Outstanding State School or Excellent Private School?(19 Posts)
Money isn't an issue.
We are struggling to pick:
Outstanding state primary and secondary (we are very lucky) or excellent private school (ages 3-18)???
Look round both schools. One of them will make you feel happier than the other. Send your child to that one.
Once you have the offers, then you have to look entirely at the school, its ethos, its curriculum, its extras etc
There is never a single answer. Just how your DC is likely to fit in to each.
Start by working out exactly what you think is important in a good education, then see which school's offerings are closest to that.
Don't forget to consider the logistics (ease of schoo, run etc, as they can be quite an embuggeration especially in the primary years)
Go and have a look at the schools. Personally, I would have no innate preference for private over state at primary level, but would almost always choose private for secondary.
If it's possible to do prep then state from year 9 I would do yhat
If you like the state primary I'd start there and see how things go. I'd be very surprised if there aren't spaces to move into the private at a later date. In the meanwhile you can use all the money you are saving to have fabulous experiences as a family.
Look at both schools and try to ignore the fact that one is private and the other state. Then, once you've taken the fees issue out of it, decide which one suits your child the best.(that's if money is honestly no object). If you have other children, you might also want to consider what is likely to be right for them.
If you go for the state option why not put the fees that you would have otherwise paid into a savings account to be used to buy a house in the future.
Do you mean the state primary and secondary are rated Outstanding by Ofsted, or that you know from personal experience or recommendation that they are excellent? I've worked in an 'outstanding' school that was actually very far from being outstanding, although they probably put on a decent pretence of being outstanding to prospective parents.
Which is the best fit for your child when you visit and get a feel? Choose that one.
I'd suggest checking out class sizes and watching how much care/interest the staff take in your child on a visit. My son went to an outstanding state primary, classes of 33, poor resources. Hard for teachers to bring out the best in every single child. He made some lovely friends though. All the best x
I would go to the outstanding state to begin with and consider a change for Y3 or Y6. I worry that children who are at the same school from 3-18 become institutionalised . They need a challenge of new environments at some stage. Secondary is the natural change.
I know of very bright children who have left these schools to go to state grammar schools so spaces crop up. I would see how state goes and keep your options open. You may not get a state place if you apply later.
Also if you have the money, you will have lots of options for secondary and not just the one school who will want to keep you!
Out local secondary school is graded outstanding. My DD doesn't go there but her friends who do come out with some shocking stories. Results are ok but not considering the catchment IMO.
Also even if the state school is genuinely outstanding, there is no guarantee that this will be the case in 7 years time when a child transfers from Primary.
Teachers who work in state education are leaving the profession in droves, funding is being cut, hugely restricted curriculum.
Private would be a no brainer choice for me if money wasn't a problem.
The 3-18 thing might not be a problem- it depends on how they are run. One of the excellent Independent schools near me has a separate prep and senior school with different heads. They are two distinct schools with a fair amount of fluidity with pupils whose parents move to the area for a few years for work.
As pp have said, Ofsted outstanding does not guarantee it will be outstanding for your dc and paying for a school does not guarantee it will be the right school for your child. You need to visit and consider your child's needs and the one which best fits with your family values. Look at class sizes, outside space, extracurricular opportunities such as sport. drama, music, and try to speak to parents with dc there.
You can move sectors but be aware that if you later want to move from state to selective private at. 7+. 11+ and you are in London you will need to tutor or do preparation yourself. This is hard work and stressful!
I chose state primary for my dd because the private school option had NO outside space and my dd1 is a very active child. I couldn't see her being happy sitting in one classroom all day. The state school came with large outside space which they used for learning.
Dd1 had fantastic teachers at her state school and has gone on to a good selective school for secondary which suits her.
Dd2 also went to the same state primary but it wasn't such a good experience for her.
Once having made the choice you should re-evaluate periodically if it is the right choice and the school is meeting the needs of your dc. You should consider if the benefits of a move will outweigh the disruption to the dc.
I agree, go and see them, consider commute. We went state until age 11. Ordinary state primary, rated 'good', big class sizes, small plot, no MFL, limited sport but a very good teaching team. We have no grammar schools. Now in 100 acre independent school with all bells and whistles. The state primary kids at the independent are holding their own nicely, in many cases top of top set, inc MFL which the independent kids will have been taught from year 3. But these high achievers will be kids who were top of their large state primaries. I'm sure children who were 'middling' would do better if in independent from the start. I've noticed more finesse in the independent all the way through children, many are proficient in musical instruments, have dance and sporting achievements. That might just be because their parents have money, of course, although the school does go all out in encouraging attainment. Our state comps have struggled with dwindling budgets, huge and expanding year groups on small plots, diminishing option choices, no 6th forms until very recently, behaviour issues. So we chose independent for these reasons and I'm glad we did. But for us there wasn't enough value added to do that earlier.
I would tend to agree about the middle children and often independent can offer more opportunities for sport, music, drama and art for example. My DD1 went from state to independent at 11 and in Y7 was in top 10 for mfl not having done it before. Every other child had. I think some outstanding primaries are not hot houses and do get good progress from all children. I think the feel of the school and if your child will fit in are considerations .
DD 2 moved to a prep with no senior school attached for Y3. They knew all their children were going elsewhere at 11 or 13 so the standards were high! However there was a lot of fun too and facilities were great. DD discovered art! Therefore you do have to look around but I think the expectation that a junior school that does not prepare for external exams is the best is not always well founded. Do they attract the real high flyers? Or do they go to a specialist prep? Where I live, it is always the latter.
Look at both schools and make a decision based on your child. I have 4 children whose abilities are spread across the spectrum. We have done a mixture of state and independent. My academically gifted child and my very bright child would, IMO, have done just as well academically in the state sector. But my happy go lucky academically average child has without doubt done far better in the independent sector than she was doing in the outstanding graded state school. I wholeheartedly agree with the assertion that 'middling' children will do better in the private sector. However, the school and its ethos need to fit your child and your family.
The private sector like the state sector has good and bad. The difference is that you have to delve deeper to find the bad in the private sector. Also, some independent schools are all about the results, some are less academic but a lovely gentle environment, some are all polish but scratch the surface and the quality of teaching and resources are poor. The best independent schools (IMO) are those which strive for breadth. Academic results are high but not ridiculously so because they place as much emphasis on art and drama and wellbeing and growing young people into decent, hard working, kind, empathetic citizens. The sort of places that good comps strive to be, and could be if only they had access to more money and resources.
Also bear in mind what seems the right school now may not be the right school as your child grows. We started DD in a 3 to 18 school and it was perfect for her from pre-reception to Y2 and then all the brightest left for top drawer preps and DD was no longer in the right school. She moved for Y3 and went to a selective independent that also had a senior school attached but she has just left there and we've moved into an outstanding (in many senses of the word) state secondary school and loving it. Each time it was about the best fit for her at the time.
Start off in state - once you know how your child is getting on at school you can make a more informs decision.
Having said that I have noticed the difference between state (where DS1 was in reception) and private (DS2 has always been in private as we missed out on a state place).
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