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Has anyone done state till eight?

(140 Posts)
lifesobeautiful Tue 10-Sep-13 20:27:46

My DH and I are currently trying to decide what schooling route to take - state or private. I wondered if anyone had tried the state till eight thing - and if so how did it go? I also wondered if I could hear from anyone who was privately educated, but decided to send their kids to state schools - and how they found that.

I seem to be going round and round in circles! One minute thinking we should try the little local state school, then thinking no because of no playing fields etc (we're in central london). Then thinking yes, because we'll have more money for holidays and he'll meet a more diverse social crowd...then changing my mind..AARRRGH.

Any experiences/thoughts would be gratefully received.

EldonAve Tue 10-Sep-13 21:48:07

I am considering it although entry to private at 8 means tutoring/prep for tests

noddyholder Tue 10-Sep-13 21:48:15

They will be happy and have a good life if you do smile. There is no magic glow it is just something those with low self worth see reflected back at them.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 21:49:13

I know I put words into your mouth louby it was just your "I can't quite believe what I've just read!.....I am amazed and shocked, I can't even put it into words....?" Sounded quite outraged!!

Anyway, than you for explaining.

OddSins Tue 10-Sep-13 21:49:58

In central london, your options are quite limited at secondary level in the state sector. And it is this you have to plan for.

I would not be influenced by the political judgement of some of the posters that moving your child at eight (having I hope paid some council tax and probably income tax) and releasing a state school place somehow is morally reprehensible. Your first moral duty is to yours childs education. Removing your child will not diminish the school and certainly, the argument that SATS will be more difficult for them is a quite ludicrous argument. Your child is not a pawn in an OFSTED league table or a socialist construct for equality.

Returning to topic, moving at eight is quite sensible as it gives your Prep School time to assess your child and prepare them for secondary. It is especially good for boys if the prep will keep them to thirteen as they mature in a smaller, less competitive environment. For girls, moving on at eleven is usually fine but some parents prefer the security of staying on to 11 if travel and immaturity are issues.

Remaining in the maintained (state) sector can work, but the competition for grammar places is utterly fierce, and ethnically approaching a monoculture in some schools. This may not be an issue for you but if it is you then have to accept your local school. Tutoring then becomes widespread if you can afford it.

As for the social mix of independent schools. I think you would be surprised. Obviously, there is professional and financial cohort, but art, media, academic and a large bursary group are also present at secondary level.

Visit the schools and you will see whether it feel right.

holidaybug Tue 10-Sep-13 21:50:57

I'd advise that you check out the schools and see which is the best for your child. If the best local school is the private school AND you can comfortably afford to pay the fees, then you'd be better to try to secure a place now rather than wait. Not many places tend to be freed up at the age of 8 and you may find there is no place available. Plus IMO the formative years are the early years. As the old saying goes, show me the boy at 7 and I'll show you the man...

Do the best for your child - your child doesn't have to be a social experiment!

FoundAChopinLizt Tue 10-Sep-13 21:53:43


I totally agree with your last post.

claraschu Tue 10-Sep-13 22:04:34

FFS don't most people just muddle along, doing the best they can? Do people really have a grand plan for their kids to fit into? That seems backwards to me.

We started all our 3 at our local primary, and moved them when we got fed up (year 5, year 2, year 7). These decisions were made in the heat of the moment, when we felt something had to change. Later on we had one child switch schools in mid year 10, one decide to HE, and one happily stay in school.

I think if your local school is good, then use it, and if the school gets to be less good, think about moving your child.

SpidercalledChester Tue 10-Sep-13 22:27:14

I object to the assumption that 'only' those people who pay for private school are 'doing the best for their child', or that doing the best for your child must mean paying for private school. I was part private /part state educated.

Many people in central London are, essentially, racist and don't like the fact that many state schools are majority non-white British. I utterly detest this. I believe that privately educating them is more likely to turn them into the people who make this sort of decision, than if they are state educated. I strongly believe that this is doing a good thing for my children. I don't care if people don't like the fact I say this. I hear it every day from people I talk to about schools, so I know it to be true.

I also know that the primary school my eldest now attends and others will be going to does a good job with their education. Its added value score is high, although there is a large mix in actual results and the intake is underperforming - it does an amazing job for those children and I know that a number get bursaries into the local, very high performing, independent secondaries.

State schools give you something that no private school can do. And that is to give a massive injection of reality. I can understand why people who have been badly served by a poor school would make a decision to move from state, at 8. But to consider it as a strategy is, IMO, an entirely wrong way of considering the educational system as a whole. If what you want is private, do it now. But recognise what you are missing out on from the beginning.

GibberTheMonkey Tue 10-Sep-13 22:33:14

I moved two of my at 8. It wasn't planned though.
After two schools failing ds1 we tried for a bursary at a very good local prep, he got it and he's thrived. So when ds2 managed to get a scholarship at the same school we were happy.
Dd would have started this year if we had planned to move her but she's fine at state school so have no plans to.
Dc4 is in reception, there are no plans to move him but we never planned to move the others either.

missinglalaland Tue 10-Sep-13 22:33:15

lifesbeautiful, you definitely need to gather more info about the particular state school you are considering. What percentage of kids leave after year 2? What percentage go on to independent schools after year 6? Which schools?
My dds go to a lovely state primary, where about 20% go on to independent schools. About every other year, a child or two leaves for prep school in year 3. No one is the least bit bothered. The kids who leave are sweet kids and their mums are usually lovely and very committed mums. But, all the other kids and mums are sweet and lovely too, so life goes on.
If anything, the children who leave early are the ones who would have gone through till 11, but their parents lost confidence and decided a place at an independent school would be easier to secure at 7 than at 11.
These parents would say they lost confidence in the school. Those of us watching from the sidelines might suspect that they have actually lost confidence in their own dc!
As an aside, I think your primary moral obligation is to your own children. Doing your utmost to give them a good education seems to be a wholly good thing for us all. I want as many well educated people as possible in this society. I disagree that education is a zero sum game. There is a fixed amount if gold, for example, in this world, but we can make as much education as we want! Pay your taxes, vote for policies that help all children, and if you want to "spoil" your children with an education that is over and above what society generally wants to spend that is your business.

JammieMummy Tue 10-Sep-13 22:41:05

OP we are going "state 'til 8" although have never heard that particular phrase previously. Although we are in a slightly different situation to you as our local school is infants only at which point a number of local school amalgamate and the combined junior school is bigger than the dire secondary school I attended. Therefore this appears to be a natural break where some children will leave and classes will be reorganised etc.

When making this decision a number of factors came into play, location - we wanted him to have local friends and not travel too far to school, the fact that the prep schools we are considering do not have Pre-prep departments so they start aged 8 and most importantly his personality. We feel that the small-ish infants school locally to us which is well run and has a lovely atmospher (not the best ofstead rating but we don't hold much stock by that) suited the little boy he is now, if he needs a bit more focus on his academics then we will get a tutor in, but to be honest you are only a child once and it will do him no harm to just enjoy being a little boy for a few years.

I don't think there is anything wrong with what you are thinking of doing but I would look at the prep schools you are considering and how many new pupils they take aged 7, you don't want him to be the only new boy in a well established cohort. Also if you are going for a selective school keep any eye on how well he is achieving as if would be a shame to have it all worked out and then he doesn't pass the entrance exam.

Just to put it in perspective, our daughter has attended her prep school since nursery as it is closer that any state school, is a fantastic little school and suits her personality; she has really flourished there! So I would definitely say look with your child in mind and not other people's ideas.

Abra1d Tue 10-Sep-13 22:41:10

Emerald I was delighted that my children didn't have to take SATs. I am baffled by why so much time is spent on them and how they are even used by our local secondary schools to predict GCSE results.

Surely those who are saying that private schools are elitist and racist and discriminatory are being illogical in saying you should go private from day one, if you want to opt out of the state system? Isn't it better that children have at least some years in the state system to make friends and build lasting contacts?

missinglalaland Tue 10-Sep-13 22:52:29

oddsins you said it best!

spidercalledchester what you say about racism is interesting. In my area, the local comprehensive is almost all white British, while the selective independent schools are at least a third minorities!

Mintyy Tue 10-Sep-13 22:54:39

I really don't think many 7 year olds make lasting contacts!

GibberTheMonkey Tue 10-Sep-13 22:56:00

In a lot of places 8 is the start of private. A lot of the older preps don't have pre-preps and they start from 8.

meditrina Tue 10-Sep-13 23:18:29

I think it is going too far to ascribe racist views to central London schools, where both sectors are all racially diverse (and white may well not be British). Prep schools in the centre are widely used by expats of all creeds and colours. Though of course you do have to be wealthy - fees are at the £5k a term level for many, and bursaries are few.

SpidercalledChester Tue 10-Sep-13 23:19:06

Just to be clear. I don't think that private schools are racist. I think that some parents make decisions on racist grounds. They are entirely different things.

SpidercalledChester Tue 10-Sep-13 23:20:08

lalaland - Ifthat were true where I was, I wouldn't make that point! I am not saying it is universal, just that it is what I see where I am.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 10-Sep-13 23:30:43

What if they don't want to leave at 8? What if they are happy there?
Do parents do this irrespective of their child's wishes?

I have never heard of this before, we are in the NW and unless you win the lottery or are rich to begin with your dc go state and stay there.
With the exception of a few like us who leave at 8 to H.ed. grin, usually at our dcs request.

scrappydappydoo Tue 10-Sep-13 23:40:36

I was privately educated and both my dc will be state educated. Private education pretty much destroyed any confidence I had and I wouldn't want to put my dc through that same experience. My parents automatically thought private would be best and for my brothers it was - me no - I was that square peg. I love that state although not perfect seems to cater better for square pegs.
Having said that we are blessed to live in an area with good state schools so I don't have to make that decision but I do know that things would have to be pretty dire for us to consider private.
I guess you have to think about your individual child and what is best for them. Look round at all the schools and decide on that criteria.

meditrina Tue 10-Sep-13 23:44:36

I think I meant "I think it is going too far to ascribe racist views to those choosing central London prep schools, where both sectors are all racially diverse (and white may well not be British)."

Parents who make decisions based on race would not be attracted to the diversity that exists in central London preps. I think only one still insists on birth registration, which tends to favour families who are long term resident.

SpidercalledChester Wed 11-Sep-13 00:03:46

Sure meditrina. I'm not saying that everyone's in private school is a racist. I'm saying that I hear a LOT of racist opinions.

"Oh it's very asian, isn't it?" - after visiting the school, on open day.
" Oh, I'm worried about behaviour there." Me: "Why? Have you seen anything that suggest that, because what we have seen has been good?". Them "Well, erm. They're all 'from the estate' and, erm, gosh, my child would be the only white child there."
"I couldn't possibly send my child to that school. They'd be the only white child."

All from the last 6 weeks.

SpidercalledChester Wed 11-Sep-13 00:04:47

p.s. their child wouldn't be the only white child. Although they might be in a minority of, say, 25-30%, which is not atypical of the local area.

holidaybug Wed 11-Sep-13 06:21:27

'State schools give you something that no private school can do. And that is to give a massive injection of reality.'

Yes, you're right there - and, it certainly does that at secondary school. My memories of secondary school alone were enough for me to send my DS to private school. I went to a great state primary but secondary is where things can really start to go downhill.

meditrina Wed 11-Sep-13 06:48:34

Hmm - bit of a leap from that to assume the parent commenting on one school (which is presumably well out in the suburbs) then goes private, and then does so in the seriously expensive preps of central London (the area specified by OP).

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