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If you lived in catchment of top 4 secondary in country....,

(49 Posts)
Whowherewhywhat Mon 31-Oct-16 14:34:33

Would you still send your children private? I ask as we have 3 children in prep currently and trying to decide to move them to top 4 secondary or independent secondary. Prep has and is excellent and the extra focus on more than just the academic has been fantastic. However I am a secondary school newbie so not sure how well a top secondary compares to a good independent , does anyone have any views?

fitzbilly Mon 31-Oct-16 14:37:45

You'd have to go and visit it, and also consider what your dc want out of extra curricular.

In the same position as you I chose the state secondary, it is a fantastic school and provides the extra sport my teens wanted, and I am very happy with our choice.

chicaguapa Mon 31-Oct-16 14:37:47

If you can easily afford to send your DC private do that. Then you can leave the places at the top secondary school for those who can't afford to.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 31-Oct-16 14:42:06

Personally I would choose the state school. If it is "top 4" (so number 4?) in the country that suggests it is pretty damn good!

Whether your choice of independent school would be better depends hugely on that particular school. Have you checked previous exam results? Visited both schools?

If you can easily afford a private school for all three DCs at secondary level, then the decision should probably boil down to which school you feel to be the best fit for your child(ren).

For me, paying fees for secondary school would require sacrifices elsewhere and wouldn't even be considered if we were in catchment for the fourth best state secondary in the country.

Whowherewhywhat Mon 31-Oct-16 14:42:59

Thanks fitzbilly, did yours move from a prep to the secondary?
Chicaguapa, fair point, no it's not easy, pulling three through would be very painful, hence the pull, it would mean that I don't have to have such a highly pressurised job and survive my 40's!!!!

Seeline Mon 31-Oct-16 14:46:22

You can really only compare the two specific schools you are talking about and see which one comes out top for your DC. Any other state or indy secondary will be different in terms of teaching staff, ethos, facilities, pupils etc. And even if it is one of the top 4, it might not be the right one for your DC. The only way is to have a really good look at both of them and see what your gut says.

Shadowboy Mon 31-Oct-16 14:46:28

Depends on the secondary school. I taught at the 'UKs top non selective secondary' in 2009 and it was a horrible place both for staff and students. Very demon headmasteresque/ staff moral poor/high turnover of staff and the rules these poor kids followed was rediculous. All to get 100% A*-C

Whowherewhywhat Mon 31-Oct-16 14:51:02

Thanks Santa, it would make financial sense to move them there but they were also in highly regarded primary school before we moved them to prep and they didn't thrive there, think class sizes have made a difference. However their confidence is back and they are doing really well, so just worried that moving to back to bigger class sizes and less focused attention could be issue.
What I'm. Not sure of is what constitutes the best? I guess it's exam success rates rather than overall pastoral, sporting and academic?

Thumbcat Mon 31-Oct-16 14:51:28

I would send my DC to an excellent state school without hesitation and consider myself lucky to have the option. Unfortunately all of the secondary schools in our catchment area are pretty diabolical so we will probably choose to go private and have no money for seven years. If we had more than one child to pay for then we'd have no choice but to send them to a failing school.

Whowherewhywhat Mon 31-Oct-16 14:53:38

Yes, seeline, I think that's probably the only way to work it out.
Shadowboy, that's what I was worried about, thanks for that view.

Whowherewhywhat Mon 31-Oct-16 14:59:50

The added complication is that the independent secondary we have fallen in love with would mean a house move and a 2 hour min a day commute for me, (aswel as hubby) so moving for the sake of the school, is that crazy??!!

namechangedtoday15 Mon 31-Oct-16 15:00:43

I definitely think you should visit the schools and speak to parents of children who attend. If the state school is in the Top 4 based on results (rather than the Good School Guide or whatever that considers other factors besides results) then there is likely to be "a fit" for the type of child that will do well there - very bright, self motivated, independent children. It does come with quite a lot of pressure to perform, right from Day 1 (anecdotally I have heard of children being asked to drop subjects, I think children need to get A or A* in their GCSEs for the subjects they want to take at A Level, plus Maths and English in order to stay on at 6th Form) so you need to be sure your DC would be OK with that. My DC has just started at a school in top 4, and whilst DC is a fit and will thrive there, its a specific type of child that will do well.

Whowherewhywhat Mon 31-Oct-16 15:00:53

That should say a min 2 HR a day each way commute......

Beatsretreats Mon 31-Oct-16 15:02:03

State. No two ways about it. Especially with the commute and the money.

228agreenend Mon 31-Oct-16 15:08:49

Visit all the schools and see what would be the best fit for dc. Take 'private' and 'state' out of the equation, and look at the merits and feel of the schools.

Two hour each way commute is a little crazy. How would this impact on your children?

228agreenend Mon 31-Oct-16 15:10:27

The best school is the one that is right for your child, and not nessarily has the best results. Some dcs thrive in a pastoral school, others in an academic school.

TeenAndTween Mon 31-Oct-16 16:41:08

It sounds like your state option is excellent.

With the money you save from not going private you can pay for an awful lot of tutoring / enrichment / out of school activities / holidays / house deposits / university costs.

lljkk Mon 31-Oct-16 17:06:42

... I would be a posh rich person living in an area surrounded by other posh people. In that parallel universe, who knows what I'd choose.

smellyboot Mon 31-Oct-16 18:18:00

There is no way on earth I'd do a 2 hour each way commute. Teenagers need their parents about. Are you getting carried away with glossy promises ? I think life with that commute and no money would be hideous and an unhappy place to be myself

meditrina Mon 31-Oct-16 18:24:06

You need to check if the school takes all applicants in its catchment.

If there are more in-catchment potential pupils than places, the tie break is usually distance and it is possible to be too far away to get a place even if you live in the catchment.

So you need to visit both and decide which your DC are most likely to flourish in. You are very lucky that you have that additional option.

CremeBrulee Mon 31-Oct-16 18:24:35

We turned down a music scholarship at a local indie and places at two others to send DD to an internationally acclaimed state school. That was 3 years ago and I haven't regretted it for a second.

Now in the process of looking at all the secondary options again for DS and still so impressed with DDs school. Can't quite put my finger on what makes it so special - it has a lovely vibe about it, engenders great pride in the students etc.

Yuckky Mon 31-Oct-16 18:28:26

A 2 hour commute is crazy.

I'd send them to the local state school.

LittleBearPad Mon 31-Oct-16 18:32:43

Don't move so that you have a 2 hour commute. (4 hours a day?). That's madness.

Either local state or indie as suits your children. If it's top 4 it's going to beat most indies anyway.

LIZS Mon 31-Oct-16 18:36:35

I'm at a loss as to why you would up sticks to a 2 hour commute for a particular school. There are very many good independents around the country at least some of which would be more local to you. If that particular school is so ideal for one child could they board? What if you moved but it didn't suit all your DC or they did not pass entrance exams. How would you time it so that all could be accommodated, as presumably they could not attend the same school initially if it is 11+ entry. Tbh unless a career move is on the cards anyway , stay where you are and use the local state or independents.

griffinsss Mon 31-Oct-16 18:46:13

Absolutely go and visit it, as well as the independent schools near you and compare them. The state school may be better.

I am of the view, however, that if you can afford private education (and are willing to spend your money in that way) it's fairer for society if you send your children to an independent school rather than taking up a place at a good state school (so in effect another child gets a better standard of education when they may not have otherwise). I have the same view when parents use grammar schools as replacements for independent schools and buy their way in with private tuition.

My DC are in prep school/independent secondary schools for this reason.

If the state school is the best school for your children however, go for it! You can always transfer them if the standard begins to slip.

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