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State or private school for g&t?

(29 Posts)
ExpatMum28 Tue 19-Nov-13 02:16:35

Hi ladies, I currently live overseas in Asia. Im a SAHM of two lovely boys, the eldest, 5, has been assessed as g&t. His current school is very good, they have considered his report well and have very open dialogue with us to ensure he doesn't get bored. He was born oct 08 but his current school intake is jan-dec 2008 so he is one of the youngest which benefits him as he avoids being moved up a year too early.
We are planning our return to the UK next year and I wondered how state schools are set up for g&t, or if private school would be a better option. Class size is my biggest single concern really, he is like most g&t kids a bit left of centre and I don't want to lose his personality in a large class.
How do schools in the UK g&t, here it has to kept quiet until they are in school as they are seen as extra work/ expense.

Thank you for your advice

Blueberrypots Fri 22-Nov-13 09:09:54

madwoman I totally agree with everything you say.

Unfortunately my experience of primary state schools hasn't been great with regards to differentiation for the top groups. However I also agree that not ALL private schools are either, and some state schools might be excellent at it, but you need to look VERY carefully. We moved DD1 in Y4 but we did look at a number of schools, state and private and there was only one we felt that fit the bill. (Academically selective - private)

I would say the class as a whole is working about 2 years ahead of national average (so L4/5 beg of Y4) with some children receiving support at the lower end and some receiving extension. But the great thing is that they do so much more with them, in terms of breadth and DD1 absolutely loves it there and is thriving. I wish we'd moved her sooner.

saragossa2010 Fri 22-Nov-13 07:37:33

On teaching to the test...yes, but the private schools like that I recommended above do not have to teach to the national curriculum which is another advantage if you can afford to pay fees and if you can get into one of the better ones.

curlew Fri 22-Nov-13 07:26:02

So you think that without formal testing, nobody notices that children are different from each other nod have different needs?

madwomanintheatt1c Fri 22-Nov-13 01:23:41

Nooooooooo. Being held back from meeting their potential, because of the sausage factory education system that doesn't allow for individual potential. Testing is irrelevant, but the benchmark is very low, and a lot of kids are capable of much more than they are allowing for in KS1/2. The NC levels are taught to, disregarding whether children are capable of more on entry/ at each stage, and despite the 'value-added' claims. It's easy to claim value added when you have lowered the starting benchmark...

I'm no fan of testing. But I'm a fan of kids being allowed to meet their potential. And maybe receiving some education along the way grin. For lots of kids school is consolidation, not learning. Which is lovely, but I'd like some learning alongside the consolidation. Testing is inconsequential.

BatterseaGirl Thu 21-Nov-13 14:55:03

G&T is such a broad statement. Is it in literacy or numeracy or sports or art or any number of things. In my children's school they don't refer to any children as G&T (except for sports where they get invited to join extra curricular training but I don't see it as G&T just that they are above average and they need a certain number of children for teams!). For literacy and numeracy they have what they call extension groups where a separate teacher takes them out of the class (or within the class) but they don't make a big thing of it. They equally have children the other end of the spectrum who have what they call support groups. Just because you're in numeracy extension doesn't mean you're in literacy extension. No idea what goes on in other schools and I imagine it's different in every one. So, ask the school. Also what one school might call G&T may be very different to another school. We've had some very surprised parents who came from other schools with their G&T children who turned out not to be quite so G&T as they thought! Btw mine are at a state school.

saragossa2010 Thu 21-Nov-13 14:42:34

If you are near St Albans try Haberdashers - selective primary one of the best in the country in terms of academic standards. Good IF they can pass the exam. Lots of Asian children. Sample entrance papers on their website.

Worried above is right.
Most parents don't pay fees but the 7% at private schools particularly the most academic ones like I mention do extremely well at primary level.

curlew Thu 21-Nov-13 09:40:57

Why are they being held back just because they haven't been formally tested?

madwomanintheatt1c Thu 21-Nov-13 00:44:13

(Which means a whole heap of kids are being held back from achieving their potential)

madwomanintheatt1c Thu 21-Nov-13 00:43:45

worried - yeah - but tbh ratio only comes up if you are a psych testing a kid, not as a parent going about their ordinary day to day business.

Some kids just pick up that understanding by osmosis. We certainly didn't grill them about any aspect of their mathematical understanding. I was rather too worried about the disabled baby to be wondering whether the 3yo could do tower addition or multiplication.

It was something of an eye opener to actually listen to what they DID know during testing. I was gobsmacked. And I rather suspect lots of other kids are the same, just not tested. Mine aren't anything special.

Theas18 Wed 20-Nov-13 21:06:04


Worriedandlost Wed 20-Nov-13 21:04:04

ExpatMum28, another option - go to private or state primary and they try to get place at grammar school. In this case make sure that you are moving to county with a lot of grammars. Kent is the one for example.

Worriedandlost Wed 20-Nov-13 21:00:13

meditrina - my friends compared their schools, private and state, yes, private are ahead by about 2 years. Saying that I am talking about selective private schools and not those where you just pay some money and they take any child.

Worriedandlost Wed 20-Nov-13 20:57:43

curlew - because both mums said their children were 5 and were ahead by 5-7 years, or at level of 10-11 yo. And fractions, etc are learnt at KS2, are they not? If they are so ahead surely they should know fractions?

DalmationDots Wed 20-Nov-13 15:21:18

It really depends on a lot of things. Each and every school (state or private) will cater differently and it really depends on the individual school whether the way they cater for G&T (or exceptionally able as it is now called). Also, depending on the school your sons may or may not could as G&T as a lot of schools do it relative to the rest of the class.
My DCs schools didn't have 'G&T' because they were highly selective and all the children were performing far above what is expected. My DC were middle of their year groups, but in any other school would have probably been labelled G&T.
It also depends what your views are. Do you want your sons to be pushed on? Do you want them to be among other 'G&T' children or to be the 'best' in their class? You need to find a school which caters in the way you want.
All state schools differentiate in the UK, the work given to a child has to be suited to their ability and they all have to be challenged.
Once you know where you will be living, look at all local options and see where feels right.

BeckAndCall Wed 20-Nov-13 09:35:08

Private schools vary - you can't say they're all 2 years ahead.

But for those that say they are, they can measure it using the standard tests and more.

But be careful of assuming that all private schools are academically more advanced - it depends what they are trying to be.

ExpatMum28 Wed 20-Nov-13 09:30:59

Thank you for all your replies! We will be concentrating our search around Herts/ W. Essex.
So St. Albans is a big maybe, I have a friend there who tells me the local schools are all excellent, and there is a high number of young families too. Epping is another option, we used to love there, as is Bishops Stortford and the surrounding area. I guess it is personal preference I just wondered, having been away for 3+yrs and not having experience yet of the UK system (other than my own education) if there was a general trend, I think we have a big task ahead of us like most parents in finding a good town, then school, then a school place! Wish me luck!

kilmuir Wed 20-Nov-13 07:07:35

So you are saying no average or thick children go to private school? Haha, nearly dropped my coffee

meditrina Wed 20-Nov-13 06:59:48

They might "say" that private schools are 2 years ahead, but that's marketing, not absolute truth.

OP: you need consider and look at schools from both sectors to see which particular school you might want your DC to go to. Do you know where you will be living?

curlew Wed 20-Nov-13 06:40:30

"ExpatMum28, madwomanintheatt1c -wow! Do your children do fractions and percenatges and ratio at 5 ??? I am impressed!"

Why would you? Except in the context of dividing up cake, or folding paper to make a birthday card or dividing the class into teams......Oh look- all 5 year olds do fractions and ratios!!!!

madwomanintheatt1c Wed 20-Nov-13 01:34:31

Only two of them. The other one used to write prayers on the back of her times table tests ;-) good c of e school!

To be fair, I have no idea whether they understood ratio at 5 as it didn't occur to me to ask. Ds1 just seemed to think in numbers. Bit weird. At three he would come out with random fun facts about multiplication and stuff, and he could do shopping addition in his head and work out change. He started nursery early on his third birthday ( a term early as his bday was the first day of term lol) due to family circs, and they asked the lea for help (we just sent him early as we had other things to worry about - high needs baby with birth injury requiring large amounts of medical attention) and they freaked out. The lea refused any support, and he's been roundly ignored since. (Not entirely - just before his tenth bday they diagnosed him with attention deficit disorder - although his psych did say that there's a chance he's distracted because he's bored lol).

If I could afford it, I'd go for an academically selective private, but I'd want one that was holistically aware.

Worriedandlost Wed 20-Nov-13 00:09:11

ExpatMum28, madwomanintheatt1c -wow! Do your children do fractions and percenatges and ratio at 5 ??? I am impressed!

ExpatMum28, they say, rightly or not, that public schools are about two years ahead of state schools. Only 7% of children go to private schools but intake of private students into top universities is somewhat 40-60%.

The benefit of a selective private school is that your child will be surrounded by more or less equally bright children. If a child does not have any problems (eq. to SEN), I believe private school will be more stimulating.

clairew74 Tue 19-Nov-13 12:25:09

I have had a very good experience so far in a state school, Even with a class of 27. It would definitely depend on the school, i would not personally consider any of the private schools in our area, although they may offer smaller class sizes, there seems to be a very formal one size fits all approach with no differentiation at either end of the ability range.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 19-Nov-13 09:02:31

It will depend where in the UK you end up and then evaluate the schools available to you. There is no one simple answer to your question. Do you know what area you are returning to?

curlew Tue 19-Nov-13 08:26:20

Depends on the school, rather than the sector. Do you know where you are going to settle?

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Tue 19-Nov-13 08:23:23

You'd probably be better off going the private school route, as the class sizes are smaller.

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