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Please be frank: is paying for prep/junior school worth it?

(279 Posts)
IHideVegInRice Sat 20-Apr-13 00:40:19

Hello, continuation from my previous thread but with a more specific question! We have mixed sex twins - while private is an option at this stage, the local faith school is pretty good.
What can a prep or private junior school offer my DC that could not be matched by state + extra curricular activities?
Looking further ahead, would they be disadvantaged when applying for highly ranked public schools (if we/they feel this is right) later on if they did not attend private school at primary level?

minimuffin Sat 27-Apr-13 00:11:15

I haven't read the thread at all but I have DS1 in Yr 2 at a mixed private prep (he did Reception and Yr 1 in a London primary rated good by Ofsted and then we moved out of London) and DS2 in reception at a tiny, lovely local primary (also rated Good by Ofsted - DS2 got a place there and DS1 didn't).

The only big difference I can see in the quality of education is when it comes to sport. The private school has its pupils doing far more physical activity and a far broader range of sports. The sports facilities at the two schools bear no comparison - the private school has acres of sports fields and a dedicated sports hall and a whole culture of Wednesday afternoon matches against other local prep schools. DS2's school has a concrete playground and a grass football pitch and the onus is on parents to sign their DCs up for after-school activities if they want more sport. DS1 does some kind of timetabled physical activity 4 days a week, DS2 did 1 PE session per week but has just gone up to 2 days this term as they've started swimming.

There is also a sort of assuredness/cockiness (depending on how you see it) in pupils in DS1's school. I kind of prefer the kids at DS2's school - they seem to spend more time just being children than some (but not all to be fair) of the kids at DS1's school who are busy over-achieving and crowing about it.

The food sounds better at the private school too! Other than that, we're delighted with both schools.

Yellowtip Sat 27-Apr-13 09:06:15

Oh I assumed that it was the fact of his brilliance that made him different from all these other DC happy, sorry. Yes, that's what I look for from education too.

sieglinde Sat 27-Apr-13 11:06:09

Clearly things have moved on - well, up to a point. grin

I'd be the last to deny that I should have spotted the problems earlier in DS's case. A warning, though - because he knew the fees were a struggle for us, he was MORE tongue-tied about the problems he saw. In DD's case, we did spot them early, primed by DS. Bullied kids are often ashamed of it and imagine the parents will side with the bullies. As for the disorder, unfortunately most kids think of whatever they are used to as 'normal', so DS only once said, mummy, the computers have all been broken again so I couldn't email you or do my prep. sad

FWIW, we went to visit Winchester with DS, who quite liked it, but really didn't want to board. Even if he'd got a bursary it would have been a giant mistake for DS - he's dyspraxic, borderline Aspergers, and subject to panic attacks, which I'm afraid I think are the result of some of his prep school experiences. However, I liked the master of School House and I think more confident boys could easily flourish there.

Not Eton, though. DS went there for music lessons for four years, so I spent an hour a week watching the boys interact. A privilege offered to few. Ack. sad

Happy, if you message me I will disclose where DS did go, provided you promise not to share the message...

Elibean Sat 27-Apr-13 12:05:44

OP, it depends on the school, it depends on the child.

And re the second part of your question, it depends on the 'highly ranked public schools' you think you (and hopefully your dc) may be keen on.

I'm not sure personal experience is going to be of much help to you here, but fwiw my neice went to local village school, then a state secondary, then Oxford and is now doing a PhD at Oxford. Her brother went to the same schools, then Bristol.

My brother went to a very well known prep school, then to London. My sister and I went to small Montessori school, then small private secondary, then Oxford (sister) and London (me).

So IME, prep/primary and state/indie don't necessarily make any difference whatsoever. BUT that depends on the individual school (and family/child, probably).

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