your child into the private system unless you can afford it up til age 18. If the 11+ exam is the big issue then you're better off paying for tutoring than private. Incidentally, I know someone who took their child out of private primary to go to state primary, because he was so unhappy at the private school. He is very creative and that private school was horribly strict and tried to make him into a little robot. (He's so much happier at state). Choose the school that suits the child and don't assume that private will always be better.

minifingerz Mon 30-May-16 16:07:44

"Either because state schools have teachers who are ideologically opposed to selective education and do everything they can to discourage possible entrants"


It would help if they had half the number of kids, and no disaffected and disruptive children in the classroom. Like teachers in private prep schools. hmm

I really think that grammar schools should only be allowed to take in proportionate numbers of children from private schools. Ie if only 7% of children attend private schools in their catchment, they should only be allowed to take 7% of their intake from these schools.

clam Mon 30-May-16 16:11:18

Paying for a private prep won't imbue any child with the necessary IQ to pass the 11+ if they haven't got it to start with. It might make the difference to a borderline child, however.

Is that the response you were goading kate to give, silver?

silverpenny Mon 30-May-16 16:21:21

It confirmed my opinion tbh. Usually middle class prejudice that people with less money mostly couldn't give a shit about eduction etc etc

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