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Good state primary and tutor or private pre-prep?

(18 Posts)
pinkypig Wed 30-Mar-11 11:14:02

We live in West London and might have the opportunity to choose between our 3 children going to a good local state primary or a private pre-prep (which would be a stretch financially).

It is our intention that our kids sit the 8+ for selective London indies (if they are 'ready').

Just wondering if people have experience of moving state to private in London at 7+/8+ and the challenges of doing this. Is it really hard? Did your children need much tutoring?

Has anyone made the switch as late as 11+ and was this harder? Is there a lot to catch up on in order to get a place at a selective 'top' indie if you wait till 11+?

Thanks in advance.

zimzam Wed 30-Mar-11 12:09:16

Pinkypig, we are in a similar position and facing a dilemna which we know we are fortunate to have: we have 2 children, 7 and 5. They are in a good state primary and very happy. However, we are in a lucky financial position to afford private. We are debating whether it is better to move them now in order to give them the advantages of private and, we acknowledge, 'prepare' them for selective senior schooling or let them continue in state and see how they do at 9yrs+. We think the latter would require some tutoring or at the least a more pushy approach from us at home because unfortunatety I don't think the school can focus too much on their more able pupils and will be ensuring the majority will be meeting their SATs targets. Also there would be more competition from kids from the prep schools then unless the senior school you choose has an allocation for state school children. But...they are happy there...

If anyone has made this transition, how have the children coped and settled in? I know kids adapt well but I'm so worried my kids will be unhappy and resent us for ages!!

nokissymum Wed 30-Mar-11 13:26:28

hi, we are in the same position too, both children 6 and 9 currently at state schools, moving to prep sch. this sept to join yrs 3 and 6 respectively. we have been assured that transition is reasonably smooth, and the children at the new school seem reallynice, very friendly. our 9 yrs old is currenlty receiving private tutoring for exams into local Inde sec school, and its been going very well, but we decided we would like him to try for Harrow school as well, and as his brother needs to leave his infact sch which only goes up to yr 2, we decided on prep school. Personally if you are planning on them attending public schools as well as priv then prep school is a very good way to go.

sugarfoot Wed 30-Mar-11 14:41:49

My daughter is now in her teens, but went to an inner London primary school then got into a top selective independent at 11 with an academic scholarship after a couple of terms of tutoring. She has fitted into the secondary school very well, but is very glad she didn't go to their junior department as she realises how narrow her social circle would have been.

Michaelahpurple Thu 31-Mar-11 10:10:45

Having just been through 8+ you will definitely need tutoring (or to do it yourself) - one needs help even from private schools if they are not geared to 8+ as the 8+ curriculum is very traditional and not particularly compatible with modern approaches.

If you decide not to do 8+ remember that for boys you have to make the 11+/13+ decision (well, I guess if you stay in state school you mostly aim for 11+, but some of the academic pre-preps with linked upper schools (westminster and st pauls, notably) have an 11+ intake which is very focussed on state school boys.

Anaxagora Thu 31-Mar-11 16:25:00

My dd sat 7+ exams for City of London girls, South Hampstead High and NLCS from a not-very-stellar state primary school. We didn't tutor, I checked she could do most of the maths on the syllabus sheets and got her to practise writing a few stories. She got offers from all 3.

We didnt take any of them up in the end, and she did 11+ with a little bit of practice at home. She got offers from all the schools she applied to. 11+ is a bit more competitive, but means they can spend most of their primary years free from competitive exam paranoia.

stillfeel18inside Thu 31-Mar-11 17:11:21

It depends where you want them to go at senior level, but personally I really favour the 11+ move - it's stressful, but I think by then you know what type of people your children are and where they would fit in. My DS1 went from a state primary to an academic independent secondary (in yr 7) and so did about half of his year group. Having compared notes with the mums of boys from prep schools who are now friends of his, they don't seem to have had any less stressful a time getting them in, and some even used additional tutoring, which does seem completely mad to me as the prep school is meant to prepare them. To me, the advantages of going to a local state school right through to 11 are huge, and not just financial - your DC make a close group of local friends, don't have much homework and tend to get home a bit earlier, so there's lots of time for cubs, footie, reading, or just having friends over to play. (I know prep school kids do all these things too, but I just mean there's maybe a bit more pressure on them with homework etc)

pinkypig Thu 31-Mar-11 17:53:24

Thanks very much for all replies so far, they are very interesting. You know how it is in London; you start thinking if you don't get them into the selective preps at 7 or 8 then your chances at 11+ are tiny...

mumonahottinroof Sat 02-Apr-11 13:39:16

From what I gather you've greater chances at 11

pinkypig Sat 02-Apr-11 16:56:17

Why mumonahottinroof?

starlady Sat 02-Apr-11 17:39:55

Please send them to the pre-prep! My dcs go to a state school, and it was v.unsettling for the class when 8 parents pulled their children out to go private.

Recession meant my younger ds's class only lost one childsmile

If you've got the money, it's fairer to let children who aim to stay at same primary take the places.

mumonahottinroof Sat 02-Apr-11 17:40:10

fewer selective preps than selective secondaries for a start

Many children just aren't ready for 7+ or 8+ whatever kind of school they attend, by 11 they're more mature and understand the process better

IVW1 Wed 12-Oct-11 16:58:07

Reviving this thread, and in response to pinkypig above (sorry if the answer is a bit delayed): I was told (and can well imagine it is true) that top state primary students have a better chance than top prep students at 11+, simply because independent senior schools are under pressure to fill "state school quota". And they can choose the best students and offer them bursaries if necessary.

sanam2010 Wed 12-Oct-11 20:35:14

would agree with IVW1... if you check Westminster Under admissions info for example, they do state that the 11+ is mainly intended for state school candidates, who mainly compete against each other, with most private pupils expected to join at the 7+/8+ stage. If you have a good state primary why don't you just start there and see how happy children are?

if you do plan on private pre-prep, check out the new website

PollyParanoia Thu 13-Oct-11 12:29:43

I gathered from UCS that if the boy is at a prep school he does the 13+ and if at a primary school (state or private) he does 11+. You have to have very good reasons to do the 11+ if the school goes to 13. In other words, the vast majority of kids doing the 11+ are from state schools (or the not so academic private ones) so I'm not sure what the advantage of going to a prep school is. Certainly anecdotally there doesn't seem to me to much difference in the success rates of kids trying from state or private. Maybe there's something self-selecting - the parents who assume that their children will get into selective secondaries from state schools might be more confident and educated? I do get the sense that state school parents going for private secondaries are more 'on it' as they know they can't leave it to the school.

themed Thu 13-Oct-11 13:24:20

We are in a similar position OP with children in a state school where a few parents send the children private, so I have had a few years to experience and observe patterns.

I would say that the parents that have the 11+ or even the 7 or 8+ in mind will generally make sure the children are topped up (either by a tutor or themselves) and do take a very close interest in their children's education.

Maybe if you are lucky the school will stretch the most able but this is by no means the norm (it certainly itsn't in our school or any of the neighbouring schools my friends' children go to) and you need to keep a constant eye on it to make sure they are making sufficient progress.

The upside is like others' said that the children have less homework, longer days, more friends locally, HOWEVER it will not follow that if the school is massively laid back and the children do not make the required progress, they will sail in as the competition, even amongst state students is high and a lot of children will have had extra homework and extra preparation for a long time.

Chestnutx3 Thu 13-Oct-11 18:30:07

We went for private pre-prep. I strongly believe that if you get the grounding of reading and writing correct at the beginning you are off to a flying start. Partly this is based on my own experience where I went primary state to private secondary and I never felt I have really recovered from the poor teaching I had for the basics also I had a couple of disruptive pupils that ruined everybody's education.

However, we didn't have a third child due to the cost of education!

PollyParanoia Thu 13-Oct-11 19:59:10

I went state to private secondary and I was behind for half a term (hadn't done French or calligraphy!) and then caught up. I think it's so much about home life at the younger age and it is possible to get a good grounding of reading and writing in a state school.
I'd also say that my kids (inner city, v mixed) primary is incomparably better than the (faith, affluent) primary that I went to.

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