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Going private at year 7

(47 Posts)
googlenut Sat 11-Jan-14 14:42:08

I have one child year 8, one year 6 and one year 4. They are all at a school classed as outstanding by ofsted. We have been fairly happy with the school. It is in a very affluent area and so come year 7 and year 9 there are a fair few kids leave and go private. For our older two kids their best friends are going private next year. It has got me and my husband thinking that we should do this, although it would be a squeeze for us.
So my question is has anyone moved a child to private around year 7-9 who was already doing really well in a state school but has seen them improve a lot since the move to private - or maybe not improved very much, which would be good to know as well.

hercules1 Sat 11-Jan-14 14:44:54

If you can easily afford 3 at private then why not. But if it meant lots of sacrifices and they are already in good state school then no.

googlenut Sat 11-Jan-14 14:49:57

Thanks - that's the dilemma we can't easily afford it but could do it with a bit of sacrifice eg increasing hours at work, less spare cash. But I don't know what the value added is as I attended state school myself. Is it just a little bit better, or loads better?

AuntieStella Sat 11-Jan-14 14:50:06

Why do you think you should move them?

For if it means you have compared the schools and decided you should move them because the potential destination school is better for your DC, then other people's experiences at other schools aren't going to help you.

BTW: have you actually applied? Most main entry point deadlines are before Christmas, so if you're still havering, you might find the admin has made a 'stay put' decision for you.

hercules1 Sat 11-Jan-14 14:55:46


Blueberrypots Sat 11-Jan-14 14:56:10

Good point about applying, lots of entrance exams normally happening in January.

It entirely depends on so many factors, like what is the private school you are looking at like - is it selective, does it have a range of sports/activities not available at the state that your children would be interested at, does it have a different ethos, etc..

hercules1 Sat 11-Jan-14 14:56:56

Sorry on phone.

eatyourveg Sat 11-Jan-14 15:23:43

It would depend on the state school options available. ds1 was doing very well at his state primary but we thought moving up to a huge secondary even though they are all very good around here, would be such a shock to the system it could possibly have an adverse effect on his performance. He's quiet and reserved by nature so we chose a small independent where he thrived.

eatyourveg Sat 11-Jan-14 15:25:11

Should have mentioned he had a scholarship and a bursary and by the time he left, had 2 scholarships on top of his bursary. Couldn't have done it otherwise.

Lottiedoubtie Sat 11-Jan-14 15:28:41

Depends on the specific schools concerned.

It might be a little bit better.

It might be a little bit worse.

It might be a huge amount better.

Independent schools are not a homogenous group providing a homogenous experience I'm afraid.

goshhhhhh Sat 11-Jan-14 15:29:57

Why would you want to disrupt a child who is doing really well? Also consider if you are comparing like with like. If it is better then yes do change but I would have to be really sure it was to sacrifice extra curricular activities. Also can you afford the extras on top of school fees?

googlenut Sat 11-Jan-14 15:40:22

The children are doing well but that's not to say they can't do better. It's a difficult call for someone who hasn't been to private school. Just can't quantify in my mind what the differences are.

MuswellHillDad Sat 11-Jan-14 15:45:47

One size does not fit all. Talk to parents at the school and look at their kids compared to yours - not just academically, but socially etc.

If you do your due diligence (beyond open days, league table etc) then you should be able to get a gut feel for "will my kid be happier and do better there?". If you don't get a resounding feeling that they will be happier and do better, then don't bother. Upheaval has a price too.

tiggytape Sat 11-Jan-14 18:32:03

Having similar aged children and knowing a few people who've made this decision, they have done so because:

- the state school they live near is truly dire. Had they had a decent state school offered, they'd never have looked at a private school. They say they feel they are paying for the kind of school that other people get for free (i.e. good teaching, nice facilities, the chance of good GCSE results and a 6th form to go to).

- Extras. If your child is very sporty or very musical, a private school will almost always offer better opportunities than state assuming your child is really good (some private schools aren't as inclusive of the children who are less good).

- Extra attention. Some people feel their child won't cope in a big school or need to be in a tiny class. There is normally a good reason for this eg an exceptionally anxious or shy child, history of bullying or additional needs etc but sometimes some parents just feel it is preferable overall.

Funnily enough, none of them have mentioned quality of teaching as a reason although some have hinted at quality of intake (they assume all the children will be very eager and well behaved which might be true but probably isn't universal).

If a child is happy and doing well at a really good state school though, and especially if they aren't going to get the benefit of the music or sporting extras, I don't see that the cost would justify what you get out of it.

eatyourveg Sat 11-Jan-14 18:37:36

You need to go and look at the place you have in mind and see if you can imagine your dc there

MillyMollyMama Sat 11-Jan-14 18:56:47

Do not forget that many parents at independent schools take their children on wonderful holidays, have expensive parties for their children and generally spend a lot on their clothes and accessories. Would this bother both you and your children if you could not do this? In reality, I have met very few people making sacrifices. Uniforms cost a fortune - fees go up way more than the rate of inflation and school trips can cost thousands. Will you be able to sustain this for your DCs or will they end up not participating?
Some independent schools are brilliant but check that this one is good. Naughty and difficult children go to independent schools too and believe me some of them are unspeakably awful. Money does not mean people have pleasant or intelligent children! We gave up a place at a grammar school so my DD1 could board at a girls' school and I have no regrets but it is a huge financial decision and you should not make it on the basis of what other people do.

MillyMollyMama Sat 11-Jan-14 19:00:47

Also, I forgot to say, very many people send their children to private school so they mix with "people like us". We did not fit that mould and we were never sure we fitted in. The more high brow parents think they are, the more they will separate themselves into cliques. It was a bizarre thing and, we felt, extraordinarily rude. You have to rise above it and just not wear your shooting breeks for the fancy dress evening!!!!

Elibean Sat 11-Jan-14 19:39:26

googlenut, I would go and look around other school options in your area - it's the only way to get any idea, tbh, as individual schools vary hugely (as do children!).

Speaking as one who went to private school, I would not move my children if they were doing really well and were happy where they were. I would go and look around to help me process whatever was worrying me about leaving them be, and then - unless there was something obviously more suited to them as individuals in the area - leave them be.

teacherwith2kids Sat 11-Jan-14 20:24:13

It depends ENTIRELY on the specific schools that you have available to you.

Wouild I take a child out of a normal state comp and send them to Winchester if they had the chance and we had the money [and if the child would cope with boarding]? Yes.

Would I take DS out of his state comp and send him to any of our local private options? No - for a start, his comp's results are better than those of the privates which take boys...

Would I consider taking DD out of a dire state school if she were unhappy there, and send her to the only decent local private [girls only]? Possibly. As it happens, she is off to DS's comp, which is not in the least dire, but i was putting this option in to point out that it is the quality of each school and its fit with your children that matters, not 'state' vs 'private' in a general sense.

QuintessentialShadows Sat 11-Jan-14 20:29:40

We moved our son from state to private for y7. He was in a top of the league tables outstanding school.

His SATS were really good and his work in Y6 was also really good.

He is no longer top of the class, but still doing really well. The main difference is that all the children are achieving well, so he is pushing himself more. They all have a more similar starting point, having passed entrance exams and been vetted at interview and during activity days. It has been very good for him.

happygardening Sat 11-Jan-14 20:39:10

"The more high brow the parents think they are, the more they will separate into cliques. It was a bizarre thing and, we felt exceeding rude."
I'm fascinated by this comment. We've spent ten years with DS's in boarding schools and I've never known parents separate themselves into cliques according to high brow they are. We've met some absolutely ghastly parents over the years (I'm sure some think I'm absolutely ghastly) many we're indescribably hideous or even worse plain rude, I was beyond stunned, it's simply bad manners. But we have found at secondary level you hardly know most of the other parents only smile and wave stuff.

QuintessentialShadows Sat 11-Jan-14 20:41:30

I dont know about parents.

I am a hermit and tend not to try get to know them.

AuntieStella Sat 11-Jan-14 20:43:13

I don't think any type of school is immune from bitchy cliques.

googlenut Sat 11-Jan-14 21:30:43

Quint - that's what I'm interested in. Do you think it is all good that he is pushing himself more? Can u be a bit more specific about what he is getting out of it?
Both children we are thinking of moving are in top extension sets for most subjects.

QuintessentialShadows Sat 11-Jan-14 21:41:01

Yes. Because in primary he was not really pushing himself, it was important to be like his peers. It is still important to be like his peers, only now his peers are all high achieving!
He sat L6 maths. He is now in the highest grade for maths, yet still only in set 2! His maths teacher is focused, can pintpoint where he needs to work harder, and he is inspired. She is drilling down on working things out, full sentences and accurate reports.

He gets the same feedback for science. He has moved up two sets since he started this autumn, and has fun. There are so many resources and they do so many experiments. I am thrilled with how seriously he is taking it. Doing his prep prior to science lessons, doing the experiments, writing out the calculations and the post experiment reports. I feel he is really learning. The other day at dinner he joined us in a discussion about strokes, what happens in the body with clogged veins, blod-clots forming and getting stuck in the brain and starving the brain of oxygen.

In addition to all the maths, the sciences and english, he has geography, history, latin, mandarin, french, music, drama, art, design technology pe and games. He is engaged in chemistry club, lego league, cricket and choir extracurricular clubs. The choice is much wider then primary for sure, but I cannot compare with state secondary, it could be the same there. His day starts at 8.15 and last lesson (unless he has clubs) finishes at 4 pm. He loves his school. He is challenged and enjoys learning. He never come home from school saying "school is boring" like he did before.

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