Dilemma between state and private primary schools in Reigate

(13 Posts)
newtoreigate Sat 21-Jun-14 16:45:39

As non-British I'm trying to get my head around the local schooling system and having difficulty to justify paying £1000s a year for private schools when there are perfectly good (Ofsted rated outstanding) state schools in Reigate.
So I'm looking for views on Reigate state vs. private schools/schooling to help me to make my mind up and potentially change hubby's mind too (he's set his mind on a private school hence DDs are on waiting list for both St Mary's and Micklefield).

NikkiSurrey Mon 23-Jun-14 12:48:14

Newto - you will get lots of conflicting views on here - lots of people very loyal to their individual schools - both state & independent.

Yes, (some) local schools are outstanding, but also very difficult to get into. Many people who go independent do so for:
- smaller class sizes
- more competitive sport
- wide range of extra curricular
- nuturing/pastoral care
- because they didn't get the school they wanted

Many kids go from state junior (especially the Priory) into RGS/ Dunottar and also Caterham and further afield, and they all integrate well after a year or so. Often a fair bit of tutoring goes on to prepare them for the entrance exams.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss in more detail.

Upallnight3 Mon 23-Jun-14 22:21:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

newtoreigate Tue 24-Jun-14 06:58:42

I really appreciate your comments NikkiSurrey & Upallnight3. The more people I'm talking to the more I seem to be leaning towards private school but I still baulk at the cost...
I gather we have a pretty good chance of getting into the Parish infant school due to proximity although not sure about the church linkage... 'Luckily' we don't have to make a decision until after Easter next year (when the state school allocations should be out) as the private schools can't offer places for the waiting listed until then.

Additional question though - Nikki mentioned that people move from state junior to private secondary. Do you have any views on going the other way around i.e. going private for primary but then state for secondary school? thanks

Upallnight3 Tue 24-Jun-14 15:05:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

newtoreigate Tue 24-Jun-14 16:49:16

Oh dear, according to SCC website we are 418m from the parish school so it'll be borderline whether dd will get in. Thanks for the tip though.

Guess we have to wait for any PAN increase decisions and keep fingers crossed. At this stage I'm thinking of just having all bases covered and hope for the best (= a place in decent school whether it's state or private).

Upallnight3 Tue 24-Jun-14 18:35:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tissuemapissue Sat 28-Jun-14 09:01:25

NikkiSurrey works for RGS so she has a vested interest in promoting the independent sector. There are several outstanding state primary schools in the Reigate area. Personally, I don't think there's any point in wasting money on an outstanding private education when you can get one for free. I would apply for a state school and then keep a private school as a back up.

NikkiSurrey Sun 29-Jun-14 23:24:55

Tissuemapissue - I'm afraid you're completely wrong. I don't work for RGS, nor have I ever done. Why can people not understand that when you feel very passionate and happy about a school that you might want to share that? Just because I'm a big supporter of the school doesn't mean I have to be an employee!

As I said in my very first post the OP will get lots of conflicting views on here - lots of people very loyal to their individual schools - both state & independent. We've had experience of both within our own wider family over many years in Reigate, and assuming I could afford it, I would choose independent secondary over state every time.

The OP asked a reasonable question, so please don't turn it into the boring old general state vs private debate. Why not share what you think are the strengths of whichever schools you have personal experience of?

upandover Thu 03-Jul-14 20:09:03

newtoreigate- you would not be alone in putting your child's name down for a private school in case you don't get the state school you may like. I know many people this year who did this for Reigate St. Mary's- to the extent that we were 22nd on the waiting list for RMS's reception, and got a call 2 days after the state school allocation- and were offered a place. We refused as had been allocated an infant school that we were happy with.

This is common practice in Reigate!

We have put my DS down for year 3 entry into both Reigate St. Mary's and to Micklefield (at an outlay of approx. £50 each). This could be an option for you. Bear in mind that reception is mainly 'play based' wherever they are being taught. Unfortunately in my mind I couldn't justify the 9k plus (that is a guesstimate- cannot remember the exact figure) for play based learning. Having said that, if he does not enjoy the infant school he has been allocated, then I will move him in a heartbeat!

I am keeping a generally open mind at this stage.

Anyone who says that their/any children have 'ended up' at Dover's Green is not doing that school justice. It is an Ofsted 'outstanding' school. There are no poor schools in Reigate, just a whole heap of good and outstanding ones- we are really very privileged to live here with the schools that we have. I think 'ending up' in Epsom is a real concern, but that is more to do with the travel distances than the quality of the schools.

newtoreigate Thu 03-Jul-14 21:28:58

thank you NikkiSurrey and upandover for your responses.

Upandover - it's so reassuring to hear we are not only ones hedging our bets and that it's 'ok' to refuse the offered place in an independent school without burning all bridges with that particular school.

I'm attending the open days in all three state infant schools (Parish, Holmesdale and Dovers Green) and will more than likely to include all of them in the Surrey school applications this autumn.

Another question on Surrey school applications - I know I have to list the schools in preference order but does that actually matter when it comes to the place allocations? I.e. if I say my #1 choice is A but I'm actually closer to B which school is more likely to allocate a place for dd?

upandover Thu 03-Jul-14 21:37:47

Put the school that you want the most first, followed by others in the order of preference.

Each school will go through the allocation criteria- shown on Surrey CC's website. This is generally:
- Children Looked After by the state
- Siblings
- (If relevant those who attend the church)
- Children for whom the school is their closest
- All other children (allocated then on distance from the school).

Let's say you like school A. the best, then they will allocate in that order. Fingers crossed you get in on 'all other children'.

However, let's say you don't, you will then be put forward for school b. You will have the same weighting for school b- so they will then put you into the mix for that school on 'children for whom the school is their closest', and you are more likely to get into that one as your second choice!

Does that make sense? You will not be disadvantaged for getting into a school just because you didn't put as your first choice.

newtoreigate Sat 05-Jul-14 05:28:05

thank you for the clarification upandover. It's all now a bit clearer to me.
Guess all I can do now is just attend the open days, submit the Surrey schools application in the autumn and then see what we get come Easter next year.

Thanks to you all, much appreciated.

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