to consider our catchment school in deprived nearby town(105 Posts)
We live in an affluent village where our DC attend the very good state primary school but our catchment secondary school is in a very deprived nearby town. The catchment secondary school seems to be well led and is working hard at helping all children achieve despite the difficult catchment area but it's still bottom of the league tables for exam results.
DC1 is nearing secondary age. A number of DC1's friends will be going to the catchment secondary and DC1 wants to go there too. Our other option is the private school in the village where we live. We could manage this financially but wonder if it's really value for money and we don't want our DC becoming entitled brats.
AIBU considering sending our DC to the catchment school despite reservations about the peer group and exam results?
PS: We're in the country so these two schools are our only two options.
yanbu. you could send him to the state school and pay for a tutor maybe?
Private school fees would pay for a lot of tutor hours...
Poor exam results and deprivation would put me off. You want them to leave school with the urge to go further in education or start on their career path and that's not likely a feature amongst the students given its catchment.
Are you tied to the area? Is there no way of moving if you don't fancy the private school?
Have you visited the two schools? I visit a LOT of schools for work purposes and see the whole spectrum. Some really great schools in deprived areas, and vice versa, and OFSTED seems to be no guide to the sense you get when visiting. What are the staff like - do they seem motivated and striving to make the school better? Schools can change a lot over the years and it could be that by Y11 the school is doing really well.
Are the parents supportive at the state school? That makes a big difference. When you refer to it as being bottom of the league tables, how many are in the league table (2?) and what are the actual GCSE A*-C / 4-9 stats inc. English & Maths?
If the state school is good enough I'd be thinking about sending them there for now, and moving them for Y9 (if it turns out to be awful) or sixth form (unless it turns out to be much better; as those are the two really crucial years for university)
I know this is going to be our situation as well.
I never wanted our DC to go to private school for the same reason you put above. I fear they won't get a perspective of the real world.
However your DC need GCSE to get somewhere in life and if they are going to struggle to achieve them in state for whatever reason, I would send them to private.
I'd send them private. I went to a secondary school like you describe and it was hideous.
Go and visit the school, see what you think. See what the vibe is like. Notice the kids out and about in town - how kind they seem to be in each other. Ask the staff what they do to stretch brighter children. Some school in deprived areas still create an excellent school community and are still able to serve their more able kids well. I certainly wouldn’t dismiss it without looking into it - esp of friends are already going.
I'd go with the private.
Economically diverse does not have to automatically mean poor results - lots of schools with deprivation in their student body do great things, so the fact that they are at the bottom of the league tables is the deal breaker.
It's very unfair to imply that all privately educated children are entitled brats though. Why would you say that?
If you see one school as turning out 'brats' then it is unlikely ever to be a good fit for your family.
Go for the one where you like the ethos.
What makes you think that your children will be spoilt brats if you send them to a private school? Every school is different and you really need to visit them before you make a decision
Not all people who attend private schools grow up entitled. I attended one that was the making of me and am in no way a brat. I know more spoilt brats who were state educated! I would strongly recommend going for the school that will support your DC in getting the best grades they can.
I went to a secondary like you describe while many of my friends from our lovely primary went to a private school. I did much better exam wise despite my unsupported disabilities. Both schools were rife for bullying, but the sexual harrassment at the private school was covered up where as my school tried hard to stamp out those out dated attitudes atleast on the surface. Drink and drugs were equally accessable at either.
My dc are all in primary but i've found the outstanding rated local school in our nice mc area awful and disabilist but the poorer rated acadamy in a rougher area much better and much better at stamping out bullying. What matters most is your dc being happy as they have a much better chance at learning if they are.
Can you get a breakdown of the grades and progress scores? Our local comp has some of the worst stats in the county, but the head talked through it and I felt better after. The children make very good progress and there are children getting straight As. Their was certainly a culture of helping children reach their full potential. There was an expectation that top universities and careers were possible. It was very reassuring seeing the pupils too.
I'd not consider a place we're there wasn't signs of good progress or nobody went on to get good grades, but a mix is ok.
I would go private too. Echoing above not all privately educated children are entitled brats! My husband and sister in law are two of the most grounded and down to earth people I know. my elder daughter attends a fantastic private school and has a myriad of opportunities at her feet, she is flourishing academically and mixes with pupils of different cultures and financial backgrounds (selective school academically but scholarships are available). The school puts a lot back into the community. I am hoping my younger daughter will follow her too. If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford to send your child to the private school and it has a better track record exam wise (also think about non academic opportunities such as sport, music and arts) go for it
Thanks for all the replies. It’s really interesting hearing different perspectives. Moving isn’t an option so these are the only two schools we could realistically send DC and they are so different!
I don’t know the private would turn out brats. That’s just a fear!
The state has poor exam results but from what I can gather, children from ‘families like us’ (I know, I’m cringing writing it) do as well in exams as they would expect. It’s just the numbers of children like that are very small. I think it does mean they are well supported by the staff there.
The private is very academic and I suppose I wonder if DC would feel better about themselves being top of the class at state rather than middle or bottom of the pack at private.
Depends where your child is academically
Bright kids will learn in any environment
Middles will keep up
Lowers generally in the 'naughty' groups depending on co-Hort
How tiny is tiny? A class worth is doable but less I'd be nervous.
If it were me and I could afford private, I'd go for that unless the state secondary was an outstanding one.
I went to private school from the age of 4-18, I'm not the least bit spoilt, entitled or lacking in knowledge of the real world! Though, I would add, I went to private school in a major city so it had a very diverse crowd.
Hmm. I would imagine that the catchment school gets a lot of PP funding which has to be targeted (and rightly so) at the kids who attract it. This could well mean that those who aren’t get nothing more than the bare minimum in terms of intervention, enrichment etc. I’ve worked in schools so focused on the C (5) that they fail the more able too. Not suggesting that because your son is not deprived that he’s able, but he will have had greater advantages. I would have to consider an out of catchment state or the private school.
So the small group of kids that do well at the comp, how are they regarded by the other kids? Are they supported and allowed to be themselves, or are they regarded as the nerds and swots?
My BIL went to a really good comp, but even so he said he couldn't be himself until he went to Cambridge. He had to hide how bright he was to fit in. I wouldn't assume being the 'top of the pack' is a more comfortable place than a solid middle amongst a group of kids who all accept to some extent that getting the work done is part of the deal.
I will also say that at Oxford I met quite a few people who had been 'top of the pack' at their state school and suddenly being surrounded by people cleverer than them (because there always will be) was, for some, a disappointing shock that affected their self-image. DH and I went there from the middle of the pack at academic schools not thinking we were anything special and found living alongside the geniuses much easier.
Just things to consider.
Little bit offended at the poster who said that deprived students don't have aspirations of higher education. What? Do you think that the parents want less for their children? Or the staff expect less of their students? There will be challenging students for sure but its attitudes like yours that keep schools in deprived areas in their 'place'. It's very sad.
This was my situation with DC. If their DF hadn’t agreed to pay for private schooling, I would’ve moved as the catchment secondary had a terrible reputation and very poor value added. With one exception, my DC have achieved much better exam results than their friends from primary who went to the catchment secondary. (who were all equally able). Neither DC is entitled, although DS did go through a phase of finding it difficult to accept that he could not have some of the material possessions some of his school friends took for granted; however, he got over that. Both had part-time jobs and outside of school socialised with a diverse group of people.
I would want to be certain that the private school had outstanding results as some are only mediocre.
I also think that to give too much credence to people's personal experience is a huge mistake. Every school is different. You need to know that THIS school is like NOW.
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