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behaviour in state vs private

(58 Posts)
ESTRO Mon 22-Jul-13 13:32:51

I have 3 kids and the eldest (girls) are happy and settled at our local state primary, my youngest is a boy due to start in 2014. Right from the start he has been more challenging, doesn't listen and can be quite naughty. He's bright but very 'can't be bothered not going to do it's
Private school is an option and I just wondered anyone with experience of both at primary level whether behaviour is better in the private sector, I suppose I think small class sizes must help a teacher keep a more wilful kid on track..? Any advice would be very helpful!

MangoJuiceAddict Fri 26-Jul-13 21:50:34

Depends on the schools in question, my DD(11) has attended a state primary and private prep school. The behaviour in the prep school was better- but I think that's because the teachers put more effort into the lessons at the prep school so the children enjoyed learning. At the state primary my DD did enjoy school and achieved, but as she is a quiet child she was often overlooked and so didn't actually enjoy learning, she just learnt because she knew she had to.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 20:45:02

If I came across that situation Rabbit I would consider moving. I have a DS at a well known senior boarding school (its not for everyone) and another mother in the year below is insisting on sending her DS to the same school. She was trying to pick my brains regarding the ins and outs of the school. Her son is the least likely to get on with boarding. I feel so sorry for him, but when I suggested there were other options apart from boarding she said 'well what choice do I have'.

If my younger son didnt get on with boarding when the time comes I would move house - I wouldnt dream of saying - what choice do I have.

We all have choices. We arent superglued to our area and house. And what better reason to move than for the sake of your child.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Jul-13 07:55:32

handcream - yes, surely that applies if there is one obvious problem child that everyone agrees is the problem, but not if there is low grade disruption and behind-the-scenes bullying, particularly in an area where there is no huge choice of alternative, affordable fee paying schools the other parents can threaten to send their children to, instead... It's not as if a school is going to want to quietly remove half of its entire intake, or respond to pressure from one gang of parents and then upset another faction who disagree with them...

I clearly remember a thread from a parent who was putting up with all sorts of cr*p from the school she was paying to send her children to: because it fed into the next school she really wanted her children to go to and she didn't want to jeopardise that place as she thought the senior school was much better; because there wasn't a nearby alternative; because they were quite dismissive when she did go in to talk about the issues (which was more to do with unacceptable behaviour of a couple of teaching staff than the other children); because other parents agreed with her but didn't want to rock the boat; and she didn't want her children to be picked on because she was seen as a problem mother. So much for the power of fee paying parents.

exoticfruits Thu 25-Jul-13 22:32:38

State schools have the whole range from excellent to dire- so do private schools.

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 21:43:59

I live outside London (but still in the SE) and the schools my DS are going to are not struggling. You seen to indicate that if ONE child has problems that despite the fact that other parents will complain the school will keep the problem child. Not true. Best to upset one set of parents that potentially a whole load more.

exoticfruits Thu 25-Jul-13 21:38:51

It doesn't surprise me, musicalfamily, I know a school that was struggling financially and they wouldn't ask pupils to leave.

musicalfamily Thu 25-Jul-13 20:46:00

well my daughter said that the low level disruption at a top rated selective school was continuous and much worse than in her state school. It's a shame people don't believe it on here, just because they believe the "can be asked to leave" comment.

The reality outside of London is that all selective or non selective schools are struggling. 5 years ago we went to that same schools and it was brimming with 22 children per class, this year when my daughter went there were 15/16 children per class. They are not going to ask a group of disruptive boys to leave are they, that would make the school not viable.

pixelchick10 Thu 25-Jul-13 17:59:57

Yes I disagree with that comment about behaviour in private schools - parents have a lot more power as it's they who fund the school ...

Elibean Thu 25-Jul-13 17:09:23

It depends on the school, but also on how you define 'bad behaviour'.

There can be low level bullying in schools which have perfect silence in the classroom.

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 15:18:33

I have to disagree re behaviour in private schools. When you are paying for a private the very least you will expect is good behaviour! Its a given. If there are a few parents who pay the fees and dont give a toss then they WILL be asked to remove their child. If they dont the rest will leave.....It doesnt make business sense to keep them there.

If you want bad behaviour and disruption go to your nearest failing school. We have a few near us and at home time the shopkeepers battern down the hatches. The behaviour is awful and the police now have a car outside at 3.30...

musicalfamily Thu 25-Jul-13 14:37:59

Behaviour isn't necessarily better at private schools. My DD1 went for taster days at two selective independent schools this year and said that in one there was total silence in lesson/good behaviour, in another one there was constant disruption and the children were much worse behaved than in her current state school.

Also on the ISI report it mentions low level disruption observed in classes, which isn't what you want to hear when you are paying ££££ per year and putting your children through an entrance exam for a highly rated school.

pixelchick10 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:42:51

I would go to see the prep school talk honestly about how your son behaves and see what they say - is it because he's very clever and needs plenty of stimulation? If so the prep might be good for him as they could tailor things more to him (with the smaller classes etc). I don't buy into this belief that you have to give all your kids exactly the same education - surely you need the option that will bring out the best in each child - whether that is state or private (if you have the luxury of being able to afford to choose). My sisters kids went to three different state secondary schools - very different schools but they suited each individual child. Good luck!! smile

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 11:47:34

I also agree that you chose a school based on what is best for the particular child. I have a friend whose daughter passed the 11+ and went to a great grammar and the youngest didnt. The state option was not great so they opted for a private.

What is wrong with that?

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 11:44:20

I agree with a number of posters re private schools. A lot of privates just wont tolerate bad behaviour and you will be asked to leave or have a very robust plan to change the way your child is.

What is very strong in all schools is peer pressure. If you see all around mucking around and generally not showing any interest (and being allowed to) you might well follow the same route. Private schools will have the majority of pupils who are there to learn (their parents have chosen to pay for a private) and so consequently there will be pressure on your child to be the same - which might not be a bad thing!

There are also a few posters who give them impression that private parents are a bit daft to pay again for education when their state school is so fab. Well -lucky them. Some state schools are terrible and in special measures. If a private was run like this they would be closed down

Perhaps they are in a grammar catchment area. Parents who use the grammars seem pleased with them and around here there is great great demand for them.

rabbitstew Thu 25-Jul-13 08:51:20

peteneras - private schools have changed since my db's day, then!... grin

peteneras Thu 25-Jul-13 02:48:24

Behaviour applies to both pupils and teachers (and maybe even parents). For sure, you won’t find behaviour in private schools where . . . . grin

swlmum Wed 24-Jul-13 23:25:38

Agree with poster above that he just sounds like a normal little boy who has very well behaved sisters! He is still so young. My DS is starting state school in September and I have had many a sleepless night worrying about it as DD is very well behaved at school (not so much at home unfortunately). He has calmed down a lot during the last few months though and is pretty much the same as at least half the boys who will be going into reception with him. I've really noticed the boys in DDs class change a lot from reception to the end of Y1 as well. Obviously I am slightly stereotyping the boys and girls but definitely in DD's class there is a noticeable difference in how they behave. Not better and worse but just very different in general and a good reception teacher should be able to get them best out of all personalities. I am still really worried about him starting!

dixiechick1975 Wed 24-Jul-13 19:39:00

Advantage of dd's small private class (16 with teacher and TA) is they have chance to notice and are on top of behaviour. There are a couple of boisterous boys who are managed well imo.

Very much zero tolerance eg one was sent to head in first few weeks of reception. Expectations very high.

More male teachers/gamesmaster - again seems popular with all children esp the boys.

Also DD's school offers a lot more sport especially competitive sport in school time and extracurricular. Plus extensive grounds they use for outdoor classroom work.

Very much a knuckle down in the morning then sport/swimming/music/spanish/computing in the PM.

I'd look at both schools and see which would be best fit.

These threads always turn into my state offers all that and more. All you can do is compare the state where he will get a place v the private.

TheBuskersDog Wed 24-Jul-13 11:19:54

To be honest I think he sounds like a normal boy, just different to what you are used to. State schools are used to taking 4 year old boys and I'm sure the school your daughters are at will be fine for him. If he does turn out to have more challenging behaviour than average you can consider suitable schools then.

duchesse Tue 23-Jul-13 10:57:50

It's very different. My DC were all at state primary school until year 3, then another year while we were in Canada. They also went to prep school, then another independent school, then independent secondaries. I taught in a variety of state secondaries for 4 years.

The behaviour issues tend to be different, the expectations somewhat different and behaviour management can be wildly different from school to school.

What I remark mostly is that the way of speaking to the pupils is very different between state and private. In state there is a lot more telling on the whole and a lot less communication and negotiation. The pupils have an expectation of the teacher being more in charge and a disciplinarian and less a lecturer, so perversely some tend to kick more against heavy-handed discipline. Unless pretty much every teacher in a school is using the same techniques, pupils will not look kindly on a teacher they see as "weak", ie one who treats them more as equals.

On the whole my experience of discipline in state schools is that it's a lot stricter and more disciplinarian but also perversely there are more behaviour problems. Many pupils rightly have problems with being spoken down to and told to do things in a commanding tone, but in the right context with a teacher they like will be as compliant and attentive as any private school pupil and willing to do what the teacher directs. The important thing is that that feel respected as a person, not looked down or viewed as an inconvenience.

The advantage with most private schools is that the teachers are much less harried and therefore more able to deal with pupils individually, have the full support of their SMT regarding any behaviour problems, mostly the support of the parents (although not always) and the pupils are more likely to comply by instructions- arguably because they are not being spoken to like cattle. State school teachers are very overworked on the whole and develop a carapace that does not permit individualism.

When I hear what my daughter's teachers have to put up with in her classes of 15, I feel for them. I know that in state school most of the girls would not have the relationship they have with their teachers. They are lucky that in permitting what would be seen as a lot of cheekiness in a state school, they are getting the best out of each other and really managing to pass on their knowledge.

Teenagers are teenagers anywhere- there's not really much difference between state and private school ones (apart from the better resources in most private schools). The difference imo is in the handling of them.

cory Tue 23-Jul-13 09:37:59

I wouldn't make any decisions without talking to the individual schools and seeing what their attitude is.

You aren't going to be sending your ds to private-schools-in-general or state-schools-in-general: you will be sending him to one specific private school or one specific state school. So you need to look at specifics.

exoticfruits Tue 23-Jul-13 07:00:20

I agree with lidsad123- I can't see why you can't have one child state and one private. You need the best school for the child and you can't make the assumption that private is best. I nearly did both when I thought private might be better for dyslexia- state was excellent for the other two. Luckily the state one got their act together with the dyslexia but I can never understand why you can't have one at both.

Mominatrix Tue 23-Jul-13 06:33:17

I have to echo Ladymuck - I think that what would make a difference for your DS is not the fact that a school is private v state, but single sex. DS1 was regarded as quite disruptive in his co-ed pre-school - not violent or particularly challenging, but what I saw as normal energetic little boy. Luckily, he went to school at an all-boys preprep which taught with this model of boys in mind - lots of sport, a very active way of teaching, and other boys like himself. He thrived in this environment and people who meet the calm, mature 9 year old now are surprised that this is the same "naughty" 3-4 year old.

In terms of wilful, there is/was one boy who would be described this way - I don't think that it is really clear-cut until 7-8 year old. The school has not kicked this particular child out (actually don't know any child which was expelled, and this is a pushy pre-prep), and is working closely with the parents on coping techniques for this child. I am not saying the kicking out does not happen, just that it would have to be quite disruptive and extreme, but this was a non-selective school.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 23-Jul-13 00:35:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ladymuck Tue 23-Jul-13 00:23:30

Only have experience of private, but I would observe that many "boisterous" boys end up at boys schools. Ds1 fell into this category, and when he was at a single-sex prep his behaviour was pretty normal, but within a co-ed environment he tended to be in trouble more often than previously.

That said I would view boisterous as different from wilful. Most schools would have a limited tolerance for wilful I would have thought?

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