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Calling State school teachers with DC in private schools

(47 Posts)
zanzibarmum Wed 28-Oct-09 22:53:52

State school teachers with your own children in private schools -what is is about state schools that isn't right for your child (this is a question to those state teachers who have actively and positively chosen private schools for thie own children)

MavisEnderby Wed 28-Oct-09 22:59:39

Myself and db went to state primary and secondary.

youngest db (A lot younger) was educated primary in state,secondary in state abroad, and sixth form in private sector.

DF state head but had worked overseas for several years before db 2 private ed.

They looked at state sixth form back in uk and decided it would be best for db if he was edded in private sector for a level as he had been out of UK state sector and felt he would be better in private scetor and had more money.

is doing best of us in career terms!

My dcs in state sector.

Dunno if helps?

MavisEnderby Wed 28-Oct-09 23:13:09

Will qualify by saying elder db and I both educated in fairly nice suburban comp,and df worked in roughest,toughest city comps in large crime ridden city so saw the worst,until decamped overseas to pootle toward retirement in very nice overseas schools else I am sure he would have had a coronary.

islandofsodor Wed 28-Oct-09 23:14:01

Answering on behalf of dh here.

Partly the fact that the state schools in which he works are so obsessed with league tables that learning takes second place.

Creative subjects are being squeezed out of the curriculum and children have to forgo extra curricular activities in favour of extra numeracy sessions or twilight revision sessions.

Also discipline is a big issue.

fivecandles Wed 28-Oct-09 23:28:04

That's me. Tricky because while I can travel to work outside of the LEA where I live the kids don't qualify to go to school in schools outside their LEA with popular catchment areas. So, I wouldn't have ruled out every state school just our local ones and we couldn't/wouldn't move. Also, we're not religious so that meant we were excluded from any vaguely decent school around here. Having said all that I wouldn't teach in an average state school now either. I work post 16. Couldn't cope with the stress, behaviour and didn't feel I was doing my best my every kid in my 30 strong classes consdiering I had potential A* kids together with kids who literally couldn't write their own name. Some people are hardy enough to teach and study in difficult schools. My kids and I are not. Which is not to say that I think we're special in any way. Now that I have experience of private school via my kids I feel angry and increasingly sad at the opportunities which my kids have that kids at state schools typically don't and should.

zanzibarmum Thu 29-Oct-09 00:03:09

Fivecandles - thank you. What opportunities were your DC getting that your former state school pupils were not?

MavisEnderby Thu 29-Oct-09 00:33:00

Zanzibar mum though you have ignored my post totally,I will say that from speaking with db the opportunities he has experienced from private ed are contacts.


I am obv too lowbrow and chav for you to acknowledge,but was just trying to help.Saddo state ed bod that I am!

I would hope I am helpful,though,even if I am a state sector nonentity.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Thu 29-Oct-09 00:37:31

You seem to be on a bit of a crusade, Zanzibarmum. What is your problem with state education, exactly?

CatherineofMumbles Thu 29-Oct-09 07:45:51

An article on this here

dilemma456 Thu 29-Oct-09 08:39:59

Message withdrawn

Litchick Thu 29-Oct-09 08:41:03

OP - I'm always very curious about this too.

My DC attend independent school and one of the Mums is a teacher at one of the most sought after state secondary schools in the country. I asked why her DC don't go there given it has an excellent reputation and is very close.

She gave a number of reasons. First being overcrowding. Its success is its major problem in that it is mahoosively oversubscribed and there are lots of appeals so classes are strecthed to capacity or more.
She felt the sheer volume impacted on how well the school could know its children and that the resourses were overstretched.

The other reasons were more personal. She felt the Head rested on his laurels and was far too eager for publicity. She also felt the sport was rubbish.

That said, she did concede that it is a very good school. But I guess once you have money, you can afford to be very picky indeed.


scaryteacher Thu 29-Oct-09 11:51:05

I taught in the state sector and ds went to prep.

We did this because it dealt with all the childcare issues, as dh was overseas and my mum initially lived three hours away. I could drop him off at 0750 on my way to work and he got breakfast, lunch and supper there. I picked him up at 1900 after all the homework was done, so it fitted in with my working day.

He had a broader education without SATS and could explore subjects which interested him. There were playing fields and games every afternoon. There were smaller class sizes; he was challenged academically and was not bored. He was being taught things in year 5 that I was teaching year 8.

The discipline was first rate and the expectations were high. He was stimulated, involved and happy. I moved him as we were moving abroad to join dh, but at times I think I should have persuaded him to board as the education and ethos were so good.

BrigitBigKnickers Thu 29-Oct-09 12:51:06

-Small classes
-Streaming by ability for core subjects
-More personal attention
-Bullying stamped on
-Wider creative curriculum
-Not obsessed with league tables
-Excellent special needs provision
-More of a family feel
-Much much smaller school (state- 30 in a class and 10 forms in a year. Private - 2 forms, 14 in each form, split into three sets for core subjects)
-92% A*-Cs despite having the same percentage of special needs as the local "High achieving" 68% high school.

zanzibarmum Thu 29-Oct-09 16:21:36

Mavisenderby - why is asking such a question indicative of a crusade against state education?

From the helpful and honest replies from state school teachers with dC in private schools it seems to me what they are seeking for their children are things that most of us want for our kids in state schools.

Too many MN threads degenerate into a slanging match where people choose to deliberatley misrepresent what others are saying or assume that OPs can't hold two views on an issue at the same time viz: that PTAs in state and private schools do a good job but that they sometimes waste a lot of money on projects.

fivecandles Thu 29-Oct-09 19:01:08

Zanzi, the opportunites (not available in all private schools and not unavailable in all state) in no particular order.

1.) Small class sizes. 14 in dd1's and 20 in dd2's

2.) The school goes from 3-18 in a diamond structure with co-ed kindergarten and 6th form and single sex prep and secondary. This means it is a real community. The school really knows the kids. There is a huge amount of communication between the schools so the teachers know exactly what they're getting at transition stages. Having girls I like single-sex (girls thrive academicalyl in single sex where boys do not always) but I also like that the boys are next door and there are lots of co-ed activities e.g. school plays etc so the opposite sex is not considered alien. This means the school can share facilities e.g. swimming pool and library and teaching expertise across the whole school.

3.) Specialist teachers and teaching all the way though the school so the kids have a proper music teacher and proepr language teachers etc from age 4 not just someone who once did French for A Level but actually has a degree in History sort of thing.
Kids have weekly swimming lessons, music, French etc and perhaps this is where there is a more marked differnce than in the average state school.

4.) By definitition all of the parents value education (enough to pay for it or go through the bursary process) which means by and large the kids do too and standards are high. For example, homework is set regularly and it's done by every child. Lots of state schools can't set homework because it won't be done or it benefits the kids from more privilegeed backgrounds and is another stick with which to beat those whose family lives are difficult for one reason or another.

5.) Related to some of the others, a culture which values learning and achievement and respect for others' talents.

6.) Great extra-curricular activiites many in lunchtime so kids get opprotunites to try new things which we wouldn't have time for/energy for in addition to our normal week (whcih does involve 1 extra curricular activity for each hcild).

7.) Great wrap around care: befoer school club, after school club and holiday club run by the same staff so there's continuity, trust, familiarity etc.

8.) I really feel the teachers know my kids and their strenghts and weaknesses. I'm a teacher and hands on parent but the teachers sense when my kids are struggling or ready for the next challenge at about the same time as I do and act on it.

9.) The teachers are not worn down with discipline and workload (because of class sizes etc) so often go the extra mile. DD1's teacher has done some fantastic things with the class in the way of trips and evening activiites etc but really iamginative cross-curricular activiites too.

I could go on.

As I say some of this does go on in state schools but it's not consistent from school to school or year to year.

I also want to repeat that I think all of the above should be available to every child. My kids are not special (except to me) or more deserving just lucky.

fivecandles Thu 29-Oct-09 19:03:54

Also, it's not religous which matters to me. And very multi-cultural which also matters. Unlike all of the state schools where I live which are highyl segregated along religious and ethnic lines.

messalina Thu 29-Oct-09 19:33:33

I'm an independent school teacher and I would like to send my DD to the state sector as I believe it will be better for her. She is very young still so prepared to eat my words, but this is what I would dearly like to do, at least for primary school, and ideally till 18. So works both ways.

zanzibarmum Thu 29-Oct-09 20:45:08

Fivecandles - I particularly like your point 8: that teachers pick up on when and how to stretch the child pretty much the same time as you sense that this is required.Ultimately this comes down to the teacher's professionalism and the incentive so to perform.

More generally, in my day teachers did a lot of out of schools activity (not least sport at the weekend) but in many though clearly not all state schools teachers seem not to be required to do this, or do not come forward to lead in this extra-curricular roles. Why not?

(I am not suggesting teaching a mixed ability class is the same as teaching in a school which cream-skims the most motivated and easy to serve pupils - notice I don't say the brightest, necessarily - kids. But I am suggesting that teachers and GBs in state schools are not wholly defined by their intakes.)

fivecandles Thu 29-Oct-09 21:21:56

Hmm.. I don't think private schools are able to offer more because they are better but because they are able to.

The pressures on private school teachers are different. They get more holiday and less discipline issues and smaller class sizes but the payback is often more extra curricular stuff including weekends and evenings sometimes (especially PE!).

State school teachers often have to spend their 'spare' time catching up with the basics (marking, preparing differentiated resources, detentions and otehr sorts of discipline, offering support, dealing with pastoral issues...) whereas teachers in state schools don't always have these issues and then, as I said, there's often more of a sense of community and competition and an easier relationship between teachers and students.

fivecandles Thu 29-Oct-09 21:27:54

The extra curricular stuff was not a primary motivation for me but I really appreciate it now. But I am amazed at things like the way every child in my dds' school is taught to swim properly in weekly PE lessons and pretty much every child is swimming unaided by the end of Reception and swimming competitively the following year and the way they teach kids to read with expression during normal English lessons. There is a huge difference in these sorts of skills between private and state educated kids on average in my area where there may not be so much difference in maths for example.

fivecandles Thu 29-Oct-09 21:32:22

Sorry, particularly interested in the swimming thing because of the thread on this going on at same time. That really shows the inconsistencies e.g. the poster who says her school only takes the non-swimmers in Year 4. I get why they would do this but what a huge, huge shame for those kids who won't improve/ be pushed/ be identified as talented in this area because they can already swim!!

fivecandles Thu 29-Oct-09 21:33:55

And that's an issue in state schools generally - that resources necessarily have to be targeted at students in real need - but that means (except for the very patchy gifted and talented provision) that kids who are doing well or doing ok can be neglected. Especially if they keep their heads down and are quiet too.

Heated Thu 29-Oct-09 21:53:54

If we went private it will be
- for the smaller class sizes and individualised attention
- less class disruption
- stretching
- extra curricular
- being with other like-minded children

If it's not an incompatible stance, I'm pro private ed and pro state ed, having been educated in both myself, but unfortunately in the region we now live the private ed option is poor.

Knowing how impressive some independents can be, we refuse to spend money on what is inferior provision. The small class sizes at reception and the larger sizes in yr 5 & 6 suggested parents weren't opting for private ed from the outset as a positive choice, but because things had gone wrong at state primary and it was the default option.

Ds is being stretched at his state primary, he works in a group of 5 or 6 pupils for English with a teacher; according to his ability. Next yr that will also apply for some of his maths.

If we thought he was unhappy, wasn't learning or if/when we move, we will again look at private ed.

scaryteacher Fri 30-Oct-09 13:23:59

'State school teachers often have to spend their 'spare' time catching up with the basics (marking, preparing differentiated resources, detentions and otehr sorts of discipline, offering support, dealing with pastoral issues...)'

I did that and taught after school 4 nights a week for a G&T club, year 11 GCSE revision from the October half term, and GCSE full course RE two nights a week, in the state sector.

Most state school teachers are required to do an after school activity or asked what they propose to do at interview.

fivecandles Fri 30-Oct-09 14:25:11

I think your list is unusual scary. I think teachers in state schools do an incredible amount of extra stuff but an awful lot of it is targeted at those who are struggling or G&T and provision there is very patchy or very exam focused e.g. C/D borderline revision sessions etc. I'm not sure how much genuine extra-curricular activities at secondary level and I think it comes and goes. So you might have a really good gymnastics group (teacher leaves or is too busy or wahtever) for a term and then it disappears and there's no progression. I know there are exceptions but I really like the fact for example that my kids do speech and drama once a week at lunchtime and this goes all the way through the school, is taught by the same private teacher, is examined by LAMDA etc.

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