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Shall I move DD from state to prep?

(12 Posts)
Milvesrus Thu 15-Nov-12 16:24:09

DD is in year 2. I've visited a prep school today. I really want her to go 1. where she's happiest and 2. somewhere that will serve her well academically/socially.
reasons to stay - it's free, it's not for the elite and has a true mix of children, dd is shy and has built up a friendship group that she'd like to keep, she is not de-motivated and allowed to work at her level, not too much homework so time for lots of after school activities, school does discos and fun things
reasons for Prep - much more academically rigorous, not mixed year groups, not noisy and open plan, excellent behaviour, will target her individual needs, will prepare her for entrance exams, lovely school and I like the mums I know there, I don't know but she could love it there?!

Would love to know about peoples' experience of this change. Was it worth it? Do you regret it? Thanks

Frontpaw Thu 15-Nov-12 16:30:41

What's the travel like?
Do you now anyone at the prep school?
Look at the costs - and factor in extras, uniform, travel, sports/music equipment, trips... And a bit extra. Can you afford it and have a couple of terms fees put aside for a 'rainy day'? If you are private junior, chances she will progress to private secondary, and that's loads more £££££!
Are you planning to move house at any stage? How will that affect the schooling?
Are there spaces for 2013?

usualsuspect3 Thu 15-Nov-12 16:32:28

Why move her if she's happy and doing well where she is?

Milvesrus Thu 15-Nov-12 16:36:04

Hi Frontpaw. We can afford it as we have only one child. Having said that, I'm aware that there is such a financial commitment that goes beyond fees.

Usual suspect = yes she's happy, but I wonder if she might be happier or just as happy at the Prep school. She's working at her level but she's not being stretched.

Frontpaw Thu 15-Nov-12 16:38:15

Any more children in the pipeline though? Ooh I am nosey!
Get a Big piece of paper with pros and cons and just write them down. Ome times is just easier to see things in black and white.

What does your DP think?

Frontpaw Thu 15-Nov-12 16:38:52

And don't assume prep=challenged child!

rabbitstew Thu 15-Nov-12 17:20:24

What secondary level school do you want to get her into? Is your actual concern that you aren't sure she'll get into it at age 11 without intensive preparation for entrance exams????? Because if not, I'm not sure why you'd want to move her from a school where she is happy?

dogsbreath Thu 15-Nov-12 17:27:25

Hi, we moved our ds from an outstanding state primary to a selective prep. My son was doing well at primary but was bored - he often didn't want to go to school. Also in his year group there were very few boys. The transformation in my son is wonderful. He is now excited and often up and dressed well before he needs to go to school. He talks very animatedly about school. He is being challenged on many fronts, not just academically and there are 45 boys in his year. He loves it and for us it is lovely to see him enjoying himself.

NoWayNoHow Thu 15-Nov-12 17:39:35

Watching this thread with interest, OP, as we're in the same situation - DS in reception in outstanding infant, but junior not very good, and secondaries very hit and miss. Have one of the best independent secondaries in country on our doorstep, and feeder prep is very good too. Also have grammars around, so half think that prep might give him enough to get into one if those.

Flip side is cost (we could manage, but would be stretched - wouldn't be anywhere near same financial league as other families there), and the fact that I went to private school on scholarship so know what it feels like to be the "poor relation" amongst wealthy classmates. Although, I am SO grateful for the education I had - I was really stretched.

SilasGreenback Thu 15-Nov-12 18:30:53

We recently moved ds from an outstanding primary to a prep. Part of the reason was a house move (he wouldn't have come to the prep if we hadn't moved nearer, but we didn't have to move, however if you include the plus side of the new school it made more sense to move)

Anyway with the prep I can definately see where the money is being spent. Little things like the school gates being locked in the day and needing to use an intercom - I know his primary would have liked to do this but only had 15 hours caretaker a week and couldn't have afford the intercom.

Also subjects like sport, art, music, drama and French are taught by subject specialist with wonderful facilities, which his primary could not afford.

I don't think the teaching in the core subjects is any better than in his state school, but if you think in his class he had five ability tables and the children on the bottom 2 or 3 tables would not have passed the entrance test, so the pace of the class suits him better and expectations are higher - his handwriting is being flaged as something to work on.

There is more choice of extra curricula activities (most included in the fees) and better wrap around care. More families are both patents working than at his primary.

Overall for us it has been the right choice. I'm pretty certain he would have done fine in his primary and got into a selective independent at secondary - older siblings managed this fine from the primary but for us we can see lots of benefits from the school move.

diabolo Thu 15-Nov-12 18:54:05

I can only speak from my experience:

DS was at an "outstanding" state primary, very well regarded but it didn't feel right to us and he wasn't thriving, just coasting along. He was/is bright, but as long as he was at the expected levels that was fine with them. They also had a ban on any kind of competitiveness, so no traditional sports, no spellings tests etc. I felt it was all rather drippy and molly-coddled the children to a certain extent.

We moved him to a Prep we had long had our eye on at the start of Year 3 and he has loved it (year 8 now), he is captain of several subjects and his House, plays sport for our County and is a prospective academic scholarship entrant to his next school (exams fast approaching).

There is nothing to say that with out of school encouragement from us that he wouldn't be following the same path had he stayed where he was, but having this all come from the school / being led by the school and it's ethos, has been great for us.

Not all Prep schools are great, as you will endlessly be told on here. Do some research, make sure it's not in any financial difficulty and is well regarded (sends children on to good schools, either state or private). Trust your instincts.


Milvesrus Thu 15-Nov-12 19:14:58

Thanks all. The prep I've visited seems very academic but also very friendly. DD would definitely be stretched -wouldn't like her to be stretched till she breaks tho.' She's bright but I'd hate her to go there and feel out of her depth. They are offering a half day or full day taster so will do that. If she likes it, that'll ehlp me make my mind up.

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