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In need of help and reassurance about choice of primary school

(10 Posts)
genuinelytorn Fri 17-Jun-11 14:33:15

DD has been going to the nursery class of a lovely nurturing indep school since 3. At that stage I just needed a nursery, not really thinking about schools that much. She is now happy there, well settled, socialising confidently, learning stuff. All her friends are moving up to Reception in September and until very recently she has been assuming she will too.

However we now have a space at our local state school (Ofsted "Good", SATS in line with national average) which both DH and I visited and, in the main, liked. We have (almost) decided we will give it a go but somehow we both feel a bit torn.

Arguments for current school: we know it, she's happy there, will have a pretty smooth transition come September, some lovely nurturing teachers etc. But - teaching seems stronger at KS1 than KS2, it is a fair way away (was close by when she started, have since moved house), and of course we'd have to pay full fees come Sept (nursery not too bad thanks to Govnt grant).

Arguments for local school: 5min walk, seemed like a sensible down to earth place with good teachers, would hopefully get to make new friends in neighbourhood; and it's free. Niggles - SATs (insofar as they matter) fairly average and we worry about her chances down the road of getting into a competitive private secondary or grammar (don't know whether that is what we and she will want at that point, but would like to have that option iyswim) Hardly anyone from this school goes down this route at secondary so I wonder if that is telling us something? (As an aside most kids at her current school seem to end up at some kind of high league table secondary even though it's definitely not an academic hothouse)

I should add both me and DH came to this country as adults so have no relevant personal experiece to involve here.


NB Sanssucre I read your thread with interest as I could have written your OP.

Runoutofideas Fri 17-Jun-11 15:00:12

I would think of it in terms of which school would you choose if there were both free. If the answer is her current school then the main issue seems to be the fees. If the fees can be met comfortably then I would keep her where she is. If you would have to make sacrifices then maybe go for the other school. You could put her in the state school for a few years, then move to the independent in junior school prior to senior school entry. Then you will have a clearer picture of the sort of school which may suit her at secondary level anyway, and whether moving her then is likely to make any difference to her options.

xiaojooi Fri 17-Jun-11 15:33:54

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

genuinelytorn Fri 17-Jun-11 15:35:17

We would probably choose the local school even taking fees out of the equation altogether. Would love for her to be able to walk to school easily, school run been such a pain since we moved. We can continue to pay the fees atm but it is a big commitment to undertake for the next 14 yrs or so, and it may be money better spent later on. But I still have a niggly thought in my mind that we may be able to afford private secondary yet she may not get a place due to choices we make now...

Runoutofideas Fri 17-Jun-11 16:05:52

But they are choices you can change in a couple of years time if you feel the need. From what you are saying, I would go for the local school and see how it goes.

southofthethames Sat 18-Jun-11 06:42:06

Which school do you think has the better teaching/class set-up/atmosphere at year 5-6 (when you are concerned about her getting into a good secondary school)?

FingandJeffing Sat 18-Jun-11 07:15:35

There are many advantages to a local school. One of which is that you will get to know more people in your area. I suspect that not many kids go private from the primary is cost and maybe the secondary options are good. I don't think its necessarily a reflection on the school, nationally only 7 % of children are privately educated and this varies by location and by age group (lower numbers in reception).

There is no reason you can't change later and plenty of kids go private after state primary, private preps won't tell you this because they would like your business.

mummytime Sat 18-Jun-11 08:12:21

For a good selective priavate secondary there is no guarantee if you choose it from 4, she would still be there at 11 (either the junior school has a selective test for its own pupils or they are "encouraged" to leave if not academic enough).
I would go local, you can change back to private if things don't work out. All schools have movement between 4-11 and beyond.

BranchingOut Sat 18-Jun-11 08:32:29

Have a look at the Level 5 results of the state school you are considering, as that will indicate the number of children getting to the higher levels of attainment.

Nationally the average is around 30% of pupils getting a Level 5 in Maths and English. Looking at the top of the table, my local 'very desirable', impossible-to-get-into school gets around 60% and has a good track record in pupils getting in to very competitive London day schools. Other well-regarded schools in the area get between 30 and 45% of level 5s.

Remember, you can always move back over at a later date or supplement with tuition.

genuinelytorn Sat 18-Jun-11 14:24:17

Wow, thanks all, lots of food for thought.
BranchingOut, local school only has teens-low 20's percentage at Level 5, hence our unease over our chances to get into selective secondaries from here. The current prep does not push the kids academically until Y6 really, but at that stage it is perhaps more sympathetic towards aspirations for a private selective secondary than our local school is.Our local state secondaries are on an improving trend but still low % of 5 good GSCE's let alone A levels.

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