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If you can afford private education but remain in the state sector cont.

(1000 Posts)
happygardening Sun 06-Jan-13 13:22:36

Thought I repost the OP although the debate has moved on a little smile .
It's going to be hard to avoid this becoming another state v private thread, but what I'm interested in is a slightly different take on that debate. It's not "which is better?" but "if you think state school is better even though you could afford private education, then why is that?"

The question is based on the assumptions that the DC in question is/are reasonably bright (so might benefit academically from academically selective education), that the state school is non-selective (as most people don't have access to grammar schools), and that you hope for your DC to go to a good university (to make the £££££ fees worthwhile!)

I've been mulling this over ever since I heard some maths professor from Cambridge talking on the radio about the age-old private v state inequality of Oxbridge admissions. He was all for improving access for state school applicants but said that the simple fact was that for maths, even the best state schools generally teach only to the A-level syllabus, whereas the best private schools take their maths/further maths A-level candidates well beyond the syllabus and so the state school applicants are at a huge disadvantage - they simply don't have the starting level of knowledge required for the course.

This made me wonder: with this sort of unequal playing field, if you have the choice of private education, what reasons might you have not to take it?

Would be interested to hear from those who've made this choice - how it's working out, or if your DC have finished school now, how did it work out? Did they go to good universities/get good jobs, etc? On the other side of things, if you paid for private schooling but now regret it, why?

My DC go to a state school by the way.

<Dons hard hat>.

glaurung Fri 18-Jan-13 13:31:59

it's back again now mordion under the guise of comparative outcomes. Criterion referencing has been quietly shelved.

MordionAgenos Fri 18-Jan-13 13:31:12

I'd say that a high risk strategy would be applying to a university you really didn't want to go to. Doing an entrance test you don't need because you aren't applying to any of the places that require it is not risk mitigation, it's just a waste of time.

MordionAgenos Fri 18-Jan-13 13:29:48

Nobody is competing anyway - not since they abandoned norm referencing in 1985

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 13:25:33

Cross post Frieda. I'd held back from saying the same in terms about you smile That said, you said it was a very high risk strategy, not taking the UKCAT and I explained why, in the right circumstances (referincing DS and his friend with identical grades), it was not.

glaurung Fri 18-Jan-13 13:24:54

no coursework suits a lot of people (especially, but not only boys). Quite often the coursework mark lowers the overall grade of such peoples results, so it's not always an advantage at all.

In any case, if you sit iGCSE you are not 'competing' with anyone sitting GCSE at all - in fact you are to a large extent shielded from Ofqual medling in grade boundaries too (the GCSE English issues this summer were avoided by schools doing iGCSE this year for example).

MordionAgenos Fri 18-Jan-13 13:24:49

Coursework favours some girls. Not all.

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 13:21:32

On the other hand boys frequently drop marks on coursework. Coursework favours girls greatly. That's one major reason for it's demise. So in fact your son may have been boosted on that particular one.

Frieda what exactly are you trying to prove? I'm sure your son's very clever. Mine are definitely not the cleverest kids on the block. I think it's quite good that they all know it as well. Arrogance is worst but chips aren't great either.

LittleFrieda Fri 18-Jan-13 13:17:42

Yellowtip - I wasn't specifcally thinking of your son. I meant as a strategy for prospective medics in general: the vast majority of medics are going to have to get their teeth into UKCAT (and put themselves out a bit by going into town) as that is where the majority of medicine places lie. I'm really thinking of anyone reading this who is a budding medic pr has a budding meic in the family It's not all about you and your son. wink

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 13:14:27

And actually Frieda those with the most success in uni applications are those who play to their strengths while being realistic about recognising any limitations. Your own DS appeared to do this and got all four choices (all of which he would presumably have been happy to attend?). My own DS did and got three out of four high ranking places any of which he would have been happy to attend. And his friend did the same and got four out of four with the fourth being very high ranking too. So that worked fine. At the end of the day one just wants to get those med school offers piling in from unis one would be happy to attend. Since it's along old haul before you get out the other end.

LittleFrieda Fri 18-Jan-13 13:11:59

Linear versus modular isn't the only consideration.

As well as having sat linear rather than modular exams, my son was competing against pupils who derived a substantial proportion of their GCSE marks from coursework, whereas his iGCSEs had no coursework component at all.

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 12:53:48

Of course it's a risk. I'm not convinced it's a really very high risk if you're sitting on 12A* which both DS and his friend were and then apply to two medical schools whose admissions process depends on an A* count at GCSE.

No, neither DS nor his friend took the UKCAT and got a duff score! Goodness me, this gets desperate! Both got Oxford and Imperial and chose Oxford and both are having a lovely time, so far at least. Neither appears to regret turning Imperial down, though had they not got Oxford I'm sure they'd have gone there happily and had a fab time there too. The other two choices (the same for both) were the two schools they wanted to go to the most after Oxford and Imperial. DS's friend got both of those too and DS got one (the other rejected him early, without interview). I know DS thought hard about which to go for out of UCL or Imperial and wasn't prepared to risk three BMAT choices, so plumped for Imperial in the end. He also thought about Edinburgh briefly, but decided he couldn't be bothered to take the UKCAT and was just as keen on the other two non UKCAT choices so that decided it for him. There really is no point flogging off to a car test centre in the nearest town on a hot summer's day if you don't want to opt for a UKCAT uni. It's a no-brainer, really smile

LittleFrieda Fri 18-Jan-13 12:28:19

Given there are 32 med schools in the UK, and only 4 of them are BMAT (and you can only choose 3 BMAT med schools because of the Oxford OR Cambridge issue) and given you don't know your BMAT score when you apply, and you may have a bad day, it's really very high risk to swerve the UKCAT (unless of course you've done it and received a poor outcome).

Tasmania Fri 18-Jan-13 11:38:35

@Mordion - ok, no... not in favour of resitting exams over and over again. I agree with you on that one. They should have a cap at, say, one resit.

MordionAgenos Fri 18-Jan-13 11:17:26

@Tasmania My problem would be with re-sitting the same exam over and over. Like those people who do their driving test 47 times. I would happily have done different exams on a weekly basis at school (and we did have a lot of tests at my school). It's the groundhog day aspects of doing the same thing over and over that would have done my head in. Partly because of the implicit assumption that the first go was doomed to failure.

Tasmania Fri 18-Jan-13 10:53:00

I can only imagine but surely it must put a certain type of person under almost continuous pressure and stress? I would have hated it.

While I don't like the modular system either, it probably 'replicates' life more. Only a handful of people will have one big challenge in life that will set them up for good.

Life is a constant battle where challenging things get thrown at you when you least expect it - at least mine is. Better get used to it sooner than later...

MordionAgenos Fri 18-Jan-13 10:15:09

I'm not entirely convinced that the modular re-sit re-sit thing was/is easier. I can only imagine but surely it must put a certain type of person under almost continuous pressure and stress? I would have hated it.

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 10:12:41

They're harder than the modular/ re-sit/ re-sit thing but no harder than GCSEs taken as I've described and as your older ones sat them. The standard is pretty much the same although you'll always find someone to quarrel with that. Usually someone with a vested interest. There's absolutely no comparison to the gulf between CSEs and O Levels. It is true that a number of independents liked to use their use of the IGCSE as demonstrating 'rigour' in the same way they liked to use their use of the IB as demonstrating rigour but it's pretty insubstantial in the case of IGCSEs and even more so in the case of the IB. Overwhelmingly the difference lies with the scope that the modular GCSEs allowed to in effect artificially boost grades.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 09:52:48

I know. My only fear is if iGCSEs are harder they may get worse grades and just be compared with the normal ones. If they are not harder/more traditional then that's fine. I was wondering if they may be like the O levels I sat which were harder than CSEs and harder than the merged O level/CSE - the GCSE. Hopefully they will not be and the school simply finds they suit boys better. ideally they would be much easier and they do better although I sadly fear not.

My older children all did the GCSEs in the same year at the same time, no resits.

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 09:50:50

All GCSEs from now on have to be taken as linear Xenia, so the difference will be imperceptible. The difference previously was overwhelmingly that many schools used modular exams and the re-sitting and re-sitting of modules to bump up grades (the other ruse was to take GCSEs over a couple of years, but that's a separate point). Our school has always taken GCSEs as linear anyhow (as well as all in one go) and in that case the difference is insignificant.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 09:40:55

One of mine last night said when I said something about doing a music exam well before GCSE work kicked in that because he was doing iGCSEs that meant no work at all until immediately before the summer exams before... laughing as I type....I hope he's not going to take that as his main principle for the next few years. My other children did not do iGCSEs. It will be interesting to know what differences there will be if any.

If those whose children read medicine at Oxbridge are happy and those in London are there's no problem. I do though suspect it did my sibling no harm to have read medicine at the former (Oxbridge) in career terms.

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 09:34:26

Bonsoir how would you yourself characterise a nerd?

Yellowtip Fri 18-Jan-13 09:33:50

peterenas they do head for London in a small number of cases for a number of reasons, the most usual one being that didn't make the cut at Oxford or Cambridge for the Clinical Course. There aren't enough spaces to accomodate all the undergraduates onto the Clinical Course. Most very definitely appear to want to stay. Some may want a change and to get out of small city into a large one, which is quite legitimate of course, but most don't. And London medics can't transfer in, which is why they don't smile

There's no material difference between IGCSEs and 'common' GCSEs where 'common' GCSEs are taken as linear. All of my DC and everyone at their school takes all their 'common' GCSEs as linear and at one sitting, with no re-sits.

And why on earth take the UKCAT test if you don't want to go to a UKCAT school? confused What a waste of time and summer sunshine! Both the dodgers that I know from last year got all their BMAT choices, so they were fine.

peterenas it's really tedious to have to defend my DS against this level of bitterness and rancour. He's nothing to you. Your own DS has done fine even if he'd have preferred Cambridge, or had hoped to be in a position to reject them but wasn't given the choice. You're well into overtime on this stuff. You really should chill out about other people's DC and let it go. It's not healthy at all.

peteneras Fri 18-Jan-13 09:11:47

” My son received his 7 A* and 3 A grades (all IGCSEs) way back in 2008, when grade inflation was a bit lower. . . offers from all four of his med schools that year (UCL, Newcastle, Sheffield, Barts)”

Your son did, Frieda?

Wow! grin That’s greater than 20 inflated common GCSE A*s put together where they are taught to tick all boxes and to think inside those tiny little squares.

So he didn’t dodge the UKCAT for UK medical schools then - very well done!

And why on earth would you even think of Oxford (which your very clever son clearly didn’t) when you have UCL and all those world-beating London/other med schools firmly in your bag is beyond me.

True, there is danger of wannabe medics being culled in London schools which never happens at Oxbridge but that’s because they are learning Medicine and not science, which they’ve all but learnt and done with in their 2-year Form Six days. It’s a matter of life and death, y’know?

And surely, you’d want your mother-in-law (. . . oops! or maybe not) blush, - should the need arises - to be treated by these world-class medical professionals at the end of the day?

And when all the fandango is sung and danced and the sciences finally grasped, it’s London they head for to learn how to become a doctor finally. We are talking Medicine here, are we not?

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 08:03:00

Tasmania - I know - the point about university selection in the UK right now (not the US) is that it is skewed towards the nerd. In order for bright ideas to incubate, you need lots of different sorts of personalities to come together.

I know an awful lot of entrepreneurs and CEOs - not many employees where we hang out - and nerds alone do not great business make.

Xenia Fri 18-Jan-13 07:25:29

Most of those who set up a business and do well are fairly bright and as we know most people who try to set up a business fail.

For my children I would like them to have at least the capacity to own, not just be hired out even if the hiring out came with 5% of the company's shares as it gives them options and choices to control their own destiny. So if there is work which gives them the potential to do that longer term rather than ties them to employment for life, I would be glad.

Good exams, good degrees etc (and life skills of robustness, stoicism, coping, internal happinees) give them useful tools in life which means it is more likely they will manage financially than just say living off a man for money or the state or one employer.

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