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Terrible choice of state schools, considering private - WWYD?

(32 Posts)
phoenixrose314 Mon 29-Jun-15 10:15:08

I am a teacher, and I work at a state school that is 2 form entry, has a "Good" OFSTED rating, and our Early Years provision (where I work) is Outstanding. We are the ONLY Good school in the area (a very deprived area), and we got it mostly because of our provision for children with severe emotional or behavioural difficulties.

I had always planned to have my DS come to my school, of course the main reason is because it's practical and would be easy to have him come with me into school and just have a child-minder for after school hours, but also because the teachers there are on the whole very dedicated and we get good results overall. However, more recently I have noticed the increasing bad behaviour of some of the pupils further up the school, and how disruptive it is to the lives and education of the rest of the class. Teachers and/or TAs are often chasing students around the school, coaxing them back into classrooms and micromanaging such disruptive behaviour that I feel the education and enjoyment of the many are getting overlooked. This is happening daily, all the upper school teachers are so stressed and are spending all their energy on these "difficult" children. I don't want my son to have a half-hearted education because so much of the good work that teachers do is spent on the most challenging pupils.

I have worked out that what we are already paying monthly in day nursery fees is only £100 short of what it would cost to send him to an independent school not far from where I work. Small class sizes (they guarantee less than twenty, average of 12 in a class), great resources, but obviously we would be less well off which means no holidays 'til I get promoted (or my DH does), less trips out, etc.

WWYD? Has anyone made the switch from state to independent, or vice versa? What were your opinions on either?

WhattodowithMum Mon 29-Jun-15 10:28:12

If you go private for primary, what will be the costs options for secondary. Also, not to be miserable, but any pay raises/promotions may be absorbed by ever rising school fees.

That said the private school sounds lovely, and I don't blame you for being alarmed about bad behaviour and its affects on others' learning.

BertrandRussell Mon 29-Jun-15 10:32:37

You say 12 in a class- how many in the year?

And if they guarantee no more than 20 and it's often only 12 does that mean it's undersubscribed? I would be very wary if it is- both in terms of what the actual school is like and its financial viability............

Woooooohoooooo Mon 29-Jun-15 10:32:44

Are you planning to have more children?

How much is private education at secondary level?

Are there any good state schools further afield? Would you consider moving out of area slightly?

Would you consider doing infants at your school, then privately education year 3 onwards

Woooooohoooooo Mon 29-Jun-15 10:34:47

Also is there any chance that the kids they are running after further up the school belong to a particularly bad year group? I know year groups often vary. We had a nightmare year 7 group leave our school last year.

Eastpoint Mon 29-Jun-15 10:38:08

12 is really too small a teaching group for under 16s in my experience as a parent. Friendship groups are very fluid, dominant groups can make life hard and there are not even enough children to play netball against each other. 18-20 is so much better and makes work differentiation much easier.

slippermaiden Mon 29-Jun-15 10:40:20

I think I'd move house so we lived in a better area and then commute to school. I'd rather spend my money on holidays, experiences and nice things than a so-called better education. I realise this might not be possible for you, it's just what I'd do.

phoenixrose314 Mon 29-Jun-15 10:57:05

No possibility of moving, we've only just bought this house (which we love, it belonged to my husband's grandmother). The area where we are is quite nice, lots of green space, but half a mile from not so nice area.

I will only be paying for private school up until the age of eleven as we are in a grammar school area, he will be going to a really good grammar school that his older brother is currently attending (DH's son from previous marriage).

On the website of the independent school, the school seems to have smaller classes further up the school (Year 4 up), but the most recent classes are 15-18 children (Yr R-3). So maybe the school is gaining in popularity? Can only be a good thing?

I will definitely not be having any more children - DS is the baby doctors told me I would never have, and can't think of putting myself through multiple miscarriages and heartache all over again. So at least I'm aware that there will be no unexpected financial burdens in the near future! Also, DH's next pay raise will be going from apprentice to actual full pay status, so it's about an extra 8K at least... me not so much, but that's the price you pay for being a teacher! grin

But still, think of the holidays... wistful thoughts

BertrandRussell Mon 29-Jun-15 11:09:23

"I will only be paying for private school up until the age of eleven as we are in a grammar school area, he will be going to a really good grammar school that his older brother is currently attending (DH's son from previous marriage)"

You really shouldn't base any decisions on that!

phoenixrose314 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:11:13

On what? I'd like him to go to the same school as his brother... I don't get what you mean, sorry.

usualsuspect333 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:14:35

What if he doesn't get into the grammar school?

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 11:17:27

just what I was going to say - what if he doesnt pass the test for the grammar school?
My son was a regular little genius pre school and infants, but could never have passed the 11 plus for a super selective, he just didnt have the concentration.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 11:18:00

or even Kent style grammar come to that.

phoenixrose314 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:21:03

Maybe he won't, but there are good state schools in the area, it's primaries where there seem to be the most problems.

I hope he will, considering his brother and sister went to grammar schools, DH and I both did too - but equally if he doesn't it won't be the end of the world. Every child is different. Sort of getting off topic here too... wink

usualsuspect333 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:24:01

Well no it's not off topic if you are basing your decision on him getting into the Grammar.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 11:24:17

HOnestly I think primary school is more about making friendship groups in your local area and knowing how to deal with people than being academic.

If I were you, knowing what I know now about primary education, I would just have him at the same school as you.

What about longer private school hols and you being a teacher in a state school - how would that work?

What will you say when colleagues ask you why their school is good enough for you to work in, but not good enough for your child to attend?

Earthbound Mon 29-Jun-15 11:26:45

You need to think long and hard about this and whether you can afford it. Private school fees generally increase at a level above inflation and you should expect at least a 10% hike in fees every year. Can you afford that?

Also, as other say, you cannot bank on him passing the 11+ and getting a grammar school place. He may well do but you will need a back-up plan if he doesn't. Could you afford private for secondary?

TerryTheGreenHorse Mon 29-Jun-15 11:29:54

I would try your school as you know it's fine in the early years and if at any point you have concerns I would consider moving him then.

EssexMummy123 Mon 29-Jun-15 11:31:50

I'd go for it if you really like the private school and you can make the finances work - maybe save up for some cheaper UK holidays, camping etc

Not every private school hikes their fees by 10% a year - i'm sure they would tell you the average annual increase.

Woooooohoooooo Mon 29-Jun-15 11:34:05

I'd probably educate him during infants at your school, private for juniors, grammar for secondary in that case

WhattodowithMum Mon 29-Jun-15 12:05:56

I like woohoo's idea, if you can pull it off. It gives you, "the most bang for your buck." You avoid the four years you are concerned about without having to pay for 7. Also, if DS is settled and doing well, then you can just stay.

PatriciaHolm Mon 29-Jun-15 12:10:19

Also bear in mind if you are at state and he is at private, he will probably have 4-6 weeks more holiday a year than you will, which presumably you will need to pay some sort of childcare for which will all add up.

Rnb Mon 29-Jun-15 12:13:43

I would personally go private and aim for the grammar at secondary. What are the secondary comprehensives like?

3littlefrogs Mon 29-Jun-15 12:20:04

Could you apply for a job in the private school?

I know someone who did this - she worked as a TA in the private school and got a discount for her own children to attend. Working the same dates saved a lot of money that she would otherwise have spent on childcare.

I took my eldest out of primary school due to bullying. He did 1.5 years in a lovely independent school then got into a really good grammar school at 11.

It took nearly all my salary but it was worth it.

bettysviolin Mon 29-Jun-15 12:21:30

Woooohoooo 's idea is good. Infants at your school, private for juniors, then grammar. As Whatto says, the situation may have changed by the time he's in juniors. You do sometimes get a freak year of disruptive pupils. there was a famous one in DCs school and about 30% of pupils pulled out and went private or transferred due to about six very disruptive children. the whole year group suffered and got lower Sats than the school typically gets, which suggests that everyone's education suffers massively if teachers have to waste their energy on behaviour control, not on teaching.

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