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independent school at 11+, earlier or not at all?

(20 Posts)
thegreatescape Tue 14-Oct-08 17:59:04

Ds is only 18months. Currently at private nursery part time when i work. Basically, the secondary schools where I live (north london) are not good. I was thinking of putting him in state primary and then possibly (depending if we still live here, what the schools are like in 10 years time etc) put him in private school at 11+. I just went on a few websites and there don't seem that many schools near here (we live in N1 so mostly looking at central London). The ones that are seem to be hughly expensive and hughly competitive. I have no idea whether ds will be academically minded so my private school choice is more about smaller classes and better facilities. The state schools round here also seem to have problems with bullying (at the moment).

I'm slightly wondering whether he would only get into one of these schools if he went to a 'prep' type school but I'm also thinking if they are that competitive will they be more concerned with academic results and having the 'right' background than the pupils being happy? What do you think?

SqueakyPop Tue 14-Oct-08 18:00:54

If you can afford it, then all the way through. If you can't then focus on 11+.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 18:04:00

I wouldnt get too worked up about it at this stage. Who knows where you'll be living in 10 years time? If you genuinely want to choose a school which matches your child's needs/interests then tbh you want to wait and see what your child is like anyway!

If you are going for a highly academic school, then yes, it will be difficult to get in, and although it's not only prep school pupils who get in, this might give a serious advantage.

If I lived in an area with a lack of choice I'd probably seriously have a long term plan to move to a better area where your child can have a good education within the state system. At least you have time on your side.

thegreatescape Tue 14-Oct-08 18:08:58

thanks. i am considering the move route as well. I thought I would have a shifty though in case we stayed in the area and I had to start saving now! I went to independent school from 11-16 and survived but this was outside London and it seems to be a different ball game here.

Bride1 Tue 14-Oct-08 18:10:59

We moved from state to private in year six, when my son was rising 11. This worked well.

He will now have to take common entrance rather than the 11 plus-type exam.

The state primary prepared him well but if he had done the 11 plus, we'd have needed a tutor to get him used to the type of papers they set.

frogs Tue 14-Oct-08 18:18:40

There are great schools in North London!

Have you looked at the St Mary Magdalene Academy? And loads of Islingtonites commute out to QE boys, Latymer or Dame Alice Owens.

The private schools make out they're hugely competitive, but all parents make multiple applications. So if they tell you there are 500+ applications for 90 places, that doesn't mean there actually are, iyswim. Except for the selective state schools, where there really are 10 applicants for every place. FWIW my dd1 got into all the private schools we applied to from a very indifferent state primary in N1.

18 months is far too early to make decisions about secondary schooling. StMM is looking great, time will tell about the new City of London Academy (aka Islington Green). There are good secondaries going up in Hackney that parts of N1 will be in catchment for (Mossbourne, Petchey). Don't dismiss even the roughest schools without going to look far nearer the time.

Failing that you can do what everyone else does when their child is pushing 10 and move to Muswell Hill (Fortismere catchment). Or to Camden borders, where you'd be in catchment for Acland Burghley or William Ellis.

bundle Tue 14-Oct-08 18:20:55

frogs have you thought of writing a Guide To North London Schools book?

thegreatescape Tue 14-Oct-08 18:21:02

thanks frogs. will look into those.

bundle Tue 14-Oct-08 18:24:11

also thegreatescape, a neighbour of mine has just done the trawl around north London for their son (yr 6, quite sensitive, quirky little boy who has dyslexia) and after long thought they are going to put down Stoke Newington first, church schools later (ours is a catholic school) and were very unimpressed by the private schools they visited (lots of "average" ratings, v few excellents, reverse true of the state schools they visited)

bundle Tue 14-Oct-08 18:25:29

(meant to say Mary Mags is on their list too)

batters Tue 14-Oct-08 18:27:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frogs Tue 14-Oct-08 18:32:56

ARf at bundle.

You try having girl - boy - girl, with sufficiently large age gaps to ensure that none of them will actually overlap at 2ndary, so you have to go back to square one each time. Tis a bloody nightmare.

And then find that the secondary you were banking on for your ds (LOS of Tony Blair fame) was actually a hideous bootcamp to which you wouldn't entrust a hamster never mind your lovely little boy. All those years of cake baking and SVP meetings for naught...


bundle Tue 14-Oct-08 18:35:23


tis a challenge which you rose to beautifully

actually one of the mums at our school said the other day that her dh went to LOS and lived on a roughish council estate in he spent years asking all the other parents to drop him off at a row of posh looking houses! and he won't hear about their children (girl, boy) being sent somewhere like that...

frogs Tue 14-Oct-08 18:40:35

Well I've discovered (rather to my surprise) that I really dig AB, which is our local roughish comp. So am smile and no longer hmm about secondary schools, though dh is still to be convinced, rather put off by the no of kids hanging round the tube station at lunchtime smoking and swearing. But that is not representative at all, the school has a really positive funky vibe inside. And tis 5 mins from our door, hooray. smile

thegreatescape Tue 14-Oct-08 19:14:29

frogs - you should write the guide! What do you think about the primary schools round here? And what's with kids all starting school at 4? (only just 4 in some cases). It used to be 5 in my day (when we weren't up chimneys that is) wink

frogs Tue 14-Oct-08 19:16:37

Lots of good primary schools. But I'm so over primary schools now.


batters Wed 15-Oct-08 09:20:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundle Wed 15-Oct-08 10:39:27

lol frogs!

speaking of funky vibe, I always had in my mind's eye AB when I was reading Notes On A Scandal!

JJ Wed 15-Oct-08 10:54:26

<<wonders which school AB is>>

We're in South Hackney and my son's down for Anglo European, Mossbourne and Petchey but I've been told catchment areas for the last two are the size of a postage stamp and he probably won't get in. It's 50/50 on AE - depending on who else applies (we're American and have lived in Europe but don't have a 2nd language).

And agree with frogs - there are 500+ applications for 90 places in one school, but there are lots of places if you consider all the schools. My son has applied for 4 independent schools, too.

We'll see what happens in February / March!

(And very much agree you don't need to worry about it with an 18 month old!)

jujumaman Wed 15-Oct-08 13:12:00

Why not register him for a couple of private prep schools if they require early registration, then sit back and worry again when he is coming up to four about whether state or private is the right choice. At least that way you'll keep options open. Go and see the schools as late as possible when you'll have a much better idea of who your ds is.

That's what I did and am now grappling with the dilemma wholeheartedly as private offers are on the table with only a week to accept them in.

FWIW, having always been violently anti state education and having dismissed the local primary as a sink no hoper, that's the one I'll choose. It's turned around massively in two years since I moved here and I simply preferred the vibe to the private alternatives. If at any stage you're unhappy you can always transfer him to a private school, it's usually much easier to do this at odd times rather than at the main entry points of 4+, 7+, 11+ etc. Plus agree the x million applicants per place thing is not nearly as scary as it sounds, all children apply for three or sometimes four schools so it evens out. Hae never heard of a child wanting to go private not finding a place anywhere!

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