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To ask what's so great about private school

(310 Posts)
ExtraPineappleExtraHam Tue 12-Mar-19 19:02:00

So my friend was privately educated, and so was her partner. They put their school aged children in a very prestigious private school but then had to take them out and move in with her parents. I don't quite know what happened but I think they overstretches themselves financially.
Now her two children are happily settled into the local state school but she still insists that she will be moving them back to private school in the future. My question is why would you decide to do this if you can't really afford to?
I was state school educated from a single parent family and went to a terrible primary school, but I have great memories. My friend and I actually do the same job, we are both admin assistants on a few quid more than minimum wage. I don't think that her private education has actually benefited her at all.
I tried to ask her what exactly she felt that a private education gave you that a state education didn't. She used the example of writers visiting the school, inspiring children to write and improve literacy. I have a creative writing degree, nothing would have prevented me from writing stories, it's all I've ever wanted to do since I learnt to write. My best friend has a 2:1 degree in Literature from Oxford, she also went to a state school in a 'deprived area' and was raised by a single mum.
I honestly don't understand what a private education gets you apart from possibly helping you to make contacts. It's certainly not more important than trying to buy your own home, in my eyes.
Fully expecting to get flamed.

nauseous5000 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:05:18

I think if we've had a positive experience doing something as kids, we want to replicate that for our own kids

Guineapiglet345 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:06:42

I don’t have any experience of private school but I understand that they have smaller class sizes and the children are generally more confident, I think for a lot of people it’s so they’re only mixing with people like themselves. I wouldn’t judge anyone for choosing private education if they can easily afford it but it definitely wouldn’t be worth moving in with the in-laws for!

RomanyQueen1 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:10:40

or if we didn't have an opportunity when we were kids and our own kids are the same, not pushed, then it can be a positive experience.
We can't afford it and get huge assistance, but if the gov pulled the scheme my dd and most of the others would have to leave.
But each school is different and can vary greatly in the way they are managed, even in the same sector.

My dd is in it for the contacts and future profession, she wouldn't get this education anywhere else, she is very fortunate, grateful and works damned hard. Far more than was expected from our state educated now grown up dc.

crisscrosscranky Tue 12-Mar-19 19:12:29

My best friend is set on private education- she lives in Bristol and her view is that the state schools are just not as 'good' if your desired end result is a good university and opportunities for good jobs- particularly in law and finance. She and her DP both went to RG universities, her DP was privately educated and their friends in Bristol all seem to share her views- I personally think it's a bit of keeping up appearances...! 🤫

Angrybird123 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:14:45

Everyone has their own experiences good and bad of state and private. There is plenty of anecdata on both sides of the argument. From a teacher's perspective I would say the benefit of private in the schools I have taught in is much smaller classes, a massive emphasis on sport (4 /5 days at prep level, 3/5 minimum at senior), a more ambitious music and drama programme and in my current (boarding) school there is a lovely pastoral ethos with all kids belonging to their houses with small group studies etc. It's just nice. I've worked in nice state schools too and as with all things there are pros and cons. One is not automatically better than another.

Hoppinggreen Tue 12-Mar-19 19:16:43

It’s not the failing school in special measures which was the alternative and that teachers who I know there advised me NOT to send DD to
Some Private schools are better than some state ones, it all depends on the child and the specific school
I have no preference on State vs Private as a principle but in our case it was the best option for our child

nauseous5000 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:16:42

@crisscrosscranky I sort of agree. DD was born in Bristol and I moved before she started school as the state schools aren't great. My job takes me into many of them and the teachers have very low aspirations for their students. Results are one thing- they can be impacted by factors outside of the school's control in some cases, but when a teacher tells you they can't use x resource because the kids are too dumb, then you hear that repeatedly in other schools you start to lose hope a bit

crisscrosscranky Tue 12-Mar-19 19:20:27

grin my state educated DD has just pointed out how many times I've used the word good in my previous post and suggested that I might want to expand my vocabulary. Not all state schools are shit; some are actually quite good wink

PeeGreen Tue 12-Mar-19 19:23:29

my son started in private school in Y1. He had been in a state school for nursery & reception.

Within a few days of starting at the private school the teacher pulled me aside and said 'there's something wrong, has he been at school in the UK'.

Anyway we went on to get a diagnosis for autism and last year he got 10 A*s & As at GCSE.

Thesnobbymiddleclassone Tue 12-Mar-19 19:24:36

My sister went to a private school 6th form.

It had smaller classes so the teacher could help them more and the facilities were outstanding! The school itself was also very well looked after and maintained.

The fees allow them to do this. It's funding that state schools can't match.

bridgetreilly Tue 12-Mar-19 19:26:13

I absolutely don't think it's worth getting into debt for or losing a house for or whatever.

BUT. What it does give that pretty much every child would benefit from if they could have it is smaller class sizes, and better equipment and facilities.

NameChange607 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:33:16

I was state educated, as was DH (both from working class families). We met at Oxford and both now have good careers. Mine is in teaching, and I'm now hoping to put DD through private school because I can see what has happened to the state sector. Kids now don't have the same range of options we did, whole subjects cut, teachers having to teach other subjects (half my "department" aren't subject specialists), more behavioural problems, bigger classes etc etc. I'd love the government to sort out our schools but in the meantime I'll do what any parent would and try to get a good education for my DD. (Disclaimer: some state schools seem to still be managing, usually those in affluent areas where parent donations top up funding. We do not live in those areas! Some private schools are also rubbish)

DSHathawayGivesMeFannyGallops Tue 12-Mar-19 19:34:18

Better facilities, smaller classes, opportunities. I am very grateful for my education. I'd have been eaten alive at the local shit state school and instead I flourished.

modgepodge Tue 12-Mar-19 19:36:46

I’m a teacher, I’ve taught in both (currently private). There are good state schools, there are good private schools. In private schools classes are smaller so more individual attention, the children get specialised teaching in many subjects eg computing, PE, science, French (I taught all of the above in state, mostly badly). Sport, music and drama particularly are better in the private sector on the whole. Behaviour is generally excellent in private - in state it will vary more. Teachers have more time for each child and will be able to meet with parents etc more often which some parents like.

I always swore my children would be state educated. Now I work in a private school, I’m not so sure. I think it is better than the average state offering...largely due to government policy, not individual schools and teachers who work damn hard with with they’ve got.

It’s definitely not worth getting it to debt over though, or living with the in laws!!

ExtraPineappleExtraHam Tue 12-Mar-19 19:39:21

I'm in Bristol. I think that you have to make decisions logically. We moved last year and our number one priority was which good local state schools were in the area. There's lots that aren't terrible. I always think if kids can come out of refugee camps in Darfur with good results then surely they can do alright in our area!

Peanutbutterforever Tue 12-Mar-19 19:40:18

I'm a believer in picking the "right" school for each child.

That happens to be private in our case. Small class sizes, playing fields, excellent behaviour (& ability to deal with any that is not). Sporting, drama, music and academic opps.

justasking111 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:42:14

Smaller classes, smaller school perhaps?

ExtraPineappleExtraHam Tue 12-Mar-19 19:46:56

But what about all the extra stress for my friend like having to work linger hours, live in an uncomfortable situation, never go on nice holidays. Is it worth all that for smaller class sizes?
My friend's ex was a drug dealer. He went to private school.

lessthanBeau Tue 12-Mar-19 19:47:38

I'm in the process of applying for a fee assisted place for my dd, purely because if she gets awarded the bursary she will have great facilities and a small class size, she loves learning and she will get lots out of it, if she doesn't get a bursary she will go to our local inadequate comp, shes academic so will hopefully do well anywhere, but if she has the chance I'd be mad not to take it, but it's not the be all and end all and we wouldn't beggar ourselves to afford it. In fact our state 6th form has slightly better outcomes than the private and a few students from the private change over to it for A levels.
We'll see what happens we may find shes not a good fit for the private after all.

Vulpine Tue 12-Mar-19 19:48:46

I think it's ironic how many privately educated people end up doing 'normal' jobs that anyone could do. Its seems a waste of money. I'm state school all the way for all my kids.

Fucket Tue 12-Mar-19 19:49:14

For a start the school days are longer, and the class sizes smaller. They have plenty of time to learn and more importantly enjoy themselves. Kids who bully or don’t follow the school rules are more likely to be expelled. The parents have a vested interest, so if the kids don’t put the effort in the parents soon find out. The pupils have access to great facilities, lots of non-academic activities to do such as dance, proper music lessons, ccf. My kids go to state school, the pupils where I work are all polite, generally happy and considerate to each other, of course most kids are but it only takes one bad influence in a class to upset the classroom dynamics and bring others down. I have never been sworn at or threatened to be punched. At my local state secondary I’ve seen a heavily pregnant teacher being grabbed around the neck by a year 10 boy, and he still wasn’t expelled. So yes, it’s probably worth it if you can genuinely afford it. Because if you had the money why would you subject your child to a secondary school academy where kids are on a strict production line up to GCSEs and you have students who are put into mainstream education who really need to be in special schools that can cope with their needs.

But that said, it’s probably not worth going into debt for.

Loopytiles Tue 12-Mar-19 19:51:56

Resources - private schools have many more £££ per pupil, which pays for more staff, resources, facilities, smaller classes etc.

Bookridden Tue 12-Mar-19 19:53:09

I think the state education system in Bristol has improved massively over the last few years. I think there used to be a problem with middle - class flight to schools in neighbouring counties, but this seems to be happening less. The real scandal with Bristol schools is the gap in attainment between schools in the North and south of the city.

Comefromaway Tue 12-Mar-19 19:53:28

I’ve got one in state and one in private. The one in private gets a unique education that caters to her particular talent and is a very small school where every teacher knows every child’s name.

The one in state didn’t cope with the academic pressure of the private school he tried. However our catchment school is appalling and has been for years. The local authority has finally stepped in to remove the school from its Academy Trust. We were lucky to get ds into a school in a neighbouring area and although the education provided is not as rigorous and the resources are very stretched I feel that every teacher cares about the children whe as in the private school it was all about appearance and results at any cost.

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