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Independent or comprehensive college?

(29 Posts)
Cherrytree2016 Wed 14-Feb-18 18:07:56

My DD currently studies at an independent school which she can continue her A level there. There is an excellent comprehensive college near us as well. She will need to make a decision about which college to attend for her A level. Would anyone have any suggestions? Many thanks.

woodlanddreamer Wed 14-Feb-18 18:12:13

How can anyone say on this information? I'm sorry but we don't know which schools, which subjects, your financial situation, and most importantly, your DD.

TalkinPeace Wed 14-Feb-18 21:21:41

What do you meanby "comprehensive college"
if its something like Peter Symonds or Barton Peverill or Farnborough College
join the tide moving in from the fee paying schools

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 15-Feb-18 12:55:16

DD intends to move from Indy to a 6th form collge because she wants to be able to only attend when there are lessons, wear casual clothes and just wants to be in a more relaxed atmosphere i.e. not at school. She is a very mature sensible girl and we are happy to support her decision.
My cousin's DDs were both taken out of their boarding school and sent to, co-incidentally enough from above post, PS for 6th form because of a major lack of funds. The girls coped fine,made friends, did well and went on to very good Uni courses, but my cousin has never recovered and still spends family occasions wailing and crying over the lost "experience" and the social humiliation!
How will you cope OP?

Bekabeech Thu 15-Feb-18 15:45:20

Lots of people local to me move to State sixth form colleges from Private schools (and a reasonable number move to local comprehensives with sixth forms).
She should apply to both, and others that interest her. The big issue is that you will have to probably let the private school know soon or forfeit fees.
No one can advise specifically because it depends on: the school, the sixth form college and what your DD is like.
Some thrive at big sixth forms like those mentioned above. Some thrive at slightly smaller ones but still high achieving, and others thrive at the slightly less prestigious but very pastoral ones. Some do better in a school setting but are ready for a bigger bustley one that most private schools.
Subjects and other activities offered can also be important.
What does your DD prefer?
And can you afford the private school fees?

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 15-Feb-18 17:18:53

We have this option for our current year 11 DS.

He's a great high achieving indie but we have a brilliant state 6th Form College just up the road. However, we feel it will give him too much freedom and he might end up not keeping on top of things and luckily he agrees.

We appreciate that he will have to self regulate at uni but hopefully a couple of more years will mean he is more mature. Also if he doesn't get the grades at 6th Form he'll not get to the uni he wants anyway.

So consider the actual school vs college and also consider the personality of your child and what they want. they'll do better if they are happy with the choice.

lemonsquisher Thu 15-Feb-18 17:33:02

Can relate to this, as attended one of the colleges mentioned above thread albeit it was a few years ago.

One of the main advantages of the state 6th form is the greater subject choice and no timetables clashes as they’re able to offer multiple classes of each subject. It’s also much more like uni in terms of the experience so can provide great prep.

I’d consider if they have any friends planning to attend the same college (if you’re Hampshire and it is one of the above mentioned colleges it’s highly likely they’ll have classmates doing the same) and if they’ll cope well with a much busier environment. Also, consider the support offered with uni applications. And at 16, what your DC wants should also be a key consideration!

eatyourveg Thu 15-Feb-18 18:58:34

when dc came to 6th form ds1 decided to stay at his independent school and ds3 decided to leave and go to the local college. It was what suited them individually.

If its not a financial matter then the decision should rest on which is the best suited for your dd, what she wants to study and if it is available in both places and what setting would help her best achieve her aspirations

TalkinPeace Fri 16-Feb-18 13:24:22

So consider the actual school vs college and also consider the personality of your child and what they want.
Private was never an option for my kids, but two of the colleges I listed were.
They are incredibly different places with different teaching and social styles.
Kids need to be somewhere that the raging hormones will line up with the academic need.

SisterNotCis Sat 17-Feb-18 11:47:47

I would also consider what extra-curricular your DD does at her current school. DS has turned out to be really sporty so lack of sport provision at the 6th form colleges close to us would feature high up his list of concerns (not necessarily mine!).

TalkinPeace Sat 17-Feb-18 20:54:07

Whereas some 6th form colleges have incredible sports availability - because they have so many kids that almost every sport is viable

near here there is a 6th form college - Itchen - that is actually sport specialist !

lljkk Sun 18-Feb-18 20:21:36

DD is switching from state to indie 6th form ('public school'). DD's personality is totally a perfect fit for posh school.

Goods: they will force her to do sport, they can help with a lot of support we assume and hope for getting on to her (highly competitive choice) course.

Cost will be very very painful.

ABitOTT Mon 19-Feb-18 00:18:38

My two DC who are now young adults, are this year completing access courses at two different poorly rated state colleges. They are both on course to get outstanding grades & achieve their top offers to attend university this September.

Why am I telling you this OP? Because my DC went to independent schools & left after attaining excellent IGCSE/GCSE results. They went on to attend an outstanding state sixth form college & between them they left with one grade E, A Level, 2 AS Levels of equally weak standard & a Level 1 NVQ in Spanish.

Do I regret not pushing them harder to stay at their cozy independent schools? I would have said yes three & a half years ago when my youngest DC got his A Level result. Now I would definitely say that their choices were correct for them. Academic results are only part of what makes our children who they are. My DC both have privately educated friends who have severe mental health issues in part because they felt their schools did not prepare them for the challenges of university. Sixth form education at a state school, may have helped them by giving them a gentle introduction to less private school spoon fed education? I don't know, but what I am saying is everyone is different & one school, state or independent, may be right for one child yet isn't right for another?

Look at the schools & allow your child to see how they feel. Have a look around & ask lots of questions. Only then can your DC make an informed choice of what is best for them

cakeisalwaystheanswer Mon 19-Feb-18 10:24:32

IIjkk - I hope that works out. DS is at a top London Indy which according to the government league tables got the second best A level results in the country in 2017. Last year I spent £4,000 on tutoring, I expect to pay double that this year. I do not know a single child in his year without a maths tutor.

lljkk Mon 19-Feb-18 18:36:25

We won't be paying for tutoring!! Cannot afford that, too.
Not in London so not so cut-throat as London, I imagine.

Needmoresleep Mon 19-Feb-18 19:55:18

Lijkk, both DC went to a top London indi, though I assume different from the one Cakes DC goes to. DS was very surprised to learn that one of his friends had tutors - in just about everything. None of the others did, and none of DDs friends appear to. There is tutoring, but this seems mainly in families who are very achievement orietated. So a bright Korean classmate of DS went to tutors each vacation, seemingly a cultural thing.

Both gained a lot in terms of engagement and self motivation, which had them well prepared for university.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 20-Feb-18 10:39:03

We're not Korean and neither are DS's friends, although quite a few are Asian if we want to paint stereotypes, but everyone has a maths tutor. It is difficult to complain to a school about the teaching when over 50% of the maths A level results are A* but the results are high because parents provide extra help.
I am evangelical about 2 things with schools, on site sports facilities and not needing any extra tutoring. Both of these have gone badly wrong in 6th form and are causing me time and trouble. I am having a major sense of humour failure about it which is why I sound so cross.

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 13:30:29

Your cousin's "social humiliation" at her kids having to go to Symonds makes me laugh.
There are so many rich, well connected kids there its surreal
and as for sports clubs .....
Even I wonder whether the equestrian, skiing and sailing teams are necessary grin

lljkk Tue 20-Feb-18 18:16:56

We provide extra help (I can't wait for DD to tantrum when she encounters the chain rule). WE provide extra help, not tutors, because we can do calculus.

My fave calculus book is missing, am in slight panic afeard I could have Ebayed it. angry

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 20-Feb-18 18:26:38

TP you haven't met my cousin. She has never, ever, ever had a proper job, just mucked about a bit helping people with horsy events and stuff before she got married and nothing once she walked down that aisle. She probably took over the equestrian team when the girls were there, she's very involved with Pony Club, Hunt etc. but far too busy to get a paying job.
The girls were in this lovely bubble being gently prepared for life in the 1950s and I don't think they will ever recover from PS. They are even planning careers!

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 18:36:22

Love it grin
I've probably met her at the Romsey show !
Did they make it onto the Symonds equestrian team though wink

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 21-Feb-18 10:00:04

Actually you probably have met my cousin TP. (quickly leaves thread).

BubblesBuddy Wed 21-Feb-18 10:52:26

My DDs both looked at changing schools for 6th form. One did change and one didn't. You have to factor in friendships and extra curricular activities as well as academics. Does the new college offer everything DD wants? It would be rare for a school like Eton or Wycombe Abbey to lose pupils to the state sector. Parents who are at the end of their financial tether might be far more interested and some private schools do not have a 6th form anyway. Lots of parents have horses, Range Rovers, expensive holidays, several homes and afford a private education! The private school is a way of life for them and many we have met would never ever consider a state school.

DD's independent school was relatively high achieving and about the same as the grammar schools near me. However, DD1 decided to continue with the language teachers she liked into 6th form and DD2 decided to move and did brilliantly with fresh teachers in the subjects she really wantd to do for A level and which were either poorly taught or not available at her existing school.

I would say you have to compare quality of teaching, A level grades achieved in the subjects she wants and how quickly she will make friends and be accepted. If the college has lots of children joining who do not know anyone she should find friends. If lots of children turn up in established groups, it is more difficult.

My DDs did lots of extra activities and these were crucial in making a decision. Could they be continued or not? It is a difficult decision and we agonised over it. I am still not sure whether DD1 should have stayed put but she has friends for life. She also suffered from teaching problems (teacher walking out, long term illness etc) for two A level subjects but you cannot ever know what might happen wherever you go.

Needmoresleep Wed 21-Feb-18 11:57:04

Cake, "if we want to paint stereotypes" seems a bit harsh. The boy's parents happily acknowledged they had sent their son half way round the world to avoid the very intensive education a gifted child would get in Seoul. But somehow could not resist the societal pressure to give him additional tuition during vacations.

Quite a few of your DCs friends may be ethnically Asian. It would be a real surprise in a London day school if some weren't. But isn't that the stereotyping. Or suggesting that virtually everyone at private sixth forms is being tutored. Our experience is that they are not. Yes there were a few of "Oxbridge/Ivy or bust" parents who got very over-involved in their DCs grades and achievements. But others who were more relaxed. And looking at DS' cohort as they start to leave University, there appears to be advantage in pacing yourself at school, leaving room in the tank for University. (Even if that University is not Oxbridge.)

One issue in changing schools for sixth form is that the school will start writing UCAS references towards the end of the Y12 summer terms for those needing to apply in October. Staying at a school means more chances for school leadership roles and a better informed reference. Conversely DD found that the experience of adjusting to a new environment at sixth form, and thriving there, has made the transition to University easier.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 22-Feb-18 10:17:05

I didn't mean to sound harsh Needsmore but its always Korean or Asian kids on MN that are tutored, not nice, white,middle-class children who are busy doing scouts and ballet.

My point is that DS's school has a weakness for one subject and everyone has a tutor for that subject, unless they have a very able parent with spare time. I am not suggesting that eveyone tutors for everything. There are lots of subjects his school is outstanding for and I would be surprised if anyone tutored for them but maths is a problem. Long term it will hopefully change but until then parents will bridge the gap.

Schools are just schools, Indy or state, and they can have weaknesses. I have always been very anti tutoring for the boys because they have spent 8 hours at school, outside of school they play so much sport they don't have time for "extra school", hence my extreme annoyance at having a tutor.

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