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arabella weir on why we must send our kids to state schools

(615 Posts)
nowirehangers Wed 03-Sep-08 13:55:29

Arabella on why she would never send her kids to private schools
What do people think?
Fwiw I find the tone unbelievably smug. I also disagree with a lot of what's being said. I don't think all parents send thier kids to private schools so they can avoid the great unwashed, though some do. I would love my dcs to go to a state school for the reasons she mentions.
What puts me off is the fact the teaching is so often mediocre - as the Chief Inspector of Schools admitted this week. Of course there are so incredible teachers in the state system but I fear there are a lot of second-rate one too. I went to a state primary where the teaching was awful then was moved in to a private school and couldn't believe how much more stimulating the atmosphere was and how much more inspirational the teachers were. I dislike the idea of my dcs mixing only with posh kids, so I'm going to put mye experience down as an unlucky one and give the local state school the benefit of the doubt but if I feel they're being taught badly I will remove them and remortgage the house or whatever to make it work. Anyway, that's my opinion, interested in others.

GooseyLoosey Wed 03-Sep-08 14:06:42

I think there are many reasons for sending children to private schools and she focuses and the most elitist ones. She does not deal with things like the much smaller classes which enable 2 teachers of the same ability to deliver vastly different results. She address the number of socially inept people she knows from private schools but does not mention the vast numbers who have immense self confidence and belief and are able to persue things in life which other people might not believe possible.

What this article does beautifully illustrate is what a terrible force parental choice has become.

mrsruffallo Wed 03-Sep-08 14:10:43

But many have false confidence. An overblown sense of self importance.
Private schools are full of the type of people she describes- quite dull and petty and obsessed with status

HeadFairy Wed 03-Sep-08 14:11:17

I am no way in a position to comment as my child is a pre schooler, but to me it sounds like a lot of sense. I think a lot of schools are the product of their parents and pupils (obviously the teaching staff add to that too). State schools in "better" areas often do well because the parents have a higher level of education and are usually more motivated towards their own children's education, so they'll do things like reading with them at home and so on.

I've long believed that ofsted reports shouldn't be publicised as they can lead to exactly the situation she describes in the article, parents panicking and taking their children out of the local state school and putting them in private education. Because the children whose parents are less motivated about their education are left behind, they standard slips further and so on. Or the alternative happens, where a school gets a good report and demand for places there goes up, people start jockying for position to get in to the catchment area, house prices close to the school starts rising, and all the better off middle class kids get in their while those less able to afford to buy in that area are forced out.

It's happened a lot where I live. I have two primary schools less than a 100 metres from my house both of which have had outstanding ofsted reports in the last year, competition to get in is so fierce there's now a catchment area of 5 minutes walk. House prices are still bucking the trend and slightly rising, but in the past it's been ridiculous. A 3 bed terraced house with a tiny garden costs over £700K.

Now we live in a flat, we've been there 12 years, I'd love ds to go to the primary school which is right next to my house, but if we're ever to fulfill our dream of having a house there's no way he can go to that school. And neither can many of the other local children who live in estates nearby and who would benefit so much from the education those schools could offer. Instead it's full of Tarquins and Tabithas.

northbound Wed 03-Sep-08 14:11:24

I agree nowirehangers. Problem with education is that everyone thinks theirs is the only right choice (mnetters excluded!) and resent anyone who takes a different approach. I also think that in some areas only private schools have the range of extra curricular activities included in the school day to enable children with working parents to participate.

AbbeyA Wed 03-Sep-08 14:18:11

I think it is all too simplistic, it depends on the child and the schools in the area. Cost has a lot to do with it, we simply couldn't afford to do three children.
We have preferred to send them to state schools and do the extras like trips to Russia, outdoor centres etc with the school. I much prefer them to go with a social mix and I know there are lots of incredible teachers in the state system, there are also mediocre ones in private schools.
We have chosen to live in a place with good schools and a mixed background with children. If the state schools were bad we would have had to rethink.
Parents can be dreadful in the private system as in this article and I know a lot of very aggressive ones who take the attitude 'I am paying a lot for it I am going to get what I want for my child'. I wouldn't want my child in a system where the parent who shouts the loudest gets their own way because they are paying.

snowleopard Wed 03-Sep-08 14:18:13

I don't think it's smug - I think she's right. And if she's pointing out the elitism - private school is all about elitism, that's what it's about - whether financial or academic, you get in if you are the elite.

Of course they are generalisations but if you go to private school of course you will be more likely to have a more limited view of the world and place more importance on money. And the worrying thing is a lot of those children will grow up to be political leaders, lawyers, judges. People who really don't have the tiniest clue of the realities of being poor/disadvantaged, or even normal, in modern Britain.

Good on her - and on Gordon Brown if that's true about his son.

I know DP has a bit of a leaning towards private school and that article has strengthened my arguments against.

PoorOldEnid Wed 03-Sep-08 14:19:33

I agree with you nowirehangers

and we are doing the same - state secondary and private if it is shit

FioFio Wed 03-Sep-08 14:21:26

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mrsruffallo Wed 03-Sep-08 14:22:11

Agree snow leopard
This why so many politicians are out of touch and why there is so much class division and snobbery in this country.
It is fear that your child may be tainted by those inferior to him as much as anything else

southeastastra Wed 03-Sep-08 14:22:58

well some of us have no choice! but if i could choose i wouldn't like to segregate my son from the rest of the community.

worry for future londoners

AbbeyA Wed 03-Sep-08 14:29:36

The one thing that would sway me on private education is the small class size. It is the one thing that makes the difference and the one thing the government insists doesn't make a difference.

mrsruffallo Wed 03-Sep-08 14:30:54

Abbey, what are the differing ratios?

rebelmum1 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:31:30

I think it's a bit sweeping to say all private schools are the same and offer the same advantages. There are a vast array of private schools with quite a different ethos. Many parents with children who have failed in the state system have had great success in private education in some schools. How a school is run, the independence of the head and the ethos of a school has a massive bearing on the quality of the school. I chose a private school because I didn't want my dd shackled to a desk and develop a culture of failure through targeting. The school I chose offered more freedom to learn and develop from an individual perspective. Our state alternative was poor in comparison. Class sizes make an enormous difference, likewise teaching methods. The problem with the state sector is that it is centralised and over-subscribed in many cases. Teachers have to follow Gov dictate and this isn't always beneficial.

MorocconOil Wed 03-Sep-08 14:32:56

I agree with Arabella Weir, and don't find her tone smug. It still amazes me when friends think their DC will do 'better' at a school with better results, and more middle class children. You need to have confidence in your DC to try their hardest wherever they are. If the school is good on added-value, how can your child then lose out, as the teaching is obviously excellent.

noddyholder Wed 03-Sep-08 14:32:58

She is fab

FioFio Wed 03-Sep-08 14:34:01

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noonki Wed 03-Sep-08 14:34:50

I agree with her

I know some people who went to private school and they find it so difficult to mix with people that aren't middle class, they are so out of touch

I do admit it is a problem though, we live in the middle of Manchester which proudly has three of the worst schools (in terms of GCSE results) in the country in our catchment area.

But I will move rather than send them to private school even if we had enough money to.

FluffyMummy123 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:34:57

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mrsruffallo Wed 03-Sep-08 14:36:22

There are some dire teachers in private education too

rebelmum1 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:36:44

In terms of a limited view of the world I think this is more likely in a state school than in private school, you are presented with a very narrow set of options, not only that if only 1 in 5 children leave that leads to very narrow view indeed.

FluffyMummy123 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:37:05

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rebelmum1 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:37:27

read I mean not leave

AbbeyA Wed 03-Sep-08 14:38:53

I don't know mrsruffallo, all I know is that I had a lovely job earlier this year in a state school with 18 children(yr 5) and it was wonderful! I could meet the needs of that number in a very individual way, I could give help when they wanted it. I enjoyed marking the books and could have a chat about the work if necessary at the start of the next lesson.(I was very aware that if I had had a normal class I would have had another 12 books to mark each time).
My middle DS was in a class of 35 at that age!! It was a good school, therefore over subscribed.

southeastastra Wed 03-Sep-08 14:41:24

why is secondary so different?

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