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top grammar vs top private

(197 Posts)
darleneconnor Wed 02-Feb-11 17:32:42

For argument sake say you had to choose between a top (ie top 20) state grammar and a top private school which would you go for?

Assume no financial constraints and no objections to the principle of private education.

exexpat Wed 02-Feb-11 17:39:58

Depends on the child - as with all school choices - and on everything else about the schools involved.

Grammar might possibly be good for a very academic, competitive child; private possibly better for one also interested in sports and other extra-curricular things, or one less academic or needing more nurturing. But really I'd say it's impossible to generalise, as I'm sure there are some top state grammars that are also sporty, nurturing etc.

KateEring Wed 02-Feb-11 17:40:07

Well, we choose a middling private over a top (ish) Grammar because we knew that the stronger pastoral care and smaller classes would suit dd better. Have no regrets.

LetsEscape Wed 02-Feb-11 19:31:32

It is purely on the comparison of the two individual schools. For us the private option won because of the personal relationship between pupils and teachers which was possible in a smaller class/school. But also the fact that they were free of the National Curriculum and had the choice to do the most stimulating courses be they iGCSEs or PreU. The private school appeared to teach far beyond the curriculum or examination requirements and therefore was more interesting for our child and we felt gave a better all round education.

peteneras Wed 02-Feb-11 19:51:42

darleneconnor For argument sake say you had to choose between a top (ie top 20) state grammar and a top private school which would you go for?

Assume no financial constraints and no objections to the principle of private education.

A few years ago I found myself precisely in this position and I chose private without even batting an eyelid.

Feegle Wed 02-Feb-11 20:06:13

What about intellectual constraints, any of those ?

thinkingaboutschools Wed 02-Feb-11 20:06:52

I am likely to be in the position in a few years time (assuming that grammar schools stay as is). At the moment I am thinking that the smaller class sizes and possibility of significant extra curricular activities are going to win - i.e. private. I am very interested to hear what others say.

Feegle Wed 02-Feb-11 20:11:17

It really depends on the schools so it is an impossible question to answer really. Also, the child may not get into one of them then you just have to go with whatever you get.

thirtysomething Wed 02-Feb-11 20:15:06

Private any day, (if it's even a tenth as good as my DS' school which of course not all will be....)due to the pastoral support, opportunities in music, drama, sport, debating, Community action etc and also because they are not bound by the National Curriculum.

snowangels1 Wed 02-Feb-11 20:18:27

depends on the school and the child - some would thrive in the competitive atmosphere of a grammar and others might really benefit from the smaller class sizes/moreinduvidual attention of private school.

duchesse Wed 02-Feb-11 20:24:30

Well, we are in "catchment" for a top grammar and a bunch of not so top independents (not bad indies, but not Eton or Roedean iyswim). My children all took the 11+ for the GS but all failed to get in. It is not sour grapes, honest to goodness, to say that I felt quietly pleased that they didn't. OK, it's committed us to years of school fees, but there was something about the way the GS massages its figures that just did not appeal. It's a very good school, but a little too league-table savvy if you see what I mean. My children have ended up doing a lot more extra-curricular things than they would have been able to at the GS and have done at least as they would have done academically there.

Feegle Wed 02-Feb-11 20:35:03

Funny old world isn't it duchesse, I know someone who got into the grammar and failed to get into one of the Indi schools.

jonicomelately Wed 02-Feb-11 20:38:10

I would go for grammar. It's free and it being state, they'll be veiwed more favourably when applying for university.

That's not an anti-private sentiment btw. Just thinking long-term smile

jonicomelately Wed 02-Feb-11 20:39:15


Blimey. I'm ill and can't stop typing rubbish tonight blush

duchesse Wed 02-Feb-11 20:42:16

feegle- just proves how random the testing is really.

DD1 is on course for 10 A* having been turned down at 11 by CGS. DS who was admittedly more of an unknown quantity, got 2 A*s, 5 As, 2 Bs and C at GCSE despite having done no work for two years. He is a toerag. Will wait to see how DD2 does at GCSE. Just glad she's able to do all the music she wants to.

Feegle Wed 02-Feb-11 20:46:51

joni, I'm not sure they are viewed more favourably because they look at the average grades for the school. If it is a grammar they will be very high so they will not be at an advantage over private schools.

duchesse, yes it is totally random.

FrumpyintheFrost Wed 02-Feb-11 20:50:04

Of course a good comprehensive offers small class sizes for the less able, and a competitive atmosphere (with larger classes) for the more able.

Plus the pastoral support at my DCs catholic comprehensive is superb.

They also have lots of sports, music and drama opprtunities, and Mock United Nations Debating.

As a school that doesnt select on ability, all the students are welcomed and valued regardless of their academic ability, and all students are encouraged and nurtured to develop as a whole person.

Seems to me that these students have the best of both worlds.
And yes, I do know we are very lucky smile

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-Feb-11 20:57:06

We were in pretty much that position (I don't think any of the privates near us were top 20 but one was quite high).

We went for the grammar. We were happy with both schools, they both offered good pastoral care, activities beyond the curriculum -"opportunities in music, drama, sport, debating, Community action etc" - yes, the state school does do all those.

DD just fell in love with the GS, is still extremely happy and positive about it. Both schools were selective but the GS moreso, this suits her well TBH.

And we now have more money to spend on outdoor activities, holidays etc for her benefit.

BoffinMum Wed 02-Feb-11 20:59:12

I am not a massive fan of grammar schools. I prefer good comprehensives or independent schools with high academic standards and a reasonably broad intake (i.e. not just cherry picking academically inclined kids for league tables at the expense of all else).

Jajas Wed 02-Feb-11 21:29:30

Totally depends on the child OP. A non-selective independent may suit an average child far more than a highly selective grammar that would be more suited to an academic high achiever.

Many people seem to think that a grammar is the equivalent of a free private school - this is not always the case.

Interesting programme on at the moment on BBC2 called 'who gets the best jobs' - lots of comment on different schooling and background.

sue52 Wed 02-Feb-11 22:08:33

We were in that position and choose the third option, grammar then boarding at a top private for 6th form.

onceamai Wed 02-Feb-11 22:26:00

WE were in that position. Top grammar and top indy. Places at both. Neither had small class sizes. We went for the indy because the grammar is/was highly regarded for science/maths and not so good according to Ofsted for languages. The indy was/is highly regarded across the board and the dc in question is very linguistic. Two and a half years to go and the DS is doing Latin, Greek, French and Mandarin and aiming for classics. This would not have been on offer at the grammar.

The younger dc is very mathematical (and not sporty) and we had the same choice - the younger dc went to the grammar - taking own preference into account and pride in being only one to get the grammar place from primary whereas at least 1/2 dozen got the High Schools.

Litchick Wed 02-Feb-11 22:32:08

We got to make that choice and went private.

The reasons included much smaller classes and pastoral care which I felt was extremely inportant for a teenaged girl.

Also, better sports, music and drama.

DD also much prefered the private school. She said it had a lovely comfortable feeling about it.

So hey ho.

If it were a stetch financially, I'm sure I would be saying the absolute opposite.

Xenia Wed 02-Feb-11 22:44:01

Most people would go for the very good privates. If you loko at proper A level subjects across both sectors tehre are many many many more private schools in the top 50 in the country that top state grammars and most of the country of course has no grammars anyway.

Also we liked the much better facilities and our children had much better music in the private sector and sport and even stuff like the grounds and other parents and accents are better.

BoffinMum Wed 02-Feb-11 22:47:05

More drugs at top private schools. Quite alarming really.

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